Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Work of Leopold Eidlitz, III.---The Capitol at Albany, by Montgomery Schuyler.

I thought the author must have intended it as a joke, when he ends this essay's 1323-word opening paragraph with the phrase..."came in large part from the architect's [Eidlitz's] dislike of what he called "wasting money in carving granite.'" But no. With the many Latin phrases and literary references, I realize Mr. Schuyler is playing it deadly serious. Well then, so shall I.

The Architectural Record, Vol. XXIV. November, 1908, No. 5

The Work of Leopold Eidlitz, III.---The Capitol at Albany, by Montgomery Schuyler.

When, at the beginning of 1875, Samuel J. Tilden succeeded John A. Dix as Governor of New York, the new State Capitol had been in progress for seven years, had reached the middle of the third story, and had cost four millions. In design, it was a perfectly commonplace specimen of the Renaissance of the period, as practised in North America, with a particularly tormented sky line, tormented with a number of Mansarded roofs and pavilions and pediments and small towers. It had gone far enough to excite suspicious inquiry into its practical convenience, ultimate cost, and probable protraction. An investigation into these things would doubtless in any case have been made by an incoming Democratic administration. That the investigation included the architecture, and had such revolutionary consequences, was due to the fact that the commission in charge of the Capitol was that year changed from a special commission to a commission which held its place ex-officio, and that the president of it became Willam Dorsheimer, the new Lieutenant-Governor, who came in with Tilden. Tilden himself, with all his eminent qualities, was as innocent of aesthetic perceptions as a horse. It was in deference to Andrew H. Green that he chose Green's artistic favorite, and one might say protege, Calvert Vaux, to design his own house in Gramercy Park, now the abode of the Arts Club. The Governor refused to concern himself in the "battle of the styles" that raged around the revised design for the Capitol. When the drawings were shown him, they fell upon blind eyes, and his only question about the revised design was "how much will it save?" An antique Roman, like those to whom Cicero found himself bound to apologize whenever he exhibited an effeminate and Grecian interest in literature or art! Like his Boeotian successor, Lucius Robinson, who refused to attend the opening reception of the "North Center," and of whom the late Noah Brooks feigned that he had computed that the interest on the cost of the Capitol would permanently supply Chemung County with chewing tobacco. But Dorsheimer was very consciously a person of culture, and indeed of all his public services, some of them famous in their time, like that bold and eloquent appeal for the gold standard, made in his big Boanergean voice and backed by his huge "presence," which he made in the St. Louis convention which nominated Tilden for the Presidency, this revision of the original design for the Capitol of New York was the most notable, and perhaps the most memorable. It took less than Dorsheimer's degree of culture to perceive that the original design for the Capitol was by no means up to the highest standard of the time, being a perfectly uninspired and conventional compilation, proposed to be executed by means of conventional shams. This was the more remarkable because the architect, Mr. Thomas Fuller, or his associates, had just "come from doing" in the new Capitoline buildings for the new Dominion of Canada at Ottawa, a picturesque group, in free Gothic, which was not conventional and which might lay fair claim, as such claims went, to a degree of architectural "inspiration." The architecture of the Albany Capitol was not above that of the then new State War and Navy Building in Washington, or the then new New York Post Office; pretty distinctly below that of the then new municipal building in Philadelphia. Dorsheimer sought an Advisory Board and found it in Leopold Eidlitz, H. H. Richardson and Fred Law Olmsted, associated, when they had superseded the architects they were appointed to investigate, as Eidlitz, Richardson & Co. Richardson, whom Dorsheimer had known at Harvard, and whose appointment to design the Insane Asylum at Buffalo he had brought about, was his personal selection; Eidlitz owed a choice about which he knew nothing before-hand to the generous urgency with Governor Tilden of the Governor's friend and counselor, Manton Marble, then editor of the World, that most variously accomplished man and most sensitive to all varieties of excellence, whose urgency was founded purely on artistic admiration, and was not at that time, I think, complicated with any personal acquaintanceship. A more gratifying or purer source of employment an architect could not have. It carried with it no obligation to the architect, except that of justifying it by doing his best. Olmsted's name, in those years, almost imposed itself upon whoever was desirous of a circumspect consideration and a wise solution of any problem pertaining to an important public work. The report, which left the plans under which the building had so far been carried on without any architectural or practical defense, was the individual work of Mr. Olmsted The drawings which accompanied and illustrated it were the individual work of Mr Eidlitz. The effect they produced on the general professional mind was extraordinary. They showed a complete contempt for the indestructible beginnings of which they were necessarily the continuation, and in connection with which, they were necessarily to be seen. There was truly enough, a lack of comity in the operation. It is easy to see now that the professional bodies which remonstrated against them had some reason, though fervid partisans of the new design attributed it at the time to "trade unionism," the revised architect being the president of a chapter of the A. I. A. Nor was the opposition disposed of, either logically or artistically, by the new designer's answer to a question "what business" he had to superpose his German Romanesque on the Italian Renaissance. "What business had Fuller to put that basement under my building?" If it had been merely a basement it would not so much have mattered. But in truth the building was committed in style, and the unquestionable improvements in simplification, in breadth, in repose, as to the mass, if not of vitality and individuality in the detail, might have been managed, without so violent a shock to sensibilities, which were not altogether conventional, but at least in part, aesthetic So preached the American Architect, then newly established under the editorship of Mr. W. P. P. Longfellow, who was much more nearly in the right than any of the partisans. The opposition was so far successful that, after the Romanesque reconstruction had been carried to the spring of the arches in the upper arcade, the legislature ordered a return to the Italian Renaissance for the completion of the exterior, and the commission devolved the execution of this behest upon Richardson. His genius for simplification hardly ever appeared to better advantage. Construing his instructions very liberally, he based his design for the completion not upon the Italian, but upon the French Renaissance, upon the architecture of the chateaux, and retaining the massing and the composition of his elder associate, he greatly improved them, as that associate cordially acknowledged, mainly by the substitution of the huge wedge-shaped masses of the roofs, for the roofs of two pitches, which appear in Mr Eidlitz's original drawings, and by lowering and subduing the flanking towers of the central masses, North and South, so as to relieve the huge wedges without conflicting with them. Only the fronts of the courts were left, with the interiors, for the revising architects to carry out in their own way, and these court fronts are of Mr Eidlitz's own designing, although, as one can see, equally with the street fronts they got the benefit of Richardson's unquestionable improvement in the treatment of the roofs. The plain unbroken expanse of the arcaded wall sufficiently shows the refusal of the architect to "compromise" or "palter" with what he regarded as the irredeemable folly of the mixed Roman construction of the substructure, while the dormers are all the richer and the more effective for the plainness of the wall from which they rise, a plainness which amounts to baldness, but came in large part from the architect's dislike of what he called "wasting money in carving granite."

It is true that in his own design he had proposed to relieve this plainness by polishing a certain portion of the granite face and relieving the polished surface with incised arabesques, in which, had it been permitted to him thus to exhibit it, his talent for the origination or "appropriation of apt detail" would undoubtedly have shone. It is equally true, though not very obvious that his "apt appropriation" is evinced in the design of the rich dormers which relieve and punctuate the plainness of the wall below. For, as the architect pointed out, the motive of these dormers is derived from the huge rich triple dormers in the flank of St. Stephen's at Vienna. In truth, the derivation needed pointing out, to so different a result are the modern derivatives developed. Sensitive observers have been known to prefer the court-fronts, with all their unreconciled contradictions, to the street fronts of the Capitol, and they will at least be agreed to be impressive and interesting works.

It were not a very hazardous contention that 'the noblest offspring" of the Gothic revival in this country, at least in secular work, was "its last." If so, the credit is chiefly due to Leopold Eidlitz. The building is not an architectural whole, and never after it was begun and committed, could have been. It was aborted beforehand, and it has been grievously marred since. But it includes about the most interesting examples in the United States of free and rational architecture, of the architecture of fact and reality, of the architecture of the future if architecture with us is to have a future. If so, that is because Eidlitz laid a fearless hand on the ark of the traditional architectural covenant, appalling even his own colleagues by the boldness with which he followed his convictions. It is to this boldness that we owe Richardson's Senate Chamber and Court of Appeals, as well as Eidlitz's own work, herewith illustrated.

With the demolition of the vaulted ceiling after it had stood for ten years, and the erection of its morally and architecturally discredited successor, the general conception of the Assembly Chamber, perhaps the noblest monument of the Gothic revival in America, became almost unintelligible, without the aid of the illustrations herewith presented, of what it was, to show how noble a conception it was, and how artistically carried out in detail. "What a great thing to have been done in this country," I remember John Hay saying, as he stood under the keystone of the central domed vault in the first year of its existence. Even before that demolition, the so-called Golden Corridor had been ruthlessly demolished to make more committee-rooms, and that corridor was the most successful illustration in the building, or elsewhere of that union of Gothic architecture and Saracenic decoration in which the architect and decorator so fervently believed. Nobody who remembers it will deny or belittle its success. A corridor of the impressive length of 140 feet, divided into seven square bays of 20, it was purposely kept to the utmost simplicity in form that it might most effectively exhibit the utmost resplendence in color, with its walls a trellis of gold and yellow on a ground of red, its ceiling a diaper of blue, red and umber on a ground of gold. The "Assembly Parlor" was also a success in polychromatic decoration, until it occurred to somebody to vandalize it by substituting a "tint" of terra cotta for the carmine of the walls below the prismatic frieze of white, blue and gold. Richardson suffered also, though posthumously, insomuch that his fine conception of the Western staircase is burlesqued by the absurd capitals subsequently introduced, and his fine conception of the Library by the tawdry and commonplace painted decoration.

But there was no question of the success of the North Centre, with the architectural profession or the public, when it was at last thrown open for the meeting of the legislature of 1879. No architect in this country has had a more triumphant hour than its designer, as he stood, at the reception the evening before the meeting, under one of the vaults of the Assembly Chamber, at the receipt of congratulations. He subsequently and characteristically took refuge from congratulation in sardonics: "Yes, I think it was a success. I met Blank there (a feebly aesthetic architect, particularly antipathetic to him) after a pleasant separation of fifteen years, and he looked very miserable."

During the last few months, as you may conceive, the preparations for that famous opening had absorbed the attention of everybody concerned. The Chairman of the Commission and the Advisory Board frequently took the night boat up the Hudson to go over the work in the morning, Eidlitz laden with a huge roll of working drawings, which he would not trust out of his sight. It was more than once my privilege to be one of the excursionists. Mr. J. Q. A. Ward had been invited to do friezes, the two ranges of windows in the Assembly Chamber, to complement Hunt's allegorical frescoes in the lunettes above the upper range. The frieze, for some now forgotten reason, never materialized. But Mr. Ward, writing to confirm my recollection that he went up to consider it with reference to its site, says: "There was never so much wit and humor and science and art on that boat before or since." Verily, those were good nights aboard that North River steamer. There was Richardson, with his headlong precipitate enthusiastic discourse, suddenly brought up, at a crisis of the rhapsody, with a proposition from Eidlitz, which, to impose itself as axiomatic needed but to be stated. There was Olmsted, interjecting at critical points a mild Socratic inquiry always of high pertinence, the point or edge of which went unfelt and unperceived, for the most part, by the heated disputants. There was Dorsheimer, hovering on the circumference of the discussion like a genial chorus, though of Teutonic rather than Hellenic, suggestion and occasionally breaking in with some explicit praise of the "lucid German intellect" as exemplified by Eidlitz. "Noctes coenaque deum" as nights if not suppers go in this imperfect sphere. And when Albany was reached there in that autumn of 1878, was William Morris Hunt, in an improvised studio in the unfinished Capitol, working away at his unfinished allegories, and solacing his leisure with extremely pointed discourse. For he was a famous talker, and volumes were made by admiring disciples and discipulae in Boston of his "Talks on Art." Eidlitz and he took to each other at once, the architect describing the painter as "not only an artist but a philosopher," which was his maximum of praise, the painter ascribing to the architect "a great brain and a great heart." I happened to be one of the little party which assembled on the temporary bridge thrown from one lunette to another, of the Assembly Chamber, when the black and white cartoons of the "The Discoverer" and "The Flight of Night" were by a magic lantern arrangement of glass slides and oxyhydrogen light, shown in the places they were meant to adorn. Being painted directly on the stonework, they shared the fate of the vaulting when it was ordered to demolition. "The Discoverer" hardly exists, perhaps, except in the photograph taken on that occasion from the cartoon; the "Flight of Night" only in the group of the "Horses of Morning." These, indeed, are familiar to the frequenters of the artistic plaster shops. The group was modeled by Hunt as a study, for he had originally destined himself to sculpture, and was serving his apprenticeship at Dusseldorf therein when admiration for Couture drew him to Paris and pigment. Indeed, neither picture loses much for being reduced to its elements of design, for the color in neither was much of an additional allurement; nor this picture by being reduced to the group plastically presented, seeing that the residue, sleeping mother and child in the dusk of the background, was pretty clearly padding. But the equine group has happily been preserved. It is legendarily said, that Guido's "Aurora" was inspired by Ovid:

ecce vigil rutilo patefecit ab ortu Purpureos Aurora fores, et plena rosarum. Atria

and so forth. For that matter, it would be fairly safe to say that the mythology of all the painters and sculptors of the Renaissance was derived from the "Metamorphoses." But Hunt's conception of the "Flight of Night" can by no means have come from those smooth and luscious hexameters, rather from the vernacular version of Tennyson:

and that wild team, Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise. And shake the darkness from their loosened manes, And beat the darkness into flakes of fire.

But it will at any rate be admitted that the effort of the Commission, fifteen years before the Chicago Fair and twenty years before the Library of Congress, to get the best that was to be had in pictorial and sculptural decoration, is worthy of grateful memory, and should have protected them from the attack of an Albanian sculptor that they "cared nothing for art" because they did not see their way to paying him twice over for a replica of a portrait statue for which he had already been paid in Washington.

* * *

Consider that Mr. Eidlitz's work in that North Centre included not only the Assembly Chamber, the focus and cynosure of the whole display, but also the Assembly staircase, the room intended for the Court of Appeals, but temporarily fitted for the occupancy of the Senate until its own chamber, designed by Richardson, should be ready, and the socalled golden corridor. Consider how elaborated and how unmistakably individual the design of all these things, and that the designer was also decorator, excepting of the two mural pictures. Consider that the architect was concurrently designing the exterior and interior of the addition to the Court House in City Hall Park, and architects will admit that that was a wonderful year's work for one man to do. And of how high a quality the work is, and how little it stands in need of allowance for the pressure under which it was done! How can anybody even now view what is left of it without perceiving how strenuous, how serious, how skilful and how noble it is, and without experiencing an impulse to take off his hat? The Senate corridor was done two years later, the Senate staircase not finished until six years later. They were designed more at leisure. Though the designs of the earlier work bears few marks of haste, the later justify their deliberation. The corridor, doubled with a row of columns in the middle, by reason of the want of abutment for a single arch, is known to all visitors to the Capitol as one of its most impressive features. And the great Senate staircase, with its doubled half-arches and its triplet of arches at the landing, is not only one of the most original and vigorous works of the Gothic revival, it is in its scheme and intention, at least, if not in the charm of handicraft and execution, one of the few modern Gothic works which one would be willing to set beside the ancient examples to show that the "revived" Gothic might not only be galvanized into a semblance of vitality, but might really "come alive."

* * *

What Mr. Eidlitz was concurrently or almost concurrently doing in his addition to the Tweed Court House in New York was what he ought to have done in his superstructure of the Capitol at Albany, namely to improve its composition and refine and rationalize its detail so far as those objects should be attained without a violent departure in "style" or a flat contradiction in simultaneously visible terms. But the outraged professional sensibilities were not in fact managed, in the Court House any more than in the Capitol, though the opposition did not in the New York case, take the shape of formal remonstrance. It was, however, the open contempt for its surroundings which the interior rotunda showed that mainly excited academic opposition. His work in that rotunda has been shorn of much of its pristine force, which was much promoted by the tri-colored brickwork, while at the same time its contradiction of its surroundings has been considerably softened, by being subjected stonework, brickwork, and all, to an equable coat of gray paint, which quite nullifies the accentuation of the design by color. It seems impossible to keep the painter away from public works. Mr Withers came to me once in much distress to know if I had "influence" which would thwart the project of which he had heard of the brickwork of the Jefferson Court House, then just beginning to a plausible aspect of moderate antiquity, and to weather into mellowness. I managed to meet the official of the building who informed me that it was quite true that he was going to have the front painted, but that he was going to do it simply out of the interest and pride which he felt in the building, which he regarded as "shabby." I asked him whether he thought he felt more interest in the appearance of the building than its architect, his answer was, "Aw, that dingy look may do for London, but it won't do for New York, and "freshened up" the poor front accordingly was. These works, the Albany Capitol and the New York Court House, were received and resented by the conventionally minded of the profession and the public as if they had been intended as affronts to the conventional architecture which they certainly flouted. To the best of my belief, this was not the case at all. Their author's notion of the duty of an architect, to paraphrase Cicero's of that of an historian, was simply be "quid falsi 'facere' audeat ne quid veri non audeat." The "boldness" and "defiance" with which he was charged in adjoining what he regarded as an architecture of reason to an architecture of convention, were to him merely a following of truth and reason, and he was honestly pained and puzzled by the commotion which his efforts in that direction inspired. He had, in truth, a naivete of intellectual integrity. He no more meant to be defiant in these things than to be offensive to an architect with whom his relations were quite friendly, and who had given a "reception" to inaugurate his latest work, when he said to him: "Asterisk, why do you invite people to go and look at that ridiculous building?" Standing in the rotunda of the Court House one day, when his own vari-colored brick arches and columns had been inserted between the cast-iron panels of the older work, he said, "Is it possible for anybody to fail to see that this, pointing to the new work, "performs a function and that that," pointing to the old, "does not?" A "Q. E. D." was the aim of his every architectural endeavor what might be called a scientific solution of an artistic problem.

* * *

After the Capitol and the Court House, the architect's remaining works, done in the early nineties, were very minor, and they were of so bald an austerity that they might be challenged as not "architecture" at all. One was some work for the city in lunatic asylums at Ward's Island and at Central Islip, L. I., the other the reconstruction and incidental extension of the Cooper Union, which had developed structural weakness. At first sight it seems that in both works, experience had brought the aged architect to what Emerson, speaking of the old Goethe, calls "an extreme impatience of conjecture and rhetoric." But in fact, in each case the work had to be done at the absolute minimum of cost and was thus reduced to the absolutely indispensable. The lunatic asylums on Long Island were prescribed to be built on the "pavilion system," whether in mere analogy to ordinary hospitals or out of some belief that lunacy was infectious, and that its abodes might require to be destroyed to rid them of the "bacillus lunaticus," I do not know. At any rate, when the architect said to me of the work at Islip, "That will interest you. It is nothing but the construction," of course I hastened to visit it. Very interesting indeed I found it, being simply the irreducible minimum of "accommodation" in common brick and yellow pine. A panel of terra cotta on the administrative building is the only ornament I recall. But the work is immensely impressive by very dint of its austerity. One of the dining halls is merely a four hipped steep roof standing on the ground, or with a wall no more than man-high.

Nearly half a century before the architect had devised and built a structure essentially similar as an impromptu dining room on the Bloomingdale Road in which Fernando Wood, then Mayor of New York, might give an official luncheon to the Prince of Wales, then incognito as "Baron Renfrew," now the aging Edward VII. But the earlier, a nine days' wonder to the New York of 1860, was elaborated with much moulding and copiously decorated with much jig sawyery and pigment. The later was the absolute "bones," even the pine timbers, left simply oiled, not such as in size and shape and spacing as an architect would have chosen, but merely the "stock sizes" the market afforded at the cheapest rate. A mere piece of carpentry, you would say. Is it an example of architecture at all, with this rigid restriction of it to the full necessities of the case? Certainly not a piece of architecture in the Ruskinian sense in which architecture is "the addition of unnecessary features." But yet the mere lay out is such that the spectator cannot help seeing that it was not devised by the common carpenter, nor saying to himself "an architect has been here." And the question recurs with equal urgency about the additions to the Cooper Union. The second story of segmental arches, substituted for a pilastered colonnade which had broken down, is clearly "architecture," and a dignified range of openings. But those strange, uncouth erections on the roof are questionable, are puzzling' until you come to perceive, or to be told, that it was merely a question of making three rows of drafting rooms with the utmost advantage that could be taken of the North light. And the basement, that Hall which is the civic forum of Manhattan, those absolutely plain cast-iron columns and those absolutely plain granite arches? You perceive that they are the mere underpinning of a precarious superstructure. You cannot help finding them impressive. Even while you question whether they are architecture, you perceive that they are as much beyond the reach of the common stonemason as that dining hall at Islip of the common carpenter. Well, then, you might conclude, the work of an engineer, an artistic engineer. There the designer would have been with you. "Artistic engineering," he would have said, "Why, that is architecture."

There was a reminiscence of that reconstruction of the Cooper Union in which the architect delighted as showing that for once he had met an owner who abounded beyond the architect in the architect's own sense. The owner, and payer, was his old friend, Edward Cooper, who had been educated as an engineer. There were in the construction two sets of loads for which the architect had devised but one set of iron columns. The owner, going over the drawings, detected and pointed out that the supports were not proportional to the loads. The architect responded that that was quite true, but that the single form of column was quite equal to the heavier load, that the incongruity was not manifest, and that the metal that might be saved by using two castings was not equal in value to the cost of the additional casting. But the precise mind of the owner would not put up with the incongruity. He insisted that the supports should be made proportional to the loads, andproportional they were accordingly made, at his expense. Now, was that insistence of Mr. Cooper's "scientific" or was it "artistic?" Here is another question for the Gnostaisthetikal Debating Society.

Mr. Eidlitz had eminently the mathematical mind. Of the proposition that the angles of a triangle equal two right angles, he said, "I don't need the demonstration. I see it." Which recalls Mr. Pollock's anecdote of Professor Clifford when the less mathematically gifted undergraduates used to take his mathematical troubles to the more gifted. "I was always struck," says the biographer, "with the fact that he did not seem to be following a course of reasoning so much as describing what he saw." This was very notable in Mr. Eidlitz. Every architectural problem he tried to resolve into a question of mechanics. I have known one or two other men who had this same way of regarding architecture, but never one who approached him in power of exposition. Talking always with a pencil in hand, what he saw he often wonderfully made you succeed in seeing too. Although he always maintained that a practising architect could not be a professor of architecture, he would have made an admirable professor of it himself, of his kind of architecture, that is, the architecture of reality and reason, not of the architecture of tradition and convention. And his wit, which was a delight to his friends, was often but a condensed and vivid statement of the facts of the case. As when, after an elaborate dissection of a scheme, presented in an elaborate perspective, for an exposition building, he wound up: "So that you see this whole project ultimately rests upon Blank's ignorance of the mechanical properties of an arch." And again, at the end of a similar analysis: "That is the mechanical objection. The aesthetic objection is founded upon the mechanical, and is simple—if a thing is weak it will look weak." An architect of this kind, invoked to do over the work of an architect of the other kind, regarded a suggestion of compromise and mediation as he would have regarded an attempt to compromise the proposition that twice two are four with the proposition that they are six by a working agreement that they make five.

Doubtless there is danger in this attempt to attain scientific certainty in artistic matters, as Clarendon speaks of the engine "too mathematically conceived," of Chillingworth. Doubtless, the reader will say, and the writer will have to agree, he stretched this insistence further than it would fairly go. As naturally, being first of all an artist, he did things which he could not logically defend, as for example, those pinnacles at the angles of the tower of the Dry Dock Bank, introduced again in the St. George's clergy house, which are so evidently structurally meaningless, but these things he never attempted to defend further than by saying, "it would have been hard to treat otherwise." And really it was astonishing how many matters which commonly pass as matters of feeling he managed to bring within the reign of law and the province of reason.

If he could have written as well as he talked, he would be recognized as a leading architectural authority. But one art is enough for one man tomaster. Readers of the Architectural Record are aware, from the articles that have appeared in it from his pen on "The Vicissitudes of Architecture"and "Fashion in Architecture," that he could express himself with point even on paper. But it takes an earnest reader to attack his "Nature andFunction of Art," published in 1881. One of its reviewers remarked that the author "should have had a literary man," a comment the justice of which I am freer to acknowledge because I was myself such "literary man" as there was in the case. But, presented with however little of factitious attractiveness, the ideas made their way by their own force to the readers they were meant for. They attracted the notice of Professor Aitchison, andit was, doubtless, due to his conviction of the importance of the book that it obtained for the author an honorary membership in the Royal Institute of British Architects. Another little book of his, of much less pretention, had rather more vogue. This was "Big Wages and How to Earn Them," a criticism upon the methods and aims of the trades unions, from the points of view of political economy, industrial efficiency and individual opportunity, which was published anonymously by the Harpers about twenty years ago.

* * *

It was Eidlitz's saying: "American architecture is the art of covering one thing with another thing to imitate a third thing which, if genuine, would not be desirable." It was that of his contemporary and frequent competitor. James Renwick, that "the business of an American architect is to build something that will stand and be fairly presentable for about thirty years." Obviously working in the spirit of the second saying tends to make the first come true. But Eidlitz planned and built for a secular duration. It is a melancholy reflection that nevertheless he survived mon. than half of his own work, more than half in bulk and in value, and that of some of the best of it it has been impossible to find any memorial for the purpose of this study. There is, one hopes. enough of it remaining to be stimulating and exemplary to students of a younger generation, of whom it was his own hope that some would "see what he meant." But for a knowledge of him one has largely to fall back upon the personal recollections of his friends. "The most striking individuality I ever met," said Fred Law Olmsted, who had an eye for character among other things. And after one of the discussions, in the collaboration of the Capitol, in which Eidlitz had eminently displayed his power of insight and of exposition, Richardson exclaimed, in his impetuous way, "I never met a man who had architecture so completely at his fingers 'ends." And again, in a still higher flight of enthusiasm. "Architect or not architect, the ablest man I ever knew." The senior partner on his side said "Richardson has far more copiousness of invention than I." To those who really knew the architect now departed, it will seem well within bounds to say that his was the clearest and most vigorous mind that in his day and in this country was applied to the practice of architecture.

Montgomery Schuyler.

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