Random Notes - A Blog


29 March 2008

Prairie on the Polders? All true Wright aficianados are familiar with the series of seven essays written by Dutch architect and publisher Hendrik Theodorus Wijdeveld. Collected by Wijdeveld in 1925 into a single volume formally entitled, “The Life-Work of the American Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright,” this iconic publication is almost universally known by the name of Wijdeveld’s magazine, Wendingen. Original copies in good condition sell for prices ranging from $3,000 to $5,000. Original unbound copies were reissued with a different binding in 1948 by Kroch; these can be found for $500 to $800. Reprints (some with additional content) have been produced since Wright’s death (Horizon and Bramhall House in 1965, Dover in 1992, Gramercy in 1994); these are more readily available for those thin of wallet.

It is easy for 21st century Americans to view the Wendingen as a fine history, a summary of Wright’s work to that point, and to miss the fact that it was a thunderstroke of influence among European architects. While Mies, Gropius and others associated with the Bauhaus acknowledged Wright’s influence, it took special root in the Netherlands, where works such as the Henny House (above) and the Hilversum City Hall (below) were created.

Through the generosity of Dutch architect Klaas Vermaas, we are able to see how Unity Temple and the Larkin Building affected modern architecture in the Netherlands. Not all works are examples of Prairie School purity; Klaas points out in his brief essay that the idea of “prairie” was somewhat theoretical for most Dutch architects. Nevertheless, it’s clear to see that Wright’s influence was felt very far from the American Midwest.

You can find Klaas’ contributions on the Netherlands page. Additional photos will be posted in the coming days.


Old Notes



As always, I welcome your comments about this site or any Prairie School building.

John A. Panning, Lake City, Iowa





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