Art: Return to the Past

The young Harvard student had barely read half way through the article he had casually picked up one day in 1928 when he realized that his whole life would have to change. The son of a wealthy Cleveland corporation lawyer, Philip Johnson was majoring in Greek and philosophy, but the piece on modern architecture came as a revelation. It had been written by a young Vassar professor named Henry-Russell Hitchcock—a man who was to become famous as an art scholar, and who inadvertently put Johnson on the path of becoming one of the most unusual architects in the U.S.

In 1930 the...

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