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Louis Sullivan: His Life and Work

Overview

In this fascinating portrait of Louis Sullivan 1856-1924, Robert Twombly documents both the great architect's aesthetic development and his lifelong personal and professional obsessions. Twombly charts Sullivan's single-minded pursuit of a new architectural style, his rapid rise to professional prestige and public acclaim, and his tragic decline into bankruptcy and obscurity.
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Overview

In this fascinating portrait of Louis Sullivan 1856-1924, Robert Twombly documents both the great architect's aesthetic development and his lifelong personal and professional obsessions. Twombly charts Sullivan's single-minded pursuit of a new architectural style, his rapid rise to professional prestige and public acclaim, and his tragic decline into bankruptcy and obscurity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While Sullivan's skyscrapers proclaimed Chicago the biggest and best city, he saw himself as an architect of the people, interpreting the popular will in a distinctly American style. This pathbreaking biography reveals how original Sullivan was, how much his own man. It also probes the tragedy of an innovator who, famous by age 30, nevertheless died poor and neglected in a cheap Chicago hotel in 1924. Sullivan was a compulsively serious man with missionary zeal, an immaculately groomed recluse whose aristocratic demeanor was meant to compensate for his poor Irish roots. His ideas about organic architecture took full shape in the works of his pupil Frank Lloyd Wright. Twombly, who teaches at City University of New York, ponders whether Sullivan's decline was the fault of the Classical Revival, his break with his partner, refusal to compromise his artistic standards or his emerging homosexual proclivities. The answer seems to lie in a mixture of all these factors. Many photographs and drawings are interwoven with the text. March 27
Library Journal
Despite Louis Sullivan's deserved reputation as the dean of American architects, little of substance has been written on his life and works. Twombly corrects this oversight with a superb new biography covering Sullivan's childhood in Boston; his early associations with Frank Furness in Philadelphia; his move to Chicago, where, during his partnership with Dankmar Adler, many of his finest buildings were constructed; and the final years when fame and fortune deserted him. Using contemporary magazines and newspapers, surviving buildings, photographs and drawings of demolished structures, and nonarchitectural archival material, Twombly has done a remarkable job of bringing Sullivan's complex personality and artistic genius to life. Highly recommended for scholars and interested laypersons alike. H. Ward Jandl, National Park Svce., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226820064
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.45 (d)

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