A few years ago, Richard Neutra, the quintessential California modernist architect, made my stay in downtown Los Angeles worthwhile.
Los Angeles’ main library had an exhibition of Neutra’s sketches and drawings and I was able to take some pictures to share with you—these are my interpretations of his work:
I love these largely horizontal airy structures; they are so “modern”, you forget they were designed in 1920’s…
I admit that I had to leave California to miss it and nothing says more Los Angeles than this beautiful photo of the Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, another modernist architect:
the photographer, Julius Shulman, became famous by this one black and white shot from 1960 (above) and its color version (below):
Born in Vienna, Neutra (1892 – 1970) was influenced by his fellow Austrians, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele (both died in 1918 when Neutra was 26 years old); this little painting of his could have been created by Klimt himself:
Another great influence on the young Neutra was Frank Lloyd Wright who invited Neutra to work in his studio in Taliesen. They rank him second only to the great Lloyd Wright in American architecture. Other early influences were Louis Sullivan (he coined “form follows function”), Otto Wagner and Erich Mendelsohn.
This sketch is the Van der Leeuw House solarium (complete with bathing beauties) that Neutra envisioned to build for himself:
Chairs (this one from 1919) weren’t the only things besides buildings that Neutra designed,
he even designed aluminum buses!
Richard Neutra, the romantic engineer, was passionate about art, technology and architecture—I love this drawing of a cellist playing Bach:
Leaving the cold winters and the world wars of Europe, Neutra took refuge in the sunny climate and rich landscape of Southern California; with his cool and sleek modern style he coined the term biorealism: “the inherent and inseparable relationship between man and nature.”
A delightful and insightful blog. So refreshing, in this day and age, to find an interesting and elegant read about architecture.
I’m always interested in architecture and architects as my mother worked as one. I did not know about Neutra before, so I thank you for introducing me.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Richard Neutra. And these days I’m appreciating architecture more as I get ready to travel to Santiago, Chile to visit an amazing House of Worship that will be opened this week. Baha’is all over the world are excited and the architecture of the building is one that I’m excited to see up close and take pictures of.
Thank you for a great education