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Olgivanna Lloyd Wright

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Olgivanna Lloyd Wright (1898 - 1985) was the third and nal wife of Frank
Lloyd Wright and had signicant inuence in his life and work, due in part to her
extensive Theosophical associations. She was a Serb Montenegrin dancer. While
her "language, cultural background and upbringing were almost exotically alien
to his own,"
she was critical in introducing Wright to Greek-Armenian mystic G.
I. Gurdjie, a man whom he alternately despised and admired.
She is a
principal character in T.C. Boyle's 2009 novel, The Women.
1 Biography
2 Bibliography
3 Videography
4 References
She was born as Olga (Olgivanna) Ivanovna Lazovich in Montenegro on 27
December 1898. to Ivan Lazovich and Militza Miljanova, daughter of Vojvoda
Marko Miljanov. She was the granddaughter of a famous Montenegrin writer,
tribe leader of Kui, Montenegrin duke, and hero Marko Miljanov. A long-time
pupil and devotee of G. I. Gurdjie (even after her involvement with Wright), she
was also a nurse to Katherine Manseld on her deathbed at G. I. Gurdjie's
Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Prieur des Basses Loges
on 9 January 1923.
She had begun her career with Gurdjie as a student of
sacred dance, which she later mastered.
She was married rst to Vlademar Hinzenberg, a Russian architect.
Wright and Olgivanna married August 1928 in La Jolla, California, and
honeymooned in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to architectural writer Walt
Lockley, "The Foundation and the Fellowship would not exist in any form if Wright
hadn't gone to the opera with a friend one Sunday afternoon in 1924 Chicago and
sat near to the dark-haired Montenegrin dancer."
Olgivanna continued to run
Wright's Taliesin Fellowship long after his death, from 9 April 1959 until her own
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death in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1985. The last quarter-century of Wright's
lifehis Arizona years with Olgivanna, from 1932 to 1959were arguably his
most productive, representing "more than half of [Wright's] building"
including the authorship of his autobiography.
Embroiled in scandal and controversy from the beginning of their relationship
(since both were married at its start), Olgivanna's legacy extended past her
natural life. She had planned the removal of Wright's body from its Wisconsin
grave, which was then "cremated, mixed with her ashes and used in the walls of a
memorial garden to be built on the grounds of their home at Taliesin West."
Wisconsin legislature prohibited this move, but nonetheless her plan was carried
out successfully:
When Robert Llewellyn Wright--the son who 26 years earlier had driven
through the night to return Frank Lloyd Wright's body to Wisconsin
after Wright died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix--objected to the
"desecration," Iovanna sent him a terse telegram: "The heritage of
Taliesin is not for the likes of you."
Iovanna Lazovich Lloyd Wright was Olgivanna's only child with Wright.
Olgivanna's only other daughter, Svetlana Hinzenberg, adopted the surname
Wright and married one of Wright's apprentices, Fellowship member William
Wesley "Wes" Peters - who helped Wright ward o creditors and bankruptcy.
When Svetlana Hinzenberg died in a car crash with her elder son, Daniel,
Olgivanna curiously arranged for Wes Peters' subsequent marriage to Svetlana
Alliluyeva, the youngest child and only daughter of Joseph Stalin. After producing
with Wes Peters a daughter, Olga, in a marriage that lasted 20 months, Svetlana
Alliluyeva came away with a less than glowing impression of the matriarch and
her management of Taliesin:
This hierarchical system was appalling: the widow at the top, then the
board of directors (a formality); then her own close inner circle, making
all the real decisions; then working architects - the real working horses;
at the bottom, students who paid high sums to be admitted, only to be
sent the next day to work in the kitchen to peel potatoes.. Mrs.
Wright's word was law. She had to be adored and worshipped and
attered as often as possible; owers send by mail and presented by
hand she enjoyed and encouraged. She gave advice to the architects,
guided a drama circle, a dance group and a choir, counseling on private
lives and relationships, expecting everyone to make personal
confessions to her. She was a 'spiritual leader' and self-appointed
minister, preaching on Sunday mornings on matters of God and man,
when everyone was supposed to be in her large living room
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The faraway music by Svetlana Allilueva. (Also known as Distant Music.)
Edition: 1st ed. New Delhi: Lancer International, 1984.
The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin
Fellowship by Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman, 2006, includes especially
extensive and strong documentation on Olgivanna, her relationship with
Wright, including "the strong inuence the occultist Georgi Gurdjie had on
Wright and especially his wife Olgivanna"
A Taliesin Legacy: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright's Apprentices
(Architecture Series) by Tobias S. Guggenheimer. Wiley, 1995. "[A]n
encyclopedia study of the projects planned and/or built by these students,
who eagerly embraced Wright's ethic of organic design." (Book Review
Taliesin Reections: My Years Before, During and After Living with Frank
Lloyd Wright by Earl Nisbet, 2006. (Book Review (http://www.amazon.com
Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life, His Work, His Words by Olgivanna Lloyd
Wright. Horizon Press, 1966.
Frank Lloyd Wright - A lm by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. (1998). PBS
Home Video, August 28, 2001 (153 minutes). ASIN: B00005MEPO.
Partner to Genius: A Biography of Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. PBS Home Video,
VHS, May 13, 1997. ASIN: B00000JKXH.
^ Secrest. Frank Lloyd Wright Google books search. (http://books.google.com
^ See Friedland and Zellman, The Fellowship, p. 118 2.
^ Friedland and Zellman, The Fellowship, pp. 76-78 3.
^ Katherine Manseld Olgivanna (http://www.katherinemanseld.org.uk 4.
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^ Taliesin Preservation, Inc. - Visitors Guide - Be An Insider!
^ Walt Lockley. Cult Secrets of Taliesin West, online article
^ Phoenix - News - Room With No Viewfrank Lloyd Wright'S Houses Are Nice Places
To Visit But You Wouldn'T Want To Live There (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com
^ Frank Lloyd Wright (http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/celebrity
^ Phoenix - News - Room With No Viewfrank Lloyd Wright'S Houses Are Nice Places
To Visit But You Wouldn'T Want To Live There (http://news.phoenixnewtimes.com
^ The Faraway Music by Svetlana Allilueva, 1986. p. 86. 10.
^ Waltlockley.com (http://www.waltlockley.com/taliesin%20lessons/taliesin.htm) 11.
^ Book Review of The Fellowship (Amazon Book Review (http://www.amazon.com
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Categories: 1898 births 1985 deaths
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