Architecture's Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson

Author(s): Hugh Howard

Architecture | July New Releases

In architectural terms, the twentieth century can be largely summed up with two names: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson. Wright (1867-1959) began it with his romantic prairie style; Johnson (1906-2005) brought down the curtain with his spare postmodernist experiments. Between them, they built some of the most admired and discussed buildings in American history. Differing radically in their views on architecture, Wright and Johnson shared a restless creativity, enormous charisma, and an outspokenness that made each man irresistible to the media. Often publicly at odds, they were the twentieth century's flint and steel; their repeated encounters consistently set off sparks. Yet as acclaimed historian Hugh Howard shows, their rivalry was also a fruitful artistic conversation, one that yielded new directions for both men. It was not despite but rather because of their contentious--and not always admiring--relationship that they were able so powerfully to influence history. In Architecture's Odd Couple, Howard deftly traces the historical threads connecting the two men and offers readers a distinct perspective on the era they so enlivened with their designs. Featuring many of the structures that defined modern space--from Fallingwater to the Guggenheim, from the Glass House to the Seagram Building--this book presents an arresting portrait of modern architecture's odd couple and how they shaped the American landscape by shaping each other.


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A vibrant dual portrait that chronicles the lives of and volatile relationship between the two most iconic figures in American architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.

A page turner about two architects and there's no bloodshed! Hugh Howard brings to life the rivalry between these two giants of the world's most egotistical profession and still gives us a happy ending. -- Bob Vila In lively, scintillating prose, Hugh Howard brings to life one of the most inventive and original architects of the last century, and one of the savviest players in the same profession. Frank Lloyd Wright's creative genius and idiosyncratic personality, and Philip Johnson's refined intelligence and courtier's craft, are described with a plethora of rich details and colorful vignettes, making this a spellbinding book. The sparring and rapport that defined the relationship of these two strong-willed men, and the presence of a superb ancillary cast of characters, are evoked with brio. Architecture's Odd Couple is a splendid addition to the literature depicting the birth of twentieth-century modernism. -- Nicholas Fox Weber, author of LE CORBUSIER: A LIFE The prolific Howard offers up another sterling book of popular history ... New light is shed on both architects in this absorbing, well-organized, delightfully told story. Kirkus Reviews Narrative non-fiction of a high order, enlivened by anecdotes and quotations from two very outspoken and colorful characters. Publishers Weekly [An] engaging dual portrait ... written with wit and flair and supported by solid research ... [A] thoughtful and well-built book. Booklist Here is the story of the War of 1812 not from the military, but the personal perspective of James Madison--the first U.S. President to declare the country at war--and the beloved Dolley Madison... Highly recommended. Library Journal on MR. AND MRS. MADISON'S WAR It is as a work of military history the book excels. Howard's recountings of the naval battles are especially vivid ... A worthy look at a rite of passage making the nascent United States into a nation that, although far from a world power, would be here to stay. Minneapolis Star-Tribune on MR. AND MRS. MADISON'S WAR Intricate and engaging ... Howard's story is ... not only about the birth of American painting, but--through the creation of its first, most long-lasting, and most transcendent human icon--about the invention of America itself. The American Scholar on THE PAINTER'S CHAIR A novel, ingeniously executed approach to the inspiring man whose dollar-bill likeness is arguably the most reproduced painted image in history. Kirkus Reviews on THE PAINTER'S CHAIR Hugh Howard's highly original work offers a completely new perspective on the Father of our Country ... What Hugh Howard so deftly tells in this important book is how the arts of painting and sculpture came to take an increasingly central part in our understanding of the first decades of the United States. He also alters our understanding of that amazing man, George Washington. The Dallas Morning News on THE PAINTER'S CHAIR

Hugh Howard's numerous books include Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: America's First Couple and the War of 1812; The Painter's Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art; Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson; the definitive Thomas Jefferson: Architect; his memoir House-Dreams; and the classic Houses of the Founding Fathers. He resides in upstate New York.

General Fields

  • : 9781620403754
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : 0.635
  • : July 2016
  • : 235mm X 155mm
  • : United States
  • : July 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : BW photos throughout; color insert
  • : 352
  • : 720.9730904
  • : Hardback
  • : Hugh Howard