Among many books about the person and work of Louis Sullivan, this unusual volume explores the idea that Sullivan's ornament became increasingly central to his architectural enterprise as his career unfolded. It holds that he used ornament to articulate the masses of the skyscrapers he built at the peak of his career and to humanize them in an increasingly hostile cityscape. In his impoverished old age, when important commissions no longer came to him, fully developed and exquisite pencil drawings of ornament served as a surrogate for the great projects he was no longer able to carry out. Cervin Robinson's beautiful photographs of Sullivan's work, supplemented by historical photographs of buildings no longer standing and reproductions of plates from Sullivan's crowning achievement, his book of drawings System of Architectural Ornament, illustrate the text by art historian David Van Zanten.
the Meaning of Ornament for Louis Sullivan
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