Cover image for Merchant prince and master builder : Edgar J. Kaufmann and Frank Lloyd Wright
Merchant prince and master builder : Edgar J. Kaufmann and Frank Lloyd Wright
Cleary, Richard Louis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pittsburgh, Pa. : Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art ; Seattle : in association with University of Washington Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
199 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
Published in connection with the exhibition of the same name held at the Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Apr. 10-Oct. 3, 1999.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA737.W7 A4 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Merchant Prince and Master Builder examines the extraordinary relationship between one of the nation's leading retailers and its best-known architect. Over a span of 25 years, from 1934 to 1959, Edgar J. Kaufmann, his wife, Liliane, and their son, Edgar Kaufmann jr., commissioned a dozen projects from Frank Lloyd Wright, including the famous country house Fallingwater and unrealized schemes for a civic center in Pittsburgh.

The Kaufmanns shared Wright's belief in the power of good design to enrich the quality of modern life, Through Kaufmann's department store in Pittsburgh and Kaufmann jr.'s association with the Museum of Modern Art in New York, they promoted the work of Wright and other progressive designers. Their story broadens the context for understanding Wright's career during the final decades of his life.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

There is no shortage of books about Wright, popularly recognized as America's greatest architect. But this catalog, produced for an exhibition at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art, manages to provide a slightly new and intriguing perspective on the last decades of the "master builder's" career. Among the catalog's original offerings is an insightful essay by architectural historian Cleary on Wright's relationship to the Kaufmann family in the context of contemporary design, commerce, and urban planning in the 20th century. Central to the catalog is also, of course, a collection of drawings from Wright's studio. And included in the splendid selection of reproductions are unbuilt proposals for Fallingwater and visionary projects for Pittsburgh's Point Park. The quality of reproduction is generally fine, but the necessary reduction in scale may have viewers reaching for a strong magnifying glass. Essential for libraries specializing in American art and architecture; libraries with general collections should be sure to have Edgar Kaufmann Jr.'s lavishly illustrated Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House (LJ 2/1/87).√ĄDavid Soltesz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Cleary provides significant new insights into the career of Frank Lloyd Wright, even though available literature on the architect is already vast. He focuses on one of Wright's major patrons, department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann, and the close working relationship the two men enjoyed for more than 20 years. Kaufmann is most widely known as the client of Fallingwater (begun in 1936), the spectacular weekend house that has always been considered an icon of modern architecture. But Kaufmann's involvement with Wright was far more extensive, beginning in 1934 with his financing of the construction of a huge model of Broadacre City, Wright's visionary plan for national resettlement. Other projects ensued after WW II, including a huge parking garage for the store. Kaufmann also commissioned Wright to prepare studies for a massive civic center in Pittsburgh. Few of these schemes were realized, but the association was one of major importance. This engagingly written and elegant volume affords an all too rare view of patronage in architecture and urban design during the 20th century, and it demonstrates the extraordinary conceptions such support could yield. All levels. R. Longstreth; George Washington University