From Library Journal
Frick Symington Sanger offers a 300-page addendum to her biography of her great-grandfather, Henry Clay Frick: An Intimate Portrait (LJ 10/1/98). Here she intersperses biographical details exhaustively explored in her earlier book with colorful and copious commentary on the family mansions and their contents. The four houses examined, the foremost being the Manhattan beaux-arts palace that now houses the Frick collection, were produced by fashionable, academically trained architects and decorators circa 1900, many of whom are the subjects of a resurgence of interest in the wake of Postmodernism. The author has a peculiar critical methodology; she maintains that a vaguely defined pre-World War I period was the "Golden Era" of the arts and that aesthetic choices are somehow determined by deep-seated psychological processes. Bypassing her pop psychology and superficial aesthetic analysis, the reader will uncover an interesting portrayal of one of America's wealthiest industrialists, his heirs, and their extravagant homes. Plentiful photos and illustrations recommend this book to comprehensive architecture and design collections. David Solt sz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A paean to ostentatious capitalism and the glory of the golden era of domestic architecture and design (1880 through World War I), Sanger's comprehensive history of steel tycoon and art collector Frick's opulent houses, which easily compete with those of the Vanderbilts and Carnegies, evokes a bygone era of elaborate luxury. A gorgeous coffee-table book, it offers a detailed, even chatty description of the creation of each estate, from Clayton in Pittsburgh to One East Seventieth Street in New York City, accompanied by profuse illustrations from the family's archives. As far as decorative arts go, the Frick collections are fabulous examples of early-twentieth-century styles and taste--ranging from the crowded Victorian to the Beaux Arts school and neoclassical revivals. But this is no ordinary work of scholarship and appreciation: it's written by Frick's great-granddaughter and biographer, who remembers these edifices as homes rather than museum pieces, a viewpoint that serves to bring these palatial residences to life. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved