Cover image for Frank Lloyd Wright versus America : the 1930s
Frank Lloyd Wright versus America : the 1930s
Johnson, Donald Leslie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
xi, 436 pages : illustrations ; 20 x 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA737.W7 J6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
NA737.W7 J6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



For his critics and biographers, the 1930s have always been the most difficult and challenging period of Frank Lloyd Wright's career. Following a scant dozen commissions in the 1920s, Wright experienced extremes of introspection, infamy, and self-adulation. Yet this decade also saw the beginning of a second flowering of his career and a renewed public recognition of his importance. This fresh account by Donald Johnson, the first to make use of the architect's long-inaccessible archives at Taliesin West, is also the first to provide a balanced evaluation of Wright in the 1930s. It separates Wright's design activities from his self-promotion and places his philosophy of individualism within the context of the times. The book unfolds as a sequence of biographical nodes, each concerned with a different problem in understanding Wright's life and work. Johnson provides surprising new information about the pervasive influence on Wright of his third wife Olgivanna and the mystic Georgi Gurdjieff, about the formation of the Taliesin Fellowship, and about Wright's relations with fellow architects and patrons. He also explores the development of his ideas on city planning, the publication of his autobiography, the significance of his travels during this decade, and the effects of his lectures on the architectural communities of the Soviet Union and Great Britain. "Frank Lloyd Wright versus America combines interpretation, factual revelation, and anecdote in a highly read

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A significant contribution to the literature on one of America's most important architects. Johnson has written a provocative account of Frank Lloyd Wright's life between 1928 and 1941. Based on unpublished material as well as an exhaustive review of published sources, this volume is the most detailed account available of this crucial period in Wright's career and provides an invaluable supplement to the two most important biographies of Wright: Robert C. Twombly's Frank Lloyd Wright (2nd ed., CH, May'79) and Brendan Gill's Many Masks (1987). Johnson describes the 1930s as the "second golden age" of Wright's career (the Prairie School architecture of the pre-WW I years represents the first golden age) and provides insightful analyses of Wright's buildings and projects, his writings and public pronouncements, and his trips to England and the Soviet Union. Critical (and difficult to find) texts from that period by and about Wright are included as appendixes and an excellent bibliography is provided. The potential audience for this title includes Wright scholars, designers, and cultural historians, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. -D. P. Doordan, University of Illinois at Chicago