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Louis Sullivan-Artist in America

- Abstract

LOUIS SULLIVAN AS HE LIVED* is necessarily a valuable book, for it is the first attempt at a proper biography of the “founder of modern architecture.” Here, in conditions approximating our own times-Sullivan died in 1924-is the “American fate” of a gifted man, his meteoric early immense success ending in alcoholism and abandonment, wasted by the world and himself.

Willard Connely explains the arc of it as follows:
It is often said that the Panic of 1893, causing the severance of Adler and Sullivan as partners, was the main factor in Louis Sullivan’s fall. But the thwarting of his leadership in American architecture had by that time already been accomplished…. The disasters were rather the inclusion of the Eastern architects in the Chicago Fair [imposing a frigid Roman revival] . . . and the failure of the Fraternity Templars to build from Sullivan’s design the first set-back skyscraper. These blows befell Sullivan in the same year, 1891, when he was only thirty-five. Young though he was, and great, the tide against him in America suffered only momentary check thereafter.

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