Mendelsohn, Erich: AMERIKA [Bilderbuch eines Architekten]. Berlin, Rudolf Mosse Buchverlag, 1928.

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AMERIKA
Bilderbuch eines Architekten

Erich Mendelsohn

Erich Mendelsohn: AMERIKA [Bilderbuch eines Architekten Mit 100 meist eigenen Aufnahmen des Verfassers]. Berlin, Rudolf Mosse Buchverlag, 1928. Second edition, enlarged [Sechste völlig veränderte und wesentlich vermehrte Auflage 1928: Sixth completely changed and substantially increased edition 1928]. Text in German. Folio. Original quarter black cloth over printed paper covered boards, with black lettering to front cover, and blue lettering to spine. 222 [vi] pp. 100 black and white plates by Mendelsohn,  Knud Lönberg-Holm, Fritz Lang, and Karweik. Architectural historians’ bookplate to front endpaper. Endsheets lightly spotted and a few signatures pulled.  Boards age toned and edgeworn. Backstrip pulled at spine crown. A nearly very good copy of this fragile oversized “Architect’s Picturebook.

9.5 x 13.5 hardcover book with 228 pages fully illustrated with magnificent black and white plates of American Industrial architecture, circa 1926. In "America: An Architect’s Picturebook” Erich Mendelsohn published photographs of American cityscapes he took during his frequent trips to the United States in the 1920s. New York's Times Square, Fifth Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge, Trinity Church are featured as well as Chicago's Michigan Avenue, the Chicago Tribune Building, and the Federal Reserve Bank. Also includes buildings in Buffalo and Detroit. Includes 16 photographs by Knud Lönberg-Holm (which appeared uncredited in Erich Mendelsohn's 1926 first edition. Only in this later, expanded edition was Lönberg-Holm given credit); 1 photograph by Fritz Lang, and 22 photographs by Karweik.

"A first leafing through its pages thrills us like a dramatic film. Before our eyes move pictures that are absolutely unique. In order to understand some of the photographs you must lift the book over your head and rotate it. The architect shows us America not from a distance but from within, as he leads us into the canyons of its streets" — El Lissitsky, "The Architect's Eye", in Photography in the Modern Era, 1989, p. 221 – 221

“And yet, although Mendelsohn was a thoroughly modern architect, he was essentially a pictorialist photographer, albeit one who was rapidly discovering a more modernistic photographic language. He was probably unconcerned with matters of photographic style, and was led to this new language through his subject matter, of which he had a highly sophisticated understanding. He often ignored the standard etiquette of professional architectural photography, tilting his camera vertiginously. Cropping his pictures into thin verticals, he emphasized the height of the American city, demonstrating a possible familiarity with the pictorial language of Alvin Langdon Coburn or early Steiglitz. In all, this is a fascinating transitional photobook, the work of a talented amateur photographer with prior knowledge of pictorialist modes groping towards a proto-modernism as he worked.” — Parr/Badger, The Photobook: A History Volume 1, 2004, p. 76 – 77

This second printing was published two years after the first printing. There were at this time only two printings of the title. First 1926, mentioned in the book as "first till third printing" and second 1928, an enlarged edition, mentioned in the book as "different, enlarged sixth printing."

German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn (1887 – 1953) was known for his expressionist buildings in the 1920s, the first in the style, as well as for developing a dynamic functionalism in his projects for department stores and cinemas.

Erich Mendelsohn became famous early in his career with his Einstein Tower in Potsdam in 1921, and the Schocken department stores in Stuttgart and Chemnitz, revealed him to be at highest level of his art; dynamic, flowing lines together with a constructive clarity resulting in buildings of expressive plasticity. In 1933 he emigrated to Great Britain where he designed the De La Warr Pavilon at Bexhill-on-Sea in 1935. He then moved to Palestine, designing the hospital at Haifa in 1938. From 1941 until his death in 1953 he worked in the USA.

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