Yves Jeanson on Frank Lloyd Wright's Oeuvre

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After the January 2006 overwhelming event I had experienced with Heloise Crista the sculptress, and David Dodge, the architect, I continued to correspond by letter with Heloise and phoned her occasionally, also to prepare for the sculpture giving event to be held sometime during the year at the FLWSofA. I explained to Heloise that I would like to prepare for the students, a short presentation on how I made the sculpture, I also asked her if she knew people, or galleries that would be interested to buy, or sell some of my original drawings from my art collection so that I would collect funds for research purposes. She replied she would see what she could do.

In September of that year, in response to my inquiry made to Heloise, I received from the development coordinator of the FLW Foundation, an invitation to know if I would be interested to give something for the fund raising campaign event to be held in November 2006.

After thinking for a while, even hesitating to break the collection, I decided to give ten original drawings to the benefit of the Foundation in reconnaissance of the overwhelming intellectual experience I had had with FLW’ oeuvre and ideas since October 2005, the moment I visited Taliesin West the first time, and the moment I had met Heloise Crista the generous sculptor, and David Dodge the architect, but I also had in mind an principally, that this event could be a excellent platform to interest the Wrightian community to my art collection, but mainly to present and explain Zanis Waldheims ideas on geometry as an abstraction, because I had found a parallel in FLW's oeuvre to the one of Zanis Waldheims, that is to say the utilization of geometrical figures applied to words to express an emotion as seen on this Organic Commandments.

In the invitation from the development coordinator, there was also an opening for the sponsors to promote their merchandize (eventually my art collection). So I went ahead and gave ten original drawings. My intention was that the proceeds from the eventual sale of other drawings of my collection, would provided funds to form a group of researcher in geometrical abstraction or to preserve the archives.

I had also explained in the same letter, addressed to the development coordinator, about the event that was suppose to take place for the giving of my sculpture to the FLWSofA, and that while I was in Arizona in that period of time, I would like that this event take place. I had brought during the spring period, my sculpture to my daughter’s place in Fountain Hills in view of this event. The event coordinator took consideration of my request, and coordinated it with Heloise and Mrs. Marlee Simms, who took care to organize part of this event, and it became in their hands a great success, and a great moment in my life too. Mrs.Simms had been extremely impressed, and seemingly others too, by my over generous donation of ten original drawings of my collection to the Foundation, that I valued at that time to a minimum of ten thousand dollars. (THE YVES JEANSON COLLECTION OF GEOMETRICAL ABSTRACTION ART). 

Mrs. Simms integrated the event perfectly with The Frank Lloyd Wright Third Annual Design and Development Conference held during the same week, that would culminate with the Silent Auction event at the Price Senior House in Paradise Valley on Saturday November the 11th.

On Thursday November 9th at 6.00 pm, there I was in the Red Room of the Auditorium in Taliesin West, with my text on the pulpit; the projector on a table and the controls in one hand, in front of the FLWSofA students, the Conference participants, the Conference speakers from the US and Europe, the teachers, other fellows, Heloise and David, a total of about one hundred people, to explain in a Power Point presentation, how I had made the 19 different sizes of glass spheres; the history of the Noosphere itself; the difficulties I had experience while making the hand made spheres; how I had used gravity to glue them all together; the metaphor of the glue that represented the cohesion of people, and the final result in front of their eyes on a pedestal on the stage. 

The presentation lasted approximately thirty five minutes, and there was at the end of the presentation a period for questions. It was the first time ever I was in front of a group of people doing a presentation. The presentation that was suppose to be very modest originally, turned out to be unexpectedly, large and extraordinary for me, with good comments from the speakers (a few from European countries); the students; the conference participants from many American States, and Heloise and David, overwhelmed by what they had seen. David commenting that what he had in front of his eyes was nicer than what he had expected. 

After the presentation, there was an outdoor organized diner for the conference participants. So much absorbed by the questions from the participants, that I had no time to eat. During that period a man with his wife came to give me their positive appreciation of what they had seen during my presentation, and about the sculpture they had examined on the stage back in the Auditorium. This man was an architect from Prescott Arizona, a former Arcosanti Experiment Project developer in Arizona’s desert. He was amongst the first apprentice of the Americanized  Italian architect Paolo Soleri, the developer of Arcology (the conception of cities which embody the fusion of futuristic architecture with ecology.) I knew about that desert site since I had visited it previously.

On the following Saturday evening, on November 11th, at the Price Senior House in Paradise Valley, was displayed all the material to be auctioned for the fund raising event. This was the big night. Tickets were at $150.00 per person: Valet service, champagne at will, selected California Wines, hot and cold buffet, ambiance musicians, discrete lighting, outside gas heaters, et cetera for at least 150 people, of which the students from the School of Architecture, some teachers, some fellows, and the greater Phoenix high society arriving in their luxury cars, well dressed and in good humors.

My wife and I got there early in order to see all the displays and articles, but mainly to see how the Foundation people had displayed my drawings for the silent auction. 

After leaving our car at the parking, which was taken in charge by a valet service, we walked the long sidewalk that leaded to the house. Once we reached the house, was a lady to greet the guests, and a table with champagne glasses engraved with FLW red logo. We walked towards the entrance of  the house, where another lady was present, and waiters with their bottles of champagne or soda water to fill our glasses. We took champagne, and moved ahead in this beautiful Wright design house. 

Entering the living room on the right, I saw five of my ten drawings very well framed, and well displayed. They were on the right side of the rectangular low ceiling living room. The other five had stayed in display at Taliesin West, in what is called the Kiva (a small building designed originally for film projections). The greenish pastel colors of the living room, and the drawings chosen by David Dodge for the event were matching perfectly in the decor. Next to each of the five drawings was a small square reproduction of the larger ones including a small text with my description. I was impressed by the impact it made on me in this modernist décor. One of the five drawings, was more in evidence than the four others, and the price tag for the bidding minimum, was higher too. The framings and the displays had been designed by Oskar Munoz, one of FLW’ well known apprentice. The price tags went from three at fifteen hundred dollars each; one at nineteen hundred dollars; and one at twenty one hundred dollars. There was attached to this latter one, resting on a the three-legged stool, a small pouch designed in a Wrightian motif, and inside of it, a leaflet with the texts I had sent Mrs. Simms previously (a small biography of Zanis Waldheims, and a description of the drawings). On a table next to the display, was laying two catalogues of my art collection for eventual buyers. I had put also business cards on the table too.

Walking and going from room to room, looking at the price tags of the other exposed objects inside and outside the house in the garden, I noticed that the twenty one hundred dollar price tag, of one of the drawings, was the highest price tag of all the exposed items for the silent auction. 

During the two hour period of time allocated for the bidders to bid on the items, while I was in the living room enjoying the scene and speaking with some students, arrived two men, one of the two said to the other “Tonight I will buy two of those drawings” pointing at my drawings, and they went out of the living room. Walking and going back and forth with my wife inside and out of the house, talking to other people or the students, or sitting down to talk to David or Heloise, and others, I found out very shortly after, that all the drawings I had given to the Foundation had been bided on at their face value.  

The Foundation had made with my donation $8,500.00 dollars. Mrs.Simms was smiling and seemed overwhelmed; the event coordinator also, their assistants too, and me I was extremely happy too. I went to get Victor Sidy, the Dean of the School of Architecture, to show him the success my collection had, and by doing so, I hoped he would of suggested me a project that would of consisted to explain to the students the ideas on geometrical abstraction. I had sent him back in October a text to explain the principal ideas on this geometrical abstraction in rapport to FLW’s oeuvre. I had also sent the same paper to Phil Allsopp, the CEO of the FLW Foundation with the same intention. 

Then I started to entertain the people in the room by explaining them the meaning of the different drawings; their intellectual basis; the geometrical forms and the abstraction behind them.  I think the people around me enjoyed the moment, and the students were interacting with me. I had a lot of fun. 

Sitting down to talk to David about the success they I had had with my collection, he recommended me for the future, to sell only a few drawings at a time.

All of those events, had made my night. This was the most expensive party I ever had. Had the organizers exposed all ten drawings, instead of only five as they chose to do, they would of sold them all, and would of made an additional $7,500.00. Quite a contribution from a small unknown private Canadian sponsor like me.

Presented on the web site are pictures of this unique, and magnificent evening at the Price Senior House in November 2006. 

Although I had great expectancies from this event, nothing has taken form since, nor in the sale of my art collection, for my own fund raising for creating a group in geometrical abstraction research; nothing in the development and promotion of geometrical abstraction as I hoped in the Wrightian community neither. 

Not long after that event, mister Wright came to me in a dream, he was  smiling, seeming to tell me “Welcome, and Thank you”.

By Yves Jeanson, Ju;ly 2009

Yves Jeanson on Frank Lloyd Wright's Oeuvre