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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio

At Oak Park Library, Wright’s life is an open book.

Frank Lloyd Wright Wasmuth Heurtley House in Oak Park

In March, local universities and libraries began a yearlong celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first architecture book, Vitruvius’s De Architectura libri decem; the Oak Park Public Library joins in with the centennial anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio.

For the occasion, Wright’s entire 1893–1909 collection—two huge portfolios, consisting of 72 plates of paper and 28 tissue overlays—is on display, and framed selections adorn the library walls. Published in Berlin in 1910, these lithographic prints, owned by the library, feature examples of early Prairie-school designs including the Heurtley House in Kankakee and Frank W. Thomas House in Oak Park.

On Tuesday 11, Wright scholar Sidney Robinson delivers the lecture “Frank Lloyd Wright and Victor Hugo: Architecture and the Book.” Robinson discusses Wright’s interest in the Hunchback of Notre Dame author, who seemed to believe—ironically in this case—that technology, the book in particular, would kill our need for interesting architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Original Wasmuth Portfolio” runs through Tuesday 11 at the Oak Park Public Library.

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