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Philip Johnson

Life and Work

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.

479 pages | 125 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Architecture: Architecture--Biography

Biography and Letters

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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