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Sale 2497 Lot 87
WRIGHT, FRANK LLOYD. Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe (the Wasmuth portfolio). 47 (of 72) lithographed plates with Wright's raised stamp, many with detailed printed and 3 captioned tissue overlays, one plate with hand-coloring. 640x405 mm; 25 1/4x16 inches, sheets. Folio, contents loose as issued in scarce original 1/4 leather portfolio with gilt titling, worn with loss of surface material; plates with scattered toning, dampstaining, and chipping. Full list of plates available upon request. Ex-collection architect LaDon VanNoy, student and fellow at Taliesin West, and apprentice of Wright. Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth, 1910
Estimate $8,000 - 12,000
one of only 25 copies of the first edition of wright's scarce "wasmuth portfolio" in the rare original leather-bound portfolio and with plates printed on Japan paper with gold embossing. The portfolio was a collaborative effort between Wright and Berlin publisher Ernst Wasmuth, who had the idea to publish a complete folio of Wright's work to date. The project was completed during the architect's first trip to Europe in 1909, and was published the following year. The collection of Wright's houses and commercial buildings received far more attention and praise in Europe than in the United States at that point, and some contemporary architects called it "the most important book of the century." The Wasmuth lithographs brought Wright's distinctive Prairie Style to the attention of European modernists Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ("Wright's work presented an architectural world of unexpected force, clarity of language and disconcerting richness of form") and Le Corbusier, who were then starting their careers.
Wright returned to the United States in 1911 and settled in Taliesin, where he stored the Wasmuth plates for the American distribution. However, in 1914, a fire destroyed the building and all but about thirty portfolios were damaged or destroyed. "The pile in the basement smouldered and smoked for three days after the house had burned to the ground." (Wright, in his Autobiography.) As a result, most copies that survive are condition compromised in some way and it is believed that fewer than 10 copies of this deluxe edition ever survived. Sweeney 87. A list of the plates is available upon request.