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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Richard Neutra's Davey House: Photographic Connections

 (Click on photos to enlarge)

Davey House, Monterey, CA, Richard Neutra, Architect. California Arts & Architecture, August 1941, front cover. Photo by Sybil Anikeef.

The above Sybil Anikeef cover photo of Richard Neutra's Davey House in Monterey was the genesis of the following fascinating tale involving the interconnections of the coteries surrounding Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Richard Neutra and the Bohemian circles of Carmel, San Francisco and Los Angeles. As will be seen later below, Carmel resident Edward Weston would have been the logical choice to photograph Neutra's Jack's Peak project but he was at the time otherwise engaged on a nation-wide trip with his wife Charis photographing illustrations for a new edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass for the Limited Editions Club. Anikeef was likely called upon to substitute for Weston by Neutra himself who would have known of her skills perhaps through Weston or his mutual friends.

It was possibly through the largesse of Neutra or his former assistant Gregory Ain that Weston's photo of his son Neil building a boat in a shipyard appeared on the next month's cover in the same magazine. Ain was then on editor John Entenza's advisory board. Neutra would soon follow. Edward also had appeared earlier that year on January 1941's cover. (Author's note: A Brett Weston cover of the Nipomo Dunes had earlier appeared in August of 1934 through Merle Armitage's largesse who was also then an editorial advisory board member. For much more on this see my "The Sands of Time: Oceano Dunes and the Westons". Ain also had previously performed a minor remodel on Neutral's Lovell Health House and a second story addition to Neutra's Galka Scheyer House. Coincidentally, Lovell was the Weston family doctor.). 

California Arts & Architecture, September 1941, front cover photo by Edward Weston of carpenter son Neil working on a ship.

California Arts & Architecture, August 1934. Photo of Nipomo Dunes by Brett Weston.

Student orchestra, Raja Yoga Academy, 1912. From Wikipedia. 

Anikeef, nee Brainerd, was a young, aspiring violinist when she first sat for Weston in 1921 (see below). Brainerd's childhood years included a long stint at Madame Tingley's Theosophical Institute, aka the Raja Yoga Academy, in Lomaland on San Diego's Point Loma Peninsula.By the time she had moved to Los Angeles she had changed her name from Marie Phillipson to Sybil Brainerd in honor of her deceased grandparents. She was soon swept up into the Bohemian circles of Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston. As she modeled for the below portrait she entered into a relationship that would evolve into a lifelong friendship with Weston as will be elaborated upon further below. (Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles by Beth Gates Warren. p. 186).

Sybil Anikeef nee Brainerd, 1921. Portrait by Edward Weston courtesy of George Eastman House.

At about the same time Brainerd met, and soon married, Russian folk singer Vasia Anikeef who was then performing in Los Angeles (see below). The couple moved to Italy and Russia where Vasia studied voice while continuing to perform opera and Russian folk songs. They had a son, Lyman, in Moscow in 1927 before returning to the U.S. and settling in Carmel in early 1929.  The Anikeefs quickly renewed their friendship with the also newly arrived Weston.

Tonight, Vasia Anikeef, "The Phenomenal Russian Bass', Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1921, p. 15.

"Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration" by Beth Gates Warren. Photo ca. 1920.

In the late 1910s Edward Weston was in an illicit and collaborative partnership with fellow photographer Margrethe Mather and was a prominent member of her radical circle of friends. By this time Weston had also become close friends with Johan Hagemeyer whom he helped train for a lifelong career in photography. Hagemeyer had also gained early photographic inspiration through a chance 1916 meeting with Alfred Stieglitz before moving to Pasadena and meeting Weston and Mather. Hagemeyer moved to San Francisco around 1920 and opened a studio.

"Anne of the Crooked Halo," June 1920, photographer unknown. From left: Roi Partridge, Imogen Cunningham, Anne Brigman (standing), Johan Hagemeyer, Edward Weston, unknown man, (front) Roger Sturtevant and Dorothea Lange. Woman behind them unknown. From A Poetic Vision: The Photographs of Anne Brigman by Susan Ehrens, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1995, p. 83.

The above photo that likely presaged Weston moving first to San Francisco and later to Carmel where he reconnected to the Anikeefs in 1929. This history-packed image was taken on the occasion of Edward Weston's June 1920 visit to San Francisco to see off his Dutch emigre photographer friend Johan Hagemeyer who would soon leave for an extended trip to Europe to avoid being arrested for his outspoken radical views. The trip firmly entrenched Weston into Bay Area photography circles as he met and bonded with the Alfred Steiglitz-annointed Anne Brigman, husband and wife Imogene Cunningham and Roi Partridge, Dorothea Lange and her then apprentice Roger Sturtevant, and others. (Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles, by Beth Gates Warren, Getty Publications, 2011, p. 187). 

After returning from his self-imposed European exile in 1921, Hagemeyer returned to San Francisco and shortly opened another studio in Carmel in 1922. (For much more on this see my "Schindlers in Carmel, 1924".).

 

 
Johan Hagemeyer by Margrethe Mather, 1921.

Johan Hagemeyer portrait by Edward Weston, 1921. Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Hagemeyer and Mather were Weston's best friends during the period of the late 1910s and early 1920s. Weston met his next muse Tina Modotti around 1920-21 and soon started sharing photographs of the then aspiring actress with Johan who was then in San Francisco. (For much more on Modotti in this period see my "Tina Modotti, Lloyd Wright and Otto Bollman Connections, 1920" and "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association, 1921-1926".).

Tina Modotti portrait by Edward Weston, 1921. Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Johan Hagemeyer portrait by Imogene Cunningham, 1922.

Tina Modotti, 1922. Portrait by Johan Hagemeyer.


Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and Tina Modotti on the way to the tile factory, Glendale, 1923. Photo by Johan Hagemeyer.

Edward Weston and Tina Modotti in Mexico, 1923.

Tina Modotti portrait by Edward Weston, Mexico, 1924.

Modotti progressed from being Weston's model and muse to a photographer herself through osmosis and her constant contact living with Weston. She also evolved to be a much more politically active persona in her own right. Following his similar relationship with Margrethe Mather, for a few exhilarating years in the early and mid-1920s, Weston also shared a passionate partnership with Modotti. The two also shared an intense romance with photography and with Mexico, where they lived together from 1923 through most of 1926. (See much more at my "Edward Weston Remembers Tina Modotto, January 1942".)

Tina Modotti cover photo for the September 1928 issue of Labor Defender.


Tina Modotti portrait of her recently murdered lover Juan Mella on the cover of the February 1929 issue of Labor Defender. (For much more on Mella's life and death see my "The Mysterious Assassination of Julio Antonio Mella, January 10, 1929".)


Tina Modotti & Edward Weston: The Mexico Years by Sarah Lowe, Merrill, 2004. Cover photo by Tina Modotti.

Dr. Alexander Kaun, 1932. Portrait by Johan Hagemeyer. Courtesy Online Archive of California.

After returning from Mexico Weston Weston wrote in his Daybook on January 3, 1929,
"To Richard Neutra's for supper: other guests were Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Davidson, and Dr. Alexander Kaun (see above) I met years ago at Margrethe's, but only casually. 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. I felt such a genuine attitude. Neutra is always keenly responsive, and knows whereof 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 catalog forward to the American group." (Author's note: Alexander Kaun was an old Chicago friend, Kings Road lecturer and later client of Schindler's in San Francisco and also later sat for his portrait by Weston's friend Johan Hagemeyer. For much more on Kaun see my "Alexander "Sasha" Kaun Beach Cottage, Richmond, CA, R. M. Schindler, Architect, 1935")
Weston sent a copy of his European catalogue writeup to Neutra for his review prompting this response,
"My Dear Weston,

I received your article and believe that it is excellent. I forward it right to the Exposition Committee and strongly recommend that they reprint it in their catalogue, or at least larger parts of it. I enjoyed reading very much, this being my first acquaintance with you as a literary voice....
...I also receive a letter today from the Exposition Committee saying that they are writing you happily a personal instruction and give you full liberty for your group.

Your Richard Neutra" (letter undated, ca. Feb.-Mar. 1929). (Author's note: Neutra's brother-in-law Roger Ginsburger likely was Neutra's European contact evidenced by the facts that Ginsburger had also submitted an article on French cinema, "Filmkust in Frankreich", to the May 15, 1929 issue of Die Form which also had the same photo below on the cover. Ginsberger also edited a volume Frankreich in the 3 volume Neues Bauen in der Welt series that Neutra had also participated in with his Amerika.

 

1929, Deutschen Werkbunds, Stuttgart and Willi Ruge poster design. Film und Foto

Neutra's choice of Weston to make the American selections provided the entree for him, son Brett and friend and future fellow Group f.64 member Imogen Cunningham and former Dorothea Lange apprentice Roger Sturtevant to be included in this seminal show. Weston in the end submitted 20 each of his and Brett's images and along with work by Cunningham and Sturtevant to provide an American presence alongside the contemporary European avant-gardists. Weston wrote in his catalog section introduction "America and Photography",
"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."
Roger Sturtevant cover photo on The Carmelite, June 17, 1928.

Pauline Schindler had already met Dorothea Lange's former assistant Roger Sturtevant shortly after moving to Carmel and taking over the publisher reins of The Carmelite. She likely met Lange also through the largesse of Sturtevant or Weston and through Lange or Galka Scheyer likeley met Lange's husband Dixon, Cunningham and her husband Roi Partridge. She published all of their work at one time or another in The Carmelite or elsewhere. (For much more on Galka Scheyer's importance to the Bay Area art scene see my "Schindler-Scheyer-Eaton-Ain: A Case Study in Adobe".).

Shaw House, Richmond, R. M. Schindler, architect, 1934. Architect & Engineer, October 1935. Roger Sturtevant, photographer.

Former Dorothea Lange disciple Sturtevant would evolve into one of the most prominent architectural photographers of the Bay Area evidenced by the above photo in the October 1935 issue of Architect & Engineer guest-edited by Pauline Schindler. (Author's note: Pauline Schindler commissioned Sturtevant and Brett Weston to photograph her Kings Road Studio and a remodel of a bathroom of Aline Barnsdall's Hollyhock House designed by her husband for use in her 1930 travelling exhibition "Contemporary Creative Architecture of California". Imogene Cunningham's son Rondal Partridge would also become another noted member in the field of Bay Area architectural photography after serving a two year apprenticeship with Sturtevant's former mentor Lange.).

Edward Weston photo of a shell which recently appeared in The Argus in San Francisco. The Carmelite, p. 1, August 1, 1928.

Johan Hagemeyer by Edward Weston in The San Franciscan, September, 1928, p. 11.

Edward Weston was living in San Francisco in 1928 and intermingling with good friend Hagemeyer. The work of both was continually being published  as evidenced by the above Hagemeyer portrait taken by Weston appearing in the Septemner 1928 issue of The San Franciscan. After a brief holiday interlude in Los Angeles, Weston moved with son Brett to Carmel and set up shop in Hagemeyer's old studio. 

Portrait of Aline Barnsdall at Hollyhock, 1928. Photograph by Margrethe Mather. 

Meanwhile, evidenced by the above photo, Margrethe Mather took advantage of the Barnsdall patronage after her generous gift of the 15-year lease of her Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House to the California Art Club. Schindler had already taken over as her architect of choice from Wright designing a travel poster exhibition display for the Hollyhock gardens as part of the dedication of her 1927 Art Club donation and many other minor remodel projects from1924 to 1928. Neutra also collaborated with Schindler on a project for a pergola, wading pool and fountain in 1925. (For much on Schindler's poster exhibition design see my "Aline Barnsdall and Alfred Barr Poster Exhibitions, 1927-1937". See also my "Richard Neutra and the California Art Club".).

The Carmelite, November 28, 1928

In the above announcement that Richard Neutra will be lecturing on "The New Architecture" next week at the Denny Watrous Gallery Pauline Schindler also mentions that Neutra and her husband R. M. Schindler submitted their League of Nations design to a European design competition in 1926, and even though it did not win, it was included in a traveling exhibition on the European continent.


Virgina Tooker linoleum cut of the Kedroff Quartet on the cover of The Carmelite, January 20, 1929.

Freshly arrived from San Francisco to open his new studio in Johan Hagemeyer's former studio in Carmel, Weston diarized 
"After, I went with Pauline (Schindler) to a reception for the (Kedross) 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 of flowery praise. One could easily become "a big toad in a little puddle" here. Not my intention." (The Daybooks of Edward Weston, Vol. 11 California, p. 113, March 16, 1929.)
Masthead for The Carmelite, 1928. Pauline Schindler, editor and publisher.

Pauline Schindler quickly named old friend Weston to her Carmelite editorial advisory board along with Johan Hagemeyer's sister-in-law Dora, her close friend and former Kings Road tenant and "Blue Four" art dealer Galka Scheyer, and her husband and Richard Neutra's former business partner and city planner Carol Aronovici, among other notables. (For more on Aronovici, Hagemeyer and Carmel see my "The Schindlers in Carmel, 1924" and for more on Pauline's editorship of The Carmelite see my "Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism".).

Letter from Pauline Schindler to R. M. Schindler, March 14, 1929. Courtesy U. C. Santa Barbara Schindler Archive.

Pauline Schindler was planning to publish an issue on "Contemporary Architecture of the Pacific Coast" after viewing the below photo among a group taken of the Lovell Beach House by her new contributing editor Weston in August of 1927. She sent the above letter to her estranged husband requesting a photo or drawing of one more project and an article to use in her issue. For whatever reason, the special issue was never printed. (Author's note: Pauline did organize a traveling exhibition "Contemporay Creative Architecture of California" which included the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, her husband, Jock Peters, John Weber and Kem Weber after returning to Los Angeles in 1930. For more on this see my "Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism".). 

Lovell Beach House deigned by R. M. Schindler, 1926. Photo by Edward Weston, Aug. 1, 1927.

Weston wrote in his diary of his day photographing the above Lovell House, 

"Yesterday I did the first work at Balboa Beach, - the home of Dr. Lovell. I responded fully to Schindler's construction. It was an admirably planned beach home with a purity of form seldom found in contemporary houses unless they be mere reproductions of another age or...". (Daybooks of Edward Weston, Vol. II, California, Aug. 2 1927, p. 33.)

 Weston, Big Sur, The Carmelite, May 8, 1928

Vasia Anikeef, 1929. Linoleum cut by Virginia Tooker. Front cover of The Carmelite, August 14, 1929, published by Pauline G. Schindler. Courtesy of Carmel Library.

Vasia Anikeef, 1929. Portrait by Brett Weston.

An Edward Weston photo of Bertha Wardell appearing on the cover of The Carmelite, October 16, 1929. Wardell to perform at Weston's studio on October 19th. For much more see my "Bertha Wardell Dances in Silence: Kings Road, Olive Hill and Carmel".).


Rendering of the Wolfe House on Catalina designed by R. M. Schindler on the cover of The Carmelite, September 4, 1930.

Schindler by David Gebhard, 1960. Photo of Wolfe House on Catalina by Brett Weston, 1929.

R. M. Schindler asked Edward Weston to photograph his Wolfe House on Catalina Island after its completion in 1929. A frantically busy Weston begged off and suggested that Schindler entrust Brett to do the job. Brett did in fact photograph the Wolfe House and others commissioned by Pauline for her traveling exhibition "Contemporary Creative Architecture of California". Brett's above cover photo of the Wolfe House subsequently was selected for use on the cover of the reprint of David Gebhard's Schindler (see above).

Cover for The Carmelite, October 9, 1930 featuring an Edward Weston photo of a shell announcing his upcoming exhibit at the Denny Watrous Gallery.

Vasia Anikeef on the 1930 business card of Brett Weston, 8161 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA. (Studio located in the Storer House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright which Brett then shared with Pauline Schindler who designed the layout of the card.).

Brett Weston reused his 1929 portrait of Vasia for his first business card which was expertly designed by his landlord Pauline Schindler. The two lived in Frank Lloyd Wright's Storer House (see below) completed in 1924. The house was constructed under the management of Lloyd Wright while Richard Neutra and family were living at Taliesin before continuing to join the still together Schindlers in Los Angeles in early 1925. (See much more in my "Taliesin Class of 1924".).

Storer House, 8161 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood under construction, 1924. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, architect.

"A Newly Flourishing Handicraft" by Pauline G. Schindler, Assistant Editor, Handicrafter Magazine, May-June, 1930, p. 25.

Vasia Anikeef, 1931 by Edward Weston, 1931. Courtesy of Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Weston wrote in his diary on April 14, 1932, 
"A real shock has come to me in the news from Sybil that Vasia, long ailing, has been diagnosed as having a cancerous growth in his throat. How ironical for a singer! He cannot be operated on. This latter fact may be his salvation, if he could be convinced of the only possible way to cure or at least stop the progress of the growth, - through natural methods, fasting, inner house-cleaning, and a positive mental attitude. I have done all I can to bring some light to Sybil, but I doubt if she will listen, until all else fails, and it may be too late. People must have the witchcraft of drugs, injections, and the ballyhoo of new "cures," - to give nature a chance, even half a chance, is too simple a procedure! And Vasia - the kindest, dearest of humans - condemned!" (Daybooks of Edward Weston, Vol. II. California, April 14, 1932, p. 255).
Sybil Anikeef nee Brainerd, 1933. Portrait by Edward Weston. Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

The above portrait of Sybil Anikeef was taken shortly after Edward began teaching her photography. As he had with Sonya Noskowiak, Edward patiently taught Sybil so that she would be able to support her family now that Vasia's performing career was over. Weston diarized,

"Sybil is faced with earning a living for a very sick Vasia and her child; so I am, with Sonya's (Noskowiak) help, teaching her photography". (Daybooks of Edward Weston, Vol. 11 California, p. 265, December 8, 1932.)
Hands of Edward Weston and new muse Charis Wilson. Photo by Sybil Anikeef ca. 1935. 

Weston's new muse, model and future traveling secretary Charis Wilson fondly recalled that among Weston's friends in Carmel, Sybil and Vasia Anikeef were the only ones who knew they were a couple. Charis wrote, 
"Sybil went so far as to provide us a bedroom on one desperate occasion when Edward and I both had time off but nowhere to go. Although twenty years my senior, Sybil seemed my contemporary; she was warm, outgoing, and strikingly beautiful, with sparkling brown eyes that gave no hint to the tragedies in her life. She had lost several family members within a brief span of time, and then in 1932 Vasia had been afflicted with throat cancer, which ended his performing career and left him speaking in a damaged croak. He continued to teach singing as well as he could, and Edward taught Sybil photography so that she would have a way to make a living.                                                                              At Edward's request Sybil made a set of pictures of our clasped hands in which Edward's amidol-stained nails and my twelve-stone turquoise ring are prominent features." (Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston by Charis Wilson, North Point Press, New York, 1998, p. 106).
Edward Weston by Sibyl Anikeef, 1934. Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In the above 1934 portrait of Edward, Sybil likely posed him identically to his 1933 portrait of her and once again capturing his stained nails exhibiting to her mentor that she was learning her lessons well. Sybil later donated the portrait to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Charis Wilson wrote of the picture, 
"Sybil made a portrait of Edward newly shaven. I'd complained that his mustache was scratchy and he'd taken it off, even though he didn't like the look of his long upper lip. The picture comes closer than most to showing his dashing appearance; for once he isn't a victim of the self-consciousness that normally afflicted him in front of cameras that gave him an unjust reputation for somberness." 
Brett Weston moved from Carmel to Southern California with his father early in 1935.  In addition to establishing a portrait business, both father and son found work as documentary photographers with the Federal Art Project.  Brett rose to the position of supervisor of some 20 photographers associated with the WPA in both Northern and Southern California before opening his own studio in San Francisco in 1937.  Other Federal Art Project photographers around that the time included Brett's brother Chandler, Sonya Noskowiak, and Sybil Anikeef, who joined in 1939. 

Weston closed his Carmel studio in January of 1935 and headed south with son Brett to Los Angeles leaving both Sonya and Sybil to earn what they could as fledgling photographers. Sonya later that year moved to San Francisco to try her luck and leaving Sybil on her own. The next time Weston and Charis reconnected with Sybil was for a few days of  shooting up and down the coast as they were preparing for Edward's first Guggenheim trip in 1937. The subject material and techniques Weston used on this trip undoubtedly provided invaluable experience for this formative stage of Sybil's career.

Vasia Anikeef, 1938. Portrait by Johan Hagemeyer. Courtesy of Online Archive of California.


Vasia Anikeef portrait by John Langley Howard, 1938. 

Coit Tower muralist John Langley Howard produced the above portrait of Vasia Anikeef in 1938 possibly in return for family portraits taken by Sybil. Following the start of the Depression, Howard found himself appalled by the social conditions and began to follow “his own brand of Marxism.” Howard and his wife began to attend meetings of the Monterey John Reed Club, discussing politics and social concerns. In 1934, Howard was hired through the New Deal Public Works Art Project to create a mural for the inside of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco depicting California industry

In 1939, Sibyl Anikeef joined the Federal Art Project on the Monterey Peninsula, becoming a project photographer. Traveling on the Peninsula and along the California coast, she photographed subjects similar to Edward Weston including landscapes, fishermen, and historic adobe buildings. Several of her photographs were published in the book, Monterey Peninsula, compiled by the Work Projects Administration in Northern California (1941). Her archive now rests in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Monterey Peninsula edited by James Ladd Delkin, Stanford University, California, 1941.

Johan Hagemeyer by Edward Weston, 1928. San Franciscan, September, 1928, p. 11. 


Sonya Noskowiak by Edward Weston, ca. 1930.

Sonya Noskowiak was born in Leipzig, Germany, and spent her childhood years in Chile, Panama, and California, as her father sought employment in gardening and landscape design. At age 19 she moved to San Francisco, enrolled in secretarial school, and then worked at photographer and horticulturalist Johan Hagemeyer’s Los Angeles studio. 

Noskowiak began her photographic career as studio assistant to Johan Hagemeyer in Carmel and within less than a decade exhibited alongside Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham. Like her Group f/64 counterparts, she produced sharp-focus studies of natural and man-made objects, which emphasized photographic presentation rather than subject matter. Following an intense period as a creative photographer, Noskowiak maintained a portrait studio and pursued documentary photography.


Through Hagemeyer, Noskowiak met Edward Weston, and began her photographic career in earnest. From 1929 to 1935 they had a close personal and professional relationship; she lived with him as a companion, model, and mother to his children. He offered her artistic and technical expertise, and shared in the enthusiasm of her first successes. He inspired Noskowiak to notice the visual potential of her surroundings and taught her the rudiments of interpreting them with her camera. 

Both Weston and Noskowiak graciously shared their talents with Sybil Anikeef when she decided to adopt photography as a career. After Weston met Charis Wilson and moved to Los Angeles with her and Brett in 1935, Noskowiak's life and work changed considerably. Eager to leave Carmel, she moved back to San Francisco, where she established a portrait studio and was one of eight photographers hired for the California region of the Federal Art Project (FAP), a division of the Works Progress Administration, from 1936 to 1937. 

Noskowiak found many opportunities in San Francisco. Many of her friends were there, as well as a small but important community of women artists – including Imogen Cunningham, Dororthea Lange, and Alma Lavenson. Noskowiak’s studio on Union Street attracted a distinguished clientele of artists, writers, actors, and musicians. She had learned the art of portraiture in Carmel and knew how to exploit the subtleties of posing to evoke moods or emotions. She also branched out into architectural photography as the below photos taken around the same time as Sybil Anikeef's opening subject cover photo indicate.

The collection of 454 prints by Noskowiak in the Center’s holdings includes early nature studies, landscapes, architectural views, and a wealth of portraits of both known and anonymous subjects. Her archive was the third to enter the Center’s collection, and features correspondence with Edward Weston and other photographers; reviews and announcements of exhibitions, including Group f/64; clippings about Noskowiak; and negatives and contact prints. Related material can be found in the Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Willard Van Dyke Archives.

                                                            Housing's Book of Homes & Plans, Spring 1941.

                                "House on Da Silva Island, Mario Corbett, Architect". Housing, Book of Homes, Spring 1941, pp. 14-15. Photos by Sonya Noskowiak.

Edward Weston's generosity of sharing his iconic talents to further the photographic careers of his sons, friends and lovers is nothing if not legendary. The path through Margrethe Mather, Johan Hagemeyer, Tina Modotti, Sonya Noskowiak, Willard Van Dyke, Sybil Anikeef, his sons Chandler and Brett, and many others speaks volumes of the history of modern photography of California and America.