Selections from the Wasmuth Portfolio

an exhibit in the Design Library, January-March 2014

On exhibit in the University of Oregon's Design Library are selections from Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe (Studies and Executed Buildings), a rare title acquired for the library in the 1930s with support from the Carnegie Art Library Gift Fund.  This work is an example of over 2,000 rare books and periodicals collected over the past century and provided for research and instruction in the A&AA Library.

Larkin Bldg, Buffalo

Wright, Frank Lloyd.  Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe.  Berlin : Gedruckt und verlegt von Ernst Wasmuth A.-G., [1910]

A landmark in architectural publishing, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright--better known as the 'Wasmuth Portlfolio' -- was published in Berlin in 1910-1911 by the Wasmuth Verlag, under Ernst Wasmuth. Wright paid for the venture himself, making this a sort of “vanity” publication. The print run was limited to just 1000 copies and of these only 100 remained in Europe. Yet this marked the beginning of Wright’s influence there.  Copies of the portfolio, and a related Wasmuth picture book of Wright’s built work (Frank Lloyd Wright: Ausgeführte Bauten), soon came to the attention of Otto Wagner, Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Auguste Perret, Le Corbusier, Hendrik Berlage, and others. These designers were impressed by the powerful simplicity of Wright’s forms and motifs, the clarity of his structural expression, his unabashed use of new materials, his integration of furnishings with buildings and buildings with their sites, and the manner in which he achieved monumentality without recourse to historical quotation.  More than anything, it was the look of Wright’s work as seen in these extraordinary drawings—produced members of his office staff, in particular Marion Mahoney Griffin, who made more than half of them—that caught people’s notice.


Left:  Plate 33.  Larkin Building, Buffalo, New York.

Among the exhibit items is a residence-studio project for Richard Bock, who had a UO connection.  Born in Germany, sculptor Richard Bock (1865-1949) grew up in Chicago and later studied in Berlin and Paris.  While working on bas-reliefs for Adler and Sullivan’s Schiller Building in Chicago in 1891, Bock met the young Frank Lloyd Wright.  The two became friends and collaborators on several projects.  Bock provided architectural sculptures for Wright’s home in Oak Park, Illinois, the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois, the Unity Temple and Midway Gardens in Chicago, the Larkin Building and Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, and many other projects.  In 1906, Wright designed a house and studio for Bock, though it was never built. From 1929 until his retirement in 1932, Bock taught sculpture at the University of Oregon, where he also designed sculptural features for the Prince Lucien Campbell Courtyard of what is now the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Courtyard, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
Image:  Building Oregon digital collection.


Exhibit credits:
Selections, Text: Dr. Keith Eggener, Marion Dean Ross Distinguished Professor of Architectural History, University of Oregon.  Design:  Ed Teague, Head, Design Library; Cristian Bobbia, Exhibit Services.