On January 30, the Dallas Museum of Art presents an exhibition of sixteen Frank Lloyd Wright prints from a rare example of the Wasmuth portfolio, first published in 1910 and now widely recognized as one of the most important architectural publications of the 20th century. The portfolio includes ground plans, sections, perspective views, and interior details of Wright’s work to that date. The designs for residences, churches, and commercial buildings, skillfully presented in amazing detail, are drawn from the Museum’s collections.
On view through July 11, Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio complements the DMA’s upcoming presentation Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, the first nationally touring exhibition to offer a comprehensive examination of the work of one of the leading figures of the American Arts and Crafts movement, Gustav Stickley. Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibition premiered to critical acclaim at the Newark Museum of Art in September and will open at the DMA on February 13.
In October 1909 acclaimed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright sailed for Europe to begin work on a publication to be printed by Ernst Wasmuth, a Berlin publisher of art and architectural books. This lavish portfolio, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright (Studies and Executed Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright), included a comprehensive selection of Wright’s designs spanning the years from 1893, his first year as an independent architect, to his departure from his Oak Park studio in 1909.
“Intended as an educational tool for students and a promotional vehicle for his achievements, the monograph was the first such publication of Wright’s work,” said Kevin W. Tucker, The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design and curator of the exhibition. “Not only did it help disseminate images of his efforts, but it also offered Wright’s philosophy of design, carrying hopes for a new organic American architecture divorced from Beaux Arts tradition and the repetition of classical forms.”
By summer of 1910, Wright completed the last of the drawings, but due to delays and negotiations the full run of 1,275 copies of the portfolio would not be issued until 1911. Wright assumed ownership of the copies, while Wasmuth retained fewer than two hundred for distribution in Europe. Even though availability was accordingly limited—even more so following a disastrous fire at Wright’s home that claimed most of his stored copies—younger European architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Walter Gropius found Wright’s brand of progressive American architecture inspiring to their own efforts to promote modern design.
Stefanie Kay Dlugosz, the DMA’s McDermott Curatorial Intern for Decorative Arts, will offer a Gallery Talk on the exhibition on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 12:15 p.m. A variety of additional programs investigating the work of Frank Lloyd Wright will be offered by the Museum in the months ahead. For updated programming information, please visit DallasMuseumofArt.org.
Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. Exhibition support is provided by HKS, Inc. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs are its encyclopedic collections, which encompass more than 24,000 works and span 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum welcomes more than 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings and dramatic and dance presentations.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.