Somehow over the years, Van der Rhoe’s great quote has been changed to the devil is in the details and is used to describe the difficulty of work. It has attained such a pejorative meaning now, especially when applied to the realm of negotiations or politics.
The original quote, God is in the details, is such a positive anthem that speaks to the poetry of the minutiae and the artistic focus and follow through required to achieve anything of worth.
I do not know the etymology of the misquote but the fact that it changed from a message dealing with spirituality and aesthetics to a verbal shortcut describing the burden of work is fascinating and bizarre to me.
Every physical element has been distilled to its irreducible essence. The interior is unprecedentedly transparent to the surrounding site, and also unprecedentedly uncluttered in itself. All of the paraphernalia of traditional living –rooms, walls, doors, interior trim, loose furniture, pictures on walls, even personal possessions – have been virtually abolished in a puritanical vision of simplified, transcendental existence. Mies had finally achieved a goal towards which he had been feeling his way for three decades.
Maritz Vandenburg, Farnsworth House