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The Portfolios of Frank Lloyd Wright

Sijistan House for John Nesbit

Sijistan House for John Nesbit

Today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Kirk Dandridge, Jr., MD.  Kirk is a retired surgeon and a current architecture buff and volunteer in Crystal Bridges’ Library.  In honor of Crystal Bridges’ recent acquisition of the Bachman-Wilson House, Dr. Dandridge recently made a generous donation to the Library of a beautiful portfolio of drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright (You can learn more about it here). In this post, Kirk talks about this portfolio, as well as some of the other Wright-based materials that will be added to the Library’s holdings soon. —LD

I have been an avid fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture since I was a teenager. If I hadn’t decided to go into medicine, I would have been an architect. Over the years, I have visited many of his buildings and stayed in several Wright-designed homes, as well as the Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK. Fortunately, I was able over the years to obtain several of his works, including original blueprints, drawings, prints, books by and about Wright, and several portfolios.

Falling Water, from the Selected Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright Portfolio

Falling Water, from the Selected Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright Portfolio

I acquired the Selected Drawings Portfolio over 20 years ago and am happy to donate it to the Crystal Bridges Library. With the acquisition of the Bachman-Wilson House recently, it seemed appropriate to expand the Library content to facilitate research on his works.

Sijistan House for John Nesbit, from the Selected Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright portfolio.

Sijistan House for John Nesbit, from the Selected Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright portfolio.

Several other books have recently been acquired for the Library collection, and will be arriving in the near future to further augment our growing material on Frank Lloyd Wright. One of these which recently arrived is a 1963 copy of the 1910 “Wasmith Portfolio” which was the first publication by Wright. The original Wasmith Portfolio was printed in Germany in 1910. The full title is Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright, but it is generally referred to as the Wasmuth Portfolio. It was printed in both German and English. Five hundred copies were published to be sold in the United States, but a great majority of those, which Wright himself imported, were destroyed in the Taliesin fire of 1914, thus it is quite rare in the United States.

Plans for the Winslow House, River Forest, IL, and elevation of the Winslow stable.

Plans for the Winslow House, River Forest, IL, and elevation of the Winslow stable.

Much has been written regarding the importance of this work, and regard for this masterpiece endures today. Its greatness was rewarded in 1963 with the reprinted publication of the entire 100 plates by Chicago’s Prairie Avenue Bookshop, one of the last architectural bookshops, which closed in 2009. This 1963 portfolio is, like the Selected Drawings portfolio, a large “elephant” portfolio with 100 separate plates, and contains drawings of Wright’s buildings along with the architectural plans. The actual title is Buildings: Plans and Designs by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a limited edition publication of 2,500 copies.

In addition, there will be several books authored by Frank Lloyd Wright, including The Disappearing City, Drawings for a Living Architecture, and Modern Architecture (the Kahn Lectures for 1930 at the Department of Art and Archeology of Princeton University). Also, several reference books on his buildings, furniture, interiors, and art glass will be available. We hope with these additions to the library and Crystal Bridges’ acquisition of Wright’s iconic Usonian house—along with the unique architecture of Crystal Bridges itself—there will be an increase in interest in architecture as art. I am very much looking forward to the installation of the Bachman-Wilson House myself!

Linda DeBerry
Senior Copy Editor / Publications Manager

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