Cover image for Josef Frank : life and work
Josef Frank : life and work
Long, Christopher (Christopher Alan), 1957-
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 384 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA1011.5.F7 L66 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Architect, designer, and theorist Josef Frank (1885-1967) was known throughout Europe in the 1920s as one of the continent's leading modernists. Yet despite his important contributions to the development of modernism, Frank has been largely excluded from histories of the movement. Josef Frank: Life and Work is the first study that comprehensively explores the life, ideas, and designs of this complex and controversial figure.

Educated in Vienna just after the turn of the century, Frank became the leader of the younger generation of architects in Austria after the First World War. But Frank fell from grace when he emerged as a forceful critic of the extremes of modern architecture and design during the early 1930s. Dismissing the demands for a unified modern style, Frank insisted that it was pluralism, not uniformity, that most characterized life in the new machine age. He called instead for a more humane modernism, one that responded to people's everyday needs and left room for sentimentality and historical influences. He was able to put these ideas into practice when, in 1933, he was forced to leave Vienna for Sweden. There his work came to define Swedish (or Scandinavian) modern design. For more than thirty years he was the chief designer for the Stockholm furnishings firm Svenskt Tenn, producing colorful, cozy, and eclectic designs that provided a refreshing alternative to the architectural mainstream of the day and presaged the coming revolt against modernism in the 1960s.

In this sensitive study of one of the twentieth century's seminal architects and thinkers, Christopher Long offers new insight into Josef Frank's work and ideas and provides an important contribution to the understanding of modernist culture and its history.

Author Notes

Christopher Long is an assistant professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Texas at Austin.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this only comprehensive English-language study of this multitalented Viennese designer, Long (architectural history, Univ. of Texas at Austin) chronologically traces Frank's evolving definition of modernism, which set him at odds with both the academy and the avant-garde. Even his earliest professional work--houses and housing projects of the 1920s and 1930s--reveals his interest in meeting human needs for comfort and beauty and his awareness that the modern world's diversity could not be served by a single style of architecture. A Jew, Frank also contended with political upheaval that in 1934 led to his exile in Sweden, where he began a 30-year relationship with the firm that pioneered Scandinavian modern design. After unsuccessful attempts in the 1940s to establish himself in the US during the two decades following WW II, his increasingly quirky curvilinear designs manifested theories that readers, interested in the current scholarly debate over modernism's redefinition, will find refreshing and insightful. Building analyses are helpfully paired with studies of Frank's writings and fine illustrations. Positioning Frank's scholarly context from secessionist Vienna to Venturi, Long has written a book valuable as it is engaging. Lengthy notes; catalog of works; list of exhibitions. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals; two-year technical program students. J. A. Amundson Judson College

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Genesis
2 Exploration
3 Red Vienna
4 Haus & Garten
5 A Dissenting Voice
6 The House as Path and Place
7 War on Two Fronts
8 Swedish Modern
9 New York
10 Revisions
Catalog of Works: Buildings, Projects, and Interiors
List of Exhibitions