A comprehensive view of the life, work, and ideas of one of the creative giants of modern American design
Arriving in the United States in 1914, Viennese-born Paul T. Frankl (1886–1958) brought with him an outsider’s fresh perspective and an enthusiasm for forging a uniquely American design aesthetic. In the years between the two world wars he, more than any other designer, helped shape the distinctive look of American modernism. This authoritative book draws on an extensive collection of unpublished documents and family papers and photographs to provide the first full account of Frankl’s life and ideas. The book also explores the history of modern American design and the extent of Frankl’s influence on its trajectory. In the early 1920s, Frankl opened a New York City shop that became an epicenter of American modernism. Over the next decades, his work encompassed everything from individual pieces of furniture and decorative accessories to entire interiors, and his style continuously evolved, from early “Skyscraper” furniture to relaxed and casual designs favored by the Hollywood elite in the 1930s to manufactured pieces for the mass market in the 1950s. The book charts the impact of Frankl’s ideas on merchants and consumers, on his fellow designers, and on the changing look of American homes and workplaces. With close to 170 illustrations, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design is an essential reference on 20th-century design.
Christopher Long is associate professor, architectural history and theory, University of Texas at Austin. He publishes widely on a diverse range of subjects and was a contributing author to Josef Frank: Architect and Designer (Yale).
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