Master of Modernism


Shulman photographs are

the most beautiful fairy tales

in the history of modernism.”

Nearly two years ago (has it been that long?), I published a post on “The Birth of Cool” featuring this exquisite photo of the Stahl home (also known as Case Study House No. 22 by Pierre Koenig), taken by Julius Shulman in 1960 as part of a retrospective at the Orange County Museum that examined the broad cultural zeitgeist of “cool” that influenced the visual arts, graphic and decorative arts, architecture, music, and film produced in California in the 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve always loved the precariousness of this cantilevered house jutting out over the vastness that is LA.

Recently, Julius Shulman, undisputed master and famed photographer of Modernism Rediscovered, the three-book set of Shulman’s architectural photography representing the definitive visual record of mid-century modern work by such masters as Neutra, Soriano, Niemeyer and the Eameses, passed away at the grand old age of 98, working away to the very end.

Guest columnist, Owens Edwards, for Design Observer, warmly recalls an interview he conducted with Shulman a few years ago at the photographer’s own modern wood and glass masterpiece by Rafael Soriano in Laurel Canyon, California.

Other tributes to this giant of 20th century modernism include an interview with Shulman from 1990 here and an exceptional documentary, Visual Acoustics, about his life and work, including his techniques in capturing the above photo.


Julius Shulman photographing Case Study House No. 22 by Pierre Koenig, 1960




~ by eaesthete on 07/22/09.

One Response to “Master of Modernism”

  1. I’ve been to this house. Trust me when I say that it sparkles by night like the city beneath it, but by day — not so much. LA smog.

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