Mark Lamster | Essays

Philip Johnson: A Biography


This seems like an opportune moment to make public the news that I am at work on a new biography of the late architect Philip Johnson, to be published by Little, Brown. It will be the first fully independent biography of Johnson and the first published since the 1990s, well before his death.

This is, of course, a wildly ambitious project. As I begin my research, the photo above, of Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, seems a useful metaphor for what lies ahead: a difficult, obstacle-filled journey, but with a reward that makes the effort worthwhile. With that, I fall back on Johnson's own words — in the third-person, no less — on the publication of his first monograph: "Whatever Johnson's place in history may be, it is a plus for the historian to have a book on his work." If you or someone you know has any information that might be germane to this project, please do contact me.

I'm especially interested to speak with Johnson's relations, colleagues, employees, clients, business associates, personal friends, students — or anyone else who has something interesting to say about the man, a telling personal experience related to him or one of his buildings, or documents concerning his life. To whet the appetite, a few more images of the Glass House compound follow.

Posted in: Architecture

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