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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

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 and T Building, the Crystal Cathedral, and many more. Johnson’s personal charms paired with his manipulative ploysand#8212;like his “borrowing” of designsand#8212;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.


Franz Schulze delves deeply into Johnson’s life – from his childhood in the Midwest to his years at Harvard, from his coming to terms with his homosexuality to his flirtation with the politics of Hitler, Huey Long, and Father Coughlin – to paint an unprecedented portrait of this extraordinary man. A patron of the arts, Johnson helped stage the historic International Style exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. A critic, a teacher, a “borrower” of ideas, and a living history of modern and postmodern architecture, Johnson has created many controversial and historical buildings, including the Glass House, the Roofless Church, the A T & T Building and the Crystal Cathedral.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [444]-450) and index.

About 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.

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 ATandT, 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

Product Details

Trade Paperback
Publication date:
Number of Units:
Copyright Year:
Series Volume:
no. 6332
UPC Code:
Franz Schulze
Architects — United States — Biography.
Johnson, Philip
Architects — United States.
United states
Biography-Artists Architects and Photographers


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