Writing about Wright : Edgar Kaufmann jr.'s analyses on Frank Lloyd Wright

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Title: Writing about Wright : Edgar Kaufmann jr.'s analyses on Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: Wasser, Elise Louise
Abstract: For many years authors have repeated stories and myths about Frank Lloyd Wright , overstating purported influences and unjustly degrading periods of Wright’s work . Discrepancies in Wright’s own discourses have not made the task of characterizing him any easier . To better understand Wright’s works and influences , the focus must shift to those who have authored the narratives about Wright . Among the most important of these was Edgar Kaufmann jr . [sic] . Other early Wright commentators , such as Henry -Russell Hitchcock , Grant Carpenter Manson , and Bruno Zevi are usually mentioned before Kaufmann , but Kaufmann published more about Wright than any one else , until his death in 1989 . Hitchcock worked on twenty -two books and articles about Wright , Manson on nine , and Zevi on seventeen . Kaufmann authored thirty works about Wright , more than Zevi and Manson combined . Kaufmann is generally referred to as the son of Fallingwater , but his Wrightian scholarship and design theory extended far beyond his role in bequeathing his family’s famous retreat . Kaufmann’s writing career spanned over three decades and included more than forty works , with topics about Wright , “Good Design ,” skyscrapers , and the museum industry . His writings reveal a complex scholar who at times was led by the trends of his time , and who was not afraid to reevaluate and redefine his past work . From Kaufmann’s first article about Wright in Art News , to his work establishing Fallingwater’s tour program , he communicated Wright’s methods and analyzed his rhetoric . During Wright’s lifetime , Kaufmann followed his wishes for interpreting his work . But after Wright’s death , Kaufmann was swayed by a number of contemporary ideas , such as indeterminacy and systems . Most of Kaufmann’s writings focused on Wright’s later architecture , clarifying his rhetoric , discussing his influences and space , and telling the history of Fallingwater . Kaufmann is a key figure in the narrative about Wright because of his unique perspective as a student , a client , and a friend that no other historian can claim . Deciphering Kaufmann’s writings allows for an examination of one of the major voices behind Wright’s story .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1598
Date: 2010-12-17


Writing about Wright : Edgar Kaufmann jr.'s analyses on Frank Lloyd Wright. Master's thesis, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1598 .

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