Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Sullivan, Louis H.
Louis H. Sullivan emphatically supports the viewpoint of Gutzon Borglum toward American art, p. 338
LOUIS H. SULLIVAN EMPHATICALLY SUP- PORTS THE VIEWPOINT OF GUTZON BOR- GLUM TOWARD AMERICAN ART EN our attention was called to the controversy roused y the publication, in the October number of THE jRAFTsmAN, of Mr. Gutzon Borglum's strong protest Lgainst the conditions in our national life to which he ttributes the lack of sincerity and vitality in Amer- can art, we requested some expression of opinion from Mr. Louis H. Sullivan, the one American arcmtect who is preeminently fitted to speak with authority regarding such a criticism because he has shown and is showing the very spirit which Mr. Borglum finds lacking in the art expression of this country. Here is Mr. Sullivan's letter, which speaks Tor itself: TO THE Editor of THE CRAFTSMAN: Dear Sir:-- You have called my attention to Mr. Gutzon Borglum's stric- tures on American art in the October issue and request a word from me. That is easy, and I need be but brief. Mr. Borglum is ninety- nine per cent. right all the way through. Let us boil things down to basic principles :-art consists in doing things right. Science consists in inquiring how to do things right. Poetry consists in vision; that is, in seeing things right. Thought consists actively of attention and reflection. Very well. Apply this trite test to our American architecture and what is the abrupt and net conclusion, judged by the works? This, namely, that we neither do things right, inquire how to do things right, see things right, nor attend, nor reflect. Therefore, our American architecture, judged by its works- always by its works-is devoid of art, science, poetry and thought. Therefore, it is phantom, not real. This I hold is incontrovertibly true and can be proved in detail to the last dot on the last i. I have been preaching this for twenty-five years. Therefore why prolong the discussion now, further than to say that what I have stated as true concerning our American architecture may with the same emphasis and the same exactitude be proved true of every phase of our American civilization. Mr. Borglum and I therefore arrive at substantially the same con- clusion, he in his way, I in my way. LouIs H. SULLIVAN.
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