Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism, 1927-1936
- July 20th, 2010
- Posted in Aline Barnsdall . Ansel Adams . Brett Weston . California Arts and Architecture . Chandler Weston . Edward Weston . Ella Young . Ellen Janson . Esther McCoy . Frank Lloyd Wright . Galka Scheyer . Gavin Arthur . Harwell Hamilton Harris . J. R. Davidson . Jake Zeitlin . John O'Shea . John Varian . Lloyd Wright . Merle Armitage . Pauline Schindler . Phil Townsend Hanna . R. M. Schindler . Richard Neutra . Touring Topics . Uncategorized . Westways . Willard Van Dyke
- By John Crosse
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Pauline Schindler’s mercurial relationship with husband R. M., her penchant to surround herself with artistically-minded, leftist intelligentsia and the creation of a salon-like atmosphere at the Kings Road House are all well-documented in Robert Sweeney’s highly recommended “Life at Kings Road: As It Was 1920-1940″ in the 2001 MOCA exhibition catalog The Architecture of R. M. Schindler organized by Elizabeth A. T. Smith and Michael Darling from which much of the material in this post is gleaned. All references will be denoted by (Sweeney). Sweeney recreated a fascinating story from the lively and voluminous correspondence preserved by Pauline Gibling Schindler (PGS).
I hope to build upon Sweeney’s findings by concentrating more deeply upon PGS’s considerable efforts to promote and market the brand of modernism produced by her notable circle of avant-garde architects, composers, musicians, designers, dancers, artists, writers, gurus and bohemian and radical friends and acquaintances.Her importance to a wider acceptance and appreciation of modern architecture and the arts in Southern California is much under-appreciated as her Kings Road, Carmel and Ojai salons, editorials, articles, exhibitions and lecture bookings generated numerous contacts which resulted in important clients for both her husband and his erstwhile partner and tenant Richard Neutra and others fortunate enough to have been in her circle.
Other useful sources were: R. M. Schindler by Judith Sheine, Phaidon, 2001. (Sheine), The Daybooks of Edward Weston, Volume II: California, edited by Nancy Newhall, Aperture, 1961, (Weston), Dione Neutra’s Richard Neutra: Promise and Fulfillment, 1919-1932, Southern Illinois University Press, 1986, (P&F), Architecture of the Sun: Los Angeles Modernism 1900-1970, by Thomas S. Hines, (Sun-Hines), Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture, Oxford University Press, 1982, (RN-Hines), and Esther McCoy’s Vienna to Los Angeles: Two Journeys: Letters Between R. M. Schindler and Richard Neutra, Arts + Architecture Press, 1979, (McCoy).
Frank Lloyd Wright appointed Schindler superintendent of his office for the duration of his two year period in Japan supervising the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. At the same time, with a large commission for the oil heiress, Aline Barnsdall, Wright set up office in Los Angeles, which is where the Schindler’s moved in 1920. The following year Schindler set up his own, independent practice and, in collaboration with Pauline’s college friend Marion Chace and her contractor husband John, designed and built the Kings Road House with financial support from Pauline’s parents. The Kings Road House, wrote the architectural historian Rayner Banham, “is perhaps the most unobtrusively enjoyable domestic habitat ever created in Los Angeles.” (Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, Harper & Row, 1971, p. 182).
The house reflected Pauline’s social philosophy, a place of simplicity where people from all walks of life could meet together. Pauline had expressed this kind of open meeting house in a letter to her mother well before she had met Schindler. She presciently wrote from Hull House in 1916,
During this period, the lifestyle embodied in the design for their house was observed by the Schindlers (and the Neutras after they moved in in March 1925) through diet and exercise, psychoanalysis, education, and the arts of music, dance, painting and photography. The outdoor courts were dining rooms and playrooms for their toddlers, who ran free under the sun year round. They slept in the open air, ate simple meals of fruits and vegetables by the fireplaces, and wore loose-fitting garments of natural fibers closed with ties rather than buttons. At their parties, the terraces served as stages for musical and dance performances; in the audiences were many aspiring California artists, actors and writers.
Edward Weston was one of the earliest visitors to the completed house. Weston likely met the Schindlers at the Walt Whitman School around 1921 where Pauline taught and Weston’s sons Chandler and Brett were enrolled. (For much more on this see my “The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School“). The Schindlers visited Weston’s studio in the summer of 1922 and later “when the evening was ripe” the group moved over to Kings Road. Weston “[was] of course very much excited about the house, and wanting to see it by daylight. All of it a fearfully stimulating evening…RMS and I couldn’t sleep, with the stimulus of the music, and Mr. Weston’s pictures.” (Artful Lives: Margrethe Mather, Edward Weston, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles by Beth Gates Warren, p. 253 and letter from SPG to family, July 1922). The Schindlers, and later the Neutras, would become lifelong friends and collaborators with Weston and his sons.
Former Neutra employee Harwell Hamilton Harris’s very insightful introduction to Esther McCoy’s Vienna to Los Angeles: Two Journeys: Letters Between R. M. Schindler sheds much light on the Sunday evening open houses Pauline organized at Kings Road and the people who attended them, including himself after his first visit in 1928. His introductory comments were filtered through the lens of his wife, Jean Murray Bangs, who was a close friend of Pauline’s since her return to Los Angeles in 1921 from a radical foray in New York where she married Garment Workers Union organizer Abe Plotkin and befriended idols of Pauline’s, Emma Goldman, Max Eastman and John Reed. (Harwell Hamilton Harris by Lisa Germany, University of Texas Press, 1991, p. 52). Author’s note: Pauline had been arrested while participating in the 1915 Garment Workers Strike shortly after her arrival in Chicago and her move into Hull-House. See my “The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School“).
Harris described Pauline and Kings Road,
“Pauline – eager, ardent, ready for any new idea in any field – made an experience of everything and savored it to the full. … People who didn’t like her called her a poseur, which was unjust. She worked hard and did without almost all the things women commonly want, and did it with a grace few women in her position have achieved.. … The Schindler’s open house on Sunday evenings attracted the “arty” intellectuals of post-World-War I. … Hollywood drew them like a magnet. … Poets, playwrights, dancers, photographers and musicians were not the only visitors on these occasions. Socialists, reformers and intellectuals of all varieties were there. The talk was not chit-chat but about revolutionary ideas in all fields. The New, the Advanced. There were no fights because the participants, too, were advanced and so in fundamental agreement with one another. Most were locals; some were habitues; others were ones who came and went. Everyone felt free to bring a friend if he were interesting; it was a way to entertain.” (Two Journeys, pp. 13-14).
Harris then specifically recalled attendees Edward Weston, playwright and actor Maurice Browne, poet Robert Nichols, dancer John Bovingdon (see above), pianists Doris Levings and Max Pons, among others and finished with, “Whether the group was large, filling both studios and the garden, or small and restricted to one room or the patio, the place alone raised the common above the commonplace. It freed everyone’s expression. It was a tool Pauline and RMS used with imagination and skill and it deserves to be remembered.”
Thanksgiving at Kings Road, 1923. Clockwise from left, Herman Sachs, Karl and Edith Howenstein, Anton Martin Feller, E. Clare Schooler, unidentified, Betty Katz, Alexander R. Brandner, and obscured, Max Pons, to the right of Sachs. Not shown, the Schindlers and Dorothy Gibling. Photo by R. M. Schindler. From ”Life at Kings Road: As It Was 1920-1940″ by Robert Sweeney in The Architecture of R. M. Schindler, p. 97.
Despite the radical slant of most of the visitors to Kings Road, traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were observed. The 1923 Thanksgiving feast seen above was attended by Herman Sachs, Karl and Edith Howenstein, A. R. Brandner, Betty Katz, Max Pons, E. Clare Schooler, Dorothy Gibling and others. Sachs, soon-to-be Schindler client and collaborator seen above left, established the short-lived Chicago Industrial Arts School at Jane Addam’s Hull House in 1920 and directed the Dayton Institute of Art in 1921-22 before moving to Los Angeles in 1923. Karl and Edith Howenstein (above back center) were also friends of the Schindlers in Chicago where Karl had also worked at the Art Institute before moving to Los Angeles to become Director of the Otis Art Institute. The Howensteins first lived in the Kings Road guest wing for two years between 1922-4.
Edward Weston, “Betty in Her Attic,” 1920. Betty Katz. Center for Creative Photography Weston Collection.
Former Kings Road tenant Viennese architect A. R. Brandner, who would later marry Katz in 1943, recalled, “Pauline made the gatherings but it was Schindler who enjoyed them.” The parties were, “…happy times, unique gatherings – the intelligentsia and desperate characters. Pauline preferred a serious party, but when Schindler and Sadakichi Hartmann got together it was glorious fun.” (McCoy, p. 14, 41). A multi-talented artist, writer, critic and actor, Hartmann played the role of the Chinese prince in Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad in 1923. (See below). He was favorably reviewed in a July 5, 1923 L.A. Times article “New Faces and New Angles on Favorites” by Edwin Schallert. (For an interesting sidebar on the discontent caused by the film caused in China see “The Thief of Bagdad Uproar” and my “Krisel and Alexander in Hollywood“).
Sadakichi Hartmann, 1919, Edward Weston portrait. Photo courtesy of Center for Creative Photography. http://ccp.uair.arizona.edu/
“Hartmann Reading Poe at Schindler’s”, pen and ink, Boris Deutsch, January 8, 1928. From the exhibition catalog The Life and Times of Sadakichi Hartmann, 1867-1944, UC-Riverside, 1970.
Noted English playwright and theater troupe organizer Maurice Browne, in his autobiography Too Late to Lament wrote, “And Pauline Schindler, brilliant, warm-hearted, bitter-tongued, who was trying to create a salon amid Hollywood’s cultural slagheap, invited me to her home to lecture on Keyserling.” Sweeney writes, Pauline was effusive in anticipation: “[the party]…is going to be huge. We have never had more than a hundred guests before … But this will be overflowing.” (Sweeney, p. 96 & PGS letter to her mother, [n.d.] circa October, 1925).
Pauline’s mother Sophie, a frequent guest at Kings Road wrote in a December 16, 1926 letter to her husband,”…when company drops in [Pauline] is a most fascinating hostess. Sunday evening it struck me again how much atmosphere, uniqueness and charm there is about her parties, and what interesting people she collects.” (Sweeney, p. 104).
The marriage was not a peaceful one. Schindler was truly a Bohemian and did not respect the institution of marriage, and behaved accordingly. Pauline had wanted to consider the marriage a legal formality to satisfy her family, but was much more conventional in her response to it than she imagined she would be. (From http://www.ex-tempore.org/ExTempore96/cage96.htm). The painter Conrad Buff, who gravitated in both the Kings Road and Jake Zeitlin social orbits and commissioned Neutra in 1927 to design the garage and entryway for his Eagle Rock house and studio, said of Schindler in his UCLA Oral History,
“Schindler, besides being a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a very handsome fellow. He was quite a ladies’ man, and part of his business was to make love to all the ladles he could. He had a very interesting wife, but that didn’t bother him. There was quite a group of people that used to meet down at Schindler’s house.” (Buff Oral History).
PGS and RMS’s relationship finally reached the breaking point in late August 1927. Pauline packed up and left with son Mark in secrecy to avoid a confrontation. (Sweeney, P&F, p. 167). She had just weeks earlier written a highly favorable two-part review of tenant Richard Neutra’s Wie Baut Amerika? which was published in the July 30 and August 6 issues of the Los Angeles City Club Bulletin. (Hines, p. 65). This was about the time that Philip and Leah Lovell, RMS clients and Kings Road salon habitues, commissioned Neutra to design alterations for Lovell’s Physical Culture Center in downtown Los Angeles and what would become his tour de force Lovell Health House which launched his distinguished career.
The Neutra’s had previously moved into the Kings Road guest-studio in March 1925 and the Chace wing about a year later. Galka Scheyer, Kings Road guest-studio tenant while studying modern architecture with Schindler for three months over the summer of 1927, was not only witness to Pauline’s departure but apparently facilitated the Lovell Health House commission by talking to Lovell, Schindler and Neutra about their mutual concerns of who would (or wouldn’t) be working on the Health House design. (Sweeney, P&F, p. 171 and “Braxton Gallery, 1928-1929, Hollywood” by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse in The Furniture of R. M. Schindler, UCSB, p. 87).
Pauline and Mark’s first stop on what would become an nine-year sojourn away from Kings Road was at Ellen Janson’s house in Halcyon, a small bohemian community of artists, poets, intellectuals and religious mystics founded by Theosophists in 1903 to which she later frequently returned. She probably learned of Halcyon from Maurice Browne (Sweeney, p. 96) and his lover of five years, actress and poet Ellen Janson, who likely attended Browne’s Keyserling lecture at Kings Road the previous year. Janson, and Browne had spent much of 1924 in Halcyon conceiving and giving birth to a son. (Sweeney, p. 104 and Too Late to Lament, p. 279). Browne had also been promoting Janson’s career as a poet in such publications as Contemporary Verse. (See below).
Janson had an aunt living in Halcyon who found them a house through Theosophist John Varian who becomes important later in this article. Browne, in his autobiography, writes about himself and Janson using their love-nest in Halcyon as a base, traveling up and down the California coast camping under the stars. (Too Late to Lament, pp. 278-9). Browne wrote of the conception,
“He was gotten, willfully, at noon of a still burning August day on one of those beaches; we both knew that he would be a male. His mother and I, living in a dream world, believed that once he was surely conceived she could go happily forth into the world alone, carrying him, and I return to my work with Nellie Van.” Browne soon divorced Van Volkenberg, married Janson and moved into a new “redwood shack” built for Ellen by her parents in Halcyon. (Too Late to Lament, pp. 280).
Ellen Janson Browne and son Praxy ca. 1926. Photographer unknown. (Tingley, Donald F., “Ellen Van Volkenburg, Maurice Browne and the Chicago Little Theatre,” Illinois State Historical Society Journal, Autumn, 1987, p. 144.
A few years later Pauline wrote of Halcyon in the March 6, 1929 issue as,
“a strange little settlement with an astounding quality…if you were impervious to a thing called “spirit” which so palpably, almost visible, governs here, you would say that the houses were drab little shacks. And yet again and again…down to Halcyon…will flee from the civilization of cities, people of cultivated minds and tastes, – for a day or a week in Halcyon. There are Theosophists here, and a temple, – but it is not that which causes it all. It is a quality of universal as light. Can it be a climatic thing, – the radiation at Halcyon of forces from the earth which produce a human type of unusual harmoniousness and serenity, – as the climate of Carmel by contrast produces its inhabitants over-stimulation and cerebral scintillation.” (The Carmelite, March 6, 1929).
Browne and Van Volkenberg were, however, soon back working together on projects such as an April, 1925 performance at the Wilshire Ebell Theater by the Maurice Browne Players of Browne’s “Mother of Gregory” (first performed in Carmel in 1924). (“Ebell Program for Month Out”, L.A. Times, April 23, 1925, p. I-7.) Browne also announced in February, 1926 that Los Angeles would be the production headquarters for his Maurice Browne Theater Association with offices to be located in the Transportation Building and that he would be joined by Van Volkenberg. (“Nationally Known Producer Chooses City as Production Headquarters for Little Plays”, L.A. Times, February 28, 1927, p. 23).
Coincidentally, Browne and Van Volkenberg were originally involved with Aline Barnsdall as early as 1915 in Chicago where, in 1912, they had established the Chicago Little Theatre, a critically acclaimed experimental troupe inspired by the Irish Players at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Pauline’s knowledge of Browne and Van Volkenberg dated all the way back to their Chicago Little Theatre days as the pair had collaborated with her mentor, Hull House and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom founder Jane Addams, to produce a national tour of Euripides’ “peace play” The Trojan Woman during her employment there.
Left, Aline Barnsdall and daughter Betty, ca. 1920. (Sun-Hines, p. 126). Right, Pauline Schindler and Leah Lovell teaching at Aline Barnsdall’s experimental kindergarten with students Neil and Cole Weston and others, ca. 1922. (McCoy, p. 39).
Sometime around 1921 Pauline met RMS’s most important client through the Barnsdall connection as she, Leah Press Lovell and sister Harriet Press Freeman, all radical friends of Aline, met while directing Barnsdall’s progressive kindergarten she commissioned for her daughter and other selected children including Edward Weston’s other two sons Neil and Cole at Hollyhock House. (See above right). (Sun-Hines, pp. 142, 156). Through Pauline’s connection with Leah and Harriet, Schindler later became architect to the both the Lovells and Freemans. Beginning in 1922 RMS designed three projects for the Lovells, a mountain cabin, a farmhouse and the Beach House in Newport Beach which was completed in 1926.
By 1924, RMS had also essentially replaced Wright as Barnsdall’s personal architect and by 1928 replace Wright as the Freeman’s architect. Beginning in 1928 Schindler was also hired to design furniture for Wright’s Sam and Harriet Freeman House where, over the next 25 years, he designed two guest apartments and other alterations and over 35 pieces of furniture. (See “Freeman House, 1928-1933, Hollywood Hills” by Jeffrey M. Chusid in The Furniture of R. M. Schindler, UCSB, p. 88). It has been speculated by some that Schindler was having an affair with Leah and/or Harriet which could have contributed to Pauline’s 1927 departure from Kings Road and might have come into play in Philip Lovell’s decision to award Neutra the Health House commission. See both Hines books for the most complete analysis. (See also my Selected Publications of Esther McCoy for much more discourse on the Lovell Health House Commission).
Despite an offer to stay at Ellen Janson’s house in Halcyon over the winter of 1927, Pauline left for Carmel on October 19 where she would remain for the next two years. (Sweeney, p. 103). She likely heard great things about the artist’s colony and bohemian lifestyle of Carmel from Galka Scheyer who had arranged a Blue Four exhibition there in 1926.
As she had done at Kings Road, Pauline rapidly assimilated into the Carmel arts community. She soon began contributing an unsigned column, “The Black Sheep”, to the Carmel Pine Cone. (See photo below). Appearing 11 times between November 1927 and March 1928, she described it as a “new critical department which does not promise to behave itself too well,” but that it would be, “young, fearless, honest, and vital.” She focused mainly on music, local issues and events. Pauline was also named drama critic for Carmel for the Christian Science Monitor. (Sweeney, p. 104). Thus, she may likely be responsible for the four late 1920s and early 1930s Monitor articles on Neutra projects listed in my Neutra bibliography. During her tenure at the Carmel Pine Cone, the Harrison Memorial Library designed by Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck was opening on Ocean Avenue. (See below).
Reynolds initially announced the weekly as, “a periodical which will without fear or favor give voice and light on both sides of a mooted question affecting the artistic or practical in village life.” Reynolds, at odds with the entrenched positions of the Carmel Pine Cone, used his new vehicle as a way to publish politically-charged editorial jibes beginning in February 1928. Pauline quickly advanced to editorial assistant and and was anticipating becoming managing editor by mid-April. (Sweeney, p. 105). In a May 7, 1928 letter to her father she wrote of The Carmelite as being, “a liberal-radical weekly, in whose pages the visiting or resident intelligentsia, from Lincoln Steffens to Robinson Jeffers, all had a word.” After only 16 weeks at the helm, Reynold’s turned over The Carmelite to Pauline after the May 30 issue.
Left, The Carmelite masthead for May 23, 1928, the last issue before Pauline’s editorship began. Right, Masthead after Pauline’s redesign. The Carmelite, July 4, 1928, front cover. (from Sweeney, p. 105).
The July 11th cover featured a photo of Point Lobos by Johan Hagemeyer and a feature story “The Good Neighbor” under Pauline’s byline on her erstwhile mentor Jane Addams and her Hull-House. Pauline also included a brief article “Maurice Browne in a Second Edition” reporting on Ellen Janson Browne and four-year old Maurice, Jr. passing through town and the whereabouts of Maurice Sr. currently producing a play of George Bernard Shaw’s in London. Pauline wrote of Browne, “In Carmel he remains a memory and an influence, for Morris Ankrum, George Ball, and many others here busy with the stage have had their first dramatic training under the direction of this intense and passionate artist.”
The July 18th issue featured a cover photo of Jane Addams and a headline announcement of her upcoming speaking engagement at the Golden Bough. It also included a letter “To Carmel With Love From Halcyon” from editorial board member Dora Hagemeyer who was spending the summer in the home of Ellen Janson and an announcement for the upcoming opening of an exhibition of the paintings of Henrietta Shore in the Hagemeyer Studio on Ocean Avenue. In her lengthy and insightful review of avant-garde pianist Henry Cowell’s performance at the Golden Bough which was illustrated with a Virginia Tooker woodcut, Pauline wrote, “The program was a study of the development of the tone cluster principle which used as a method by a versatile artist of unusually free imagination. Of these, some are small in range, and contribute a scintillating brilliance to simple diatonic material. It is as though the tones had passed through a sound prism, and been broken up into their parts and overtones.”
Shore’s “The Bull Fight” then appeared on the cover of the July 25th issue along with a poem by Dora Hagemeyer and an article discussing the financial crisis Edward Kuster was facing in his attempt to keep the Theatre of the Golden Bough open. Also in that issue, Pauline reported at length on the activities surrounding Jane Addams visit to Carmel. After a Wednesday luncheon in her honor at the Mission Tea House, Addams lectured on Sunday evening on “Governmental Steps Toward World Peace” to an overflow crowd at the Golden Bough Theatre which was followed by a reception at the home of Lincoln Steffens and Ella Winter. Addams (see below) was on her way to Los Angeles for four days of speaking engagements and a banquet in her honor at the Biltmore Hotel and then to Hawaii for the Pan-Pacific Women’s Congress and Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. (“Los Angeles Will Honor Sociologist”, L.A. Times, July 26, 1928, p. I-11). It is likely Addams and Neutra’s paths also crossed during her Los Angeles visit.
The Carmelite, March 20, 1929. (From my collection).
Richard Buhlig, 1922. Margrethe Mather portrait. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 97.
The Carmelite, July 3, 1929, pp. 7 -8. (From my collection).
Henry Cowell, 1923. Margrethe Mather portrait. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 111.
Schindler published reviews on such events as the the Progressive Education Conference at St. Louis, the sixth convention of the Workers (Communist) Party in New York, a “hunger march” of the National Unemployed workers Committee Movement in London, the World Youth Peace Conference in Vienna, and editorials on subjects like “The Anachronism of Cities” attended by Carol Aronovici, former R. M. Schindler and Richard Neutra AGIC partner on the 1928 Richmond, California Civic Center Plan. (see above right). She also published poetry by Robinson Jeffers, Galka Scheyer, Dora Hagemeyer, and others and regularly wrote insightful reviews of books that struck her fancy.
In the November 28, 1928 issue, Pauline announced a Richard Neutra lecture (see two above images) on modern architecture she arranged at the Denny-Watrous Gallery “and a Dione Neutra concert in Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous’s “Harmony House.” (See below) (The Arts: Dione Neutra Will Sing in Carmel,” The Carmelite, November 28, 1928, p. 5). In a lengthy companion piece in the same issue she wrote,
“Richard Neutra, who lectures in Carmel at the studio of Denny and Watrous next Sunday evening, is what we might call a direct architectural descendant of Louis Sullivan. Every profession and every art which has great teachers has its lineages. The greatest of those who called Sullivan “Master” was Frank Lloyd Wright. … Louis Sullivan became a great influence upon American architecture because he could not only understand consciously what he was driving at; he could not only build buildings which illustrated the principle that form follows function; but he could make his meaning clear to the rest of the world. Richard Neutra is one of the two or three true descendants of the lineage of Sullivan and Wright, to whom architecture is not merely an expression of a civilization but a conditioning agent of future cultures.” (Schindler, Pauline, “The Architecture of the Future,” The Carmelite, November 28, 1928, p. 11)
Below is a photo of how Dione may have dressed for the Denny-Watrous-sponsored event in Carmel.
With Richard just wrapping up the design for the Lovell Health House, the Neutra’s took a much-needed week’s vacation for the lecture and concert. They stopped on the way to Carmel after a delightful drive along the coast to observe “the strange inhabitants of Oceano.” (P&F, p. 206). The Neutra’s son Raymond recalls his mother Dione “talking about walking in the Oceano Dunes and coming across a naked hermit friend in his hut.” (July 15, 2010 e-mail message from Raymond Neutra to the author). Dione’s description of the two stormy night events in Carmel are recorded in a December 1928 letter to her parents. (P&F, p. 173).
Excerpts from Pauline’s review in the next issue read,
“He cited the principle which is the alpha and the omega of modern architecture, “Form Follows Function,” and distinguished between the functional architecture of the true modern, as compared with the formalist architecture of the earlier pseudo-classicists in the United States who took the Greek Doric column (italics mine) and thought they could make an American architecture with it. It is not the architect who now makes architecture said Mr. Neutra, but the situation out of which it arises. He clarified this by criticizing adversely several typically false buildings including the Chicago Tribune Building…
Mr. Neutra’s lecture so well achieved his purpose that his audience not only listened without resistance to his startling statement of modernistic principles, but were afterwards to respond with sympathy and understanding to photographs of advanced architecture, much of it his own, which were hung on the walls.” (Schindler, Pauline, “Neutra Renders Modern Architecture Intelligible,” The Carmelite, December 5, 1928, p. 4).
Denny and Watrous met at a party in the studio of a mutual friend in 1922. To further their education, they decided to go to New York by way of Carmel. Here they found a city almost entirely dedicated to the arts. They returned in 1925 and lived over a garage while Hazel designed their “Harmony House,” on East Dolores, 4 N. of 2nd. One of the problems that faced people moving to Carmel was finding a way of making money. Hazel solved this by designing houses, some 36 of them. They were innovative in design — she drew on the Arts and Crafts movement with exposed beams and redwood on the interior and board and batten exteriors. Large picture windows, painted shingles and pastel colors for the exterior walls were also featured.
In 1926 Denny and Watrous founded the Carmel Music Society. In November of the same year (see above) Dene appeared in Los Angeles with avant-garde composers Henry Cowell (featured in the July 3, 1929 issue of The Carmelite) and Dane Rudhyar (one of Pauline’s contributing editors) at the New Music Society with Pauline undoubtedly in attendance. She made other Los Angeles appearances over the next few years. In 1928 the official partnership, Denny-Watrous Management, was launched. In the same year they leased the Theatre of the Golden Bough from Edward Kuster and in twelve months produced a dozen concerts and eighteen plays routinely reviewed by Pauline in The Carmelite , including Ferenc Molnar’s “Liliom,” Eugene O’Neill’s “Emperor Jones” and Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, all recently presented for the first time in English in New York. They then opened the Denny-Watrous Gallery, Carmel’s first art gallery, using the space to present plays and concerts, as well as art. Here was the first known American performance of Bach’s “Art of the Fugue.” http://www.carmelresidents.org/News0303.html
In 1929 Hazel Watrous became associated the Seven Arts Press which printed The Carmelite. (See above). In 1935 Denny and Watrous established Carmel’s now-famed annual Bach Festival, a continuing highlight of the town’s social season.
Johan Hagemeyer Studio, Carmel. Photo courtesy OAC and U.C. Berkeley Bancroft Library, Johan Hagemeyer Photo Collection.
Tired of city life, Weston moved to Carmel in early January 1929, trading spaces from a temporary stay in fellow photographer Johan Hagemeyer’s studio in San Francisco to renting his Carmel summer studio. Pauline’s article “Edward Weston on the Way” in the issue above announced the impending arrival of another friend from her Kings Road salons and soirees. Weston described the move at length in his Daybooks. (Weston, pp. 99-108). Pauline published Dora Hagemeyer’s poetry periodically in The Carmelite. (In 1923 Hagemeyer opened a portrait studio in San Francisco and also built a summer studio in Carmel (see above) which soon became a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. Weston and Hagemeyer had a falling out in April 1931 over the studio lease agreement. Weston then moved his studio to the Seven Arts Building upstairs from The Carmelite‘s offices. (See photo below). (DaybooksII, April 14 & 28, 1931, pp. 213-5).
Weston Studio, Seven Arts Building, CarmelLewis Josselyn photo.
Left, Johan Hagemeyer, 1928. Edward Weston portrait. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents. Right, Johan Hagemeyer and Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, 1921. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 85.
Pauline properly introduced Weston to Carmel’s bohemian “society” at a reception for the Kedroff Quartet after their performance. Weston’s Daybook entry reads,
“To the Kedroff Quartet: the most exquisite vocal music I have heard. The folk-songs were especially thrilling, and the Strauss Waltz! … After, I went with Pauline to a reception for the Quartet, and there met Carmel “society,” everyone that I should meet I suppose! I have certainly been flatteringly presented to Carmel with many newspaper columns [by Pauline in The Carmelite] of flowery praise. Once could easily become “a big toad in a little puddle” here. Not my intention!” (Daybooks, March 16, 1929, pp. 112-3).
Pauline kept steady tabs on the comings and goings of Weston and various combinations of visiting sons in the pages of The Carmelite. For example she reported on a serious Brett Weston accident while riding with long-time Weston patron and book designer Merle Armitage. Brett suffered a compound fracture when his horse threw him and rolled over onto his leg. (“Personal Bits”, by Pauline Schindler, The Carmelite, March 27, 1929, p. 3).
Describing Pauline’s impact on the village’s intelligentsia Winter continued,
”She was the divorced wife of an Austrian architect in Los Angeles she always called Aramess – later I discovered they were his initials, R. M. S. – and she was in many ways the moving spirit of the village…Pauline had to be modern about everything, but in her undifferentiating enthusiasms she sometimes saw further than the rest of us. When her friend Galka Scheyer came in 1928, with pictures by Paul Klee and the Blue Four that people laughed at and wouldn’t think of buying, Pauline said Klee could be understood in either poetry or music. She was the first to introduce us to Dada, surrealism, Schoenberg…This “crazy nut” as we thought of her, kept everything at a boil, the sensible and the ridiculous all mixed up. “
“But she’s crazy in the best sense,” Harry Dickinson maintained; and it must be said that Pauline achieved a good deal. She started our art gallery to show the work of local painters and exceptional photographers, Edward Weston, Edward [Johan] Hagemeyer, Ansel Adams; helped set up a music society that became celebrated, with international artists stopping on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco to perform in Carmel; and it was Pauline the flibbertigibbet who sparked off our weekly, The Carmelite…The whole village was drawn into The Carmelite’s orbit. At studio parties they didn’t discuss psychoanalytical plurality or “the inevitable polarity of thought,” but the paper, its style and vocabulary, its make-up, illustrations, circulation.”
Ironically, Ella Winter would later become an avid collector of the Blue Four after marrying author, screenwriter and fellow communist David Ogden Stewart in 1940 in Hollywood. In a backhanded compliment to Pauline Schindler and Galka Scheyer she wrote in “I Bought a Klee” which appeared in the July 1966 issue of Studio International,
“My relation to Klee had been non-existent. In 1928 a woman had come to the art colony-by-the-sea where I then lived with an exhibition of Die Blau Reiter. We were used in that colony to very modern music, ultra-modern design, avant-garde poetry, but the latest in painting had not yet reached Carmel. I looked at the pictures and with the rest of our jeering art population I’m afraid I jeered. Galka Scheyer, the Swiss woman who brought them, and an old friend of Klee’s, tried to explain them, but I don’ think it made any impact. She left with as many as she brought.”
In January 1929, contributing editor Lincoln Steffens tried to gain control of The Carmelite and turn it over to his wife Ella Winter. Pauline published Steffen’s letter to the editor in the January 23rd issue:
“There are rumors in circulation of a conspiracy…to oust me and my gang from the Carmelite. We are leaving of our own free, mechanistic will. You have always been glad to have us do all the work we would, as long as what we did was up to the high-flying standard you kept mentioning…” Taking exception to her lack of business acumen and flighty editorial style, Steffens continued, “I lifted up my highbrows and thought such an editor would be happier if she had the time to dance and sing and compose music and music criticism unhindered by and unhindering the mere business of journalism…” (Sweeney, p. 105).
UPS staff writer Frank H. Bartholomew reported on the controversy which was picked up as far away as Pittsburgh. “The staff of the “Carmelite” has quit en masse, and the blanket resignation includes such prominent names as Fremont Older, Lincoln Steffens, Mrs. Lincoln Steffens (Ella Winter), Charles Erskine Scott Wood and Sara Bard Field. Mrs.Pauline G. Schindler, the publisher, now holds the fort alone.” Pauline answered Steffen’s above diatribe thusly, “That staff tried harder to acquire the paper than to write for it.” (“Dispute Over Carmel Paper Amuses Coast”, Pittsburgh Press, February 15, 1929, p. 21).
“I, being on the editorial staff, had to listen in until after midnight though bed called me, having retouched all day. Village gossip about the divorce of the Lincoln Steffens and Ella Winter. A letter from Una Jeffers, written on the train, again expressing their pleasure in the portraits. And a catalogue from Film und Foto – Stuttgart (see below): they reproduced my head of Galvan, and published my article, hung 18 of Brett’s photographs and 20 of mine. I sent 20 from each of us.”
Film und Foto was a very important avant-garde traveling exhibition in which Richard Neutra, through his European publishing and Deutscher Werkbund connections, was responsible for America’s contributions.
Weston writes in his January 3, 1929 Daybook entry,
“… Neutra is always keenly responsive, and knows whereof he speaks. Representing in America an important exhibit of photography to be held in Germany this summer, he has given me complete charge of collecting the exhibit, choosing the ones whose work I consider worthy of showing, and of writing the catalogue forward to the American group. … I have busy days ahead.” (Weston, pp. 102-3).
“I have written of photography as direct, honest, uncompromising, – and so it is when it is used in its purity, if the worker himself is equally sincere and understanding in selection and presentation. Then it has a power and vitality which moves and holds the spectator. There can be no lie in such photography. No human hand of possible frailty has in the recording lessened its pristine beauty, nor misrepresented its meaning, destroying significance.”
Neutra’s choice of Weston to make the American selections provided the entree for him, son Brett and friend and future Group f.64 member Imogen Cunningham (along with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, and others), to be included in this seminal show alongside the European avant-gardists. The below catalogue and exhibition poster as well as show installation were designed by El Lissitzky who also designed Neutra’s 1930 book Amerika (see directly below) which features a 1927 Brett Weston photo of a factory in Los Angeles in El Lissitsky’s cover photomontage and internal photos by both Brett and Edward. This was likely the first cover photo Brett had ever had published and it was also published in the Los Angeles Times as part of Athur Millier’s review of his first one-man show in July 1930 at Jake Zeitlin’s Book Shop. (Millier, Arthur, “”Photographs for Himself,” L.A. Times, July 25, 1930, p. III-12).
A September 20, 1929 entry in Weston’s Daybook references Pauline’s freelance work and a peek into the Carmel social scene she was undoubtedly involved in.
“Up at 4:00 and in my darkroom straightening prints from work of yesterday and the day before: work which was strenuous enough to put me to bed at 8:30. At last I have been printing the peppers. I had to have an excuse to do them for conscience’s sake, for orders are still behind: the excuse was Pauline’s request for several prints for Vogue. But I notice that instead of printing just one, I found it necessary to print five, – for selection! Well, they are gorgeous, – the strongest things I have done, outside of some portraits… A big mask party planned for tomorrow night, which Ramiel [McGehee] is engineering. Over fifty invited from all walks of life: Pebble Beach and Highlands Society to Carmel Bohemians! I am in the excitement only as a spectator: until the night!”
Weston’s Daybook entry for October 27, 1929 reads,
“…Dr. and Mrs. Lovell arrived wanting to take Brett and me to a football game. Another day lost, at least for work. Friends arrive here on their vacation, and in vacation moods. One cannot always deny them.”
This visit occurred just four days after receiving the certificate of occupancy for their new Neutra-designed Health House near Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
PGS left Carmel a short time later but returned to visit often, especially for exhibition openings such as her May 1930 traveling “Contemporary Creative Architecture” show and several of Edward Weston’s at the Denny-Watrous Gallery. For example, her review of Weston’s July 1931 retrospective exhibition was published in the July 29th issue of The Carmelite indicating that she was still actively participating in Carmel events although no longer officially associated with her old pride and joy. (See the 1946 MOMA exhibition catalogue The Photographs of Edward Weston edited by Nancy Newhall, p. 36).
Standing from left to right: Koos van der Leeuw, AM Cochius (Leerdam glass factory director), D. Rajagopal, Kees van der Leeuw. Sitting: Nityananda (Krishnamurti’s brother), Philip Baron van Pallandt, Krishnamurti, Harold Baillie-Weaver (teacher Krishnamurti), Count Fabrizi Ruspoli and Miss. Cornelia Dilkraaf, National Representative of the Association in the Netherlands. Photo taken 09-30-1923. From http://www.landgoedeerde.nl/Krishnamurti.htm
The above group portrait of a 1923 Theosophical get together at Castle Eerde is important as it links the van der Leeuw brothers, Krishnamurti and D. Rajagopal. Rajagopal’s wife Rosalind later had an affair with Krishnamurti and commissioned Neutra in 1934 to design a remodel of her apartment in Hollywood. (Discussed in more detail later in this article).
Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1928, p. III-23. From ProQuest.
PGS was undoubtedly aware of the December 1928 “Decorative and Fine Arts of Today”exhibition seen in the L.A. Times ad above when writng the article. The Bullock’s show featured the work of the RMS, Richard Neutra, Kem Weber, Jock Peters, Edward Weston and many others and was organized by Kings Road salon regular and UCLA art teacher, Annita Delano (also in the show) and Eleanor Lemaire for Bullock’s Department Store’s downtown Los Angeles location while Bullock’s Wilshire was under construction. (For much more on this exhibition see my “Foundations of Los Angeles Modernism“).
Exhibition Poster for “Contemporary Creative Architecture of California”, UCLA April 21-29. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
Delano’s Bullock’s exhibition was undoubtedly the genesis for Pauline’s March 1930 decision to organize and curate a traveling exhibition of Contemporary Creative Architecture in California (see above) featuring Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, R. M. Schindler, Jock D. Peters, John Weber, Kem Weber and J. R. Davidson for the Western Association of Museum Directors, write a book featuring their work and act as their agent for booking lectures. (See agent contract below). Nothing ever came of the book project. (McCoy, p. 58).
Memorandum – agent contract between Pauline G. Schindler to Richard Neutra, Lloyd Wright, R. M. Schindler, Jock Peters and “contemporary creators,” 03-10-1930. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
She was likely coached on how to plan and publicize the exhibitions by Galka Scheyer who had organized a similar traveling show for her Blue Four in 1926 for the same venues, designed and prepared exhibition catalogs (see below) and arranged lectures in each locale. By then close friends with Neutra and Scheyer, Annita Delano helped Scheyer organize the Blue Four exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum (see below) and similar shows at UCLA in late 1926.
Catalogue for traveling “Blue Four” exhibition, Los Angeles Museum of Art, October 1926. Courtesy of Getty Research Institute, Peg Weiss Papers.
The “Contemporary Creative Architecture in California Exhibition” was first on display at UCLA from April 21-29, 1930 and the related Symposium featuring speakers Richard Neutra, R. M. Schindler and Kem Weber took place on April 27th. The above exhibition poster features Pauline’s trademark typographic layout and design in which she taught courses at USC Extension in the fall and winter of 1931-2. (See below). (“Editors Offered Course”, Los Angeles Times, Sep 22, 1931, p. I-2 and “Printing Lecture Booked,” Jan 8, 1932, p. II-1).
Above and below: “Modern Typographical Design” class brochure designed and taught by Pauline G. Schindler, ca. September, 1931. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
Annita Delano undoubtedly also assisted with the organization of this exhibition as it was on her home turf. Los Angeles Times art critic Arthur Millier, also in Pauline’s salon circle, gave the important show a lengthy and generally favorable review. Millier wrote,
“…this exhibit at U.C.L.A. is not of a school of modern architecture, but represents the work of thinking artists each trying to design creatively for the present age. He continued later with, “…this is still an ungrateful field in which these architects are plucky pioneers. So far, in this country, there is no public demand or interesst in the modern house which does not borrow its style from a past period. They swim upstream and are men of ideas and ideals. Whether their work is good or imperfect it is honestly conceived and of a different breed to the imitation French-modern stuff that is issuing copiously, just now, from the draughting-rooms of academic architects who regard the whole modern idea as a temporary fad.” (“Building for Our Age: California Designers of Modern Style Architecture Distinguished From Those Who Imitate,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1930).
He adds insightful critiques of each man’s work and included a Will Connell photo of Kem Weber’s light fixture for the Sommer & Kaufman store in San Francisco, a Mott photo of John Weber’s auditorium lounge at Bullock’s Wilshire, a Brett Weston photo of the clock face at Bullock’s Wilshire designed by Jock Peters, the facade of the San Francisco skyscraper at 451 Sutter St. by Miller & Pflueger, an interior of Schindler’s Lovell Beach House and Willard D. Morgan photos of Neutra’s Lovell Health House and J. R. Davidson’s facade for the Hi-Hat restaurant on Wilshire Blvd.
An excerpt from Pauline’s opening statement for the exhibition reads,
“Based upon the principle that form follows function; influenced by the work of Louis Sullivan and of Frank Lloyd Wright, and by the logic of the machine age, modern architecture strongly tends toward a structural integration, a freedom from applied decoration, a reduction of forms to their essence.” (“Modern Architecture Shown,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 1930).
The exhibition would travel to the friendly turf of the Denny-Watrous Gallery in Carmel for a May 1-15 run and then move to the California Art Club at Barnsdall Park in June. (See below). From there it traveled to the Honolulu Academy of Fine Arts, the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle, The Portland Art Association and the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery. (Sheine, p. 256).
“Contemporary Creative Architecture of California” Exhibition announcement designed by Pauline Schindler, 1930. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
Pauline’s visionary curatorship of this show is extremely important as it preceded the New York Museum of Modern Art’s seminal and legendary 1932 “Modern Architecture-International Exhibition” by a full two years. A reprise of much of the work from this show would also be included in the Architectural League of New York’s 50th anniversary exhibition in the Grand Central Palace in April 1931. Most of the work in Pauline’s show was also concurrently published in a series of articles throughout 1930-31 in the Architectural Record through the largess of modernist managing editor A. Lawrence Kocher. (For more details on April 1931 Architectural League of New York exhibition see my Richard Neutra and the California Art Club). Ironically, Pauline received a letter from Kocher shortly after the opening of the seminal Museum of Modern Art exhibition discussing publishing work by RMS who was excluded from the MOMA show. (See below).
A. Lawrence Kocher letter to Pauline G. Schindler, February 27, 1932. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
PGS organized a lecture series around her exhibition that was offered to a wide range of societies and clubs in the greater Los Angeles area in 1930 and the various cities the show traveled to. In Los Angeles, lecture announcements (see below), pamphlets and individual speaker letters were sent to the Friday Morning Club, the Ebell Club, the Los Angeles City Club, the Hollywood Women’s Club, the Engineers Club and likely others. The pamphlet reads.
“A new architecture has come into being in our time and is moving toward fulfillment … It is not a mere style. It is profoundly based. But it is necessary that it be understood for an imitative pseudo-modernism blurs the clear line and confuses the layman.” (See below).
R. M. Schindler lecture announcement in conjunction with the Contemporary Creative Architecture in California Exhibition, 1930. Schindler portrait by Edward Weston. Designed by Pauline Schindler. Courtesy of the UC-Santa Barbara, University Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.
RMS’s prospective speaker’s letter read,
“The more I see of the reaction the so-called ‘modern architecture’ causes at large, the more I can perceive the confusion this new style is creating in the minds of the public and the experts. Nobody seems able to distinguish between sincere contemporary work and the atrocities of the fashionable fakers. It is urgently necessary to explain the real meaning of the movement and to give the public a vocabulary thru which to understand it intelligently … I am not a professional lecturer but find myself forced to undertake such educational efforts as a matter of self defense.” (From Framed Space).
Braxton and Scheyer had originally planned to open the new space with the “Blue Four” but their most important prospective client, movie producer and future Neutra client Josef von Sternberg, had already scheduled a trip to Europe. The duo substituted Peter Krasnow, close friend of Scheyer, Pauline and Edward Weston (see images below), for the inaugural show which included seven of his carved wood reliefs. RMS and Richard Neutra had recently collaborated with Krasnow on the design of a major commission for a ceremonial cabinet for Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco which was reviewed as “an unusual thing of wood and glass which houses vestments and religious objects.” Krasnow carved the three 3 ft. by 8 ft. panels which were applied to the sides of the cabinet which was designed by Schindler and Neutra and built by Paul Williams (not the architect), a former student of another mutual friend, UCLA art teacher Annita Delano. (“Krasnow’s Work Shown,” Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1929 p. )
The Handicrafter masthead and table of contents, March-April 1930, Vol. II, No. 3, p. 1.
While visiting Weston in San Francisco in December 1928 just before his move to Carmel, Krasnow took Weston to the Temple to proudly show him the chest after which he wrote, “I take my hat off to you Peter, for a superb piece of work both in conception and technical execution. Tears came to my eyes, …” (Weston, December 12, 1928, p. 98). Pauline Schindler would later feature Krasnow’s work in Paul Bernant’s The Handicrafter Magazine, a publication for which she was associate editor and frequent contributor during the early 1930s. (See masthead above). Pauline described the cabinet (see below), “Its three panels slide open to disclose these symbolic gifts lying upon a background of lacquer red modified by a slight bluish shadow, and illuminated by light from hidden sources. … A deeply elemental Hebraic feeling pervades the work. The three panels depict symbolically the economic and cultural life of the Jewish people.” (“The History of a Race Is Told by a Modern Craftsman in Wood,” The Handicrafter, March-April, 1930, p. 21. Author’s note: I wish to thank Congregation Emanu-El historian and Edward Weston bibliographer par excellence Paula Freedman for the above illustration and alerting me to Pauline’s associate editorship of The Handicrafter).
Three sliding panels carved by Peter Krasnow tell symbolically the story of the ancient Hebraic culture. Ceremonial Cabinet in the Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco. Photographer unknown. (Edward Weston?).
L.A. Times art critic Arthur Millier gave the Braxton’s avant-garde gallery space a rave review with a September 15, 1929 article “‘Ultra’ Gallery Arrives: Hollywood Sees ‘Modern’ Spaces and Angles as Background for Art.”
Left, Peter Krasnow, 1929. Edward Weston portrait. Photo courtesy of Center for Creative Photography. http://ccp.uair.arizona.edu/ Right, “The Photographer” (Edward Weston), lithograph, 1928, by Peter Krasnow. (From “Naturally Modern” by Victoria Dailey in LA’s Early Moderns, p. 78).
The Handicrafter masthead and table of contents, January-February 1930, Vol. II, No. 2, p. 1.
After leaving Carmel in late 1929 Pauline moved into Ellen Janson’s house in Halcyon while she and son Praxy were living in London with Maurice Browne. It was here where Pauline began her associate editorship on The Handicrafter. (See above). After a few months in Halcyon and a brief stint in San Francisco Pauline moved back to Los Angeles into Frank Lloyd Wright’s Storer House at 8161 Hollywood Blvd. where she lived for over a year. Galka Scheyer also stayed for a period of time and Pauline also made the entire first floor available to Brett Weston where he established his first photographic studio with his young bride Elinore. Weston wrote of his brief stay with Brett and Pauline in his Daybook on February 21, 1931,
“…it took me over an hour on the bus from Pauline’s, who lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house [Storer House] in the foothills. Brett has his studio there, so I stayed with him rather than Flora. Paul, I got to know and appreciate better than ever, to really love her.” (Weston, p. 204).
Typed letter, from Pauline Schindler, Storer House, to Edward Weston, Carmel, dated February 13, 1931. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, Edward Weston Collection.
Pauline wrote Edward shortly thereafter (see above) expressing the joy she felt from his visit and with ideas for publishing some of his images in various publications and requesting an image of his Mexican gourds (see below) for an article on toys she was preparing for The Handicrafter (see reference later below) for which she was then a contributing associate editor.
Edward Weston, Mexican gourd toys, 1926. From Schindler, Pauline G., ”The Craftsman Turns to Making Toys,” The Handicrafter, May-June 1931, p. 18.
Brett Weston portrait of Jock Peters, ca. 1930, likely commissioned by Pauline for her “Creative Contemporary Architecture of California” exhibition while Brett was staying at the Storer House. Image discovered by Melinda Gandara, archivist, UC Santa Barbara Art Museum, Architecture and Design Collections, Jock Peters Collection.
In note 31, p. 247 in his Wright in Hollywood: Visions of a New Architecture, Robert L. Sweeney writes,
“Mrs. Schindler had earlier justified moving into the house to her father, who was supporting her: she was there as a caretaker, paying a nominal sum each month; the house was to serve as a “background” for work she was “planning to do, – which involves an active association with four or five modern architects here, and which has the purpose of selling their design services to the rest of the world.”
Pauline undertook another entrepreneurial venture while staying in the Storer House. She developed a line of stuffed animals called “Christopher Robin’s Friends” to hopefully take advantage of the “Winnie the Pooh” craze sweeping the country at the time. Her distinctive graphic design for the below ad appeared in the November 1930 issue of Toy World. An accompanying story by “Winnie-the-Pooh Rockets to Toy Stardom” in the same issue references “Pauline Schindler, Hollywood, maker of Christopher Robin’s Friends soft toys.” (Toy World, November 1930, p. 58). She more than likely was working with noted Stephen Slesinger, creator of comic strip characters and the father of the licensing industry, who had acquired US and Canadian merchandising, television, recording and other trade rights to Winnie-the-Pooh from A. A. Milne in the 1930s, and developed Winnie-the-Pooh commercializations for more than 30 years.
Pauline might have learned a few pointers on the craft of toy making from erstwhile Kings Road salon habitue Barbara Morgan who was a renowned puppeteer, artist and art teacher at UCLA. (Annita Delano Oral History). Morgan’s husband Willard was also Richard Neutra’s photographer of record for his 1927 Jardinette Apartments and 1929 Lovell Health House. Pauline and Barbara shared interests in painting, theater, dance, exhibiting, puppetry, and music thus it is not a stretch to imagine her picking up some tips from Barbara on stuffed-animal making before she and Willard moved to New York in 1930. (For more on this see my “Foundations of Los Angeles Modernism“). Pauline also contributed articles on her stuffed animals “The Craftsman Turns to Making Toys” to The Handicrafter where she was contributing associate editor during the early 1930s.
Scheyer and Schindler likely continued to coordinate their exhibitions and lecture bookingsas their “Blue Four” and “Creative Contemporary Architecture of California” exhibits traveled the circuit of West Coast galleries and Western Association of Art Museums. (See “The Impact From Abroad: Foreign Guests and Visitors” by Peter Selz in On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art 1900-1950, p. 102). As an example, either Pauline or Galka booked a lecture for RMS on the relationship of architecture to the Bauhaus at the Oakland Art Gallery in conjunction with Scheyer’s April-May 1930 Lyonel Feininger exhibition. (See “Modernist Photography and the Group f.64″ by Therese Thau Heyman in On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art 1900-1950, p. 249). (For a fabulous John M. Weatherwax character study of Galka Scheyer with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in San Francisco at about this time, go to Diego, Galka and Toby).
Edward Weston’s Daybook indicates that on April 7, 1930, Galka Scheyer, traveling between the Braxton Gallery and Oakland Art Gallery Feininger shows with Schindler, visited him in Carmel for two days and critiqued his print of fish and kelp from Point Lobos. Weston wrote that she [Scheyer] was a “dynamo of energy”; her insight was “of unusual clarity”; she had “an ability to express herself in words, brilliantly…she is an ideal go-between for the artist and his public.” (Weston, p. 151-2). Weston’s account of a February 2, 1927 costume party hosted by Peter Krasnow, is indicative of the closeness of his friendship with Scheyer. He writes, “…Galka Scheyer begged my leather breeches, putees, pistola and Texano, so I got in exchange her outfit even down to panties, and a marvelous make-up job to boot. As a ravishing woman I was a success with the women. (Weston, p. 3).
The same participants were included in an exhibition at the New York Architectural League from April 18 to 25, 1931. Pauline’s curatorial work bringing together this group for the West Coast traveling show prompted Joseph Urban, who had been in contact with RMS since 1922, to write to show organizer Ely Jacques Kahn on December 12, 1930,
“Group of at least seven California architects, including Schindler, Neutra, Peters, Davidson, Webber [sic], Wright, are willing to send drawings for Architectural League Exhibition. Will be valuable stimulus to the progressive movement East. Can we give them a good room or alcove for them to show effectively together?” (Sheine, p. 256).
This show also preceded the 1932 MOMA exhibition by a year. Helping to grease the skids was Neutra’s presence in New York on a stopover during his world tour the date the letter was written. Three weeks later Neutra would have the honor of presenting an inaugural series of three lectures in Urban’s recently completed New School for Social Research Building’s new auditorium.
After initially agreeing to be part of the West Coast exhibition, and despite Pauline’s praise of his groundbreaking work and heartfelt recognition of his influence on her husband and Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright angrily requested to be removed from all future showings. He had apparently heard through son Lloyd, who had refused to participate, that the exhibition was being titled “Three Architects of International Renown” or as he later described it, “Frank Lloyd Wright middle, Neutra right, Schindler left” or as “Christ crucified between two thieves.” As Wright explained it in a letter to Lewis Mumford, “All novices, in the nature of the Cuckoo, have not hesitated to lay their eggs in my nest…” (Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography by Meryle Secrest, p. 393 and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water by David Hoffmann, p. 88).
In an April 15, 1930 letter from Frank Lloyd Wright to Pauline Schindler, in response to her letter asking him to participate in the exhibit in Los Angeles, Wright wrote, “While many of my sworn adherents and generous admirers have in the past profited considerably by my work and by my own clients, – I can remember no such instance ever happening to me concerning them or theirs. Richard [Neutra] is evidently gone head over heals, – Le Corbusier, Rudolph, too. It is a pity. But there is nothing to be done about it. I suppose I shall have to turn on them myself and show them up soon.” (Sheine, p. 42.). Much on the correspondence with Frank Lloyd Wright can also be found in Sheine.
In an April 30 letter Pauline asked Wright for permission to plan a lecture series for him in the West. She wrote, “Let me explain to you why I concern myself so actively with architecture: my own first contact with it was simultaneous with a central ecstasy, so that it has the equivalence and force with me of some critical emotional impression of childhood which dictates the direction of life.” (McCoy, p. 58). After turning her down she wrote back, “There is nothing I can say except that I love you profoundly for the majesty and meaning of your work, that I should have been utterly proud to serve it…”
A July 28, 1930 letter from her father Edmund reveals the financial state she usually seemed to be in. “What have you been doing young lady to bring about a ponderous flood of bills? Am enclosing August check and will send an additional $50 about the middle of the month…Let’s consider ourselves in conference going over your business affairs and analyzing present conditions and prospects. This with a view to whether any part of your plans need modification, or here or there reshaping.” (McCoy, p. 60).
Pauline had also written to Neutra while he was on his world tour after moving out of Kings Road asking for permission to represent him in a series of lectures. In a December 1930 reply from Cleveland near the end of his tour Neutra wrote, “Dear Ghibeline: Am ready to be managed by you and grateful naturally…Not usually interested in chapter AIA meetings. More in laypersons, who might be our clients…Richard.” She then successfully arranged for a Neutra speaking engagement in Chicago through a former Smith College classmate. (McCoy, p. 60).
About this time PGS wrote Edward Weston trying to interest him in doing a book of his photographs. He replied quoting from her letter, “‘Let’s do a book on Edward Weston.’ I do not think he has had the nationwide publicity to warrant a publisher’s interest. They are not in business except to make money. My love and greetings, Edward.” (McCoy, p. 59). (Weston’s first monograph would be produced by his friend and patron Merle Armitage in 1932). Weston presented Pauline a portrait of Diego Rivera made in Mexico in 1924, possibly around this time. (McCoy, p. 60, n.d.).
Diego Rivera, Mexico, 1924. Edward Weston portrait. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.
Rendering of Schindler’s Wolfe House on Catalina Island announcing Schindler’s upcoming lecture at the Denny-Watrous Gallery. The Carmelite, September 4, 1930, p. 1.
Schindler lecture announcement. The Carmelite, September 4, 1930, p. 4.
Pauline had also been trying to arrange lectures by Neutra and Schindler at the Denny-Watrous Gallery in Carmel. Hazel Watrous guaranteed either a $25 fee, replying, “Schindler has a mastery and charm, Neutra has ideas about mass production. I’ll leave the choice to you…We have arranged with Galka Scheyer to have her exhibit here in June. Edward Weston has been showing his prints for several weeks.” (McCoy, p. 60). PGS then booked a lecture for Schindler on September 6th. (See above). Still a frequent contributor since her ouster, Pauline introduced Carmelite readers to Schindler with an introductory article in which she wrote,
“Of the three architects [Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and R. M. Schindler] it is often said that Schindler is most the creative genius. He sees first the pure form. His designs are uncompromising as far as period architecture is concerned. Those who have wondered why the modernist does not build himself a “Spanish house” will have an opportunity to hear the basic principles back of modern building when Schindler speaks on Saturday. An opportunity for questions will also be given, and slides of Schindler’s and Neutra’s buildings will accompany the talk.” (Schindler, Pauline, “Schindler, Modern, Speaks on Architecture,” The Carmelite, September 4, 1930, p. 7).
Long-time family friend and still on the Carmelite’s editorial board, Edward Weston took great exception to the treatment Schindler suffered at the hands of his patron John O’Shea after his gallery lecture.
“Schindler bore himself with dignity, he was a gentleman, the others were not. I admit John O’Shea had been drinking, good, – one’s character is revealed with a few drinks. After the lecture he made disparaging remarks, even indulging in personalities in a loud voice standing near Schindler, head turned toward him, face in a leering mask. Disgusting! I sat down and wrote The Carmelite an article giving full vent to my feelings, not using names, but several offenders were plainly enough indicated.” (Weston, p. 187).
Weston’s angry letter to the editor presciently ended with,
“Always the new in art, science, philosophy, has been ridiculed. But this time the joke is on the persecutors, for the new architecture has long ago been accepted, is spreading all over the world. It is for those who live today. Future generations, looking back upon the beginnings of the American Renaissance, which we are in, and being so close cannot recognize, will point out such names as Wright, Neutra, Schindler, who in the face of smirks and guffaws, went their own way – building with foreesight, faith and hard work.” (Weston, Edward, ”Schindler,: The Carmelite, September 11, 1930, p. 6.
Soon thereafter, John O’Shea invited Weston to a stag party which he tried to get out of but finally attended. He wrote in his September 17th Daybook entry, “I spent my evening trying to keep them off art and keep my temper. Dickinson said, “Weston is too serious!” But they were the serious ones – that [Carmelite] article had a sting! I was sober enough to sit back and watch the others, especially John: and his face revealed much. I saw a man, soured, cynical, negative. Perhaps he knows he can never reach the heights he tried for. A fine painter, but nowhere near a great artist. I feel sorry for him, but that does not excuse his childish nonsense.”
In April 1932 Hazel Watrous asked Weston to write a review for The Carmelite for the Denny-Watrous Gallery John O’Shea exhibit and he agreed writing, “I sweat doing it, – because to a degree I had to resort to evasion…” Hazel, Dene, John and wife Molly all asked him to do the review. “Each one of these friends has not only been very kind to me, but has helped materially to raise my economic status. Of course I am trying to excuse my guilty conscience.” (Weston, p. 211-2).
“Carmel Hours”, Pauline Schindler, Touring Topics, November 1931. Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library.
Pauline’s above 1931 slice-of-life story “Carmel Hours” with Edward Weston photos depicting a day in Carmel and surrounding area was published in editor Phil Townsend Hanna’ Touring Topics. (See my related post Phil Townsend Hanna). The article mentions many of her old friends and haunts and gives insight to her memorable days spent editing The Carmelite in 1928-29 where, in my opinion, she was at her creative best and was probably most happy.
Schindler continued to get mileage from her “Contemporary Creative Architecture in California” exhibition into 1932 as Creative Art’s editor Henry McBride published her “Modern California Architects” in the February issue, the same month the “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition” opened at the Museum of Modern Art. The five-page article included Brett Weston photos of RMS’s Wolfe House on Catalina, Neutra’s Lovell Health House, and The Bachelors, Ltd. Haberdashery by J. R. Davidson and also described work by Lloyd Wright, Jock Peters and Kem Weber. PGS was successful in placing three-page article, “Group Offices for Physicians, Los Angeles; J. R. Davidson, Designer” in the August 1932 issue of Architectural Record. She wrote of Neutra in the Creative Art article,
“His work is the coolest, the furthest removed from stylization or a conscious esthetic. It is the most closely related to the neue Sachlichkeit of contemporary Europeans.” Of RMS she opined, “Schindler’s work is particularly lyric, an utterance of a definite life feeling. It is profoundly organic, the parts moving into the whole by transition of an inner logic.”
Pauline’s activities were centered in Ojai between 1932-35. Mark was attending the Ojai Valley School between October 1932 and June 1937. She lived there intermittently in a series of rented cottages. From this base she traveled to Santa Barbara, Halcyon and the nearby Oceano Dunes settlement of Moy Mell. There were numerous connections between Carmel and Halcyon and Oceano which Pauline seemed destined to be involved with. The Neutra’s may have been the first to tell Pauline about the Oceano Dunites whom they observed on there way to Carmel in November 1928 for their previously mentioned lecture and recital. Pauline also reviewed concerts by avant-garde pianist Henry Cowell who frequently collaborated and stayed with John Varian (see below) and wife Agnes in Halcyon. Irishman Varian was an amateur musician, mystic poet and ardent Thesophist, prominent among the Halcyon sect known as “The Temple of the People.” (See below).
Edward Weston’s Daybook provides another link between Cowell and Halcyon with this August 24, 1930 entry, “Last night to Henry Cowell’s New Operetta, “the Building of Bamba,” given at the Forest Theater: So poorly produced that one could hardly say whether it had possibilities or not. Many of the cast were from Halcyon, colony of mystics. I have my doubts about the esoteric when it does not include the aesthetic! I certainly would not have gone to an opera, disliking stage bellowing, – worse combined with acting, even if the bellowers are good: these were awful, – most of them, but I had hopes this might be a new note, or new music from Henry. But no, much of it sounded like old church hymns poorly sung.”
Another close friend of the Varian’s was Irish poet and mystic Ella Young who, after emigrating from Ireland in 1925 to escape imprisonment for supporting the Irish Republican Army, lectured widely across the United States and taught Celtic mythology and Irish history at U. C. Berkeley before settling in Oceano. Ella’s audiences were enthralled – not only by her great knowledge but also by the beauty and romance of her words. She became an important literary and spiritual figure in California, much as she had been in Dublin, influencing people like poet Robinson Jeffers, photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston (see portraits below), artist John O’Shea, and composer Harry Partch. She found her faeries again in the sacred land of Point Lobos and in the isolation of her cottage garden on the dunes of Oceano . http://www.thesunsraven.com/dsellayoung.html
Ella was responsible for introducing her lifelong friend and fellow Irish Republican Army supporter Gavin Arthur, grandson of former President Chester A. Arthur, to the Varian’s, through which he discovered the Oceano Dunes. (see below). Arthur settled in the Dunes in 1930 with the vision of forming a utopian society of like-minded individuals there. Ella would visit often and christened the Dunite settlement Moy Mell, Gaelic for “Pastures of Honey.” She could feel the rhythms of the Dunes and the vibrations in the individual coves.
Left, Ella Young, Carmel, March 31, 1930. Edward Weston portrait. Right, Ella Young, 1929, Ansel Adams Portrait. Photos courtesy of Center for Creative Photography. http://ccp.uair.arizona.edu/
In the August 29, 1929 issue of The Carmelite Pauline featured a Helen Bruton woodcut and a poem by John Varian on the front page and a Dora Hagemeyer article “A Day with Ella Young” which described her home and garden and John Varian installing a bookshelf for her. Ella Young sat for both Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, both of whom were very impressed by her persona and beliefs.
In his autobiography Maurice Browne described Ella Young as “looking like a six-thousand-year-old Druid priestess who had just sat to Rider Haggard for her portrait.” He recalled a picnic with her and Ellen Janson on the sand-dunes where Young invoked a spell on a firm of Los Angeles realtors who were selling lots to far-distant Middle-Westerners. “She drew a circle in the sand…and for an hour within that circle performed rites and in a language unknown to me chanted incantations. When finished she erased the circle and said: “I think that we should hurry home.” We hurried home. Within ten minutes over those few thousand square yards there broke a storm unparalleled, it was said later, in living memory.” (Too Late to Lament, p. 281).
Some very interesting interviews indeed of Ella Young herself, and Gavin Arthur and Ansel Adams specifically pertaining to Young and her circle can be listened to at the following link. http://www.dunescollaborative.org/EllaAudio.html
Gavin Arthur invited part-time Halcyon resident and Kings Road habitue Ellen Janson mentioned earlier and friend Pauline to be assistant editors of his new publishing venture, Dune Forum. Pauline’s first recorded visit to Moy Mell was in September 1933. (Sun-Hines p. 325). The initial six-page “Contributors Number” (see below) published in late summer 1933 included an opening one-page editorial by Gavin describing the Dunes, their psychological importance being halfway between the two West Coast metropolises of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the aims of the magazine and solicitations for contributions of material from like-minded individuals. Later in the issue he describes the Dunes lifestyle in much detail.
Ella Young then described Gavin and Janson:
“Gavin Arthur will make a good editor primarily because he is so man-sided and has such wide views and sympathies. His life is colored too with memories of many people and many places; he has known labour leaders and royal dukes, has looked from the view-point of both, yet kept his mind free. Always an agnostic; poet, rebel, sailor, gentleman, vagabond; born a westerner; cosmopolitan yet proudly a Californian; eager to test, to experiment,— his whole life has been lived in the spirit which motivates this magazine. Such a project has been his life-dream.
Ellen Janson is a recognized poet whose work has appeared in such magazines as the London Mercury, Harper’s, Vogue, Poetry. Born and brought up in Seattle, she is a westerner of the modern generation, tall, free, forward-looking. Although she has spent just enough time in London, Paris, Berlin, New York to be thoroughly cosmopolitan, her heart has always been on this Coast, her home in Los Angeles, her chief inspiration in the Dunes. Her exquisite taste, her sure sense of beauty, will bring to the Dune Forum a distinction of which it will have the right to be proud.”
Janson can be seen in the below 1948 photo on the deck of her Schindler-designed home during the most serious period (late 1940s and early 1950s) of their likely long-term relationship. Schindler apparently previously received the steep hillside lot in payment for design of the Laurelwood Apartments. (Sheine, note 27, p. 283). Janson also wrote the first significant Schindler biography in 1938 which was later included in a “book” he assembled compiling all of his published written articles, a map, notes, a directory, and a list of works which was sent to various publishers in the late 1940s, including Peter Blake at the Museum of Modern Art to try to promote interest in a monograph of his work. (Sheine, p. 265).
Arthur closes Dune Forum’s Contributors’ Number with acknowledgments to: John O’Shea who did the cover drawing, Ella Young, Leone Barry, and Harwood White; and for the promised co-operation of Jack Conroy, Lincoln Steffens, Robinson Jeffers, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Sara Bard Field, Charles Erskine, Scott Wood, J. Paget Fredericks, Marie Welsh, Roderick White, Stewart Edward White, and the many other good friends of the Dune Forum.
All seven issues of Dune Forum are available in their entirety in PDF format on-line at Dune Forum.
This number also included a Chandler Weston cover photo, the first of three published by the Weston family, poetry by Ellen Janson and letters of support for the new venture from Henry Cowell, Mary Austin, Havelock Ellis, Lincoln Steffens, William Carlos Williams, Jack Conroy, Sara Bard Field and many others. Chandler Weston and brother Brett apparently were the first professional photographers to discover the Dunes in the fall of 1933. (See also Brett’s 1933 photo after his January 15, 1934 cover photo below). Father Edward, along with Willard Van Dyke appeared to have made their first visit in early 1934. (See their below cover photos and reference in John Cage letter below). Edward credited Galka Scheyer with first telling him about the Dunes inscribing the verso of a print of the Dunes in her private collection, “To Galka/ Who first told me about the Dunes/ Edward/ 1936. (From The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum, 1976). Pauline’s editorial expertise and contacts gained while running The Carmelite came into strong play in making Dune Forum the quality publication that it was.
Westways, February 1934. Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library.
The January 15, 1934 issue of Dune Forum above featured a cover photo by Brett Weston and an editorial by Pauline titled “North South” in which she reports on a school to be designed by Richard Neutra and Krisnamurti’s impending visitation to Ojai. The issue also contained poetry by Ella Young and an article on Communism by Ella Winter, who continued to contribute to The Carmelite after Pauline’s ouster. Her page 5 contributor’s bio reads, “Ella Winter is known to many as Mrs. Lincoln Steffens. She is a writer and lecturer highly valued by the Communist Party. She is the author of “Red Virtue”, and represents The New Masses in California.”
The February 15th issue features a Willard Van Dyke cover photo of the dunes. Edward Weston, a longtime friend and mentor of Van Dyke and fellow Group f.64 member along with Ansel Adams, visited the Dunes with him for the first time just weeks earlier, more than likely through his connection with Pauline, to obtain cover photos for this and future issues.
The opening editorial reviews Ella Winter’s article in the previous issue, “In Carmel, Lincoln Steffens and Ella Winter seemed equally convinced that unless every intelligent person throws himself body and soul into the Communist Cause we will soon have a Fascist Terror in this country that will put both Mussolini and Hitler into the shade…” and references composer John Cage’s first visit to Moy Mell and includes his “Counterpoint” to Roderick White’s critique on “Modern Music.” Poetry by John Varian was published posthumously. This may have been about the time Pauline’s relationship with Pat O’Hara temporarily ended and her affair with John Cage began. Cage stayed at Kings Road at the end of 1933 and staged concerts there which might have been where they met. (Sweeney, p. 110 and Sun-Hines, p. 325).
Cage attended the February issue editorial meeting at Moy Mell and possibly began the affair with Pauline shortly thereafter. Cage visited Pauline in Ojai on several occasions in early 1935 and dedicated his 1934 “Composition for Three Voices” to her. Their affair is documented in the letters at the following link. (http://www.ex-tempore.org/ExTempore96/cage96.html)The letters indicate a couple references to Pat [O'Hara] thus John was likely aware that Pauline may have been seeing him concurrently. They also discuss mutual composer friends such as Henry Cowell, Richard Buhlig, Schoenberg, Edgar Vardse and others.
The first letter references his February visit to Moy Mell and was written on the back of his “Counterpoint” typescript written for the February issue. It reads:
Pauline also included in this issue estranged husband RMS’s seminal and oft-cited three-page piece, “Space Architecture” which defined his architectural design philosophy. He wrote that the modern architect would be “dealing with a new medium as rich and unlimited in possibilities of expression as any of other media of art: color, sound, mass etc. This gives us a new understanding of the task of modern architecture. Its experiments serve to develop a new language, a vocabulary and syntax of space.” After reading many of PGS’s other writings I speculate that she may have had a hand in editing this article.
The March 15th number features another John O’Shea drawing of the Dunes on the cover, another article by Ella Winter, “Outside Agitators” on farm labor activism, and an article by Henry Cowell, “Double Counterpoint” critiquing Roderick White’s and John Cage’s articles on modern music in the previous issue. “Four Dune Poems” by Ellen Janson, and “Los Angeles: The Ugly Duckling” a love-hate critique by editor Dunham Thorp were also included. Pauline’s issue-ending two-page article, “The Guilty Liberal” was basically a call-to-arms for liberals to make their voices heard more loudly.
The April 15th issue cover featured a recent Edward Weston photo, likely his first published photo of the Dunes, and presaged his now iconic 1936 Oceano Dunes portfolio. Also included are poems by Gavin Arthur and fellow Dunite Hugo Seelig, and numerous articles by editor Dunham Thorp.
Dr. Alexander Kaun. Portrait by Johan Hagemeyer, April 5, 1932. Photo courtesy OAC and U.C. Berkeley Bancroft Library, Johan Hagemeyer Photo Collection.
Kaun Beach House, Richmond, 1934, R. M. Schindler. Uncredited photo. From “A beach house for Dr. and Mrs. Alexander Kaun, Richmond, Calif. R. M. Schindler, Architect”, California Arts & Architecture, May, 1937, p. 26. (From my collection).
Coincidentally, Pauline’s influence was beginning to pay off for both RMS and Neutra as Schindler’s Kaun beach house in Richmond (see above) and Neutra’s house for Galka Scheyer in the Hollywood Hills (see below) were being completed just about this time.
In his Daybook, Edward Weston mentions a January 3, 1929 dinner party he attended at Kings Road a week before his move to Carmel hosted by the Neutra’s which included Greta and J. R. Davidson and the Kauns,
“…I like Richard Neutra so much, and found Kaun and the others stimulating, so the evening was a rare gathering I do not regret. Even the showing of my work was not the usual boresome task. Neutra is always keenly responsive, and knows whereof he speaks, Representing in America an important exhibit of photography to be held in Germany this summer (see reference and covers of the Film und Foto exhibition above), he has given me complete charge of collecting the exhibit, choosing the ones whose work I consider worthy of showing, and of writing the catalogue foreword to the American group.” (Weston, p. 102-3).
In his Neutra monograph Hines wrote that the Neutras surmised that Richard was chosen over RMS for the Scheyer commission due to the breakup of a stormy affair between her and RMS directly after Pauline’s departure in the summer of 1927. (RN-Hines, p. 116). In a 1970s letter to Diana Balmori Esther McCoy wrote,
“A woman professor of art [Peg Weiss] is doing a book about Galka Scheyer; we’ve talked on the phone several times. She is at Univ. of Syracuse. Tom Hines, discouraged at trying to find proof of Schindler’s affair with Leah Lovell (not true) he grabbed the next at hand—Galka Scheyer. U. of S. researcher says “no way” so do Galka’s closest friends. But it makes a racy story for Hines.” (Courtesy of author Susan Morgan who is currently working on Esther McCoy’s biography and has an Esther McCoy Reader scheduled for release this fall).
It is not hard at all for me to imagine the philandering Schindler having a fling with Scheyer as early as her three-month stay at Kings Road during the summer of 1927 upon viewing the below photo.
Galka Scheyer at Kings Road, circa 1931. (From Frida Kahlo: Her Photos, edited by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Editorial RM, 2010, p. 333)
Also during 1934 Neutra was completing a second-story addition to a town house in Hollywood for Raja and Rosalind Rajagopal, caretaker and secret lover of Krishnamurti and later founder of Happy Valley School, whom he met through C. H. van der Leeuw, financier of his VDL Research House. (See group photo of the van der Leeuw brothers, Krishnamurti and Rosalind’s husband D. Rajagopal earlier in this article). Rosalind and Galka Scheyer also became close friends at about the same time. Scheyer gave painting classes to Rajagopal and renowned ceramicist Beatrice Wood, also a big Krishnamurti follower, who later moved across the street from him in Ojai. Wood and Krishnamurti also played major roles in establishing Happy Valley School which was attended by Raymond Neutra and Erica Weston, Brett’s daughter. (July 23, 2010 e-mail message from Raymond Neutra, Happy Valley School and Lives in the Shadow With J. Krishnamurti by Radha Sloss, Universe, 2000, p. 136).
(From Beatrice Wood Biography)
Depression era financial reality finally set in and publication ceased after the May number. Gavin Arthur left Moy Mell shortly thereafter. The next place he pops up in print is the November 26, 1934 issue of Time Magazine in which an article, “Recovery: Utopians Eastward” reports on the whereabouts of Arthur and Dunham Thorp after Dune Forum folded earlier that year. They had moved to Utopian Society founder Eugene John Reed’s Greenwich Village apartment in New York. “Men strange to the janitor had indeed been climbing the stairs to visit the new tenants of No. 23 Barrow St., Apartment 4 C. Greenwich Village. The chief tenant was Eugene John Reed, 47, who was once a partner in an investment banking house in Denver. His co-tenants were Chester A. Arthur Jr., 33-year-old grandson of the 21st President of the U. S., and Dunham Thorp, onetime editor of a literary magazine (Dune Forum) in California. All three had taken up residence in Greenwich Village with a small table, some wicker chairs, a few cots. Thus did Utopia move East.” (Time Magazine).
California Arts & Architecture, January 1935, Modern Architecture Issue, guest editor, Pauline Schindler. (From my collection).
Publisher George Oyer’s editorial in the same issue titled “California – As We See It” reads,
“For some months we have been considering the advisability of recording some of the work of our California modern designers. To the layman, the term modern applies to any house or building with dominating horizontal or vertical lines: to any shop front with polished aluminum or bronze wainscoting. The term modern applied to architecture and interior furnishings has but a vague meaning….It is quite impossible to show all of the distinctive work of our outstanding architects, nor are we able to include in this issue the work of all of our California modernists. In the selection of photographs and articles we are grateful to Miss Pauline Schindler for her able assistance. Whether or not you like it, is beside the point. It is here so we acknowledge it.”See my related post at the following link. http://socalarchhistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/california-arts-architecture.html
The Museum of Modern Art’s Philip Johnson finally recognizing the importance of what was happening in California, organized an exhibition “Contemporary Architecture in California” which ran from September 30 to October 24, 1935 which included work by Neutra, Schindler, William W. Wurster and others. The exhibition traveled to 20 other locations from 1935-1939. Still feeling the sting of being left out of MOMA’s 1932 Modern Architecture Exhibition, Schindler almost dropped out of this show when he read Arthur Millier’s September 15 Brush Strokes column in the Los Angeles Times , “An exhibit of models, plans, photographs, of recent work of California modern architects, with special emphasis on Richard J. Neutra, is announced by New York’s Museum of Modern Art for October 2 to 24.” Ernestine Fantl of MOMA reassured him that was not the case and he decided to remain in the show. (Sheine, p. 256). This show was undoubtedly influenced by Pauline’s 1930 “Contemporary Creative Architecture in California Exhibition” and triggered by the January 1935 California Arts & ArchitectureModern Architecture Issue she guest-edited.
Pauline’s gradual shift from Socialism to Communism evident in her Dune Forum editorials resulted in her in 1935 writing for the Western Worker, “the Western Organ of the Communist Party USA” as she coined the publication in an August 30, 1935 letter to her mother. She had also just spent the previous month with Mark at Commonwealth College in Mena, Arkansas which was subsequently investigated by the Arkansas House of Representatives as a “Communist” organization. (Sweeney, p. 111). Soon thereafter Pauline returned to Kings Road for good. She had finally tired of her vagabond existence and was ready to settle down. She would communicate with her ex-husband and house-mate RMS by letter for the rest of her days at Kings Road until his 1953 death. (Sweeney). At one time Pauline had expressed an interest in doing RMS’s biography but that would have been hard to accomplish communicating only via letter as they had chosen to do.