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Influences on Frank Lloyd Wright: Blanche Ostertag and Marion Mahony

Wilbert R. Hasbrouck, FAIA

Frank Lloyd Wright was the acknowledged leader of the development of the Prairie School of Architecture. However, a school of architecture demands more than a single practitioner, and several of Wright’s contemporaries also were active in establishing the new design aesthetic. None of them, including Wright, worked without the assistance of unsung draftsmen and designers, some of whom were women. An exception is Marion Mahony, who enjoyed recognition in her lifetime and beyond, particularly for her presentation work with Wright. But Blanche Ostertag, a designer who had considerable influence on Mahony, remains elusive. Ostertag, who worked in Wright’s office during the last year or so of the nineteenth century, deserves credit for defining the drawing techniques used in the architectural presentations that had a major impact on the development of the Prairie School.

Wilbert R. Hasbrouck, FAIA, is a retired architect/engineer who studied architectural history at the University of Chicago. From 1964 to 1978 he was editor and publisher of the Prairie School Review, and he has published widely on architecture. Hasbrouck is a founding member of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and a former board member of the Society of Architectural Historians. 

May 8, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014


6:30 pm – 7:30 pm


Unity Temple, 875 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60301


Free to members and volunteers; $10 general public