Repatriating Two Martin House Windows
March 3 – April 10, 2022
This exhibition is one part of Kirkland Museum’s larger celebration of the genius of American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright in 2022.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed two windows, on view at Kirkland Museum through April 10, 2022, for the Darwin D. Martin House (built 1903–1905) in Buffalo, New York. The “light screens,” as Wright called them, have been a cherished part of the Museum’s collection and on display since 2003.
Kirkland Museum is proud to support the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House by donating the windows. They will return to their original context in one of Wright’s greatest achievements.
Wright’s light screens are an important contributing attribute to the overall significance of the Martin House. There are 16 site-specific patterns of art glass in the form of windows, doors, laylights and skylights, which were designed by Wright exclusively for Darwin D. Martin and his family for their multi-residential estate.
Join Kirkland Museum in celebrating these windows and their journey home!
Repatriation is the return of cultural property. Over time furniture and glass from the Martin House, including these windows, were removed and scattered across the country in public and private collections. Wright believed in the concept of a “total work of art,” with the accessories and furnishings of a building complementing the architecture to create a unified whole. The two windows were integral to the architect’s vision for the Martin House, which has been restored to its original condition. The Martin House project is considered one of the most important of Wright’s Prairie Style and a highlight of his career.
Kirkland Museum is excited to support another cultural institution that will continue to share the windows with the world. This is a case of great generosity between two organizations with similar missions. Although these windows are leaving Denver, visitors will be able to see them in Buffalo as Wright intended.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life pattern is Wright’s most famous glass design and was used only in the Martin House in a wide variety of sizes and configurations. Our single-tree window is from a second floor bedroom. Only two of this size and shape exist; its twin in the house is shown here.
Wright’s Martin House is structurally supported on the main floor by a series of piers. Each pier contains sets of glass paneled doors, shown here. Our Hanging Wisteria window comes from a right side door in one of these piers.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
“By making this extraordinary gift of these light screens, Kirkland Museum has asserted its leadership role as a steward of the public trust and reinforced its legacy as a center of cultural and artistic excellence,” states Martin House Executive Director Mary Roberts. “The light screens represent an excellent sampling of Wright’s genius in glass, which is critical to the scholarly interpretation and general appreciation of the Martin House estate.”