Coonley Playhouse Window or Kindersymphony

Coonley Playhouse Window or Kindersymphony

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Object Name: 
Window for the Avery Coonley Playhouse, Coonley Residence, Riverside, Illinois
Coonley Playhouse Window or Kindersymphony
Accession Number: 
Frame H: 175.7 cm, W: 51 cm; Glass/Frame Inside H: 154.8 cm, W: 31.7 cm
On Display
about 1912
Credit Line: 
Clara S. Peck Endowment Fund
Web Description: 
In 1911, the architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned by the Avery Coonley family to design a building to be used as a kindergarten for the Coonley children. The finished structure came to be known as the “Playhouse” because it contained a stage for theatrical performances. The Avery Coonley Playhouse was part of the Coonley residence, a compound of buildings that included a main house (completed in 1909) and a coach house designed by Wright. The most remarkable feature of the Avery Coonley Playhouse was its windows, abstract compositions that were executed in a technique unlike any of Wright’s previous designs. The colored areas of the windows are composed of white glass that was flashed with a thin layer of colored glass. While the primary colors are visible from the inside, only white is visible from the outside, in keeping with the subdued color scheme of the building’s exterior. Wright once said that these windows were inspired by parades, and indeed, images of balloons, confetti, and waving flags come to mind. The windows were removed during the renovation of the Playhouse in 1967.
Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless, translucent white, transparent red, blue, yellow, and black probably non-lead glasses, zinc came, painted wood frame (probably oak) is not original; cut glass assembled with zinc came. Tall narrow rectangular window of cut and assembled glass; colorless background decorated with asymmetrical geometric decoration of long interlocking horizontal and vertical bands formed by came, design is activated by "checkerboard", circles and a small flag in primary colors (white glass flashed with color); straight vertical and horizontal came sections break the panel into a grid with most of the divisions occurring in upper third of panel, "background" pattern of fifteen small red squares, five black and one white (upper edge, right) punctuated by 1/2 of red sphere on left edge butted into upper left corner, small full blue circle placed lower and at right, large full yellow circle lower and towards the middle and 1/4 of largest circle (white) filling lower left corner flanked by one small red square; approximately 1/4 distance from base is small rectangular American flag with no stars and came taking the place of white stripes; wooden frame painted dark gray; unsigned.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Decorative Designs from the Domino's Pizza Collection
Seattle Art Museum 1990-03 through 1990-06
Chicago Historical Society 1990-07 through 1990-09
Albright-Knox Gallery 1990-10 through 1991-01
Denver Art Museum 1991-01 through 1991-05
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1991-05 through 1991-07
Dallas Museum of Art 1991-08 through 1992-01
Pennsylvania Museum of Art 1991-08 through 1992-01
American Craft Museum
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Modern Aesthetic
Struve Gallery 1986-06-06 through 1986-07-15
The Corning Museum of Glass, Curators' Choice (1995) illustrated, #21; BIB# 36655
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1993 (1994) cover, ill.; BIB# AI95182
Recent Important Acquisitions, 36 (1994) illustrated, pp. 116-117, #29; BIB# AI33896