In October 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright left America for Europe, in part to experience European art and architecture, and also to promote the publication of a folio of his work the following year. The folio, entitled 'Ausgeführte Bauten Und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright' contained plans and perspectives of buildings from 1893-1909, and was published by the Berlin publisher Ernst Wasmuth. The folio was the first publication of Wright's work to appear anywhere in the world, including the United States and its publication had significant influence on the early modernist architects in Europe including Peter Behrens, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius.
The current lot, an American made easel of late 19th century manufacture, is thought to have belonged to Wright at the time of his European visit and was presented to his publisher Ernst Wasmuth as an appreciation. A faint inscription on the pine board, and a brass plaque mark the presentation and a further plaque on the reverse bears an inventory number and the inscription 'The Easel of Frank Lloyd Wright'.
In 1932 Wasmuth is thought to have lent his easel to the Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna. The Werkbundsiedlung was an exhibition involving thirty famed architects from Austria, Europe and America such as Richard Neutra, Adolf Loos, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Otto Niedermoser, Ernst A. Plischke and Gerrit Rietveld, who completed 70 fully furnished houses for the exhibition, before they were made available for sale to potential residents. In the 1940s the easel was passed to Dr Hans Herzfeld for a post-war exhibition at the Kärntnerstrasse in Vienna. Until the mid-1980s it was in the possession of The Westfair Estate in Malibu, a Savings and Loan company who had been buying architectural memorabilia from Europe for display. When the Estate and its holdings were sold, the easel was returned to Europe.
Illustrated top: Frank Lloyd Wright and students at Taliesin East in 1937 using similar tables to the present lot.
Dates for Your Diary
AUCTION | Decorative Arts: Design since 1860 | Wednesday 3 Apr at 11:00am | Edinburgh
VIEWING | Sunday 31 March, 12pm - 4pm | Monday 1st to Tuesday 2nd March, 10am to 5pm | Morning of sale from 9am