The case of the current reputation of the classicizing work of Bernard Maybeck is taken to demonstrate certain weaknesses in the present practice of architectural history. The weaknesses are identified as: an over-valuation of the traditions of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; an excessive esteem for accurate copying as a design-procedure; and a connected over-reliance on two-screen comparisons as an expository technique. Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts is taken as an instance of the combined effect of these factors on his reputation; obliquely and erratically dependent on the Beaux-Arts tradition as currently understood, it yields little of easily explained significance to two-screen comparisons, and therefore tends to be overlooked, even in general histories of American architecture.

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