Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Museum to launch exhibit of architecture books

On Wednesday June 1, 2011, as part of the event launching the 125th anniversary celebration of the building of Glessner house, the museum will unveil a temporary exhibit entitled “The Story of a House.”  This small exhibit of books from the Glessners’ library will focus on their interest in architecture and design.   During the 1870s and 1880s, John and Frances Glessner purchased numerous books that helped shape their desire for the unconventional home that would stand in stark contrast to the other mansions along Chicago's Prairie Avenue.  This resulted in the hiring of America's great architect, H. H. Richardson, to design a home that was immediately praised by architects, but scorned by neighbors.  The exhibition of books will help to explore the complex relationship between a progressive architect and his well-informed clients.  

The title comes from a book written in 1874 by the French architect and theorist Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, a copy of which the Glessners owned.   That book, shown above, is one of many that clearly illustrates the Glessners’ sophisticated level of knowledge regarding architecture and design.  In 1923, John Glessner used the title for his own manuscript about 1800 S. Prairie Avenue.   A full reprint of that manuscript, featuring more than 60 period illustrations, will be unveiled on June 1, and copies will be available for sale. 

The exhibit, part of the city-wide “Festival of the Architecture Book 1511-2011,” will run from June 1 through October 2, 2011.  Located in the tour center, it is open for viewing during normal public tour hours, Wednesday through Sunday from to .

For more information on the June 1 anniversary celebration, visit http://www.glessnerhouse.org/Events.htm

For more information on the Festival of the Architecture Book 1511-2011, visit

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