Book: Van Day Truex, The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style
Staff -- Interior Design, 3/14/2002 1:24:00 PM
reviewed by Stanley Abercrombie
Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style
New York: Viking Studio
by Adam Lewis
262 pages, 130 illustrations (34 in color); $40.00
Buy at Amazon.com for $27.97.
|As head of the Parsons School of Design, Van Day Truex was one of the last century's most influential design educators. Later, as design director of Tiffany's, he was one of the chief tastemakers. The depth of his influence is made clear by a very partial list of the students, protégés, and friends to whom Adam Lewis introduces us: Albert Hadley, who provides this book's graceful foreword, Joseph Braswell, Melvin Dwork, Stanley Barrows, Thomas Britt, Angelo Donghia, Betty Sherrill, Robert Bray, Michael Schaible. To say that Truex "defined 20th-century taste and style," however, may be hyperbolic. Lewis's well researched, highly readable account of a fascinating life shows us Truex's apartments in New York and houses in Provence, the china patterns he commissioned for Tiffany's, a pull-up chair for Harry Hinson, and skillful watercolors and ink washes. He also shows us Truex as handsome, poised, charming, and impeccably dressed and gives us glimpses of Europe on the brink of World War II, maligned Jews, closeted homosexuals, the birth of the interior-design profession as we know it, and the rift between conservatism and modernism. Missing, however, is analysis of Truex's academic career. (What exactly was he teaching his flocks of brilliant students all those years?) Present in excess are obsessive lists of the very famous, very privileged, and very rich with whom Truex hobnobbed. More classroom notes and fewer social ones would have produced a book more relevant to his real importance.|
Interior Design Magazine, February, 2002
Classification: Period Style
History & Theory
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