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In the midst of the German Blitz against London, Frank Lloyd Wright recommends rebuilding and reorganizing the city " upon the new scale of human movement set by car and plane. "
Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin, [January 1941]. 8.5" x 8.5"(folded),17" x 17"(open). "Broadsheet, A TALIESIN SQUARE-PAPER A NONPOLITICAL VOICE FROM OUR DEMOCRATIC MINORITY. (Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin, [January 1941]) 4pp. 8.5"" x 8.5"" (folded), 17"" x 17"" (open), not numbered, this issue titled, ""TO LONDON."" Addressed on the verso in type to ""MR. LEWIS MUMFORD AMENIA NEW YORK"" who adds a date in pencil on the address panel: ""27/I/41"". Light toning toward original folds and margins, two minor chips at top left not affecting text, else fine condition.Subtitled, ""A FREE FEARLESS ENLIGHTENED MINORITY IS THE CONSCIENCE OF A DEMOCRATIC NATION. WHEN IT IS STIFLED, DEMOCRACY IS GONE FROM THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE AND FROM THE LIFE OF THE NATION,"" this was an occasional series of publications published by Wright at Taliesin between 1941 and 1953. The early issues, focused on Wrights' resistance to the United States entering the war in Europe???though Wright, who was a principled opponent of war and empire, would not characterize his stance as isolationist. The present issue, entitled ""TO LONDON,"" is a response to a cablegram form the News Chronicle of London requesting an article from Wright on ""QUOTE HOW I WOULD REBUILD LONDON UNQUOTE STOP..."" In typical Wright fashion, he urged, ""If England is humanitarian London will decentralize now. The bomb overhead points to that as necessity. London reintegrated should be twenty-five times the area of Old London."" Recommending a greatly expanded ""space-scale"" for the city, he declared ""Human congestion is murder: murder if not of the carcass, then murder of the most desirable human sensibilities."" Using his model Broadacre City as an example, he recommended separating railway, automobile and foot traffic to solve traffic issues. In a nod to those who would bemoan the radical change in character of ""New London"" Wright offered that ""Historic London could be featured in a great central London park-system."" The New London ""should be a motor-car, aeroplane London,"" but admitting that ""the sentimentality of our elders blocks the path of true progress and continually begs for compromise. Make none. Make none whatever because all the vision we have is not enough to prevent such sentimentality from catching up too soon and holding us back again. Keep this static out and keep all the traffic centers wide open.""Lewis Mumford and Frank Lloyd Wright first began corresponding in the 1920s, after Mumford had contributed an essay to the Dutch journal Wendingen in 1925 in which he discussed Wright's work as a continuation of a line of innovation begun by H. H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan as well as placing Wright in contrast to the European modernists like Le Corbusier. Mumford also characterized Wright's work as an ideal of form and expression ideally suited to the American landscape. An article along similar lines authored by Mumford for The American Mercury, elected a response from Wright in August 1926, in which the architect questioned the depth Mumford's understanding of his work. A set of exchanges culminated in their first meeting, a luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York, during the winter of 1926-1927 that would being a long and productive dialogue and friendship.This friendship, born of mutual respect and a love of argument, came under enormous strain in the years leading up the Second World War. Mumford, a liberal Democrat, viewed the rise of Nazism and Fascism anxiouslyâ??as he detailed in numerous articles and two full-length works: Men must Act (1939) and Faith For Living (1940) . Wright held a different view. His general distrust of empire compelled Wright to take a stand against American involvement in the escalating European conflict that stuck many as merely isolationistâ??a charge that the architect roundly rejected.The final straw for Mumford came in a subsequent Taliesin Square-Paper, which declared ""HITLER IS WINNING THIS WAR WITHOUT A NAVY. We are facing a new kind of warfare that the British Empire, owing to traditional faith in a great navy, cannot learn in time even if we furnished the equipment... Our frontier is no longer England, nor in any sense, it is European. Our frontier is our own shores."" An infuriated Mumford shot back to Wright: ""You dishonor all the generous impulses you once ennobled... Be silent! lest you bring upon yourself some greater shame."" To this, Wright retorted: ""There is no good Empire, there never was a just war."" True to his principles, Wright remained steadfastly opposed to the Second World War, and war in general. Escalating the feud, Mumford published his response to Wright in the interventionist journal, the New Leader. The two did not speak for over a decade. The postwar period saw a thaw in their relationship, and Mumford remained a great admirer of Wright's work, despite their personal and philosophical differences. And Wright, despite Mumford's public shaming of the architect in print, continued sending New Year's greetings, unanswered by Mumford. However in the spring of 1951, Wright forwarded Mumford a copy of Sixty Years of Living Architecture, inscribed: ""In spite of all, your old F. Ll. W.""The gesture moved Mumford to respond and the two began the process of reconciliation.On February 1952, the two reunited for the first time in over a decade, at the place where they first met, over lunch at The Plaza â?? where they enjoyed what Mumford described as ""our reconciliation luncheon."" As they caught up on family news and professional developments, Wright rendered a series of four sketches, one of the Walker Warehouse in Chicago (1888-1889) and the Wainwright Tomb in St. Louis (1890), both designed by his Leiber Meister, Louis Sullivan. (As Adler and Sullivan's chief draftsman, Wright had a direct involvement with both projects). Cognizant of the importance of that afternoon, Mumford retained the sketches as a souvenir (Wright, Mumford, et al., Frank Lloyd Wright & Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence, 2001, 22-26)."
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