California Modern as Immigrant Modernism

Ehrhard Bahr

in Weimar on the Pacific

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251281
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933804 | DOI:
California Modern as Immigrant Modernism

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Between the 1930s and 1940s, immigrant modernism and exile modernism overlapped in Southern California. The representatives of immigrant modernism had arrived there during the 1920s. Many of them were working in the movie industry, as, for example, William Dieterle, Ernst Lubitsch, Josef von Sternberg, and Erich von Stroheim; others, such as Richard Joseph Neutra and Rudolph Michael Schindler, established careers in architecture. Both Neutra and Schindler were, strictly speaking, immigrants rather than exiles. When Neutra and Schindler arrived in Los Angeles shortly after World War I, their goal was to combine the best features of Austrian and American modernism in their architecture. This combination resulted in a style that was called California modern. Because the style was designed to address regional needs and conditions, it did not reflect the goals of exile modernism. The only exceptions, perhaps, were Neutra's designs for public housing during the 1940s and 1950s. On the other hand, the California modern style does not show the break of 1933 that is the defining characteristic of exile modernism.

Keywords: Southern California; immigrant modernism; exile modernism; exiles; immigrants; California modern; architecture; Richard Joseph Neutra; Rudolph Michael Schindler; Los Angeles

Chapter.  8753 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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