Michael J. Lewis

Michael J. Lewis is Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art at Williams College. His most recent book is American Art and Architecture (2006)

Articles by Michael J. Lewis

A Life in Architecture: Ralph Adams Cram and His Office

The historian and the artist bring different questions to a figure like Ralph Adams Cram. The historian wants to understand what social and cultural forces compelled a modern businessman-architect, practicing in the twentieth century, to make buildings in the style of the fourteenth; the artist merely wants to know if they are any good. Do his buildings live—live in the artistic sense—or are they merely clever writing in a dead language, like someone writing Latin verse today? If the answer is that his buildings do not live, then there is hardly any point in trying to answer the first question.