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Innovative Illustration: Charles Montooth Drawings

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jan 26, 2018

An exploration of the creative drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice Charles Montooth


The Taliesin experience, both past and present, puts great focus on innovative planning for a more efficient and sustainable future. Frank Lloyd Wright always encouraged his apprentices to be creative forward-thinkers.

Charles Montooth – established architect and planner – was a student of Wright from 1945-1952. He then became an associate of Wright from 1952-1954, supervising all Arizona work. From 1962 until his passing in 2014, Charles remained a principal member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and in later years served on the board of the Foundation and the Taliesin Preservation Commission.

A prolific writer, Charles spread the message of sustainability and forward thinking nurtured by his Taliesin experience. The breadth and impact of his creativity is reflected in his architectural and planning work which includes educational facilities, environmental studies, transportation design, hotel and resort projects, public projects for the United States Postal Service, as well as city and state government projects.

His wife Minerva, who resides at Taliesin in Wisconsin as an active member of the Taliesin community, remembers Charles completing his tasks for the day, then sketching throughout the night, creating highly-detailed drawings of his visions for the future.

We invite you to look at some of his sketches on these pages depicting a robot, aerojet, and trolley. Minerva estimates the sketches were drawn sometime in the early ‘60s. While his renderings reflect the values of his Taliesin experience, they were also a vehicle for him to have some fun.

“He was imaginative and full of ideas,” Minerva said. “He drew up until his dying day.”

ROBOT Actual size 24″ x 20″

AEREOJET PER TALIESIN ACTUAL SIZE 30″ X 19″

TALIESIN TROLLEY ACTUAL SIZE 24″ X 18″

We wish to thank Elizabeth Dawsari, Director of Libraries for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, for her dedication to finding and archiving hidden treasures such as the Charles Montooth drawings, allowing us all to deepen our understanding of Taliesin history.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, “Taliesin West: The Desert Laboratory.”

News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation