ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE, August 1949. John Entenza [Editor]. Charles Kratka Cover, Peter Macchiarini Jewelry

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August 1949

John Entenza [Editor], Charles Kratka  [Cover Artist]

John Entenza [Editor]: ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE. Los Angeles: John D. Entenza, Volume 66, number 8, August 1949. Slim quarto. Stapled printed wrappers. 38 pp. Illustrated text and articles. Wrappers worn. Cover by Charles Kratka [of the Eames Office]. A very good or better copy.

9.75 x 12.75 vintage magazine with 38 pages of editorial content and advertisements from leading purveyors of West Coast mid-century modernism, circa 1949.  Staff photography by Julius Shulman. In terms of decor, there is none of that Chippendale jive here-- every residential interior is decked out in full midcentury glory.

The contents of this  vintage issue of Arts and Architecture read like a veritable rosetta stone of West Coast Postwar Modernism. Check it out:

  • House by Joseph Allen Stein
  • Living Room For A Garden by Whitney R. Smith
  • House by Roger Lee
  • House by Willard Hall Francis
  • House by J. R. Davidson
  • House by Thornton M. Abell
  • Jewelry by Peter Macchiarini
  • Stimulus Line of Schiffer Fabrics by Bernard Rudofsky, Ray Eames, George Nelson, Abel Sorenson, Salvador Dali, Edward Wormley.
  • Art
  • Books
  • Music
  • Notes In Passing
  • Merit Specified Products — 1949 CS Houses
  • New Product Literature And Information
  • and more.

Allow me to quote Design Historian Jeffrey Head’s essay “Pattern Languages: The Artistic Legacy of Schiffer Prints” at length on the origins of this wonderful product:

“In 1949 Schiffer prints introduced its groundbreaking Stimulus Line of textiles, and with that came two innovations that continue to influence the industry today. First, Schiffer hired known artists, architects, and designers to create textile patterns and, secondly, they didn’t alter or modify those patterns for marketing or manufacturing reasons. Nor did Schiffer impose a theme or color palette. The results were dramatic—a variety of patterns, subject matter, and colors. “Unquestionably it is the most brilliant single collection of all modern prints introduced since the war,” declared the New York Times on June 22, 1949, when Schiffer Prints introduced the Stimulus designs at the Architectural League of New York.

“Among the textiles on display were patterns designed by Salvador Dalí, Ray Eames, George Nelson, Bernard Rudofsky, Abel Sorenson, and Edward J. Wormley—whose designs were shown on examples of Dun- bar Furniture. In addition, there were several George Nelson–designed Herman Miller pieces upholstered with Schiffer textiles that could be special ordered. The exhibition itself was designed by the Nelson office, namely by Irving Harper, who also created seven patterns for Schiffer and designed the company’s logo . . .

“ . . . The company quickly expanded the Stimulus line and continued to select artists and designers with no previous textile experience. Furniture designer Paul McCobb was added to the roster in 1950 and his Chain pattern was shown at the Good Design Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City the following year. Afterward, McCobb would go on to design textiles for other manufacturers, such as Maix and F. Schumacher and Company.

“Schiffer produced more than forty Stimulus patterns in different color combinations between 1949 and about 1962. Certain textiles were offered to architects and designers, with a different set of patterns created for retail customers. Schiffer fabrics were available across the country, from the J.L. Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit to W. and J. Sloane in New York, and for the trade at Clinton F. Peets in the Robertson design corridor in Los Angeles. In the only known television commercial for Stimulus textiles, New Orleans department store D.H. Holmes featured Schiffer Prints in an ad for draperies that aired in 1950. The Stimulus line received further distinction when architect Abel Sorenson specified his Schiffer designs for use in the United Nations Headquarters. According to George Nelson biographer, Stanley Abercombie, several Stimulus textiles were available in wallpaper versions from the Concord Wallpaper Company.

Editorial Associates for Arts and Architecture included Herbert Matter and Charles Eames. Julius Shulman was the staff photographer.  The Editorial Advisory Board included William Wilson Wurster,Richard neutra, Isamu Noguchi, eero Saarinen, Gardner Dailey, Sumner Spaulding, Mario Corbett, Esther McCoy, John Funk, Gregory Ain, George Nelson, Gyorgy Kepes, marcel Breuer, Raphael Soriano, Ray Eames, Garret Eckbo, Edgar Kaufman, Jr. and others luminaries of the mid-century modern movement.

In 1938, John Entenza joined California Arts and Architecture magazine as editor. by 1943, Entenza and his art director Alvin Lustig had completely overhauled the magazine and renamed it Arts and Architecture. Arts and Architecture championed all that was new in the arts, with special emphasis on emerging modernist architecture in Southern California.

One of the pivotal figures in the growth of modernism in California, Entenza's most lasting contribution was his sponsorship of the Case Study Houses project, which featured the works of architects Thornton Abell, Conrad Buff, Calvin Straub, Donald Hensman, Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, J. R. Davidson, A. Quincy Jones, Frederick Emmons, Don Knorr, Edward Killinsworth, Jules Brady, Waugh Smith, Pierre Koenig, Kemper Nomland,   Kemper Nomland Jr., Richard Neutra, Ralph Rapson, Raphael Soriano, Whitney Smith, Sumner Spaulding, John Rex, Rodney Walker, William Wilson Wurster, Theodore Bernardi and Craig Ellwood. Arts and Architecture also ran articles and interviews on artists and designers such as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, George Nakashima, George Nelson and many other groundbreakers.