Thursday, May 01, 2008


Frank Lloyd Wright, Ada Louise Huxtable, Penguin Group Inc, 2004, 251 pp

This biography of the great architect is part of the Penguin Lives Series. I read it just before reading Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan, which is a fictional account of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, Wright's lover from 1907 to 1914. Huxtable, a Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, studied all the major biographies of Wright as well as other sources. She is clearly a fan and does her best to place this very complicated man in a favorable light.

I liked the book because, as biographies go, it is brief, always interesting and written in an engaging style, never bogging down in dry facts. I'm convinced that Frank Lloyd Wright was a genius. He had huge personal flaws but I've known people with similar flaws who accomplished hardly anything in life.

I finished the book feeling that it takes an outsize personality to create art in a big enough way that he leaves that artistic area forever changed. This man was way ahead of his time, to the degree that the building technology in his day could not always erect what he had conceived His concepts are still affecting architecture today. Having always admired his buildings, it is great to know something about his life.

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