Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architect: An Account of a Gardenmaker's Life, 1885-1971

Robin Karson, Author ABRAMS $49.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1523-7
Born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1885, Steele--who called gardening ``the ephemeral art''--was among the greatest American landscape architects of our century, bridging 19th-century Beaux-Arts formalism and modern landscape design in a career comprising almost 700 gardens. In the first critical biography of Steele, Karson, a contributing editor for Garden Design and Landscape Architecture , offers a gracefully written record of the master's extraordinary legacy, documenting the creation of 50 of his most important gardens, and revealing his uncanny ability to tap the imagination of clients while striking a balance between architectonic impact and lyrically sensual style. Blessed with charm and wit, Steele moved easily in a high society that provided a lifelong stream of clients; European, Asian and tropical sojourns provided additional esthetic inspiration. His career reached its peak in the 1930s, when moneyed patrons took advantage of cheap labor to indulge in elaborate fantasies. Fewer post-World War II projects were realized on such a grand scale, but Steele's productivity continued unabated until his death in 1971. Illustrated. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 321 pages - 978-1-55849-413-8
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