Gatsby from an Architect's Perspective

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), The Great Gatsby (San Francisco: Arion Press, 1984). Photo-engravings designed by Michael Graves. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), Oversize GA2009- in process

Princeton libraries hold 83 copies of Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, beginning with the first edition in 1925 (not to mention Fitzgerald’s original manuscript). The most recently acquired is a 1984 edition designed and illustrated by Princeton architect Michael Graves, Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University.

When Arion Press invited Graves to work on a fine-press edition of The Great Gatsby, he chose to focus on the objects of Gatsby’s world; those things that defined his life and social status. None of the illustrations Graves prepared include portraits of Tom or Nick, or the book’s other characters. Instead they depict Gatsby’s estate and grounds, the furniture, fixtures, landscaping, automobiles, telephones, cocktail glasses, the gas station, and pool.

Princeton’s copy is one of fifty housed in a clamshell box with a terra cotta bas-relief on the cover along with two original drawings by Graves.