Friday, December 20, 2013

Schindler-Weston-Franz Geritz-Arthur Millier Connections

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Franz Geritz, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

This post is intended as just a quick Franz Geritz vignette indicative of the countless mutual friendships of Pauline and Rudolph Schindler and Edward Weston and his family. To begin to see a much deeper picture of their fascinating lives and intertwined circles of bohemian friends, follow the links embedded in the footnotes below. (For much on the initial meeting of the Schindlers and the Westons see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School.").

Xavier Martinez, 1920 by Franz Geritz. From Annex Galleries.

Franz Geritz, painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer and educator, was born in Budapest, Hungary. Immigrating to the U.S. in 1909, his education continued in the public schools of Philadelphia and Chicago. It is highly likely that the Schindlers may have crossed paths with Geritz during their Chicago years as they both had strong ties to the Art Institute of Chicago through mutual friends Karl Howenstein and Edith Gutterson who were both Institute employees. Geritz worked for the Pullman Company in Chicago before moving to Northern California.  In 1921, Geritz graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland where he was a student of Perham Nahl, Frank Van Sloun, and Xavier Martinez (see above and below).

Xavier Martinez, ca. 1935. Photo by Sonya Noskowiak. From California College of Arts Archive.

Schindler-Chace House, 835 Kings Road, West Hollywood, R. M. Schindler, architect, 1922. UC-Santa Barbara Schindler Collection.

Just two weeks after photographer Edward Weston and his entourage, which perhaps included Margrethe Mather, Johan Hagemeyer, Tina Modotti, Franz Geritz and others, visited the Schindler’s recently completed Kings Road House for the first time, L. A. Times art critic Antony Anderson (see below) reviewed the Los Angeles Museum exhibition of mutual friend Franz Geritz. At the time Geritz was supporting himself by freelancing for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles Examiner. He was also teaching block printing at the University of California Extension, Los Angeles for ten years, beginning in 1922. Coincidentally, Weston-Schindler intimates Annita Delano, Norma Gould and Bertha Wardell were also teaching at UC-Southern Branch as was Pauline's sister Dorothy Gibling during 1922-24. (For much more on this see my "Bertha Wardell Dances in Silence at Kings Road, Olive Hill and Carmel").

Antony Anderson, 1919. Edward Weston photograph. From De Rome, A. T., "A Few Pictures Reviewed: Illustrations from California Liberty Fair Exhibition," Camera Craft, March 1919, p. 89. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. (Author's note: For much more on Antony Anderson and his rivalry with Schindler-Weston friend Ramiel McGehee over the charms of Olive Percival see my "Bertha Wardell Dances in Silence: Kings Road, Olive Hill, and Carmel").

In his review Anderson particularly singled out for praise Geritz's portrait of Weston,
“Especially interesting to me are the various impressions in color that the artist has taken of the portrait of Edward Weston, all of them experimental except the last one, which is exactly the scheme of color that Geritz thinks suits best the Weston temperament and personality. The artist is never satisfied till he has struck what may be called the right color note. And then we have added to the beauty of lines, the beauty of harmony in color. In brief, a little portrait, simple and forceful, that is also a fine work of art.” (Antony Anderson, “Of Art and Artists, Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1922).
Edward Weston, 1922. Franz Geritz. Bancroft Library, UC-Berkeley.

Edward Weston, ca. 1922. Photo by Margrethe Mather and Johan Hagemeyer. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. Note the similarities between this portrait of Weston by Johan Hagemeyer and Margrethe Mather with the above Geritz wood block print. Geritz may have even used the photo as a model.

Edward Weston posing in front of a wood block print by Geritz. Photo by Margrethe Mather ca. 1922. From MOMA.

From Tina Modotti Photographs by Sarah M. Lowe, Abrams, 1995, p. 16.

Geritz also almost certainly included portraits of others in Weston's orbit such as Tina Modotti (see above), Billy Justema (see below) and Margrethe Mather (see two below) in his first one-man show at the Exposition Park venue.  ("Leader of Mexico's Young Artists Discusses Southern Art," Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1922, p. II-1).

Billy Justema by Margrethe Mather, 1922. From Margrethe Mather Collection, © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. (Author's note: Justema performed in the 1923 Pilgrimage Play alongside other Mather-Weston-Schindler intimates Reginald Pole, Otto Matiesen, and Helen Freeman. For much more on this see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright, Reginald Pole and Their Dramatic Circles". For more on Justema's role in introducing pianist-composers Richard Buhlig and Henry Cowell into the Mather-Weston-Schindler orbit see my "Schindlers-Westons-Kashevaroff-Cage").

"The Block Print" by Franz Geriz, California Southland,October 1922, p. 11.

Margrethe Mather, etching by Franz Geritz, 1922. From LACMA.

Evidencing the closeness of the group's entwined friendship, Geritz referenced the work of Mather and Weston to illustrate a point in a California Southland article on how to make block prints (see below).

Margrethe Mather, c. 1916. Photo by Edward Weston. From Edward Weston Collection, © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

"How to Make Block Prints," Geritz article referencing the work of Mather and Weston, California Southland, November 1922, p. 23.

Likely through Schindler's largess, an article by Geritz on the revival of block printing was also featured about the same time in Holly Leaves under the auspices of the Hollywood Art Association shortly after soon-to-be Association officer Schindler's "Who Will Save Hollywood?" piece. (Author's note: It was likely from Geritz that early 1920s art student Barbara Morgan, later a Southern Branch art teacher with Schindler-Weston friend Annita Delano, learned block printing. For much more on this see my "Foundations of Los Angeles Modernism: Richard Neutra's Mod Squad").

Geritz, Franz, "Revival of Block Printing," Holly Leaves, November 17, 1922, p. 36.

It was around the time of the above Geritz article that Weston returned from his six-week trip to Ohio to visit his sister and his fateful visitation with Alfred Stieglitz in New York. He was pleased to get back in time to view the earlier-mentioned Mexican Art Exhibition at the MacDowell Club reviewed by Modotti in the December 1, 1922 issue of Holly Leaves, again likely published through the Schindlers' largess (see below). (Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles by Beth Gates Warren, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011, p. 269). (For much more on this see my "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association").

Richey, Tina Modotti, "Mexican Art Exhibit," Holly Leaves, December 1, 1922, p. 36.

Geritz also taught Modotti's close friend from her February 1922 visit to Mexico, Xavier Guerrero, the finer points of wood block printing while he was in town shepherding the well-received Mexican Art Exhibition on display at the MacDowell Club during November 1922 (see below). ("Woodcuts Specialty of Geritz," Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1923, p. II-1). 

"Woodcuts Specialty of Geritz," Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1923, p. II-1

"Painters and Soldiers of the Revolution" by Xavier Guerrero, ca. 1924. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Jean Charlot. From Tina Modotti Photographs by Sarah M. Lowe, Abrams, 1995, p. 34.

Guerrero also sat for an etching by Geritz before he returned to Mexico which Geritz included in his one-man show at the Los Angeles Museum in September 1923. (see later below). The result of Guerrero's Los Angeles interchange with Geritz can be seen in the 1924 print above. Guerrero also used his new skills to create the masthead for the radical newspaper El Machete which would also later use photographs by his then lover Tina Modotti (see below). (For much more on Guerrero and Modotti see my "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association").

El Machete masthead ca. 1924.

"Worker Reading El Machete," 1927. Tina Modotti, (From Lowe, Plate 89).

Arthur Millier with etching plate and press in background, by Franz Geritz, 1924. From Annex Galleries.

Also a noted etcher, Millier's equally well-received exhibition ran concurrently with Geritz's at the Los Angeles Museum. (Anderson, Antony, "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, August 13, 1922, p. III-27). Millier, who a month earlier had been named the first Southern California winner of the California Society of Etcher's Prize, would go on to replace Anderson as the Times art critic in 1926 and champion the work of Weston, Schindler, Richard Neutra and many others from their illustrious circle including numerous positive reviews of Geritz's work. Geritz and  Millier were particularly close friends evidenced by the above Geritz etching and Antony Anderson reviews of their various joint shows such as at the Cannell-Chaffin Galleries in 1924-25. (Anderson, Antony, "Two Etchers Hold a Joint Exhibit," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1924, p. 30. and Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1925, III-14). 

"Bernard Shaw," wood block print by Franz Geritz, Dark & Light, edited by Barbara Morgan and Annita Delano, January-February 1926, p. 5.

Arthur Millier, ca. 1930. Photo by Will Connell. From UCLA Digital Library.

Millier and his press at his home at 320 Mesa Rd. in Santa Monica Canyon. Edward Weston and his extended family moved a block away to 446 Mesa Rd. when he returned to Los Angeles from Carmel in 1935.

Arthur Millier, 1929 by Edward Weston. From Edward Weston Collection, © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Millier was also close mutual friends with photographers Edward Weston, Johan Hagemeyer and Will Connell who all photographed him ca. 1930.

Arthur Millier, February 10, 1930. Photo by Johan Hagemeyer. From Hagemeyer Collection, UC-Berkeley, Bancroft Library.

"Exhibition of Block Prints and Etchings by Franz Geritz," Catalogue, Los Angeles Museum, Exposition Park, September 14 to 31, 1923.

The following year Geritz again had a one-man show at the Los Angeles Museum, this time featuring etchings of Mather, Millier, Billy Justema, Xavier Guerrero and others.

Anderson, Antony, "Two Etchers Hold a Joint Exhibit," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1924, p. 30.

From left, R. M. Schindler, Pauline Schindler, Sophie Gibling, Edmund Gibling, Dotothy Gibling and Mark Schindler, Kings Road, ca. 1923.  UC-Santa Barbara Schindler Collection.

Adding to the Schindler's excitement of the July 22, 1922 birth of their son Mark, painter Walter Ufer, a close friend of RMS's from their Chicago Palette & Chisel Club days, had a one-man show at the Los Angeles Museum hard on the heels of the Geritz and Millier exhibitions. If Ufer, who Schindler visited "on location" in Taos in 1915, made it out for the opening there would have undoubtedly been a raucous reunion at Kings Road. (Anderson, Antony, "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, August, 13, 1922, p. III-27. For much more on the Ufer-Victor Higgins-Schindler, and Weston-Schindler-Taos connections see my "Edward Weston and Mabel Dodge Luhan Remember D. H. Lawrence and Selected Carmel-Taos Connections." Coincidentally, Schindler and Ufer's close mutual friend Victor Higgins' "The Black Bowl" was on the cover of the April 1922 issue of California Southland.).

Touring Topics, January 1926. Cover art by Franz Geritz. Courtesy Erika EsauPermission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Geritz and Millier were also in tight with the Jake Zeitlin-Lloyd Wright-Phil Townsend Hanna-Will Connell-Merle Armitage crowd evidenced by their work gracing the pages of Hanna's Touring Topics (see above and below). (For much more on the Touring Topics circle see my "Touring Topics / Westways: The Phil Townsend Hanna Years").

Hollywood Bowl Program Cover, Fifth Annual Season, 1926. Franz Geritz block print of L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Emil Oberhoffer. Courtesy L.A. Philharmonic Archives.

Geritz's connections with Lloyd Wright paid off big in 1926 and 1928. Wright's involvement with set designs for Julius Caesar and Robin Hood and his shell designs undoubtedly helped Geritz land the commission for the Bowl's cover for the 1926 season and illustrations for later programs as seen below. Emil Oberhoffer, pictured above, was one of Pauline Schindler's judges for the Hollywood Art Association's song competition for the 1923 Fiesta Mexicana which kicked off the Bowl's 1923 summer season. (For much more on Geritz and Oberhoffer see my "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association").

"From the Last Row" block print by Franz Geritz, 1928.

"Latecomers" block print by Franz Gerita, 1928.

"Up Pepper Tree Lane" block print by Franz Geritz, 1928.

Arthur Millier, "Sentinel of the Mission," Touring Topics,October 1925, p. 20. Courtesy Erika EsauPermission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Lloyd Wright by Franz Geritz, 1926. From LA's Early Moderns by Victoria Dailey, et al, p. 50.

Lloyd Wright and his not yet wife Helen Pole were witnesses to Geritz's March 26, 1927 wedding to Josephine Heintz with Arthur Millier and other mutual friends such as the Schindlers and Westons most likely in attendance. (Familysearch.org). (For much more on Wright, Pole and friends see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright,Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles").

Franz Geritz by Will Connell, 1928. From LA's Early Moderns by Victoria Dailey, et al, p. 53. Mask of Geritz by Grace Marion Brown.

Geritz group show, Los Angeles Museum, Exposition Park, June 1-30, 1926. Courtesy Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art Scrapbooks.

In the above June 1926 group show at the Los Angeles Museum Geritz displayed his portraits of Margrethe Mather, Billy Justema and Lloyd Wright seen earlier above along with Ramon Navarro, Xavier Martinez, Nazimova and many others.

"From Ox Cart to Airplane," Franz Geritz, The Carmelite, November 12, 1928, p. 1. Courtesy Harrison Memorial Library, Carmel.

Pauline Schindler would later feature the work of mutual friend Geritz on the November 12, 1928 cover of The Carmelite during her editorship in 1928-29. Lifelong friend Weston would be tapped by Pauline as a contributing editor after his move into Johan Hagemeyer's studio in Carmel the following month. (For much more on Pauline's life after separating from RMS and departing Kings Road in 1927 see my "Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism.")

The Carmelite masthead from 1929.

Braxton Gallery, Hollywood, 1929, R. M. Schindler, architect. Viroque Baker photos. UC-Santa Barbara Art, Architecture and Design Museum, Schindler Collection.

Further evidence of Geritz's longtime involvement in the Schindler-Weston circle is his one-man show at the Schindler-designed Braxton Gallery the following year shortly after it opened (see above). Braxton (see below) featured the work of Geritz in November 1929, sandwiching him between shows of mutual close friends Peter Krasnow in September and Weston himself in January 1930. Galka Scheyer, the Blue Four dealer who convinced Braxton to commission Schindler to design his new gallery, would obtain consecutive exhibitions for her Blue Four charges Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky and Feininger shortly thereafter. Braxton's Gallery became an eagerly anticipated stop for Times art critic Arthur Millier who was a big supporter of those in the Weston-Schindler orbit. (For much more on this see my "Richard Neutra and the California Art Club.").

Harry Braxton, 1929. Photo by Edward Weston. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

(Millier, Arthur, "Work by Geritz is Alive and Vigorous," Los Angeles Times, November 17, 1929, p. 16.)



Monday, December 2, 2013

Pauline Gibling Schindler, Taliesin, to Eugene Debs, Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, August 22, 1920

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Pauline Gibling Schindler at Taliesin, 1920. From Archives of American Art.

A 1915 graduate of the socially progressive cauldron of Smith College, Pauline Schindler was a radical political activist who along with her new husband Rudolph joined the American Communist Party upon its formation in Chicago just days after their August 1919 wedding. An inveterate letter writer, Pauline had a lifelong penchant for cross-pollinating her modernist ideals with the leading radical thinkers of the period and her socialist-leaning friends in the arts. Her poignant letter to Eugene Debs (see below), then incarcerated in the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta for his anti-war activities, is an example of how she boldly shared her thoughts and beliefs with whomever she thought might listen and help move her cause du jour forward.

The Liberator, May 1919. Debs cover.

"FROM THE CROWN OF MY HEAD TO THE SOLES OF MY FEET I AM BOLSHEVIK, AND PROUD OF IT. THE DAY OF THE PEOPLE HAS COME!" 
-Eugene V. Debs (The Liberator, May 1919, p. 4).

Pauline Gibling Schindler letter to Eugene Debs, August 22, 1920. From Wabash Valley Visions & Voices Digital Memory Project.

At the time of Pauline's letter to Debs, she was living at Taliesin with her husband Rudolph. RMS was at the time deeply involved in completing the plans for Aline Barnsdall's Olive Hill complex before Wright's next trip to Tokyo to supervise the construction of the Imperial Hotel. Just a week earlier, RMS had submitted his entry for the Free Public Library design competition for Jersey City, New Jersey's Bergen Branch, near Pauline's girlhood home in neighboring South Orange. This strongly suggests that Pauline's parents may have played a role in alerting Schindler of the competition (see below). A few months later the Schindlers would themselves be on their fateful way to Los Angeles. 

Free Public Library, Bergen Branch, Jersey City, New Jersey Design Competition entry, August 16, 1920. R. M. Schindler, architect. (Park, Jin-Ho, "Schindler, Symmetry and the Free Public Library," arq, Vol. 2, Winter 1996, p. 79).

Debs was the titular head of the Socialist Party of America, then the third largest political party in the country. He was running for president from his prison cell (see below). Despite running the campaign from behind bars Debs managed to win 919,000 votes, or 3.5 percent of the popular tally. Deb's imprisonment and fame also gave a boost to another cause embraced by Pauline, i.e., the amnesty movement, which was designed to free political prisoners for speaking against WWI. (KansasHeritage.org).

Presidential Campaign button for Eugene Debs, 1920. From KansasHeritage.org. 

In her letter Pauline referenced and appended a translation of one of the last letters of martyred German communist Rosa Luxemburg written to Sonia Liebknecht from the Breslauer Women's Prison in December 1917 (see letter later below). Luxemburg and Sonia's husband Karl Liebknecht were tortured and brutally assassinated by the Friekorps, a German volunteer anti-communist paramilitary group of World War I veterans in January 1919. Pauline's idols, The Liberator editors Max Eastman and Floyd Dell, devoted much of their March 1919 issue to the martyred Luxemborg and Liebknecht (see below). They published the duo's 1918 Spartacus League Manifesto, "The Hour of the People Has Come," originally published in the New York Times, and "Liebknecht Dead," an article by John Reed covering the facts surrounding the murders of Karl and Rosa, the founders of the German Communist Party. (For much more on Eastman and Dell see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright, Reginald Pole and Their Dramatic Circles").

The Liberator, March 1919, cover featuring Karl Liebknecht

Die Fackel, July 1920, cover. From Austrian Academy Corpus.

Pauline seemingly obtained Luxemburg's letter from the previous month's issue of the Viennese Die Fackel edited by Karl Kraus who was very close friends with her husband's mentor Adolf Loos. Kraus was a writer, journalist and satirist who directed his satire at the press, German culture, and German and Austrian politics. 

From left, Adolf Loos, Karl Kraus, and Herwarth Walden, ca. 1909. From The Looshaus by Christopher Long, Yale University Press, 2011, p. 81.

The translation of Luxemburg's touching letter was possibly done by Pauline in collaboration with RMS as she was fluent in German from her childhood years spent in her mother's ancestral homeland. RMS had likely subscribed to the magazine after being exposed to it and possibly befriending Kraus through Loos. Upon reading Luxemburg's letter Pauline immediately equated her portrayal of the beaten down ox to Debs' incarceration and wanted to share it with him in an attempt to cheer him up. In her letter to Debs Pauline mentioned that Kraus was reading Luxemburg's letter at his lectures and considered it of Goetheian importance to the German philosophical literature. 

The Liberator, October 1920 cover. From Marxists.org.

Pauline's correspondence with Debs is a perfect example of the breadth, depth and synthesis of her Socialist thinking and beliefs. Telling Debs of her intention to forward Luxemburg's inspirational letter to The Liberator where Debs was a contributing editor clearly illustrates her penchant for cross-pollinating avant-garde thought between the Socialist, artistic and literary communities. Pauline's translation of Luxemburg's letter (see below) was soon published verbatim in the October 1920 issue (see cover above). Schindler was not credited for her submittal and its translation but the provenance is clear that she was indeed the contributor.


"Rosa Luxemburg to Sonia Liebknecht," The Liberator, October 1920, pp. 12-13.

Debs was equally moved by Luxemburg's letter and forwarded it to his brother Theodore with a note saying that when he read the letter his heart became sad and his face became filled with tears and that wherever Luxemburg is now he honors her with all his heart (see below).

Pauline Schindler translation of December 1917 letter from Rosa Luxemburg to Sonia Liebknecht with annotations by Eugene Debs. 

After their December 1920 move to Los Angeles the Schindlers immediately befriended the local leaders of the Socialist Movement and immersed themselves in their activities. This was evidenced by their attendance at a lecture by Liberator editor Max Eastman at the residence of "Parlor Provocatuer" Kate Crane Gartz in April 1921 around the time the below picture was taken by new Schindler friends Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston. (For much more on the radical bohemian activities of the Schindlers during their early formative years in Los Angeles and their relationship with Gartz and her circle see my "The Schindlers and the Westons and the Walt Whitman School").

Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston, "Max Eastman Seated on Railing," Los Angeles, 1921. Collection The Museum of Modern Art. From Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration by Beth Gates Warren, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2001, p. 79. 


Postscript pertaining to Karl Kraus and Die Fackel:

Betty Katz in Her Attic, 1920. Photo by Edward Weston. © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Rudolph Schindler also wrote passionately of his Viennese friend Karl Kraus and his lecturing skills to his and Edward Weston's mutual friend and lover Betty Katz Kopelanoff (see above and  below). Schindler would later design two projects in Palm Springs for Kings Road habitue and tenant Kopelanoff who was also an intimate lifelong friend of Pauline's. (Author's note: For much more on the Betty Katz-Pauline Schindler friendship see my "The Schindlers and the Hollywood Art Association.").

R. M. Schindler to Betty Katz Kopelanoff, n.d., ca. early 1920s.
 Courtesy of Dottie Ickovitz, great niece of Betty Katz Kopelanoff Household Brandner.