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Lot 33: (ARCHITECTURE.) Wright, Frank Lloyd. Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe.Platinum House
October 11, 2012
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: (ARCHITECTURE.) Wright, Frank Lloyd. Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe. 2 portfolios. 32 pages of German text and booklet with English translation. 72 lithographed plates with Wright's raised stamp, many with detailed printed and all 28 captioned tissue overlays, 640x405 mm; 25 1/4x16 inches, sheets. Folio, contents loose as issued, publisher's 1/4 cloth over board portfolio cases, worn, spines defective and with library labeling; plates with scattered light toning, some guards chipped or creased at edges but generally in good condition; ex-library, with labels and bookplate, plates unmarked. Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth, 1910
first edition of wright's scarce "wasmuth portfolio." The Wasmuth portfolio was a collaborative effort between Berlin publisher Ernst Wasmuth and Wright. It was Wasmuth's idea to publish a complete folio of Wright's work to date. The project was completed during Wright's first trip to Europe in 1909, and was published in 1910. The collection of Wright's houses and commercial buildings received far more attention and praise in Europe than in the United States, 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, were he stored the plates of the portfolio for the American distribution. In 1914 a fire destroyed the building and the Wasmuth portfolio "went up in smoke when Taliesin burned. Some thirty copies only were saved. The pile in the basement smouldered and smoked for three days after the house had burned to the ground." (Wright in his Autobiography.) The cleanliness of these plates is an indication that this set was saved from the fire. Sweeney 87.