Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, in Sydney in 1930
Marion Lucy Mahony Griffin (born February 14, 1871 in Chicago, died August 10, 1961 in Chicago) was an American artist and one of the first licenced female architects in the world. She is coonsidered a member of the Prairie School.
Mahony graduated from MIT in 1894 and went to work the next year in the Chicago studio of Frank Lloyd Wright, designing furniture, stained glass windows and decorative panels. She would stay in Wright's studio for almost fifteen years and was an important contributor to his reputation, particularly for the influential Wasmuth Portfolio. Architectural writer Reyner Banham called her the "greatest architectural delineator of her generation". When Wright disappeared to Europe in 1909, Mahony worked with architect Hermann Von Holst, who had taken on Wright's commissions, and oversaw the completion of a number of his unfinished commissions. Two examples of these included Henry Ford's' Dearborn mansion, Fair Lane and the Amberg House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mahony recommended to Von Holst that he hire Griffin to develop a landscape plan for the area surrounding the three houses initially commissioned from Wright in Decatur, Illinois. Mahony and Griffin worked closely on the Decatur project immediately preceding their marriage. After their marriage, Mahony went to work in Griffin's practice. A Walter Burley Griffin/Marion Mahony designed development with several homes, Rock Crest Rock Glen in Mason City, Iowa, is seen as their most dramatic American design development of the decade and remains the largest collection of Prairie Style homes surrounding a natural setting.
Mahony married Walter Burley Griffin in 1911, beginning a partnership that would last for 28 years. Griffin was a fellow architect, a fellow ex-employee of Wright, and a fellow member of the Prairie School of architecture. Her stunning watercolour perspectives of her husband's design for the new Australian capital city of Canberra helped him secure first prize in the international competition for the plan of the city. In 1914 they moved to Australia to oversee the design of the new capital.
Architectural drawings--primarily created by Mahony--and other archival materials by and about the Griffins are held by numerous institutions in the United States, including the Drawings and Archives Department of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University; the Block Gallery at Northwestern University; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the New-York Historical Society, as well as by several repositories in Australia, including the National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia, and the Newman College Archives of the University of Melbourne.
Paul Kruty. "Griffin, Marion Lucy Mahony", American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
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