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Local author, former Journal Times photographer, wins major award for Frank Lloyd Wright book
Architecture literature

Local author, former Journal Times photographer, wins major award for Frank Lloyd Wright book


Racine photographer and author, Mark Hertzberg, published his fourth Frank Lloyd Wright book last year. This May, the book on Penwern was awarded silver in the architecture category in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY).

The five year project was submitted without Hertzberg’s knowledge; so he was pleasantly surprised by the news of his book’s silver IPPY Award.

“I didn’t realize they had entered it in the contest and I was really delighted to learn that it had won the award,” Hertzberg said.

Hertzberg, who was also a 2019 Wright Spirit Award recipient from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, said the Penwern book began as a private printing for the friends and family of the stewards of the Penwern summer estate.

Then the Wisconsin Historical Society press became interested in the project and decided to publish it. Locally, the book is available at the Racine Art Museum.

Much of Wright literature focuses on his year-round urban and suburban home work as well as his work with public buildings, Hertzberg noted that Wright had around 50 commissions for summer homes, boathouses, and related buildings.

While about half of the commissions were built, Hertzberg believes his book on Penwern, a summer estate on Lake Delavan in southern Wisconsin commissioned by Fred Jones, may be the only work surrounding one of Wright’s summer dwelling creations.

Writing the Wright books was a change in direction for Hertzberg, who worked with the Journal Times for 33 years photographing and writing and retired as director of photographer.

“I always defined myself as a photojournalist, but with the books, I also think of myself as an author now,” Hertzberg said. “It was a change in direction and career, but I wrote and photographed for the books.”

While Hertzberg has appreciation for the buildings themselves, in Penwern’s case Hertzberg said he admired the entryway due to its ability to invite a person into the home, Hertzberg said the human experience brings something new when put alongside Wright’s architecture.

Hertzberg said when he was working on his previous work on the Hardy house, David Archer, who grew up in the house from 1947 to 1957, told him about waking up to a busload of Japanese tourists outside of the house.

Karen Johnson Boyd talked to Hertzberg about growing up in Wingsread and having to sneak past her parents’ bedroom if she was trying to sneak out at night.

"I didn't want to just repeat dry history that you could find in other books," Hertzberg said. "I didn't just want to analyze the architecture. I wanted to humanize the buildings and the homes and talk about how people experience them."

On May 18, Hertzberg gave a virtual presentation on Penwern as a part of Virtual Wright Design Series presented by Monona Terrace.


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