Explore different facets of Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Kaufmann family in Fallingwater's Speyer Gallery. Funded, in part, by the Alexander C. & Tillie S. Speyer Foundation, the Speyer Gallery features an annual exhibition free to all Fallingwater visitors. The gallery is accessible in the Visitor Center and open during regular business hours.
The Speyer Gallery is located in Fallingwater's Visitor Center
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays, to all visitors
The Pittsburgh Watercolor Society at 75 Years
Fallingwater is among the most admired houses of the twentieth century. It was captured on film by some of the era’s most famous architectural photographers even before its completion in 1937, and part of exhibitions in museums around the world ever since. Artists in other media are equally drawn to the house’s forest landscape and its dramatic architectural features, interpreting them in a nature-based palette of materials and colors.
Fallingwater continually enchants its visitors, who experience the captivating effects of daylight or the weather have upon it — even as it seemingly emerges from or recedes into its surroundings with the changing seasons. As Edgar Kaufmann jr. once said, Fallingwater is a house that remains “a place of vigorous beauty, of self-renewing enchantment, of adventuresome picturesqueness that answers perfectly a romantic need in modern hearts.”
Revealing that picturesqueness was the purpose of Fallingwater’s recent partnership with the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society. Founded in 1945 as a small group of twenty artists, it was among the first artistic associations to align with the Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Center (later the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the overall quality of life by offering educational experiences in visual, media and literary arts. Commemorating its 75th anniversary this year, with a membership that now includes more than 250 artists, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society continues to encourage and sustain an interest in watercolor painting while providing exhibition opportunities that celebrate the broad range of the medium’s styles and techniques. An exciting way to engage artists who share a common interest in watermedia, its new members are accepted through a juried review process twice each year.
The Kaufmann family’s artwork collection includes a number of watercolor works on paper, including those by Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger and Australian artist Donald Friend, so uniting with the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society for an exhibition fit naturally within Fallingwater’s mission. To interpret Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, especially as an architectural design placed in harmony with nature, the Bear Run site was open to participating artists in the fall of 2019 and again in the summer of 2020. During that time, they were able to sketch, photograph, or complete plein air paintings of Fallingwater’s landscape, its flora, or of the various features of the house itself. Two of those sessions allowed for access to the interior, where furniture, design objects, and textiles could be appreciated up close and the blurring of indoors with the outdoors could be understood.
Each painting on view offers a unique “artist’s eye” perspective of Fallingwater, focusing on singular elemental moments or grander vistas, including the iconic south-west view of the house from across the Bear Run ravine. This past August, during a juried selection of the resulting work, thirty paintings by Pittsburgh Watercolor Society members were chosen for this exhibition that will, through their sale, contribute to Fallingwater’s ongoing preservation efforts.