cover image Louis H Sullivan

Louis H Sullivan

Rizzoli, Marvin S. Weingarten, Louis H. Sullivan. Rizzoli International Publications, $200 (159pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1109-0

Sullivan (1856-1924) forever changed American architecture with his designs for Chicago's Auditorium Building, the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Mo., and many other public structures. Part of his pioneering effort was his unique use of architectural ornament: the ``fluent geometry'' or ``fusion of the inorganic with the organic'' that blossomed in stately, patterned curves adorning the walls of banks in Grinnell, Iowa; Owatonna, Minn.; and, perhaps most splendidly, in the Second City. This oversize volume collects 20 drawings created to accompany an essay by Sullivan, ``A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man's Powers,''sic/ originally commissioned in 1922 by the Art Institute of Chicago. Reproducing the drawings to scale, along with pages from Sullivan's handwritten manuscript (facing pages translate his scrawl into type), the book also includes an essay by Weingarden, art historian at Florida State University, that explores the origins of the architect's aesthetic and its fulfillment in his designs. A magnificent testimonial to a peculiarly American mind, the volume opens our eyes not only to Sullivan's achievements but to the process that produced them. (Aug.)