“By the Scruff of his Neck…”

Rudolph Schindler spent time in the Frank Lloyd Wright program as an intern and project manager in Wisconsin as well as in California. The time Schindler spent in Los Angeles helped the Austrian immigrant decide that the Southern California weather and his maturing design vision were a good fit.

During Schindler’s effort to secure his architecture license, he used his time with the Wright Studio as a source of experience and asked Wright to write a letter to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) attesting to his internship time with Taliesin East. Wright was curiously being difficult regarding Schindler’s desire for licensing. A number of letters went back and forth between Schindler and Wright. “My dear Rudolph Schindler:…I am in receipt of a letter from the Board asking if you had made designs for me. The answer to that is, —No you didn’t. Nobody makes designs for me. Sometimes if they are in luck, or rather if I am in luck, they make them with me…Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings. I believe that anything you would design would take rank in the new work being done in the country as worthy of respect…He has built quite a number of buildings in and around Los Angeles that seems to be admirable from the standpoint of design, and I have not heard of any of them falling down…Personally, I appreciate Rudolph. He is an incorrigible Bohemian and refuses to allow the Los Angeles barber to apply the razor to the scruff of his neck. He also has peculiarly simple and effective ideas regarding his own personal conduct. I believe, however, that he is capable as an artist. I have found him a too complacent and therefore a rotten superintendent. The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed. I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money. I should say that was his extreme fault in these circumstances of endeavoring to build buildings.”

What are your thoughts on Wright’s somewhat reckless boldness in his letters of support for Schindler and the overall general tone of temerity? Wright certainly could see and recognize that Schindler had an emerging vision of Architecture that was unique and spoke to the new time and context. How would you account for Wright’s rather rash and bold response to his mentor?

Photograph of Rudolph Schindler
Rudolph Schindler Lovell Beach House, 1926

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

37 Comments

37 thoughts on ““By the Scruff of his Neck…””

  1. Maria Dos Santos
    Week 8 Response

    I find Frank Lloyd Wright’s “letter of support” to be a very long-winded backhanded compliment to Rudolph Schindler. Wright states that “Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings” and says that he appreciates Rudolph. At the same time, Wright calls Schindler’s buildings badly executed and mocks Schindler’s work by saying “I have not heard of any of them falling down” as if that’s something to be expected from Schindler’s work. He says Schindler is capable as an artist, but won’t admit that while working as his intern, Schindler got to create designs for him. This seems highly unlikely.
    I think that the reason behind such a rash and bold letter from Wright to Schindler was a sense of envy. Wright was a mentor to Schindler and now Schindler was going out and pursuing licensure and venturing off into designing buildings with his own style. Perhaps this sense of ambition upset Wright, who might have only envisioned his fellow intern as simply an intern and never anything more.
    Overall, the letter actually makes me quite sad due to my own personal bias. I think both architects are great, and they have most certainly each made many iconic, successful contributions to our built environment, with so many being in Los Angeles alone. But I am inclined to want to focus on the architect that was not as popular as FLW was. I think Schindler was a magnificent architect and I’m glad that despite Wright trying to keep him from flourishing that he was able to make a name for himself and share his architecture with the world.

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  2. In the field of Architecture, you will come across a range of distinct styles and curations of projects. Each architect has taken their own approach, and have applied their fundamental style. Rudolph Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright are two architects whom have common appreciation for ones work, but also lends criticism. I think Wright’s letter reinforces the integrity of his individual style, stating “…No you didn’t. Nobody makes designs for me. Sometimes if they are in luck, or rather if I am in luck, they make them with me.” Though Schindler may have interned for Wright, I would say Wright is indeed entitled to the work he oversees throughout his firm. A bit bold, yes, but Wright goes on to support Schindlers efforts as a designer by also stating “I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings.” This might have been Wright’s way of expressing his contribution and passing of knowledge and experience. With Wright being an architect that pays close attention to craft and detail, design decisions or the approach to design, may have caused disagreement between the two. This again goes back to the range of distinct styles or preferences when it come to architectural design. Schindler may have been offended, but I would argue these letters were forms of constructive criticism from one professional to another.

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  3. Viewing both Schindler and Wright as architects/designers, both have done outstanding work that is notable for recognition. From what i’ve learned about Wright – in the few years of studying him through architectural history classes and special topics classes – he has appeared to be quite the narcissist. Some of the things that made me dislike him – not his work – is that he’s very much a narcissist, a meninist, and a cheater. I believe he also had once said “I have felt fatherly love towards and building but not to my own child”…so…theres that.

    Something else that i’ve learned, that is more fitting for this discussion, is that Wright didn’t really like it when his interns/employees went out and tried to make a name for themselves. It seems that when one of his interns tries to make it big – or at least separate themselves from Wright – their relationship gets nasty. From reading Wright’s letter to NCARB regarding Schindler, it seems as though he doesn’t want to fully acknowledge that Schindler was actually a great designer who was only getting better. Whether this be because he’s too narcissist to admit that someone “below” him actually has the potential to make themselves just as big of a name as he is or whether it’s because he wants to keep Schindler under his own regime to build up Wright’s own name.

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    1. ((I accidentally hit post before I finished))

      But I think that while yes, Wright is acknowledging Schindler’s work, the letter is a back handed compliment to Schindler. He describes Schindler’s work as being “well designed but poorly executed” and to me thats really not that case. Looking at Schindler’s Lovell Beach House, you’re able to see the connection to the nature of California (that Wright really likes to push conceptually) and also well designed to fit into the site as to separate the house from the vehicle and pedestrian traffic. He also considers that structural nature of the building by reinforcing the concrete to protect the house from earthquakes and allowing the lighter suspended elements to move independently during tremors. Also, Schindler was thinking about the California weather and how the building can better access that. So he included sleeping porches to to help cool the house’s bedrooms by using natural coastal air.

      So where Wright says Schindler’s good designs are “poorly executed”, I think thats false.

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  4. Wright was a great Architect who payed attention to details in all the masterpieces he had designed. His passion and boldness were evident in his letter about Rudolph Schindler. He does recognize Rudolph and his capabilities, but his sarcasm and constructive criticism may look unprofessional and harsh. He stated that “My dear Rudolph Schindler: I am in receipt of a letter from the Board asking if you had made designs for me. The answer to that is, no you didn’t.” This shows that Wright was entitled to his work and the people who worked for him and along him must respect that because it is his name that was used, and the design style was his. It only encourages that Wright believed in in his work and his self-worth. On the other hand, he did admire and believed in Schindler because he said that “I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings.” This implies that Wright did appreciate Schindler and all his work with him but he critics him by lifting and putting him back down when he wrote, “The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed.” In this letter he sounded like a narcissist who only believed that their work is perfect and compliments others but suddenly puts others down because they do not see them as equal. I am not implying that Wright was a narcissist but who knows, I never meet him and only knew about him from books and schooling. I do find his works timeless and out of this world and the same can be said to his previous intern Schindler. It is good that Schindler did not hinder his self-worth and push to become a licensed Architect because he does create amazing works that are different from Wright and a few implications of influences from him. As Schindler’s mentor I believe he did his part to help Schindler become a great Architect.

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  5. It’s an odd approach to giving someone a compliment. Wright seems to have a hard time admitting that Rudolph Schindler, a intern of his, is good at his craft and his artistic capabilities. I sense an undertone of Wright’s insecurity that Schindler has potential of making a name for himself, and possibly being a “threat.” He raises him up saying his buildings are “well designed,” but grounds him by saying “they are badly executed.” Writing these letters seem more like power play for Wright. I think Wright was threatened by the idea that if Schindler succeeds in leaving his internship and becoming an architect, he could ‘surpass’ him in a way. This letter seems to be written half positive and half negative, so that Wright can choose whether or not he wants to take credit in Schindler’s success/failure. “If he gets the license, well it’s because of me (Wright) and my status. If he doesn’t, it’s not just because of the negative things I wrote, look I wrote some good things too.”

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  6. Frank Lloyd Wright has always been dubbed as having quite the personality from those who knew him well. The fact that Schindler and him seemed to have this ongoing complimentary friendship seems to agree with that. The letters seem like Wright is undoubtedly impressed by his former intern, but holds his impression back so as to not get Schindler to carried away. Its certainly that protégé type relationship they had going where Schindler certainly appreciated much of the design sense he learned while working with Wright, while Wright certainly saw the capacities and abilities that were to come from Schindler’s art and architecture. You can certainly see the nudging and hard nosed commentary of Wright were he states about Schindler, ” The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed. I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money. I should say that was his extreme fault in these circumstances of endeavoring to build buildings.” Wright clearly accepts that Schindler is ready and capable, but obviously still needs refinement whether its in detailing or dealing with clients. From my work experience, the experienced architects tend to rue the day when they lose one of their top up an comers who are starting to venture out on their own, with their own firms. They rue it because they see the potential in the younger generations and might see it as competition down the line. You can sort of see this in the sort of backhanded nudging that Wright has for Schindler where he praises him, but keeps him at bay by also acknowledging he still isn’t what he might think he is. At the end of the day both Wright and Schindler learned immensely from each other, and that is evident in their works across Greater Los Angeles and abroad.

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  7. Frank Lloyd Wright’s personality can be clearly seen through his writing as he was a genius architect with arrogant characteristics. I believe Wright saw the potential for Schindler’s success during the time he worked for wright at the Hollyhock house. The design ideas and lifestyle Schindler proposed at the time were considered to be an original perspective on architecture. A new emerging architect with creative approaches meant that Wright had another designer to compete with in order to keep his reputation of at the top. In my opinion, Wright did not want to fully give Schindler credit since he would become another competitor in the world of architecture. I believe Wright was challenging Schindler to not be complacent with his ideas and always strive to keep improving when he states, “The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed. I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money.” Additionally, the Schindler residence also known as Kings Road house proposed a lifestyle that completely merged the indoors and outdoors similar to the work we see in the designs by Wright. The rash response can be understood from the point of view that Wright did not want to be second to anyone as his reputation was a large as his ego. The statement below by Wright depicts his character, “Early in my career I was a very arrogant young man.. I was so sure of my ground and my star that I had to choose between an honest arrogance and a hypercritical humility… and I deliberately choose an honest arrogance, and I’ve never been sorry. “

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  8. On one hand it is difficult not to sense jealousy from Frank Lloyd Wright’s tone. It’s as if he can’t deny that Rudolph Schindler has talent and potential, but he has difficulty saying it or allowing him to know it. On the other hand, it is possible that Frank Lloyd Wright was trying to offer some kind of constructive criticism. However, I thought it was strange that he brought into account his character. This to me does not really seem necessary or relevant and only strengthens my idea that Wright could be jealous or threatened by Schindler. I imagine architecture is an extremely competitive field so it does not surprise me that he was so harsh.

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  9. Wright’s backhanded compliments directed at Schindler show an unwillingness to admit to the newer architect’s talents. Like many great creative minds, Wright probably had a large ego surrounding his work and the accolades he received. I think it’s a shame that Wright would be so unable to get past his arrogance and possible jealousy, because one of the most valuable things that a talented, successful person can do is mentor the next generation in their field. It is quite possible that Wright was taking the “tough love” approach with Schindler, but the implication in this letter regarding NCARB is that he was unwilling to offer his support.

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  10. I worked at an an interior design firm for a while. We ended up getting a client that had a very specific taste that I was familiar with and only I knew the detail oriented information of what the client wanted since it was a Louis 14-15 series of French designed furniture with all details, gilding, and motifs to match the clients French castle. I had been the design assistant but ended up creating all the work, all concepts, and fully designing all the work. The owner above me took credit for such work, refused to acknowledge my work, completely gave me the project to do. Then refused to pay me my worth. They were overall scared, envious, and in the end saw me as a threat. Some people must feel like they are the best because this is their identity, this is their passion, and when someone can succeed or even supersede their own work, they can’t allow it. This comes from envy, fear, and overall insecurity in themselves. If they accept the reality then their ego and façade will crack.
    I mention this because this is how I see this letter. It is a backhanded compliment, the writer can’t acknowledge nor truly be happy for Schindler. Just like in the major of fine arts, people tend to see each other as rivals than say we are in the same race together. They tend to be selfish and are looking out for themselves than enriching the culture. Wright saw competition and wanted to belittle his competition since he knew that there was great potential

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  11. As an artist, I understand the feeling of comparing your work to that of other artists, whether younger or older; and Wright clearly has some jealously for Schindler and his successes throughout Los Angeles. His letters are laced with discontent and envy, which I feel is childish and snobbish of Wright. Both of them are architects and both of them have prominent designs that reward them with recognition, so I feel there is no need for Wright to be so conceited. Too often artists that have this air of superiority around them are widely disliked throughout the art world, while still making money off of their work and upholding such strict standards. Which overall I feel is unfair to those that want to push past these already set boundaries of the art world.

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  12. I think that Rudolph Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright are brilliant architects. Their buildings are incredible and noticeable. I think that Wright’s response to Schindler’s normal human reaction. Everyone is competing to be the best. Even thought there are friendships between artists, therefore in this case architects. No one wants to be worse than their colleagues. Wright wants to be the best architect, but Schindler also wants this, so there is a competing situation. Both of them have significant appearance in Los Angeles. I don’t judge Wright’s behavior.

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  13. Wright seems to say Schindler is a great architect and designer that will do great things without directly saying it. based on this tidbit I would say Wright is reluctant to acknowledge the fact that Schindler is fully capable and even possibly new competition for him. I think Wright saw the potential of Schindler and knew how great he would be. Any time someone outgrows the learning phase under a mentor I imagine there is some sort of resentment in many cases from the mentor but he also wants what is best for his student . I think Wrights honest and true feelings are displayed through the letter.

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  14. The reason for his reluctance behavior might be that Wright did not want to act in a way what could be perceived as favoritism or bias for Schindler. I think the praise given in a begrudging sort of tone used in the letter is more convincing to people rather than conventional praise. Some people can be critical and claim that Wright Studio was only supporting Schindler because of his history with them instead of his work, especially if the support is given in a pleasant, practiced, public relations-style. In the beginning of this letter Wright talks himself up as a person who makes his own designs and people are lucky to work in collaborative projects with him. After this he boldly praises Schindler in an unconventional manner. Another reason for Wright’s tone might also be a sense of jealousy and his ego. Though, I think that Wright was absolutely commending Schindler with these two sentences: “I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money. I should say that was his extreme fault in these circumstances of endeavoring to build buildings.” After reading these lines from Wright, perspective clients would no doubt try to hire Schindler for his exceptional work. Whatever was the case though, Wright recognized his former intern as a talented and budding architect, a man who is “competent to design exceedingly good buildings”.

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  15. This letter shocked me in the sense that the tone portrays less of a professional architect and more of a jealous co-worker. I am not sure when this letter was written but based on the PowerPoint timeline, I am guessing anywhere from 1920-1930. This means that Schindler had already designed and executed many buildings, possibly even the Lovell Beach House. I find it disappointing that instead of explaining why he was perhaps worried about his designs falling down, he simply wrote a passive-aggressive letter that spoke highly of Schindler’s creative side and insulted his structural, business, organization side without providing proof. If this letter was written after the Lovell Beach House, perhaps Wright was jealous of the praise Schindler’s design was receiving. As the architecture critic in the Los Angels Times said “”I think I’m now convinced that this ranks as one of the two most important houses in Southern California, up there with the Eames House. This is incredibly experimental and forward-looking and quintessentially modern,” I believe if Wright wanted to portray an actual issue with Schindler’s work, he probably could have written down a time or event that would describe why he made such a “rotten superintendent.” However, I believe that Wright, although maybe frustrated that Schindler had a different method of business or system, he could not bring himself to define a situation where Schindler failed at such a thing. One because it wasn’t really that bad, or two because he did respect him as an architect; he was just working through some issues of his own.

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  16. I definitely sense a tone of bitterness between the two. It seems like Wright does want to acknowledge the great work that Schindler has done to the board but acknowledges his work personally. Schindler seems like the type to not want to help others gain as he could see them as potential competitors. I see this as extremely childish and selfish. Schindler must not be confident in his own abilities if he does not want to endorse an intern.

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  17. I feel that Wright’s boldness in letters regarding support of Rudolph Schindler were appropriate. Since Schindler did work for Wright in his program as an intern and project manager, I feel that Wright helped to build Schindler’s career by offering him these opportunities. Although Schindler is certainly entitled to have his own emerging vision of Architecture, as a former member of Wright’s program, maybe Wright felt that Schindler’s vision did not represent Wright in a favorable way. Wright is also entitled to his own opinion about Schindler’s vision. In all honesty, I feel like Wright only meant to provide critique for Schindler’s vision, but perhaps was a bit harsh. Both architects are above all entitled to have stylistic differences because that is what helps them appeal to different audiences and clientele. My other suspicion is that Wright’s critique may be so harsh because it is actually a form of jealousy in that he feels he cannot commit to or conjure up any contemporary ideas to keep up with the times.

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  18. While Wright’s letter for Schindler is intended to be supportive and encouraging, it is not entirely kind. It appears that while Wright compliments Schindler’s artistic architectural capacity, stating, “Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings’ he also, in the same breath insults him. He then goes on to state that he has “not heard of any of them falling down.” This statement suggests that there may be a reason to believe that Schindler’s structural designs are not or have not been sound in the past. Additionally, he takes issue with the suggestion the Schindler may have made designs for him, which is understandable as an artist. He wants to assert that his work is entirely his own, or at least collaborative. However, he denies Schindler’s contribution to these works. Wright writes the letter with the tone of Schindler still being the student under Wright’s artistic expertise. Wright’s criticism goes beyond constructive but is somewhat balanced out by his support of Schindler’s creativity in his architectural designs. As indicated by Wright’s letter, he appears unwilling to fully commit to the notion that Schindler was an innovative and talented architect in his own right.

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  19. Wright both supports and insults Schinler in his letter. Wright comes off with a sense of ego that is rather untamed. He recognizes Schindler’s talent but also belittles his work in a very rash way that allows for much room for debate. While his honestly and forwardness can be admired, it becomes a bit much towards the end of the letter and rather overwhelming.

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  20. Wright’s response seems a little condescending to me. He “compliments” Schindler’s designs, “Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings.” Although I would argue that Wright was not necessarily complementing Schindler at all. I’ve very rarely seen someone use the word competent without being condescending, but more importantly he mentions “I have not heard of any of them falling down.” To me, it seems like Wright is implying that Schindler’s designs are in some way unstable. He hides his harsh words behind supportive words, like acknowledging Schindler as an artist, but then calling him “a rotten superintendent.” I feel like I am lacking enough knowledge to properly pinpoint how their relationship functioned. This could be just how Wright was. Perhaps Wright is using tough love to push Schindler; however if this is the case, I disagree with his method of expressing himself. It could be just as likely that Wright is jealous of Schindler’s popularity due to his unique vision.

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  21. It seems clear from Wright’s letter that he knew Schindler was a fine architect. “I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings. I believe that anything you would design would take rank in the new work being done in the country as worthy of respect,” he writes. That said, he then criticizes and even insults him, writing that his buildings are poorly constructed and that he simply is not a good manager of his workers.

    I think that at least some of Wright’s unwillingness to unequivocally vouch for Schindler’s skills comes from his own sense of inflated self-worth. Wright was, to put it mildly, too big for his britches. He saw Schindler primarily as an underling meant to do his bidding. Thus the emphatic “Nobody makes designs for me.” Schindler emerging as a unique and highly talented architect in his own right must have stirred a sense of professional jealousy in Wright, and a desire to keep him in his place. It isn’t that Wright hated Schindler; he was afraid that the younger architect whom he mentored might be eclipsing him.

    There might also be a bit of projection going on. It’s well known that many of Wright’s California houses, like the Ennis House, have construction issues that have caused problems for preservationists. Perhaps Wright was engaging in self-critique in the only way that his ego would allow: a pot calling a kettle black.

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  22. I think that in life we expect that everyone feels as great about a project or a piece of something like we all do. WE mostly feel as though our personal opinion about our work is just as great that someone else will notice too. With Wright and the letter, I believe he can see so much potential in Schindler that I don’t think his boldness meant any malice or anything like that. I think Wright had so much confidence of Schindler that he wanted him to be as great about his architecture as Wright knew he was.
    As people we have to understand that not everyone will be pleased at what we do. When someone sees so much in us we can’t think of it in a negative way we have to at some point take what they say as encouragement. His professional opinion was needed.

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  23. Personally I think Wright’s letter is hilarious. It screams eccentric bohemian artist and I am living for it. When I read it, I sense an affection for Schindler. He doesn’t kiss his mentees butt by praising him endlessly but compliments him in an offhanded, almost familial way. There is an affection that Is noticeable when reading it. He says, “Personally, I appreciate Rudolph. He is an incorrigible Bohemian and refuses to allow the Los Angeles barber to apply the razor to the scruff of his neck,” which I feel like is a really high compliment. “I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money,” this too is a high compliment. I might have a bias because I’ve been known to offend people without meaning too by being too honest so I resonate with people like this. I feel a real authenticity when I read a letter like Wright’s. When someone praises someone too much, it is nice and shows respect but I feel like a letter like this that is honest but also loving comes across as equally genuine. To state someone’s flaws by also showcasing their brilliance is respect, and I think his honesty shows his experience as someone who has been in the field for a long time and understands practicality. There may be some level of pride involved but someone of this character probably wouldn’t give credit to someone who didn’t deserve it. The world would be boring without people like Wright.

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  24. After viewing both Schindler’s and Wright’s works, both are notable and significant architects. I believe Wright’s response was rather rash and bold due to Schindler trying to go out and make a name for himself. It appears that Wright saw the potential in Schindler but had a sort of anger towards him. From the letter, it seemed that Wright refused to fully acknowledge that Schindler was a great artist and had potential, maybe because he saw Schindler as a competitor by going on his own. The letter sounds as if Wright is insecure and jealous due to Schindler being a skilled architect, which meant more competition for Wright. The letter is a backhanded compliment and Wright wanted to belittled Schindler due to the competition.

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  25. I think that Wright’s letters of support are definitely laced with jealousy. I think jealousy is common in the art world, I often find myself feeling jealous and envious of the way that other creatives think. The letters also just reflect who Wright was, as he didn’t seem to be a nice person in general. So, combine those two elements and Wright’s tone of temerity, and I really think the letter is communicating more than jealousy. I can relate to giving people back-handed compliments when I am close to them or I look up to them. This is because I am comfortable or I know them so well that it makes me frustrated when they are not reaching their FULL potential. So, I think that Wright truly admired Schindler and he had no fear in Schindler doing better than him, but rather he was frustrated that he did not possess Schindler’s talents to create something else. Or maybe he thought “if I were Schindler, I would be doing much greater things.”

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  26. At first, I kind of chuckled at the letter because why would Frank Lloyd Wright say that about Schindler! It sounded like Frank Lloyd Wright called Schindler unkept and that he “refuses to allow the LA barber to apply the razor to the scruff on his neck”. There is also the part where FLW says “I have not heard of any of them falling down”. Why should they fall down unless they are designed poorly. Some of these comments are kind of shady and back-handed and I think it might be because Frank Lloyd Wright might be a bit jealous that Schindler is making a name for himself. I feel like he doesn’t want to admit to himself that Schindler is up there with him as far as his contemporary.

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  27. Frank Lloyd Wrights bold letter response to Schindler efforts to secure his architecture license replies by telling Schindler, “My dear Rudolph Schindler: … I am in receipt of a letter from the Board asking if you had made designs for me”. In addition, Wright also adds to his response to Schindler’s letter; No, you didn’t, nobody makes designs for me, if they are lucky enough, they make them with me. My overall thoughts on Wright’s temerity tone and reckless boldness in his letters of support for Schindler appropriate. I strongly believe that Wright’s boldness in his letters of support to Schindler had no ill will trying to hurt him but just being blunt, straight forward, and honest with him. I appreciate Wright’s blunt response to Schindler’s letter because I believe being hard on your interns builds character, especially when they view you as their mentor in their future career. Wright recognizes Schindler’s emerging vision of architecture that spoke to the future of Los Angeles by addressing this statement in his letter of support “I believe that anything you would design would take rank in the new work being done in the country as worthy of respect”. When taking account for Wright’s rather rash and bold response in his letter of support, I would be discouraged and upset at first. After, some thought and realization I would comprehend that he is stating these rash comments not to hurt me but to tell me the honest truth, build my character, and to teach me a valuable lesson in my future career.

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  28. I don’t understand how Rudolph Schindler spoke that way and expecting to get expire and keep his license. The letter was snarky and over confident. The two negative and positive plants throws the letter off and makes his feeling and thoughts questionable . Then also could of been some kind of envy?

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    1. Revised:
      I don’t understand how Rudolph Schindler spoke into two different thoughts, expecting experience and keeping his license. The letter was snarky and over egotistic. The negative and positive reflections throws the letter off its context. It becomes questionable on his real thoughts. Then would it also even some kinds of envy?

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  29. I believe that Frank Lloyd Wright’s response and critic of his student Rudolph Schindler actually came from honest mentorship. What he said about Schindler in my perspective isn’t out of spite, the mixture of both compliments and criticism derives from the passion for his profession and the hopes for Schindler as an architect. Obviously, Wright has more experience in the field than Schindler, and more than likely he would like nothing more than exceptional minds populating it. That is why I believe what he writes about Schindler is the way it is, because he would like him to improve and not be blind to his shortcomings. He knows his ambitions, his skills, and his faults, it sort of reminds me of Marco Pierre White who mentored Gordan Ramsay. It’s not a personal attack, but rather brutal honesty from a mentor so that one day Schindler may surpass Wright.

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  30. Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the world’s greatest architects and the most prolific, controversial, and inspiring. And he was aware of this. Frank Lloyd Wright was reportedly no humble person. For a while, Louis Sullivan was Wright’s mentor, but when there was a disagreement between them, he left Sullivan and continued on his way alone. Wright is a man of sensations. Genius, arrogant, groundbreaking, challenging, never deviating from his truth, never worrying about taboos and destroying at every opportunity. In Wright’s letter to Schindler, I could not decide whether Wright’s demeanor was self-confident or arrogant. I have infinite respect for the deserved ego, and Wright certainly had it. However, I have doubts because I believe; arrogance is to praise oneself out of the blue, and self-confidence is to take strength from what you accomplished. Wright’s trust in Schindler in his letter is, in my opinion, not a matter of debate.

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  31. Arron Adams
    Art 473-1001
    Honestly, my thoughts are that I don’t know enough about their friendship to say anything definitive about Wrights response. For some friend pairs, this would be a very rude backhanded put-down of Schindler, but for others it could be essentially friendly banter. I have seen some steadfast friends treat each other in what other people would consider a mean and almost abusive way in casual conversation, but are willing to stand by each other through thick and thin. The comment “I have not heard of any of them falling down,” for example, could be recalling previous conversations in a joking, friendly way, or it may be implying a lack of faith in Schindler’s skills: “I have not heard of any of them falling down… at least not yet, though I expect it to happen any day now.” I would need to know both Wright and Schindler, and the nature of their friendship, on a deeper level to be able to say anything further.

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  32. I find that Wright’s words have a sense of humor that I would definitely not send to someone I didn’t know. Like it starts off quite flattering to Schindler and then there is the cornerstone of backhanded compliments, “however” and “but”. He is saying that he does his own work and Schindler doesn’t know how to properly conduct himself. I would think that the tone may have been either in jest or in jealousy. Maybe overconfidence as well. I am not someone who reads up on architecture but before this class I vaguely knew that Wright was an organic architect and have not heard of Schindler before, so his reputation precedes him. I would think that the tone is also due to how competitive and stressful the field of architecture was and is still today.

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  33. I think Wright’s reckless boldness in his letters of support for Schindler and the overall general tone of temerity are interesting. I definitely feel like he could be less blunt or harsh, however, it was how he wrote. He knew that Schindler had an emerging vision of Architecture and talent. Everyone has their own ways of expressing their point of views. Wright could have been jealous and wanted to praise Schindler, but has a different way of doing so. Some people are just like that and you can’t really change them.

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  34. I think ultimately it was a posturing game. Although Wright was supporting Schindler the overall tone of the letter struck me as being written my someone who’s intimidated. I think Wright was more aware then he puts on in his letter about Schindler’s abilities. And as such I feel Wright was starting to perceive him as a potential threat to his business. Never the less the letter does attest to some of his admirable qualities however it does it in such a tone that anybody who reads it can tell Wright’s emphasis on pointing out that Schindler was lesser than his equal. And as we have learned in our lectures they did have a falling out which lasted up until Schindler’s deathbed so in my opinion I feel that this letter reflects the growing animosity between the two as Schindler started to seek a break away from wrights company.

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  35. I believe that Wright’s somewhat reckless boldness in his letters of support for Schindler was really him being “brutally honest” about Schindler and his work. The overall tone of temerity in the letter seemed harsh, but that’s because it seemed to be Wright expressing his honest opinions and criticisms of Schindler, and he apparently does so by mentioning both positive and negative things about him. That is, Wright praises and roasts Schindler at the same time. For example, in his letter, Wright says that Schindler’s building designs are admirable and that he hadn’t heard of any of his building designs falling down, but in the same letter, he also says that the buildings that he built were badly executed despite being well-designed. Wright also says that “nobody makes designs for him, but they make them with him”, which may suggest that he also has some humility or modesty. I find it especially interesting that Wright included personal details about Schindler in his letter like how he “refuses to allow the Los Angeles barber to apply the razor to the scruff of his neck” (hence the title of the article). This oddly specific bit in the letter shows that Wright was probably really close to Schindler not just as an artist but also as a person, making it seem like Wright really was that knowledgeable of Schindler. If I was being sent this letter, I would be appalled and skeptical of Wright upon knowing what he really thought of Schindler near the beginning of the letter, but near the end of it, I would realize that Wright actually admired Schindler and that he was just giving his brutally honest opinions and criticisms of him, mentioning both positive and negative things in his letter about him. I would not scold or berate Wright for his “brutal honesty”, but rather, I would be interested in learning more about Wright and Schindler’s interactions. Wright was clearly in support of Schindler, even if not everything he said was positive. Just because someone supports you doesn’t mean that they aren’t willing to harshly criticize you.

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