In celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, the Milwaukee Art Museum presents Frank Lloyd Wright: Buildings for the Prairie featuring a selection of the famed architect’s designs from the Wasmuth Portfolio and examples of his furniture, stained glass and textiles. Named for its German publisher, the Wasmuth Portfolio is considered the most significant collection of Wright’s early work, showcasing the breadth and beauty of his output. The portfolio lends insight into the master’s early development and affords the opportunity to see the evolution of the Prairie School of architecture.
Although highly regarded as one of the best American architects of his generation, by 1909 Wright had reached a professional impasse. Spurred by his inability to gain commercial commissions and his scandalous affair with a former client, Wright left for Italy and Germany in 1910. In Florence, Wright found inspiration in his architectural surroundings, and there he worked on illustrations and text for a monograph on his work to be published by the Berlin firm of Ernst Wasmuth. The Wasmuth Portfoliointroduced the architect’s work to his European contemporaries and is largely credited with profoundly influencing the direction of 20th-century architecture. Collectors and museums alike prize the portfolio for its historic importance and for the beauty of the images.