The nineteenth century continues to be mocked for using historical styles literally -- for making spurious copies of Greek temples, Gothic cathedrals, and Roman baths, and expecting them to serve as modern libraries, colleges, and railroad stations. The one great exception was the Neo-Grec, a movement that believed in following abstract Greek principles rather than slavishly copying Greek forms. This talk looks at the origins of the Neo-Grec in France and its spread to the United States in the work of Richard Morris Hunt, Frank Furness, and the elusive Bruce Price.
Michael J. Lewis is Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art at Williams College. He teaches American art and architecture, and also specializes in the history of German architecture. His books include The Politics of the German Gothic Revival (1993), Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind (2001), and American Art and Architecture (2006). He writes extensively on art and culture, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. Lewis studied at Haverford College and at the University of Hannover, Germany; he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.