"Mr. Lewis had been a fan of Mr. Gehry’s work for years, and the men collaborated in the 1980s on a dream home for Mr. Lewis in suburban Cleveland, but their plans went comically awry. They could not agree on what the home should look like, and after 11 years of discussions, with the proposed budget reaching $82 million, Mr. Lewis called off the project." — NY Times
In the course of a career, there are usually one or two true patrons who emerge as a catalyst for propelling one's artistic direction into new territories. For Frank Gehry, Peter Lewis was one of those patrons.
As the client for his Lewis house (1984-1995) and the funder for the Peter Lewis Building at Case Western Reserve University, Peter Lewis gave Gehry both the financial freedom and impetus to evolve his formal language into what can be described as his 'mature' phase. His patronage also gave Gehry the ability to work out the complex issues surrounding Catia and the implementation of the computer systems in his office, tools which would be essential in helping make the Guggenheim Bilbao financially feasible. An exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009 explored the impact this unbuilt house had on Gehry's career trajectory.
Whatever your thoughts on Gehry's work, it's time to take a moment, step back, and acknowledge the type of client we'd all love to have... rest well and rest deep.