Many Masks

Overview

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is often described as the greatest of American architects. His works—among them Taliesin North, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax buildings, the Guggenheim Museum—earned him a good measure of his fame, but his flamboyant personal life earned him the rest. Here Brendan Gill, a personal friend of Wright and his family, gives us not only the fullest, fairest, and most entertaining account of Wright to date, but also strips away the many masks the architect tirelessly ...

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Overview

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is often described as the greatest of American architects. His works—among them Taliesin North, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax buildings, the Guggenheim Museum—earned him a good measure of his fame, but his flamboyant personal life earned him the rest. Here Brendan Gill, a personal friend of Wright and his family, gives us not only the fullest, fairest, and most entertaining account of Wright to date, but also strips away the many masks the architect tirelessly constructed to fascinate his admirers and mislead his detractors. Enriched by hitherto unpublished letters and 300 photographs and drawings, this definitive biography makes Wright, in all his creativity, crankiness, and zest, fairly leap from its pages.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
The liveliest, most astringent and eminently readable biography of Wright yet published.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a talent for public relations and a habit of neglecting to mention his sources, Wright portrayed himself as a revolutionary genius. But his recklessly entangled life, wives, mistresses, chronic debt, scandals continually threatened to paralyze his talent. At a time when the architectural profession in the U.S. was booming, he was granted comparatively few commissions and had to turn to lecturing to earn a meager living. Gill, architectural critic for The New Yorker, was friends with Wright and his third wife. Debunking yet sympathetic, this engrossing biography is a masterpiece of sleuthing and interpretive skill; it separates the man from the self-made myths. Wright portrays himself as innocent hero-victim of a corrupt society, but here we see an artful dodger molded by a boyhood filled with shame and anguish. Gill evaluates which of Wright's projects failed by the architect's own standards, and which ones succeeded. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to The New Yorker. (November 17)
Library Journal
Much has been written about America's best-known architect, and this new biography may be the most perceptive and entertaining book of the lot. Gill writes with authority about Wright's long and turbulent career and with empathy about his equally turbulent private life. Gill's long friendship with the Wright family provides added insights into the architect's complex personality but does not prevent him from debunking some of the legends surrounding Wright, his upbringing and education, his architectural and social theories, and his relationships with clients. Witty, irreverent, and refreshingly honest, this is essential reading for anyone interested in architecure. H. Ward Jandl, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.
Booknews
Reprint of a 1987 work by a staff writer for The New Yorker who has written several other biographies of well known figures. Contains 300 black-and-white photos and drawings and previously unpublished letters of the flamboyant architect whose buildings include the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax buildings, Fallingwater, and Taliesin West. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306808722
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 548
  • Sales rank: 993,929
  • Product dimensions: 1.22 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Brendan Gill (1914–1997) was a staff writer for theNew Yorker for over sixty years. He was the author of over twenty books, including his memoir, Here at the New Yorker (also available from Da Capo Press/Perseus Books Group), three works of fiction, and biographies of Cole Porter, Tallulah Bankhead, and Charles Lindbergh.

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