MIES. Franz Schulze: THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE. [Plano, IL]: Peter G, Palumbo, 1997.

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Franz Schulze

Franz Schulze: THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE. [Plano, IL]: Peter G, Palumbo, 1997. First edition. Oblong slim quarto. Thick photo illustrated wrappers. 32 pp. Fully illustrated in color. INSCRIBED with drawing on the title page. A fine copy.

INSCRIBED by Franz Schulze: “ For Marilyn Hasbrouck / with great good wishes! / Franz Sculze / 1998 “with a doodled portrait of Mies smoking a cigar.   Franz Schulze is the Hollender Professor of Art Emeritus at Lake Forest College, and a published authority of both Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. "It is hardly surprising, with the tastes of the 1980s running less to formal abstraction than to symbols and associative meaning in art, that the philosophical implications of Mies's work attract us more than they ever did."--Franz Schulze

8.5 x 11 softcover book with 32 pages assembled by Franz Schulze to tell the story of the construction of the Farnsworth House and its eventual acquisition by Peter G. Palumbo.

I wasn't very happy to go out so far from the city to just go see a house. But what a surprise!!!!! This is a marvel!!! Worth every penny! —Farnsworth House Google review, 2017

"Form, by itself, does not exist. — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and constructed in 1951, the Farnsworth House is a vital part of American iconography, an exemplary representation of both the International Style of architecture as well as the modern movement’s desire to juxtapose the sleek, streamline design of Modern structure with the organic environment of the surrounding nature.

“Mies constructed this glass box residence of “almost nothing” for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a country retreat along the Fox River in Plano, IL. It continued to be a private residence for over 50 years until Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased it in 2003. Today it is owned and managed by the Trust and the site is open as a public museum.

“The significance of the Farnsworth House was recognized even before it was built. In 1947 a model of the Farnsworth House was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Describing it, along with the unbuilt Resor House, as a “radical departure from his last European domestic projects,” Philip Johnson noted that it went further than the Resor house in its expression of the floating volume: “The Farnsworth house with its continuous glass walls is an even simpler interpretation of an idea. Here the purity of the cage is undisturbed. Neither the steel columns from which it is suspended nor the independent floating terrace break the taut skin.”

“In the actual construction, the aesthetic idea was progressively refined and developed through the choices of materials, colors and details. While subsequent debates and lawsuits sometimes questioned the practicality and livability of its design, the Farnsworth House would increasingly be considered, by architects and scholars alike, to constitute one of the crystallizing and pivotal moments of Mies van der Rohe’s long artistic career. [Farnsworthhouse.org]

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe [1886 – 1969]  began his career in architecture in Berlin, working as an architect first in the studio of Bruno Paul and then, like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, for Peter Behrens. In 1927, a housing project called Weissenhof Siedlung in Stuttgart, Germany, would bring these names together again. Widely believed to be one of the most notable projects in the history of modern architecture, it includes buildings by Gropius, Corbu, Behrens, Mies and others.

“Not yesterday, not tomorrow, only today can be given form.”

In 1928, Mies and his companion and colleague, the designer and Bauhaus alumna Lilly Reich, were asked to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The purpose of the Pavilion was to provide a location that could be visited by the king and queen of Spain during the opening of the Exposition. With that in mind, Mies designed a modern throne – known today as the Barcelona® Chair – for their majesties. In the following year, Mies designed another notable chair, the Brno, with a gravity-defying cantilevered base.

“Instead of trying to solve the new problems with old forms, we should develop the now forms from the very nature of the new problems.”

In 1930, Mies succeeded Walter Gropius as the director of the Bauhaus, where he stayed until the school closed in 1933. In 1937, Mies emigrated from Europe to the United States, and a year later became the director of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The rest of his career was devoted to promoting the modernist style of architecture in the U.S., resulting in rigorously modern buildings such as the Farnsworth House and the Seagram Building, designed with Philip Johnson.

"Reinforced concrete structures are skeletons by nature. No gingerbread. No fortress. Columns and girders eliminate vearing walls. This is skin and bone construction”.

The modern city, with its towers of glass and steel, can be at least in part attributed to the influence of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Equally significant, if smaller in scale, is Mies’ daring design of furniture, pieces that exhibit an unerring sense of proportion, as well as minimalist forms and exquisitely refined details. In fact, his chairs have been called architecture in miniature – exercises in structure and materials that achieve an extraordinary visual harmony as autonomous pieces and in relation to the interiors for which they were designed.

"Create form out of the nature of our tasks with the methods of our time."