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Frank Lloyd Wright photos, drawings go to auction; previews start Thursday in L.A.

February 10, 2010 | 10:30 am

More than 1,000 photographs, drawings and other documents from the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Henry-Russell Hitchcock will go on the block as part of Bonhams & Butterfields' books and manuscripts sale Sunday in Los Angeles. It is the largest and most diverse collection of Wright material that Catherine Williamson, director of fine books of manuscripts at the auction house, has seen in more a decade.

"There are more archives, usually smaller collections of designs and correspondence that come from the descendants of people who commissioned individual houses from Wright," she says. This material includes rare photographs from the architect's files that were used to research, write and illustrate "In the Nature of Materials: The Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright," co-authored by Wright and Hitchcock. That work, Williamson adds, "was the standard text on Wright from its publication in 1942 to the late 1960s." 

Lot1087-Wright-Hollyhock-Plans Hitchcock's collection includes images of Wright buildings that are no longer standing, such as the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo as well as photographs and plans for Wright landmarks in L.A. including the Ennis House and Hollyhock House, right. Wiliiamson says Wright scholars believe the material is enough to produce two or three more books. 

First editions of Hitchcock and Wright's "In the Nature of Materials" now fetch around $300 at auction. The Hitchcock archive is valued considerably higher -- as in add-two-zeros higher. The group of items is expected to sell for $20,000 to $30,000.

For those of lesser means, Bonhams & Butterfields also is selling a signed 1954 check from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. It is made out to Safway Steel Scaffolds Co. in the amount of $51. It is expected to sell for $500 to $700.

Wright fans can get a peek for free during Bonhams & Butterfields' auction previews: noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at 7601 W. Sunset Blvd. Information: (323) 850 7500.

-- David A. Keeps

Photos: Bonhams & Butterfields


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