Key facts

'Tree of Life'' window
Architonic ID:
United Kingdom

Product description

Iridescent, opalescent and clear glass, brass cames
39 1/2 x 26 7/8 in. (99.8 x 68.3 cm)
Design modified in 1909

Wright designed two main window themes for the Darwin D. Martin House, respectively designated as ''first-'' and ''second-floor'' patterns. Although Wright never assigned titles to the Martin windows, the present example belongs to an iconic group commonly referred to as the ''Tree of Life'' pattern. Wright designated this pattern for the second-floor of the house, in addition to the first-floor reception room, despite Mr. Martin’s objections that the density of pattern and cames obstructed the first-floor views of the surrounding landscape. Ultimately in 1909 Mr. Martin commissioned Wright to modify some of the ''Tree of Life'' windows installed in the reception room. The three large squares originally delineated in colored glass in the bottom register were omitted from the design, thus making the windows easier to see through. This modification is documented in a drawing executed by Wright’s studio, ca. 1909, which shows strike-out lines over the bottom squares. Another ''Tree of Life'' window from the Martin House exhibiting this modification is presently in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, New York
Mr. John Crosby Freeman, Watkins Glen, New York
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York, 1968
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, acquired January 1969

Richard Feigen Gallery, New York, 16 November - 16 December, 1968

Hirschl & Adler Modern, Frank Lloyd Wright: Art in Design, New York, 1983, cover (for another modified ''Tree of Life'' window from the Martin House)
Julie L. Sloan, Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001, p. 83 (for an unmodified ''Tree of Life'' window from the Martin House) and p. 84 (for a detailed discussion of the 1909 modification)

Sotheby's would like to thank Julie L. Sloan for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.