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REPRODUCTION FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING

BY LOUIS H. SULLIVAN His ornament is usually very fat; and it is at its best executed in either terra-cotta or metal, or some material suggesting a thin covering.

66

THE ARCHITECTURAL ANNUAL

The century just closed witnessed the culmi- shores, carrying with her as her sole burden three nation of the first great wave of music-sense and hundred young men, each going to his marriage musical expression of which we have record; it day; consider her again as she returns; she witnessed the growth and what now seems the brings back three hundred strong men, and with decline of a renaissance of the pictorial arts, in- each his newly wedded wife ; strong in number ferior indeed to that which closed the middle-ages, and eager with the hopes of youth, what shall we but impressive in its results, nevertheless. say to them? What shall we say of all that bears musical wave reached its height in Germany: the stamp of the enterprise and vigor which we the pictorial renaissance centred in France; but alternately call modern and American? Shall it a fact that must not be overlooked is this : that be a Doric Column ?* A quotation from some old with the spread of the modern means of com writer ? Shame on us if we have no new words, munication of thought and matter, in all essen no new thought springing up to greet the new tials sectional distinctions are being wiped out, deed! Our very newspapers—things of a dayexcept those arising from climate and other have better grasped the idea of sincerity and have natural conditions, even the influence of national obtained a truer reaction from their surroundings temperament having been reduced to a minimum than the builders who build of stone. by the railroad and the telegraph.

The strength of our craft lies, meanwhile, in The result of this will be that all art of the the leadership of such men as Mr. Sullivan, as future must tend toward the expression of the workers and as teachers ; it lies, as yet hardly modern cosmopolitan spirit, rather than a dis- awakened, in the efforts of hundreds of earnest tinctively national idea, and that the architectural men who see the basic principles of living art derenaissance so much desired will sweep without fining themselves more and more clearly in the much variation about the whole world, reaching works of their leaders, though with but semiits culminating point among the people that has articulate answer in their own work. For it must best appreciated the modern idea of life as shelt be remembered that the incommunicable insight ered within walls. Whether this shall be our own of genius is as necessary as just principles; that land it is too early to say ; but hitherto, at least, while a true understanding of the meaning of art America is the great modern nation in the exter can save, it cannot make the true architect, and it nal activities, and has already given its name to is not within the reach of any man's will to stand the wholesale nature of modern methods. Con among those through whom has come, and sider only the case of those young Norsemen, through whom shall come again, an enduring several hundreds in number, who, some years response to the needs of man through the medium ago, left their sweethearts in the land of their which bounds the province of the artist as archifathers, while they came to this country to pre tect. pare the home where they might live on better terms with fortune than elsewhere. In the far

* A movement is on foot to erect a gigantic doric column Northwest, beyond the great lakes, they laid out

in Detroit, at the lower end of Belle Isle Park, to com

memorate the two hundredth anniversary of the founding their farms and built their houses, and then,

of the city. An adjacent colonnade will furnish a place three hundred or more strong, they chartered a for statues of Cadillac and others noted in the history of steamer. Consider that steamer, leaving our the locality.

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THE ARCHITECTURAL ANNUAL

67

LOUIS H. SULLIVAN

ARTIST AMONG ARCHITECTS, AMERICAN AMONG AMERICANS

REPRINTED FROM “THE CRITERION"

A

RE American Beaux Art architects con- ness is business and money is what talks loudest. sciously or unconsciously engaged in In the completeness with which he conforms to

Gallicizing” American cities ? A very the economic demands of his position, one ma great number of people say they are doing so ; see the influence of his French ancestry and New that, whereas the commercial, social and climatic England training. But in reality it is due to conditions of America differ from those of any something far broader. It is the result of the other country, and demand and give splendid poetic and imaginative side of his nature. The opportunities for treatment individually Ameri. noblest faculty of poetry is to divine the relation can, these Beaux Arts architects are simply re- between the actual and the ideal, between what peating, often in an emasculated form, the style one must do and wbat one longs to do. His imwhich the Frenchmen have evolved for their own agination has reached up and caught at the and entirely different requirements. That they possibilities and the meaning which are enshrined should do so is treason to the principle upon which in those huge office structures. To him they are the whole Beaux Arts system is founded.

not merely buildings, to be deprecated for their But there is at least one Beaux Arts man in negation of all that has been held beautiful in the this country who has been always true to the architecture of the past. They are, or may be fundamental teaching of his Alma Mater, and made, vital embodiments of the colossal energy that is Louis H. Sullivan, of Chicago. No one and aspiring enterprise of American life. The can accuse him either of trying to gallicize an fact that this piling of story upon story has its American city, or of borrowing designs and apply. origin in the commercial necessities of real estate ing them in a perfunctory manner. Everything and in the congestion of population within certain that he has touched has the note of freshness and limited areas, does not prevent him from seeing spontaneity, and is distinctively American, be- the spiritual possibilities which lurk, undreamed cause it has grown out of distinctively American of by most people, in this inert mass of apparently conditions and requirements. To put the reader brutal materialism. at once in the attitude of knowing something “What is the chief characteristic of the tall about Mr. Sullivan, let me say that he designed office building ?" asks Mr. Sullivan in one of his the Auditorium Hotel, in Chicago. His father published articles, and he answers : “It is losty. was an Irishman, his mother a Frenchwoman, This loftiness is to the artist nature its thrilling and he was born and reared in Boston. At the aspect. It must be tall, every inch of it tall. School of Technology in that city he obtained bis The force and power of altitude must be in it; first professional training, and supplemented it by the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. a course in the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, Heredity, environment and education were all rising in skeer exultation that from bottom to top favorable to his development as an architect. He it is a unit without a dissenting line—that it is is an artist in the first place, with an exuberance the new, the unexpected, the eloquent peroration of imagination and craving for the beautiful in of most bold, most sinister, most forbidding conart and nature that is quite unusual. His range ditions. The man who designs in this spirit and of artistic sensibility is not confined to his own with this sense of responsibility to the generaspecial medium. Literature, music and nature tion he lives in must be no coward, no denier, no are sources of beauty which he has drank from. bookworm, no dilettante. He must live of his He will take as much pleasure in showing you life and for his life in the fullest, most consumthe photographs of his cottage on the shores of mate sense. He must realize at once and with the Gulf of Mexico, and in telling you of his roses the grasp of inspiration that the problem of the and of the way in which the birch trees and pines tall office building is one of the most stupendous, fling their silhouettes athwart the Southern sun- one of the most magnificent opportunities that sets, as he will in discussing his giant sky- the Lord of Nature in his benefices has ever scrapers. For the life work of this man-poet, offered to the proud spirit of man.” philosopher and worshipper of beauty-is chiefly This is how Mr. Sullivan views his work from to build office buildings in the most material city the imaginative and ästhetic side. His attitude in the universe, where in the strictest sense busi- toward the practical issues is equally noteworthy.

68

THE ARCHITECTURAL ANNUAL

The majority of architects regard the problem of fame is that he has grasped the possibilities of
the office building as one of compromise between the office building more fully, more resolutely
the practical and the aesthetic. Mr. Sullivan, on and with greater elevation of purpose, than any
the other hand, fully and frankly recognizes that other map. While his buildings are practical to
the root of the whole matter is practical, evolves the minutest detail, they are characterized by a
it consistently in a practical direction, and finds treatment that is generally very simple and unaf-
that the æsthetic qualities in each case grow fected, but always monumental. With him there
naturally out of the special practical require is no contention between the practical and the
ments. His theoretical and working formula is æsthetic. The useful finds its own artistic ex-
that "Form Follows Function." He first gives pression; the result is æsthetically satisfactory,
the business man exactly what he asks for, and because it has satisfied the requirements of neces-
out of this agglomeration of necessities his artist- sity. So he does not try to adopt the design of
mind gets the inspiration for the form, which a three-story Italian palace of the sixteenth cen-
will make a monumental mass of the whole and tury to a fifteen-story office building of modern
give to each part its appropriate decoration. As America, or apply to the same problem, whose
a decorator, no man in the country comes near chief feature is height, the principles derived
him. Ornament emanates from his brain as spon from classical buildings, in which a long, low,
taneously and exuberantly as notes from a song. horizontal effect was striven for. His buildings
bird's throat. But here, again, form follows func are modern and American in purpose, spirit and
tion. His ornament is never for its own sake, appearance. And he never repeats himself. Each
but always is an expression of the special pur- problem gets its own separate solution. The sim-
pose or function of the space decorated. The in- plicity of greatness, the fitness of a thing that
exhaustible variety of his ornament has proved has grown out of itself, the inherent dignity of
so fascinating, that many students have over what nobly seems its place in life, belong to all
looked the big qualities of his work, of which the examples of his work.
the decoration is only a part.
His true title to

CHARLES H. CAFFIN.

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