Marcel Breuer, Architect: The Career and the Buildings

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9780810942653: Marcel Breuer, Architect: The Career and the Buildings
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The buildings that Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) designed and built during an era of exceptional architectural activity are of a number and a diversity of structure, material, form, and purpose that he could not have imagined at the outset of his life as an architect. To present a history of that career and a survey of that body of work is an undertaking appropriate to commemorate the centenary of his birth and to mark the passing of the century whose culture and physical environment Breuer helped shape.
To write this timely study, architectural historian Isabelle Hyman has utilized for the first time extensive unpublished archival material and collected hundred of photographs, sketches, notes, and plans. A number of the photographs were made especially for this book, and others, never before published, are from the personal collection of Mrs. Marcel Breuer. Hyman covers Breuer's entire career as an architect and documents his unbuilt as well as built work. The volumes opens with an introduction, in which she traces the critical reception of Breuer's architecture throughout his career and in the decades since his death. It is followed by Part I, a fully illustrated biography in six chapters that accounts for each phase of his practice from the 1920s through the 1970s as he moved from Germany and the Bauhaus to England and then to the United States. Part II is a survey in which all of Breuer's buildings and projects are summarized and most are illustrated. This survey is organized by type of commission - such as museum, library, church, single-family residence - revealing the remarkable range he achieved working for private, corporate governmental, and institutional patrons all over the world.

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About the Author:

Isabelle Hyman is Professor of Fine Arts at New York University.

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From a scholar of Renaissance architecture and coauthor of Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity comes the first comprehensive treatment of the architecture of Marcel Breuer. Hyman makes a strong case that Breuer, a distinguished Bauhaus alumnus who is still revered for his classic modern furniture, should also be included on the short list of great 20th-century architects. The author doesn't underplay Breuer's weaknesses, especially the monotonous, overbearing projects of his late period, but she argues that the excellence of his total output is not yet fully appreciated. Divided into a biographical narrative and an impressively annotated catalog of buildings organized by type, this book is oversized, luxurious, and fully illustrated, though cross references between the two parts would have helped. The text, which is impeccably researched and bursting with insights, might be faulted only for somewhat dry, academic prose that at times loses itself in an untamed mass of details. An obvious purchase for academic and larger public libraries. David Soltesz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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