Waiting for the Site to Show Up. Henry Luce Makes Frank Lloyd Wright America’s Greatest Architect

Daniel Naegele

Abstract


Henry Luce, owner of “Life”, “Time”, “Fortune” and “Architectural Forum”, recognized Frank Lloyd Wright’s immense charisma and talent and featured both the architect and his work in all four of his renowned popular press journals in January 1938 – though clearly he did so for his own ends. Luce believed fervently in America. In 1937, the German architects Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius migrated to the USA to assume leadership of two of its nest schools of architecture. Luce countered this promotion of European architecture by featuring Wright in his four journals. Despite Wright’s immense unpopularity at the time, Luce put him on the cover of “Time” and prominently presented him and his work in “Life”, “Fortune”, and “Architectural Forum”. That Luce’s ideals were not the same as those of Wright mattered little. With Luce’s endorsement, Wright became the most popular American architect in history, a position he retains to this day. But how very odd that decidedly arti cial mediation could so effectively disseminate and popularize an architecture whose essence was authenticity.

Keywords


Frank Lloyd Wright; Henry Luce; architecture and photography; Fallingwater; architecture and publicity

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Copyright (c) 2017 Daniel Naegele

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