Adolf Loos: A Private Portrait

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DoppelHouse Press, 2011 - Architecture - 200 pages
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"A valuable fine-grained portrait... The English translation of her book is fluent and accurate, conveying well the tone of Claire Loos' original (which, in turn, to some extent mimics Loos' own writing style). Richly informative."
--Christopher Long,West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture

"Claire Beck Loos, a gifted photographer and writer, ... reveals much about her ex-husband's mercurial persona in a series of conversationally-toned vignettes .... Claire died tragically at 38, at the Riga concentration camp; her memoir thus becomes a haunting tribute not only to Loos's talents, but to her own.."
--Judy Pollan,Modernism Magazine

Adolf Loos--A Private Portrait is an unusual, literary biography featuring lively, often humorous, "snapshots" of Viennese-Czechoslovak architect Adolf Loos. An intimate collection of vignettes reveal Loos' personality, temperament and philosophy during the last years of his life (1929-1933) and the ways in which he helped shape Modern architecture. This translation, by Constance C. Pontasch and Nicholas Saunders, is the first English edition, the book having enjoyed several reprints in German.

The author, Claire Beck Loos, was a photographer and Adolf Loos' last wife. She was born in 1904 in Czechoslovakia; her family were Jewish industrialists and important early clients of Loos, commissioning several apartments in Pilsen and works by the architect's friend Oskar Kokoschka. In addition to being a biography of her husband,Adolf Loos--A Private Portrait also serves as a self-portrait of Claire, a vibrant young artist who died a tragic and untimely death at Riga, a Nazi concentration camp, in 1942. The book includes supplemental texts by Claire's niece Janet Beck Wilson, biographical materials and previously unpublished artistic photographs by the author.

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I was so impressed with this book. It is a wonderful and intimate look into the life of the Czech-born architect Adolf Loos, whose visionary ideas changed the way we see and interact with living spaces today. Claire Beck Loos' lively voice is matter-of-fact, witty, and intensely personal. She was Loos’ third wife, and her marriage, though short, was a thrilling, albeit difficult experience for her as a young artist. Her “Adolf Loos-A Private Portrait” guides us through her life with Loos, and gives us a rare glimpse into the heart of the man. This is a beautiful book unlike any other written about one of Europe’s most influential architects. It will move you.  

About the author (2011)

Claire Beck Loos: Claire Beck Loos (b. 1904 Pilsen, Czechoslovakia; d. 1942 Riga) studied photography at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna, was a photographer and writer. She worked in photographer Hede Pollak's atelier in Prague. She married Adolf Loos and is best known for her portraiture of him. She died in the Holocaust.

Carrie Paterson: Carrie Paterson is an artist and writer who lives in Los Angeles. She writes for contemporary art journals and has her own publishing company, DoppelHouse Press. She is the grand-niece of Claire Beck Loos.

Janet Beck Wilson: Janet Beck Wilson is a writer and former Rock and Roll zine editor. She is the niece of Claire Beck Loos.

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