The Private Adolf Loos

The Private Adolf Loos

Portrait of an Eccentric Genius

by Claire Beck Loos

Translated by Constance C. Pontasch and Nicholas Saunders

Published by: DoppelHouse Press

176 Pages, 5.00 x 7.75 in, black and white illustrations, several never before published

  • Paperback
  • 9780997003482
  • Published: March 2020


Written by Loos’ third wife, the photographer Claire Beck (1904–1942), these often humorous, short episodes reveal Loos’ temperament and philosophy during the last years of his life (1928–1933). His irreverent personality and attitudes about post-Imperial Viennese society, the role of the craftsman, and the organic beauty of raw materials are brought to light. Included in The Private Adolf Loos are Claire's photographs of Loos, collected in museums, as well as informal snapshots of the two of them showing the whimsy and theatricality of this relationship between two artistic personalities—one as infamous as he was well-regarded, and one, a youthful accomplice and budding photographer who would also become Loos' intermediary, secretary and proxy. With this bricolage of short tales and its dark conclusion at the brink of death’s door, Claire shows herself to be one of Loos’ great champions and memorialists, despite his shortcoming and debilitations. This is not a book about architecture, but rather a love story about the Modern revolution that provides a woman’s insight into one of its most radical personalities, set amid the fascinating cultural backdrop of 1920s and 1930s interwar Europe.