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Philip Johnson

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Philip Johnson on Charlie Rose, 1996

Philip Johnson on Charlie Rose, 2001

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Biography

Philip Cortelyou Johnson was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1906. Following his graduation from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1943, Johnson designed some of America’s greatest modern architectural landmarks. Most notable is his private residence, the Glass House, a 47-acre property in New Canaan, Connecticut. Other works include: the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Modern Art, numerous homes, New York’s AT&T Building (now Sony Plaza), Houston’s Transco (now Williams) Tower and Pennzoil Place, the Fort Worth Water Garden, and the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. An associate of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the 1950s, Johnson worked with the modern master on the design of the Seagram Building and its famed Four Seasons Restaurant.

Before practicing architecture, Johnson was the founding Director of the Department of Architecture at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. His landmark 1932 exhibition, The International Style, introduced modern architecture to the American public. Johnson continued a relationship with MoMA throughout his life as a curator, architect, trustee, and patron. He donated more than 2,000 works of art to the Museum including works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Johnson was also a singular tastemaker, influencing architecture, art, and design during the second-half of the twentieth century. He referred to the Glass House site as his “fifty-year diary.”

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