Of all the modern American houses from the first half of the twentieth century probably the most familiar are Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie house and his Falling Water. But, after these, Richard Neutra’s house for Dr. Philip Lovell in the Los Angeles hills is probably best known. With its paper-thin, white walls, extravagantly punctuated with metal-framed glass, it strikingly epitomizes what is now frequently referred to as the “heroic” moment in modern architecture.

In the recent exhibition of Neutra’s architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, organized by Arthur Drexler and Thomas Hines and timed to coincide with the publication of Hines’s splendid, full-scale study of Neutra’s career,[1] grainy blow-ups of the original photographs of the Lovell house suggest with special intensity its effect at the time. They show the house...


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