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Encyclopedic Palace Collection

 Collection
Identifier: A0015

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of supplemental research material related to the Encyclopedic Palace, including early photographs, correspondence, and forms between Auriti’s attorney Hyde W. Ballard and the Department of Commerce Patent Office, and Auriti’s handwritten description of the Monumento Nazionale Progetto Enciclopedico Palazzo. Also included is correspondence with two different invention promotion companies that reached out to Auriti about the purchase of the patent to Encyclopedic Palace.

Dates

  • 1955 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1955 - 1957

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Access to sensitive materials may be restricted at the discretion of the American Folk Art Museum.

Conditions Governing Use

The Encyclopedic Palace Collection is owned by the American Folk Art Museum. The collection is subject to all copyright laws, and is dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship.

Biographical Note

Born in 1891 in Guardiagrele, Italy, Marino Auriti came to the United States sometime between 1923 and the 1930s. He worked as an auto-body mechanic, but architecture was his passion. Over the course of three years, he executed a model, built on a scale of 1:200, for an ambitious construction called the Palazzo Enciclopedico (Encyclopedic Palace). Had it been realized, it would have stood 136 stories or 2,322 feet, and spread across sixteen city blocks in Washington, DC, just slightly smaller than the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai—completed in 2009, the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 2,716.5 feet. In his highly technical six-page statement of purpose, he wrote: “This building is an entirely new concept in museums designed to hold all the works of man in whatever field, discoveries made and those which may follow, . . . everything from the wheel to the satellite.” Auriti’s own code of ethics is articulated in transfer letters along the lintels of the seven-tiered building, including “Forgive the First Time” and “Do Not Abuse Generosity.” The model was exhibited twice in Auriti’s lifetime, encased in a pyramid-shaped vitrine that he built. Thirty-three years after his death, this piece inspired the theme of the 55th Venice Biennale “The Encyclopedic Palace,” curated by Massimiliano Gioni in 2013.

Soure: Valérie Rousseau, “Encyclopedic Palace,” exhibition label for Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. Stacy C. Hollander and Valérie Rousseau, curators. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2014.

Extent

8 file(s) (7 standard files; 1 oversized file)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The collection consists of supplemental research material related to the Encyclopedic Palace, including early photographs, material related to obtaining a patent, and Auriti’s handwritten description of the Monumento Nazionale Progetto Enciclopedico Palazzo.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged topically by folder title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Colette Auriti Firmani, in memory of Marino Auriti, 2002
Title
A Guide to the Encyclopedic Palace Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Mimi Lester
Date
June 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the American Folk Art Museum Archives Repository

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