The Monuments Men

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Edward (Edouard) Jules Mutrux ( 1907-1999 )

Edward (Edouard) Jules Mutrux was an influential St. Louis architect of the International Style. Born in St. Louis on August 31, 1907, he was the eldest of twelve children. His father, Louis E. Mutrux, was a successful realtor and designer responsible for the development of many St. Louis apartment buildings. In June 1925, when Edward was seventeen years old, the entire Mutrux family traveled to Europe for an extended vacation. For fifteen months, Edward, his parents, and eleven siblings made their home at Château de Renens, a 30-acre estate near Lausanne, Switzerland. His formative travels throughout Switzerland and into Belgium, the Netherlands, Wales, and Scotland inspired the eldest Mutrux to pursue a career in architecture. He earned two degrees from Washington University in St. Louis before studying in France at the École des Beaux-Arts at Fontainebleau.

Mutrux opened his own architectural firm in St. Louis in the mid-1930s. He received national recognition for his designs in the International Style (made famous by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright), most notably The Dr. Samuel A. Bassett Office, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On the heels of his success, Mutrux met William A. Bernoudy, a former pupil of Wright, and the two formed a partnership, Mutrux-Bernoudy. The firm completed two commissions, including the Talbot House (1938), before the start of the war.

During World War II, Mutrux served as an instructor at the Officer Candidate School at Fort Francis E. Warren in Wyoming, a training facility for the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. Following the end of hostilities he was recruited by the MFAA in Germany. Assigned to the Office of Military Government for the Regierungsbezirk Niederbayern und Oberpfalz, Mutrux conducted inspections of damaged monuments near Regensburg, Germany. His duties also included obtaining supplies for emergency repairs and coordinating shipments of looted works of art and other cultural objects from local repositories to the Munich Central Collecting Point, where they were sorted in preparation for restitution to the countries from which they had been stolen. Mutrux supervised the return to Nürnberg, Germany of archives looted from Schloss Rosenburg Riedenburg and the city of Hohenburg, and directed repairs at the Regensburg Stadtmuseum before its triumphant reopening. He remained in Germany until December 1945.

Bernoudy-Mutrux, Architects (following its postwar renaming) was one of the most notable architectural firms in the St. Louis area for the next two decades. The pair founded their success on a combination of Bernoudy’s artistic vision and Mutrux’s traditional training in drafting and project administration, receiving commissions for the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Creve Coeur, Missouri (1961), the Kiener Memorial Entrance gate at the former front entrance to the Saint Louis Zoo (1966), and the Beaumont Pavilion at Washington University in St. Louis (1966). Following the amicable dissolution of the partnership in 1966, Mutrux became a professor of architecture at his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. For his outstanding contribution to St. Louis architecture, Mutrux was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and awarded the 1998 Award for Distinction from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

E.J. Mutrux died in St. Louis on November 21, 1999.