Out of the Archives: Original Sketches and Small Drawings by Alden B. Dow

Now through the end of February, visitors to the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio will have the opportunity to view an extensive selection of rarely-seen original sketches and small drawings on display in the Second Drafting Room. 

From a very early age, Alden B. Dow was always drawing, his sister Dorothy Dow Arbury recalled.  The display begins with early drawings from his days as a student at Columbia’s architecture school, where his realistic sketches reflect the classical emphasis of the curriculum of the time.  Not long after, a more free-flowing hand and imagination emerge in his sketchbooks from his time as a Taliesin Fellow.

Also on view are a number of impromptu small drawings he made to help clients visualize their home from the outside or even how their living room might look fully furnished.  An original Dow homeowner remembered an early meeting with the architect: “He questioned us about what we did with our spare time, what were our hobbies and interests.  All the time he had his shirt pocket filled with colored pencils.  As he talked with you, he would be sketching.” 

Rounding out the exhibit are a variety of doodles, geometric designs, and abstract forms that have been tucked away in archival folders and boxes, yet remain vibrant examples of a creative mind always at work.

The exhibit may be viewed at no charge from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday through the end of February.

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