The Memoirs of Claire Beck
The architect and theorist Adolf Loos was the subject of reviews published in this magazine in 2018, with write-ups on the book about his trial for pedophilia, on the facsimile of Das Andere, and on the exhibition held at the CaixaForum centers of Barcelona and Madrid (Arquitectura Viva 204 and 205). The first article ended with an invitation to search the memoirs of three of his wives for insights on the dark biography of the Viennese figure, and very opportunely, the story of the last of them, Claire Beck, who was 15 when they met and was married to him from 1929 to 1931, was translated into Spanish.
The small volume, produced by the architect and historian Juan José Lahuerta’s exquisite publishing house, is a declaration of love and admiration through a mosaic of episodes of their brief life together, remarkable in its colloquial candor and enlightening in its depiction of the everyday.
Loos died in 1933, and Claire wrote the book to raise funds for the building of his tomb, which had to wait until 1958: a large solid granite cube in Vienna’s Central Cemetery, in a zone reserved for illustrious people. The journal a+u, devoting two issues of 2018 to Loos, illustrated the cover of one of them with the same dramatic image of the tomb reproduced above. Claire Beck Loos never got to see it because she was sent by the Nazis to the concentration camps of Theresienstadt and Riga, where she presumably died in the gas chamber in 1942, with no other tomb for her ashes than air.