Wright’s Price Tower Glows After 50 Years in Bartlesville


Described by its creator as “The Tree that Escaped the Crowded Forest,” the Price Tower, located in Bartlesville, Okla., is a visionary icon of its creator Frank Lloyd Wright.

On the 50th anniversary of this singular masterpiece, Price Tower Arts Center, in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Ariz., presents the exhibition Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower.

For the first time, the Arts Center’s entire collection of historic artworks and objects related to the Price Tower, including never-before-exhibited Wright documents and drawings, will be shown for public viewing. On display will be approximately 108 drawings, models, photographs, documents, building components (such as exterior copper panels and louvers) and furnishings. The furnishings include desks, chairs, tables and textiles designed for the Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright, in keeping with his conception of the building as an integrated work of art.

Visitors may also experience Wright’s masterpiece as guests of the Inn at Price Tower. Created by the Arts Center, it is a 21-room Wright-inspired hotel within the Tower and includes the elegant Copper Restaurant and Bar.

The skyscraper was conceived in the 1920s for a New York site, St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie, but never came to fruition. Harold C. Price’s sons, admirers of Wright’s work, convinced their father to engage Wright to build the skyscraper in Bartlesville, home of the H.C. Price Company. The building integrates office, commercial and residential space within a tall, richly decorative structure. Its cantilevered floors exceeded the norms of conventional construction of the times. The Price Tower has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since its completion in early 1956. Architect Tadao Ando has praised it as “one of the most important buildings of the 20th century.” It has been transformed into the home of Price Tower Arts Center, the centerpiece of the museum’s permanent collection.

The Price Tower’s Executive Director and CEO Richard P. Townsend, along with Monica R. Montagut, curator of exhibitions and public programs, organized the exhibit that opened October 14, 2005 and continues to January 15, 2006. The exhibit will be followed by a two-city tour. It is made possible in part by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Buell Family of Bartlesville and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

Admission to museum exhibitions is $4 for adults and $3 for seniors and is free for students 16 and under.

Updated 11-09-2005

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