Robert Bruce Tague was born in 1912 in Chicago. He earned his undergraduate degree in architecture at Chicago's Armour Institute of Technology in 1930 and accepted a post-graduate scholarship on the condition that he could produce his thesis under the direction of George Fred Keck, one of the few architects then designing in the International Style vocabulary. Subsequently he worked for Keck off and on for twenty years while teaching at the new Bauhaus in Chicago, known as the Institute of Design. Tague was an associate of Crombie Taylor's in restoring the landmark Auditorium Theater in Chicago, and was later a partner of Tristan Meinecke. Tague was an advocate of contemporary design throughout his career. He died in 1985 in Chicago.
Tague speaks about entering competitions; studying at Armour Institute of Technology; working for George Fred Keck; the struggle to be modern; the Century of Progress Exposition, 1933-1934; his friendship with Sigfried Giedion; the Institute of Design; World War II; about site planning; going back to Keck's office; Crombie Taylor Associates.
Frueh House; Highland Park, Illinois, 1949. Photo courtesy of Idaka.
"...I'd always been looking for something that would be non-copying, non-archeological, contemporary, new and correct--the right way. And there's Sullivan's and Wright's work, philosophy, in the Chicago School, some of which seemed to answer this, but it was highly individual. You couldn't imagine going back to that because, even at that time, even though it was rather recent, it was still a matter of going back and working in this manner." (p. 4)
Funding for this oral history was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Publication of this oral history in web-accessible form was made possible by the generous support of The Vernon and Marcia Wagner Access Fund at The Art Institute of Chicago, The James & Catherine Haveman Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Family Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and Daniel Logan and The Reva and David Logan Foundation.