Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sarah B. Clarke Residence, 7231 Hillside Ave., Hollywood: Irving Gill's First Aiken System Project

(Click in images to enlarge)
Irving Gill ca. 1912, about the time he formed his Concrete Building and Investment Co.

"Pre-Cast Walls for the Concrete House," Keith's Magazine, October 1917, pp. 223-225.

Ever since I found the above anonymous Irving Gill house in Hollywood in the book Concrete Houses: How They Were Built (see below) it has been nagging me who commissioned the project and where it was located. This rather striking residence has not been published in any of the Gill monographs because Esther McCoy, David Gebhard, Bruce Kamerling, Thomas S. Hines and Marvin Rand either did not know of it's existence, had not come across the three publications of the house, or else had the address incorrectly listed thus making it difficult to find through secondary sources. Project photos were also likely destroyed in a fire or were inadvertently thrown out by a relative after Gill's death as explained in Hines's introduction to Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform. (Monacelli Press, 2000, p. 17). 

Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920. (Author's note: An adapted rendering of Gill's Darst House appears on the cover. Articles on, and photos of, Gill's Dodge House, Darst House (see below) and Lewis Courts are also compiled herein.)

Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 17.

Compounding the difficulty in tracking the house down, the first time the house appeared in print was in the May 1916 issue of Concrete Magazine, a full three years after its completion. A footnote in the below article in Concrete Houses muddled things even further by incorrectly stating that the article was first published in Concrete in May of 1918. In his Gill monograph Bruce Kamerling had the house listed as "Mrs. Sarah R. [sic] Clark residence, 7731 [sic] Hillside Hollywood" and being completed. Likely taking his cue from Kamerling, Thomas Hines' Gill book had the same listing but more confusingly cited it under Gill's "unbuilt" projects. Marvin Rand's Gill monograph erroneously aped the listing in Hines as being unbuilt. No mention was made of the house within the text of any of these three books. And of course Esther McCoy made no mention of the house at all in her Gill chapter in her 1960 Five California Architects.

"A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

Clark House floor plan from "Pre-Cast Walls for the Concrete House," Keith's Magazine on Home Building, October 1917, p. 224.

Through an exhaustive search of back issues of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer and a fortuitous title "Clark, 7233 Hillside" inked onto an Irving Gill slide mount in architect-historian John Reed's collection I was finally able to determine that this house was indeed the Sarah "B." Clark Residence and it was actually located at "7231" Hillside Ave. in Hollywood. The SC&M description summarized the house as being 7-rooms, 40 x 41 ft., with a composite roof and with a value of $4500. The owner, Sarah B. Clark, was living at 1853 Gower St. when she signed the contract with Gill. Gill's office was listed as 643 Citizen's National Bank Building (see below). He would soon move to 913 S. Figueroa St. across the street from the familiarly-arched Friday Morning Club (see two below) by June where he would remain until 1923. (Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer, February 22, 1913, p. 34). (For more on the Friday Morning Club see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School"). (Author's note: The pioneering work of architect-historian John Reed, a San Diego native, in educating McCoy, Gebhard and Winter on the location of long-lost Gill and others projects during the 1950s is much under-recognized. For much more on Reed's importance to McCoy's career see my "Selected Publications of Esther McCoy: Patron Saint and Myth Maker for Southern California Architectural Historians.")

Citizen's National Bank Building, sw corner of Third and Main Sts., ca. 1913. Courtesy California Historical Society, USC Digital Collection.

Friday Morning Club, 940 S. Figueroa St., ca. 1900. Arthur B. Benton, architect, 1900. Photographer unknown. Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.  

"The beauty of the simple treatment of the arch," from "Pre-Cast Walls for the Concrete House," Keith's Magazine on Home Building, October 1917, p. 224.

The Clark House (see front porch above) has the added distinction of being the first house for which Gill used the Aiken System tilt-slab construction technique. This fact had not come to light until I was able to determine that the house was completed by the end of May in 1913. (Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer, various issues, February, May and June, 1913). The late date of the first publication of the Clark House would likely have confused people into thinking that the Banning House begun in June 1913 was Gill's first "Aiken" house. Esther McCoy created the myth in her 1960 Five California Architects by being the first to state that the Banning House was Gill's first project to employ the Aiken method. The myth was later perpetuated by Bruce Kamerling in his 1993 Irving J. Gill, Architect, Sean Scensor in his excellent 1995 graduate thesis "Irving Gill and the Rediscovery of Concrete in California: The Marie and Chauncy Clarke House, 1919-1922," and inferred by Thomas Hines in his 2000 Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform. (See more at my McCoy). (For much more on Marie Rankin Clarke and the Clarke House also see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright,Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles").


Colonel Robert Aiken ca. 1908, photographer unknown. From "House Walls Built Flat and Raised," Cement World, Aug 15, 1908, p. 327. 
"The Second Annual Cement Show at the Coliseum, Chicago," Cement Age, March 1909, p. 206.

Colonel Robert Aiken (see two above) devised a system of casting the walls of buildings in a horizontal position and raising them with special equipment while in the army building barracks in the Philippines during the Spanish American War. Numerous barracks buildings were erected at army posts across the U.S. and in Panama.  After leaving the military Aiken patented the system in 1908. On November 14, 1908, he organized the Aiken Cement House company and incorporated it in the State of Maine for tax purposes. He soon began a much-advertised national marketing campaign with the intent of  franchising his system by region. The effort also included setting up booths at concrete trade shows such as the 1909 Chicago Cement Show (see above).

"Aiken Cement House Company," National Association of Cement Users, Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Convention, November 1911, p. 898.

It is not certain how the concrete-intrigued Gill first became aware of the Aiken System but it was possibly through his former partner William Hebbard who is said to have used the process in one of his 1910 projects. (Hines, p. 125-6). Gill also might have learned of the process through period Aiken articles and ads in the concrete journals (see above for example). He also could have been approached directly by Aiken representative Frederick H. Sears who had moved to Los Angeles in 1910 to establish the California branch of the national Aiken Reinforced Concrete Company. Frederick H. Sears, "Notables of the Southwest," Press Reference Library, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 1912, p. 441.

Frederick H. Sears, ibid.

Aiken Reinforced Concrete Co., 1113-1114 Union Trust Bldg., southeast corner of South Spring and West 4th Streets, designed by John Parkinson, 1904. First skyscraper in Los Angeles. From LAPL Photo DWP Collection. 

An offshoot of the Chicago-based Aiken Cement House Company which Sears also helped organize, the Aiken Reinforced Concrete Company incorporated in Los Angeles in 1910. The firm's offices were located on the 11th floor of the Union Trust Building (see above) and seemingly had a short-lived presence in Los Angeles and other cities around the country ca. 1910-12 after the original round of regional contracts for the patent rights were awarded. The associated Sears and Fife real estate development company also had its offices at the same location.


Los Angeles Railway Paint Shop, 55th St. and South Park Ave., 1911. Los Angeles Herald Examiner, January 1911.

The first Aiken System project in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Railway Paint Shop, a 111’ x 644’ building containing 36 car bays was begun in September 1910 and completed by mid-1911. Designed by Los Angeles architect Karl D. Schwendener and erected by the Aiken Reinforced Concrete Company, 106 ft-long, 100-ton wall sections were cast horizontally and then raised into position (see above). The Herald Examiner reported that Robert Aiken, a concrete specialist from Illinois, developed the technique of “lift-slab” or “tilt-up” concrete construction and his “process [was] used for the first time in the West” in building the Paint Shop for the Los Angeles Railway. The building was undoubtedly one the largest of its era to employ tilt-up construction (see below). 

Los Angeles Railway Paint Shop, 55th St. and South Park Ave., 1911. Karl D. Schwendener, architect. Photographer unknown. From "South Los Angeles Wetlands Project, Draft EIR," City of Los Angeles, 2005.

Gill likely was aware of this regional "demonstration" project and was certainly given a tour by Sears prior to signing his contract with the Aiken Reinforced Concrete Company. In mid-1912, while still heavily involved in his City of Torrance projects with the Olmsteds, an enthused Gill licensed the Aiken System rights for the Southern California region and leased the necessary equipment from the Aiken Company. The equipment, including the jacks and frames, was manufactured at the Aiken factory in Benton Township, Illinois built by Aiken in 1908 using his own system. ("Robert H. Aiken, Tilt-Up Construction Inventor," Lake County, Illinois History).

Gill formed the Concrete Building and Investment Company and became his own contractor in Los Angeles in July 1912. His initial partners and backers included Los Angeles real estate mogul C. Wesley Roberts, auto industry magnate James W. Hawk, John W. Crump, and James H. Fountain. ("Incorporations," Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1912, p. II-2). The stated purpose of the company was "...to erect concrete buildings at low cost by pouring the walls separately on a tilting platform." (Building Age, November 1912, p. 600). 

"Form ready for Concrete,"  "A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

Gill used the smaller Clark House to learn the idiosyncrasies of the Aiken System before tackling the much more impressive Banning House which was under design during the Clark House construction. The walls were pre-cast in a horizontal position and raised by motor-driven jacks. The number of jacks used and the spacing of them depended on the weight and size of the wall to be supported. Door and window openings were laid out (see above). Metal jambs, soon patented by Gill, were set in place (see below) and the remaining surface of the wall form covered with hollow tile spaced for reinforced concrete beams to give proper stiffness; twisted steel rods were then placed vertically and horizontally, and the wall was ready to be poured. Concrete was wheeled up an incline, dumped, leveled off and allowed to set. The upper surface (the outside of the wall) was finished in its tilted position before being raised. (Ibid).

"Metal window frame," "A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

Putting the walls into place required a 5 h.p. gasoline engine. It took from 1/2 hour to 2 hours was required to raise each wall. Horizontal rods left projecting from the ends of the walls were bound together after two adjacent walls had been raised to an upright position. A form 2" wide was built up the entire height of the wall, and into this concrete was poured, producing a concrete and hollow tile steel reinforced with twisted steel bars.

"Raising equipment," "A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

"Three stages of construction," "A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

Roof joists are held in place by anchors, and 1" by 6" sheathing covered by a gravel composition was used for the roofing. Interior partitions were of metal lath on wood studding, and the rough concrete slab has been covered by a finish coat reinforced with wire cloth.

Clark House living room. "Pre-Cast Walls for the Concrete House," Keith's Magazine on Home Building, October 1917, p. 224.

Unlike many more ornate constructions, this tilt-wall style had no moldings or panels on the doors, just plain slab surfaces. There were no baseboards, plate rails, door or window casings or ornamental molding. Marketing materials boasted that it made this house as nearly dirt proof as is possible.

"Walls ready for plaster," "A California House With Pre-Cast Walls," in Concrete Houses: How They Were Built, edited by Harvey Whipple, Concrete-Cement Age Publishing Co., Detroit, 1920, p. 161. First published in Concrete, May, 1916, p. 197.

The house was completed in a remarkable 3 month's time attesting to the potential cost-savings in using the Aiken System. Little is known of Sarah Clark other than she was listed as a widow in the 1915 Los Angeles City Directory. She sold the house to prominent civil engineer William H. Code in 1917. Code was associated with the consulting engineering firm of Quinton, Code and Hill. Engineer Code was without doubt fascinated by the engineering aspects of the house which he likely saw in the articles published in Concrete in 1916 and/or in Keith's Magazine of Home Building in 1917. The Codes lived there until their deaths in 1951. 

"Pre-Cast Walls for the Concrete House," Keith's Magazine, October 1917, pp. 223-225.

The Clark House house appears to be related in some fashion to the house to the west at 7235 Hillside Avenue evidenced by the front and rear pergolas seemingly connecting the two properties (see above) which begs the question as to whether Gill had anything to do with its design. An interesting factoid about 7235 Hillside is that then noted actor and later movie director Raoul Walsh was living there shortly after starring as John Wilkes Booth in D. W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" with soon-to-be Edward Weston poser and later Schindler lover and client Anna Zacsek who portrayed Laura Keene. (Los Angeles City Directory, 1917). (For much more on this see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright, Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles").

Banning Residence, Commonwealth, Los Angeles, 1913. "A House Whose Walls were Built on a Table," Souhthwest Contractor & Manufacturer, November 12, 1913, p. 5.

After completion of he Clark House Gill's Aiken equipment was immediately moved to the Banning House site at 503 S. Commonwealth Ave. where it was used throughout the rest of 1913. From there it was shipped to San Diego to build the La Jolla Women's Club and Scripps Recreation Center throughout most of 1914 and then shipped back to Los Angeles to be used on the Dodge House at 950 Kings Road at the end of 1914 and throughout 1915 and early 1916 (see progression of Gill's Aiken System projects in the below photos). 

La Jolla Womens Club. (From Hines, p. 175).

La Jolla Womens Club, Craftsman, Aug 1915, p. 451. 

La Jolla Womens Club, Craftsman, Aug 1915, p. 450.

Scripps Recreation Center, La Jolla, 1914. Irving Gill, architect. From San Diego History Center.

Riverside Cement ad featuring Irving Gill's Dodge House, 950 Kings Road, Sherman, California, 1916. Southwest Builder and Contractor, May 14, 1920, front cover.

"As a House of Cards Is Made; Remarkable Home of Chicago Capitalist Is Completed," Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1916, p. I-12.

"As a House of Cards Is Made; Remarkable Home of Chicago Capitalist Is Completed," Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1916, p. I-12.

It is not yet known whether Gill used the Aiken System on any other projects beyond the above well-documented five during his 1912-1918 Concrete Building and Investment Company venture but further much-needed Gill research might turn up others. Gill finally came to expensively realize like many others including Aiken himself, that the only way one was going to make a profit above the ongoing equipment lease payments and building royalties was to have a continuous stream of large commercial projects or large subdivisions of much smaller dwellings. Gill's corporation was legally suspended around the end of 1918. The last mention of his Concrete Building and Investment Company I was able to find was for the Raymond House in Long Beach (see below). (Southwest Builder and Contractor, August 23, 1918, pp. 10, 14, 24). 

"Frame Residence," Southwest Builder and Contractor, August 23, 1918, pp. 10. 

Raymond Residence, 2127 Ocean Ave., Long Beach, 1918, Irving Gill, architect. From Modern San Diego.

Aiken was still dabbling with his system well into the 1920s. For example, in 1924, he and his wife, Jannette, and her sister Josephine Kellogg, subdivided the northern portion of their property south of Kellogg Creek into the "Kellogg's Home Site Subdivision." The site was improved with one and two bedroom concrete, Spanish-style bungalows (see below) that were rented on a daily basis to tourists. In addition, there was a campground and sandwich shop on site. Josephine Kellogg was the proprietor of the tourist camp which she coincidentally named "Hollyhock Hill." Aiken's concrete bungalows are still visible today on Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor in Benton Township, Illinois. This was Robert Aiken's last project using his method of tilt-up construction. (From Lake County, Illinois History

Tourist bungalow at "Hollyhock Hill."  ("Robert H. Aiken, Tilt-Up Construction Inventor," Lake County, Illinois History).

Gill built numerous similarly small cottages during his Aiken tenure such as the Chapin and Bingham Houses and West Adams Villas thus it would be interesting to determine whether the process might have been used on smaller scale dwellings during the period he was building his larger Aiken projects mentioned above. For a related article on some of these smaller Gill cottages see my "The "Dirt-Proof" House for Adelaide M. Chapin, "Fire-Proof" House for Persis Bingham Cassiday, and West Adams Villas for Anna W. Mills, Irving Gill, Architect."

I have discovered a few additional significant and heretofore unknown Gill projects which are awaiting further research so please stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Marion Morgan Dancers: The First Nude Photos Published in the Los Angeles Times

I happened across this fabulous spread of photos by Edward Weston and his then lover, partner and muse Margrethe Mather in the Los Angeles Times Rotogravure Section on December 26, 1920. It got me to thinking that this was possibly the first publication of female nude photographs in the Times. The images are of the Marion Morgan Dancers whom Weston and Mather photographed sometime in 1920 after Morgan opened a "School of Dancing and Art Drama" in Los Angeles the preceding October. ("Marion Morgan Opens Dance School: Many Film, Music and Stage Students Join Class," Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1920, p. III-26).

(Click on images to enlarge)

"The Nude in Art - Living Pictures," Los Angeles Times Rotogravure Section, December 26, 1920, p. VIII-3. Photos by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather, 1920.

I added a few better quality photos below from various sources to illustrate the effect the original nude rotogravures might have had on the conservative Times readers. These images appeared about three weeks after the arrival of Rudolph and Pauline Schindler in Los Angeles presaging the lifelong friendship between the Schindler and the Weston familes. Within weeks Pauline would be teaching Weston's two oldest sons, Chandler and Brett, at the Walt Whitman School. (For much more on this see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School" (SWWS)).

"In a Sunlit Arbor," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 41.

If not immediately absorbed into the Weston-Mather orbit through the Whitman School connection, the Schindlers would certainly have met them, Johan Hagemeyer, Tina Modotti, Betty Katz and many others from their radical, bohemian circles at a Max Eastman lecture at the home of Kate Crane Gartz in June 1921. (SWWS).

"Nature's Mirror," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Mutual Art.

"Sunshine and Shadow," Marion Morgan Dancers, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather. From Claremont Colleges Digital Library.

I am compiling material for an essay/exhibition on "Edward Weston and the Dance" so stay tuned. In the meantime please check out my related "Bertha Wardell Dances in Silence: Kings Road, Olive Hill and Carmel."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Herman Sachs Batik, ca. 1920

(Click on images to enlarge).
Batik by Herman Sachs, ca. 1920s. Courtesy Stephen Clauser, Arroyo Seco Books, handler of the Napolitano Estate.

I just discovered this fantastic Herman Sachs original batik among hundreds of items in the estate of artist Pasquale Giovanni Napolitano. Through previous research on Sachs (see below) I was able to instantly identify it as it was unfolded in front of me. As it did when I similarly discovered the below heretofore uncredited Edward Weston photo of Schindler's Lovell Beach House, my heart immediately skipped a beat. I hope to use the Sachs batik, space permitting, in an upcoming exhibition that I am currently working on, "The Schindlers and the Westons: An Avant-Garde Friendship" (see below).

Lovell Beach House, Newport Beach, 1926. R. M. Schindler, architect. Photo by Edward Weston, August 1, 1927. Courtesy UC-Santa Barbara Architecture and Design Collections, R. M. Schindler Collection.

Herman Sachs posing in front of one of his renowned Batiks, 1919. Photo by Dayton, Ohio photographer Jane Reece, a close friend of Edward Weston. From The Soul Unbound: The Photography of Jane Reece, by Dominique H. Vasseur, Dayton Art Institute, 1997, p. 135.

A photo of the same Batik. Photographer and date unknown. Photo in possession of Betty Katz's great niece Dottie Ickovitz.

Study for a Batik by Herman Sachs, ca. 1920s. From the internet.

"Batiks, Tapestries, Pottery, etc. at the Albright Art Gallery," Academy Notes, Buffalo Fine Ars Academy, January-June, 1921, p. 17.

The batik work of Sachs was very favorably reviewed in an article in the Buffalo Fine Arts Albright Art Gallery organ Academy Notes on their late-1920 arts and crafts exhibition. 
"Shown at the Albright Art Gallery from October to November 15th at the same time as the great exhibition of Screens, Panels, Paintings, and Sketches by Robert W. Chanier, the Haag Wood Carvings and the Gogarty Wrought Irons was a most remarkable collection of batiks, tapestries, pottery by the greatest geniuses in each particular line. Two of the large rooms were hung with these gorgeous hued batiks...Thirty eight were by the famous Herman Sachs who was one of the honored guests at the opening of the Exhibition. Mr. Sachs was the speaker at the joint luncheon of the Fashion Art League and the Alliance of Art and Industry recently held in the Art Institute of Chicago. He was born in Roumania, was a student of the Art School of the Chicago Art Institute in 1909, and for the last ten years has been developing impressionist art in Munich, where he was one of the leaders of their Arts and Crafts School. Mr. Sachs is an American citizen, and was in Germany all during the war. He was offered the post of the Arts and Crafts School of Potsdam, when this was established in the palace vacated by the Kaiser. In the exhibition of Mr. Sach's work, which was recently hung in the Albright Gallery, the artists demonstrated his versatility as a draftsman. He showed besides batiks and embroideries, dyeing on paper and inlaid decorations on marble, the process of which he has invented." ("Batiks, Tapestries, Pottery, etc. at the Albright Art Gallery," Academy Notes, Buffalo Fine Ars Academy, January-June, 1921, pp. 16-20). 
"Program for the Chicago Industrial Arts School" by Herman Sachs, Hull-House, Chicago, April, 1921. (From my collection).

Sachs almost certainly knew the Schindlers in Chicago before they left for Los Angeles in late 1920. Sachs created the Bauhaus-like Chicago Industrial Arts School (see above) at Hull-House, the 1915-16 home of Pauline Gibling and Edith Gutterson after their respective graduations from Smith College and Abbott Academy. Traveling in the same circles, there is a good chance that they could have discussed Sachs's lofty goals for the short-lived school and his similar efforts in Germany a few years earlier. After his school closed and possibly through connections with Dayton photographer Jane Reece (see earlier photo), Sachs accepted the post as the first director of the fledgling Dayton Museum of Art. While serving in the post ca. 1921-22 he also unsuccessfully tried to form the Dayton School of Industrial Art before finally moving to Los Angeles in 1923. 

Herman Sachs, ca. 1920. Photographer unknown. From Sachs, Herman, "How Europe Has Capitalized Art In Industry," Arts & Decoration, January 1921, pp. 209, 248.

Herman Sachs cover line, "How Europe Has Capitalized Art In Industry," Arts & Decoration, January 1921.

Thanksgiving at Kings Road, 1923 likely taken by Schindler. Courtesy UC-Santa Barbara Schindler collection.

The above photo tells a compelling story of the seemingly certain Schindler-Sachs-Howenstein mutual Chicago-Los Angeles connections. Weston-Schindler intimate Betty Katz is seated front center facing the camera. Betty's future husband, architect and Schindler collaborator Alexander Brandner, is seated to her left and future Schindler client and frequent collaborator Herman Sachs is at the far left. Back center is the Schindlers' close Chicago friend Karl Howenstein who was employed at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the time of the photo was the new Director of the Otis Art Institute. In his position as head of community outreach for school children at the Art Institute of Chicago Karl had commissioned Schindler to design a Children's Corner (see below).

Drawing for Children's Corner, Art Institute of Chicago, 1918, R. M. Schindler, architect. Courtesy UC-Santa Barbara Schindler collection.

To Karl's left in the above photo is his wife Edith Gutterson Howenstein, a former girlfriend of Rudolph Schindler's in Chicago and close friend of Pauline Schindler's from their Hull-House days. Ironically, Edith and Rudolph were discussing marriage when she fatefully introduced him to Pauline Gibling at a Prokofiev concert at Chicago's Orchestra Hall on December 7, 1918. Edith also worked at the Art Institute of Chicago as an assistant curator of lantern slides. Sachs was a student at the Art Institute in 1909 and exhibited and lectured there in 1920. At the time of this photo the Howensteins were living at Kings Road in the guest apartment. Brandner and Katz would also separately live and and communally party at Kings Road. Sachs, Brandner and Katz were all fellow Romanians. The entire fascinating group would indeed have had much in common to discuss at this historic dinner.

Continuing to Edith's left is architect Anton Martin Feller who was then working in Frank Lloyd Wright's nearby Harper Ave. studio on the Storer, Ennis, Millard and Freeman House designs. His wife had just committed suicide three weeks earlier leaving him with a newborn baby. Feller returned with the Wright entourage to Taliesin in 1924 where he soon met up with Richard Neutra. (For much more on this see my "R. M. Schindler, Richard Neutra and Louis Sullivan's"Kindergarten Chats").

Betty Katz by Edward Weston, ca. 1920. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles the Schindlers met Betty Katz (see above) who was at the time having an affair with Edward Weston whose sons Chandler and Brett were Pauline's students at the Walt Whitman School. (For much more on this see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School"). From Yosemite where she and Rudolph began planning their new home Pauline wrote to her by then intimate friend, and future Kings Road tenant Betty,
"... We return, perhaps at the end of the month, to Los Angeles..and do not go to Japan. Our first immediate work, to build our own studio, -one of the two or three most joyous things in the world to do. I wish we might make it several studios at once, -one for you perhaps, one certainly for Kimmie and Clyde [Chace], since she has such energies to apply toward cooperative housing experiments. Labor and utensils in common, -and much technique of the mere mechanism simplified. When you are well, and permanently in town, -we'll all do something of the sort together if you like..At least as lovely as the Hollywood Hill. You  the Community Kitchen altogether, for us, and for as many more as you please!" 
This stimulating recuperative play of ours out here sets all sorts of music and thinking going within one..I've ideas enough to last us several years..new ways to live..new simplicities.. The important thing is, that this new clarity, these new qualities, should outlast the return to town. ..." (Pauline Schindler to Betty Katz, October 19, 1921. Letter in possession of Betty's great niece Dottie Ickovitz.).
Herman Sachs in his apartment. Photographer and date unknown. Courtesy Stephen Clauser, Arroyo Seco Books, handler of the Napolitano Estate. 


The above photo of Herman Sachs in his Schindler-designed apartment relaxing on his Schindler-designed sofa speaks volumes. The art is by Schindler client "Johnnie" Napolitano. The curtains are most likely by noted textile designer Maria Kipp and Napolitano's wife Emma who worked for Kipp as a weaver. Napolitano also collaborated on numerous interior design projects and murals with Sachs and illustrated numerous Merle Armitage books. Betty Katz and "Brandy" bought Sachs's Manola Court apartment building after his death and lived in his apartment until they married in 1943 and completed their new "Brandy" designed house nearby. The Napolitano's bought most of Sachs's belongings in an auction after his death which is likely where the batik in the opening photo was acquired. 


"Depiction of Lincoln Mural Stirs Controversy," Los Angeles Post Record, March 17, 1934.

It was also through the largess of Armitage, the Regional Director of the Public Works of Art Program, that Napolitano received the commission to paint a mural under the program's banner. His "The Freeing of the Negroes" was proudly on display in an exhibition of PWAP work at the Los Angeles Museum of Art in Exposition Park in the spring of 1934 (see above). Under a veiled racist excuse that the artist portrayed Lincoln in a grotesque manner, Spanish American War Vets successfully lobbied the County Board of Supervisors to have it removed from the exhibition. Armitage also funded murals by Leo Katz and Phillip Goldstein (aka Philip Guston) whose equally "scandalous" work at the Frank Wiggins Trade School also had to be "removed." Pauline Schindler was a champion of Guston's work which she presciently favorably reviewed in the Hollywood John Reed Club newsletter The Partisan in early 1934. (G.[ibling], P.[auline], "Other Local Exhibits," The Partisan, January 1934, p. 6. Stay tuned for an article on Los Angeles Mural Censorship in the 1930's for which I am currently compiling material.).

Phillip Goldstein (aka Philip Guston), 1930. Photo by Edward Weston. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Emma Napolitano, 1935. Photo by Brett Weston.

"Napolitano" by Merle Armitage, 1935. Frontispiece portrait of Pasquale Giovanni "Johnnie" Napolitano by Brett Weston, 1935.

Otis Art Institute Sculpture Class, 1924. Photographer unknown. From Otis web site.

The historic image above of the 1924 sculpture class at Otis Art Institute, then under the directorship of Karl Howenstein, is the earliest photo I have been able to find of Napolitano. He is fourth from left with instructor Harold Swartz at the center. Continuing to the right is Ruth Sowden who wih her husband commissioned Lloyd Wright to design their Franklin Ave. tour de force, Oscar statuette designer George Stanley, Harwell Hamilton Harris close friend and first client Clive Delbridge, and far right, soon-to-be Schindler-Neutra apprentice Harwell Hamilton Harris. Additionally illustrating the amazing connections among this iconic class, Schindler designed an Olive Oil Mill for Napolitano's brother Joseph's Neapolitan Olive Products, Inc. at 676 Clover St. in Los Angeles three years after this photo was taken and shortly after he had completed Sachs's apartment building. (For much more on this class and Karl Howenstein's, Frank Lloyd Wright's, and Louis Sullivan's inspiration for Harris to become an architect see my "California Arts & Architecture: A Steppingstone to Fame:Harwell Hamilton Harris and John Entenza: Two Case Studies"). 

Duell, Prentice, "A Note on Batik," California Southland, November 1921, p. 19.

In closing, I am working on an article, "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association" which will include much more on the above connections including the batik work of mutual Weston-Schindler friends Robo and Tina Modotti Richey. Sachs likely interacted with the Richeys through Jane Reece's Weston-Mather connection during their 1919 visit to Los Angeles. Weston also most likely reconnected with Reece and/or Sachs in Dayton during his late 1922 visit with his sister in Middletown, Ohio. It was during this trip that Weston captured his iconic ARMCO Steel images and continued on to New York for his fateful meeting with Alfred Stieglitz. (For much more on Weston's ARMCO work see my "Brett Weston's Smokestacks, 1927.").