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A Timely Gift: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Selected Drawings Portfolios

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Kirk Dandridge

Dr. Kirk Dandridge, Jr.

Crystal Bridges Library has received many wonderful book donations over the past three years, but our most recent gift, Frank Lloyd Wright Selected Drawings Portfolio, is very special for two reasons:  1)  it was donated by one of our amazing Library reference guides, Dr. Kirk Dandridge, Jr, and  2) it is directly related to the Museum’s recent acquisition, the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House.

This spectacular publication is an example of a gift offering that clearly meets the criteria of the Library’s collection development policy: to collect materials on American art as well as resources supporting research on American artists or artists working the majority of their careers in the US. As we work to fine-tune our Library collections, we consider many things when acquiring books and other resources. Gifts and donations to the Library must meet the same standards with regard to scope, format, and scholarly value as purchased materials. Mostly, we hope to offer our community information resources that will enhance their understanding of American art.

SONY DSCDr. Dandridge’s gift comprises a 3 volume large folio (app. 23” x 17”) collection of over 150 full-color plates (whole-page color illustrations printed separately) containing numerous previously unpublished Wright drawings. The plates are mounted on archival board and unbound. Viewing a plate requires careful lifting of each board, followed by careful re-alignment of all boards after viewing to place them back into their clamshell boxes. Kirk and I spent close to two hours perusing the three volumes.

Library Director Catherine Petersen lifts one of the sets of prints from their case for display.

Library Director Catherine Petersen lifts one of the sets of prints from their case for display.

The publication is rare, and according to WorldCat, the complete set is only held by eight institutions.  Yet, even more unique is the fact that the three numbered volumes in this set are the same number, A034. In most cases, each of the three volumes were purchased at different times and the number of each volume is different. Selected Drawings Portfolios demonstrates the scope and breadth of Wright’s architectural theory and will be a treasured reference for Museum guests. Thank you Kirk!

If you would like to spend time looking through this fantastic collection of drawings, please invite a friend, contact us at [email protected] to request a time, and plan on staying awhile – it’s most certainly worth it!

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