Wright discussed in Lamster's new Philip Johnson book

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Modmom1
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Post by Modmom1 »

Peter, that is where I first read it but found this stating his father was Jewish and his mother Catholic and he had changed his name:

https://books.google.com/books?id=hQElD ... er&f=false

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Yes. Every previous biography had avoided the topic of his parents.

Modmom1
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Post by Modmom1 »

Regarding Philip Johnson and the 1932 MOMA architecture show, Philip Johnson excluded Schindler BUT included Monroe and Irwin Bowman, unknown Chicago architects who had only built their own office interior. Why? because PJs fortune lay in aluminum (Alcoa) and they had proposed an all-metal apartment building, although still only on paper.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

(Heh-heh -- if only Wright's All-Steel houses had appeared on paper a few years earlier -- and had been designed for aluminum ! . . .)


Most interesting. (I don't find Schindler's name in Peter's second citation ?) For what it's worth, neither Esther McCoy, who worked for "RM" (as he was universally called, in the office certainly) from 1944 and published her
appreciation of him c. 1960, nor David Gebhard, whose work appeared in 1980 (with a preface by H-R Hitchcock dated, oddly, 1971), wrote the word Jew or Jewish in their respective texts. Gebhard says only that Schindler's
parents were "Viennese bourgeois," and McCoy is even more terse: "His father was from Prague . . ." Nor do March and Scheine (1993) nor James Steele (1999) touch this subject.

Sad to say, Wikipedia is only as good as its contributors and its self-appointed editors. Why would we not take the word of Mark Schindler ? Understand that I have no problem with Schindler being Jewish, if that is the fact . . . !

Perhaps, if he was not "religious" and never spoke of the matter, even his closest friends and companions might have remained uninformed ?

It has long been fashionable to include mention of a Jewish background or heritage when writing of any notable figure, it seems to me, as if this had an inevitable bearing on the life or the work of the subject . . .

S
Last edited by SDR on Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

It’s not just Wikipedia. Several new histories and here at archinform.
https://www.archinform.net/arch/1121.htm

You’re, right. It doesn’t matter, and yet, in order to place the man within an historical, intellectual, cultural and sociopolitical context, it does become relevant. Antisemitism was pervasive in the US, and there were many who kept their Jewish heritage a secret, including Marcel Breuer.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

So, Schindler is "outed" as Jewish, sixty-plus years after his death ?

And Neutra ? Jewish, in Wikipedia; I wonder where we find the earliest Neutra biography . . .

S

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I realize it’s strange, but possible. I think the most like scenario is that his father was Jewish and mother Catholic.

Modmom1
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Post by Modmom1 »

SDR, of course it doesn't matter. My first thought was that it was the reason PJ left him out of the show, certainly he was worthy of inclusion.

This book, well researched, has me wondering how Johnson was ever re-embraced by the arts/architecture community after his actions not only in support of Hitler and Nazi Germany but also his active role in the United States promoting fascist leaders. I was unaware of the extent of his involvement.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I suppose it's the same question that some are asking, about whether youthful ignorance and carelessness should have condemned Brett Kavanaugh or Ralph Northam. Make no mistake: I support neither of these guys, nor do I regret
the Me Too movement or any other attempts to right wrongs and call out criminals. I suppose those acts do raise the question of "character" and "fitness for office." And yes, I do believe Anita, and Christine . . .

Those who learned what they know about Philip Johnson long after his youthful errors -- like me -- were able to judge him as a designer and an architectural gadfly, which (as I see it) are the pertinent areas of interest. I really don't
believe that Johnson's life and career should be judged by his political leanings -- during any period of his life -- any more that I would want my work to be assessed in the light of my being a Democrat, or a gay man. In the early 'thirties
many, on both sides of the Atlantic, were able to overlook the problems of Nazism, just as some today see nothing wrong with Donald Trump . . .

Johnson's pertinent sins, such as they were, are architectural, it seems to me. And I say that Johnson's commercial (i.e., large-building) work is a separate thing entirely from the houses, and should be judged accordingly.

S
Last edited by SDR on Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

Scheine and Sweeney went to Vienna several years ago to check out Schindler's origins in the archives of the Jewish community and elsewhere. His father (a cabinetmaker) grew up Jewish and converted to Catholicism at the time of his marriage. His mother was Catholic all her life. Their son was baptized a Catholic and was unreligious as an adult.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Neutra was definitely Jewish, though his wife was not. In Neutra's case, I suppose his son could verify the facts.

Wikipedia still persists with Frank Lincoln Wright, so getting them straight about anything is unlikely. Once a 'fact' is published, it spreads like bacteria.

One can only speculate on why Johnson left Schindler out, but it could be that he simply didn't understand RMS's work. His houses of the 20s were very un-International. I doubt Johnson would have found much to laud in Schindler/Chase, Lowes, Packard, How, Wolfe or even Lovell.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Reidy -- that's very helpful.

With a little effort at understanding the procedure, any of us could edit the Wikipedia entry on Wright, or any other page. There is no central editor there; how could there be, with the volume of material
that makes up the site. It's a unique feature; try editing someone's erroneous printed publication ! Wiki leaves it to the "experts" in each field to police their own, as it were.

In Hitchcock's preface to Gebhard he readily admits to having misjudged Schindler, as I expect many another architect, critic, or layman may have done. Time heals all wounds -- and wounds all heels ?

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Isn't it the dishonesty after the fact -- the cover-up -- that condemns the likes of Kavanaugh or Northam ? I don't know that Johnson attempted to prevaricate -- though perhaps he did ?

S

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Thanks Reidy. That explains it well. I trust Judith Sheine and her typically rigorous research. Those stories of converts are not at all uncommon. It’s very possible that Schindler’s son (and even Schindler himself?) was unaware of his grandfather’s actions. And again, traditionally, because the culture is matrilineal, if the mother is not Jewish, the child isn’t.

Judith Sheine:
https://archenvironment.uoregon.edu/arc ... ith-sheine

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Reading as much of the book linked by Modmom (top of page) as permitted by Google Books, I come across this little bit of dialog, Schindler describing Loos to Sullivan in 1920:

"He spent many years in Vienna as Architect, doing mostly interior decorating and forming the only serious opponent against the architectural atrocities of the 'Secession.' "

This, from the young student who took the trouble to attend school under Wagner ? Or had Schindler's opinion of the Secession evolved since his school days . . .

S

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