Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was the doyen of American architects and architectural critics. In the 1930s he championed the cause of modernism, although towards the end of his career he was one of the first architects to embrace postmodernism. He is photographed here seated in a dark leather chair, wearing his round, trademark spectacles that contributed so much to his puckish demeanour. Like a figure in an Egyptian low relief – hieratic and unemotional – Johnson has taken up a triangular pose, from the tip of his pointing finger to the back of his head and down to his elbow.