Ennis House

One of Josh Agle’s defining qualities has been to capture architectural features in his paintings. Mid-century architecture has long been a favorite of Shag’s and recently has become the foundation in many of his newer works. Traditionally, though, Shag has captured distinct architectural character through the creation of silhouettes of famous landmarks and city skylines, like Paris from Blue Scooter, London from Three Crows, and San Francisco in The Impossible View.

This time, Shag reveals the hidden beauty of Los Angeles in a work portraying a landmark known for its distinct architectural detail, the Ennis House. The unique home, constructed of textile concrete blocks, was built in 1923 by world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Ennis House was the largest of four Southern California homes built in the 1920’s using these unique blocks of concrete. Wright was able to take cold industrial concrete and create a warm decorative material used as the ornate building blocks for the home.

          

Some landmarks can easily be identified by their mere shadow, like the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate bridge. While the Ennis House may not be recognized by its boxy outline, it is instantly identifiable by the Mayan-inspired blocks that make up the structure. Shag has captured the ornate block design throughout his work and has localized the home by adding the silhouette of the Los Angeles skyline just outside the window. Shag was able to take inspiration from the Frank Lloyd Wright landmark and make the overall work unmistakably “Shag.” As with so many of his paintings, Shag puts the people in the middle of a story. Here he captures the 1920’s era in the portrayal of an upscale dinner party at the home, one of the favorite past times of the Ennis family. (The older man sitting with the pipe is probably dinner host Charles Ennis). However at this party one of the guests is holding more than just a martini, turning this dinner party into a potential Clue-like murder mystery. It’s hard to say if the two dogs were added for playful whimsy or if they were actually resident pets of the Ennis family.

Shag created the Ennis House piece as a limited edition serigraph, exclusively available through the Ennis House Foundation to help raise funds to restore the crumbling property, which was severely damaged by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and flooding rains in 2005. The color palate is quite different than many of Shag’s previous works. The foundation is a warm orange-brown, giving earthy contrast to the bold white, black and purples used throughout the print. 

To learn more about the Ennis property, visit the Ennis House Foundation.

4 Responses to “Ennis House”

  1. Eric Kratzer Says:

    I’m an enormous fan both of Frank Lloyd Wright and of Shag. I’ve visited the Ennis house before in 2005 (although I wasn’t allowed to go inside) while on a whirlwind FLW tour of LA. When this print was released I had to have it (I have #58/300) hanging in my living room. Of the ten Shag serigraphs that I own it is one of my favorite. I also think that it would a wonderful addition to any FLW historical residence in the country. It’s a marvelousl tribute and an enjoyable image. Thanks Shag! We want more FLW from you! A series on the Hollyhock House in LA, The Ghetty Museum in NYC, Taliesin in WI & AZ and Falling Water in PN would be a great beginning. If you read this, please consider taking the suggestion under advisement.

  2. Susie King Says:

    I also had to have this when I saw it. I hangs in our bedroom, which we color-coordinated to match the serigraph, and I gotta tell ya, that was no easy task! The thought of a Hollyhock follow-up makes me smile, I really hope he considers it!

  3. Tobias Hutter Says:

    hello there,

    i’m really keen to acquire one of these great prints but the ennis house foundation seems not to exist any more.

    if anyone knows how to get hold of one of these prints, pls let me know.

    – and yes: i would certainly appreciate more of those architectural insights through josh’s eyes. his art seems to capture the very essence of modernist architecture in such an intuitive way… want more!!!

  4. Tobias Hutter Says:

    …as for the older man sitting in the chair: by his looks this ought to be frank lloyd wright himself. what great a hommage!

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