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UltraModern: Samuel Marx Architect, Designer, Art Collector Hardcover – February 16, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Pointed Leaf Press (February 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983388946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983388944
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 11.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,026,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In choosing to name this book, "Ultramodern...", the author has painted herself into an intellectually untenable corner; the evidence presented in the book would scarcely lead the reader to the conclusion that Chicago architect/furniture designer Samuel Marx was even modern, let alone "ultramodern". And it is not as if Ms. O'Brien was not given ample opportunity to prove the title's assertion.
Given the enviable privilege of unfettered access to a trove of material (including photographs detailing Marx's commissions) owned by the Chicago Historical Society, the Art Institute of Chicago, and numerous other cultural repositories , Ms. O' Brien was able to "cherrypick" the most suitable examples of Marx's furniture to make her point; she presumably chose to exclude information and photographs which would be less compelling in illustrating the putative importance of Marx as a modernist architect and furniture designer. Despite this obvious selection bias, the vast majority of the items chosen to be illustrated by O'Brien (perhaps 80%) were merely comfortable reinterpretations of known traditional styles commonly found in haute bourgeois households of that period. Perhaps more distressing is the fact that a good deal of the furniture "designed" by Marx that would putatively be labeled "modernist" in today's world is shown to have been "adapted" (O' Brien's term) from works that had been previously designed by luminaries such as Jean Michel Frank, T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings, Donald Deskey, Paul Frankl, Isamu Noguchi and others.

In actuality, Marx's adaptations frequently make the pieces less modernist, not more. In some instances his adaptations fail altogether.
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Regarding the criticisms in other entries here regarding the title "Ultra Modern", it's my understanding that the author is well aware that it is not a very accurate description of Samuel Marx's work. The title was chosen by her publisher's marketing department which apparently did some focus group testing on what would be most appealing and sell the most books.
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what can be said about mr marx....modern with a memory for the past; and that collection is beyond belief. Dont think collections like that exist today. Have viewed this book a hundred times since my purchase.My friends are lining up to borrow
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