Philip Johnson: Life and Work / Edition 416

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In this critically acclaimed biography, Franz Schulze probes the private and professional life of one of the most famous architects and architectural critics of the twentieth century.

The only child of a wealthy Midwestern family, Philip Johnson was a millionaire by the time he graduated from Harvard, and in 1932 he helped stage the historic International Style exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. A patron of the arts and a political activists who flirted with the politics of Hitler, Huey Long, and Father Coughlin, he went on to create controversial and historical structures such as the Glass House, the Roofless Church, the AT & T Building, the Crystal Cathedral, and many more. Johnson's personal charms paired with his manipulative ploys—like his "borrowing" of designs—shine through in this biography.

Drawing on Johnson's correspondence, personal photographs, and speeches, and on interviews with his friends and contemporaries, Schulze fills the biography with fascinating information on the architect's family, travels, friends and lovers, and his many buildings and spaces themselves.

Franz Schulze is a professor of art at Lake Forest College. He is the author of Fantastic Images: Chicago Art since 1945, One Hundred Years of Chicago Architecture, and Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a candid, revealing, major biography of one of the prime forces in American architecture, Schulze views Philip Johnson less as an original than as a pluralist who primarily followed, ratified and refined forms invented by others. The spoiled son of a prominent Cleveland family, Johnson (born in 1906) championed the geometrical International Style as architect, critic and Museum of Modern Art curator in Manhattan. Later he strived to free himself from the strictures of orthodox modernism. Schulze, biographer of Mies van der Rohe, divulges Johnson's tormented confrontation with his homosexuality while at Harvard. Johnson's plunge into right-wing politics between 1934 and 1945-including his fervid infatuation with Hitler, support of demagogue Huey Long and publication of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic articles in Father Charles Coughlin's hate-sheet Social Justice in 1939-comes under close scrutiny. In the 1990s, Johnson issued public apologies for his political past, yet his disdain of parliamentary government, his devotion to Nietzsche and his antirationalism, as revealed here, may fuel the debate over his life and his place in architectural history. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Architectural critic, curator, and imagemaker of corporate America, Philip Johnson has had an amazingly diverse career spanning over six decades. Neither an innovator nor an imitator, Johnson has designed his share of architectural icons: the Glass House in Connecticut; the Seagram Building (in collaboration with Mies van der Rohe) and AT&T's Chippendale headquarters, both in New York; and the Dutch-gabled Republic Bank Center in Houston. This critical biography explores Johnson's early childhood in Cleveland; his years at Harvard, where he comes to terms with his homosexuality; and his brief involvement with the politics of Hitler in the 1930s. Schulze traces Johnson's passion for architecture, first as an influential critic and curator and later as an architect with a wealthy clientele. This immensely readable account of a complex, sometimes contradictory, yet always compelling man is highly recommended.-H. Ward Jandl, National Park Svc., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226740584
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 416
  • Pages: 479
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Franz Schulze is the Hollender Professor of Art Emeritus at Lake Forest College. His many books include Philip Johnson: Life and Work and, as coauthor, Chicago's Famous Buildings, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Origins and Directions, 1652-1934
From Nieuw Amsterdam to Overlook Road
Homer and Louise
The Irreplaceable Heir
Harvard: Collision of Mind and Heart
Alfred Barr
The Pilgrimage Roads
Moma, Russell, and the New Style
The American Invasion
The 1932 Show: The Revolution Goes Uptown
The Rise and Fall of Art
Part Two: The Inglorious Detour, 1934-1946
Zarathustra and the Kingfish
New London and the Radio Priest
Tomorrow the World
Back to Harvard
The Penitential Private
Part Three: Rebirth and Renewal, 1946-1953
Barr Again, Moma Again, Mies Again
Opus In Vitro
The Early Fifties: Work, People, Worldview
Part Four: The Break with Modernism, 1953-1967
"It Is All Socrates's Fault"
Yet Again Mies: Easy to Shoot At, Hard to Bring Down
Historophilia and Monumentality
Wandering Minstrel
The Sixties: Laurels and Ass's Ears
New Canaan
Urbanism and Its Discontents
Outpaced and Restored by the Young
Part Five: Superstardom, 1967-
Burgee of Chicago
Raised Up at AT&T, Brought Low at Moma
The PoMo Revel
Philip and David at Home
Burgee: Discarded by the Discarded
The Summing Up: Berlin, 1993
Work in Progress
Selected Bibliography
Permissions Acknowledgments
Photograph Credits

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