Saturday, December 26, 2009

Julius Shulman's First Cover Photo: California Arts & Architecture, January 1940

Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Rosenson Residence in Bel Air, California, Designed by Paul Laszlo. Job Nos. Laszlo 22, 25, 31 & 36, no dates available.

Paul Laszlo's Rosenson Residence in Bel Air, CA has the honor of being the subject of the first published cover photograph by architectural photographer Julius Shulman. My 8,000 item Shulman bibliography lists 112 articles published prior to the January 1940 cover of California Arts & Architecture. Shulman photos previously appeared in CA&A six times beginning with the June 1937 issue with four interior photos of a triplex designed by Milton J. Black at 127 S. Kings Road. CA&A and its successor, Arts & Architecture went on to publish 285 articles containing Shulman photos before its demise in 1967. 

Shulman was listed on the masthead of CA&A and A&A by John Entenza as staff photographer between December 1942 until 1958 when the listing of staff photographers was discontinued. When I asked Shulman a couple years back what it meant to be staff photographer he stated, "It meant that I had to photograph whatever Entenza wanted whenever he wanted and I ended up photographing the Case Study Houses for the magazine pro bono." He of course made up his fees many times over in subsequent resale of the images for other publications not to mention the publicity benefits of being listed on the masthead of one of the most chic and prestigious magazines of the era.

Ironically, this January 1940 issue of CA&A was the last edited by publisher by Jere P. Johnson. She turned over the editorial reigns to John Entenza for the February issue while she took maternity leave based on the recommendation of Editorial Advisory Board member and longtime friend Harwell Hamilton Harris.  She remained on the masthead as publisher until the June issue by which time Entenza's palace coup for ownership of the magazine had been accomplished. I will soon be posting an article debunking the myth that Entenza purchased the magazine from Johnson in 1938 (see "Harwell Hamilton Harris" by Lisa Germany, pp. 128 & 217). Stay Tuned.