Los Angeles Central Library: A History of Its Art and Architecture
*Now only available as hardcover
Declared one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, Los Angeles Central Library is a monument to fine architecture and artwork - and, of course, to its renowned collection of the written word and its world-class special collections. The Central Library and its history are as fascinating as any of the storied volumes found on its shelves. Year after year the Central Library proves its essential place in the heart of Los Angeles, and each year it becomes more important.
It wasn't always so. Once its storied collection was housed in a department store building, civic leaders fought for the funds to build a landmark structure, and then, decades later, waged battles to demolish it. Yet Angelenos have watched the building stand tall, a survivor of one of the world's worst library fires, and rise again from the singed pages of despair. The fight to save the Library, both physically and philosophically, energized the citizens of Los Angeles and sparked an unprecedented historic preservation movement.
Los Angeles Central Library: A History of it Art and Architecture showcases the beautiful building, the paintings, murals, sculptures, decor, gardens, and legendary tile work, all captured by the camera of Academy Award - winner Arnold Schwartzman. Its story of dramatic artwork and civic involvement is chronicled by architectural historian Stephen Gee in meticulous detail. Gee profiles the legendary architects Bertram Goodhue, Carleton Winslow, and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates; the sculptor Lee Lawrie; painters Dean Cornwell, Albert Herter, and Julian Garnsey; philosopher Hartley Burr Alexander, and many more. Schwartzman shows their artistry in page after page of dramatic color, all juxtaposed with historic images and blueprints, many never-before published.
Los Angeles City Librarian John F. Szabo writes in his thoughtful Foreword, "Stephen Gee provides a captivating biographical tour through the life of this Los Angeles landmark. He offers the reader insights into the motivations and competing interests of the city's leaders, extensive details on building materials, stories of conflict between stakeholders, and even a detailed list of the fascinating contents of the building's cornerstone." Gee leaves no stone unturned. And Schwartzman captures every beautiful detail.
For those who treasure the world's libraries, Schwartzman and Gee's fascinating exploration of Los Angeles Central Library is the once-in-a-lifetime book, a reader's read.