Julius Shulman (American, 1910–2009) was an architectural photographer who championed Mid-Century Modern Design in his images of Southern California’s inventive homes. Part of a postwar generation of commercial architect photographers, Shulman worked on assignments for architects, magazines, such as Life, House & Garden, and Good Housekeeping, as well as architectural publications. Over the course of his extensive and prolific career, Shulman nearly always used black-and-white film, focusing on the geometric essentials of the Modernist structures he documented. His work, however, did not simply record architectural details, but rather espoused the architect’s innovative vision and spirit of the era in which both building and photograph were produced. Born in Brooklyn, Shulman moved to Los Angeles as a boy and first developed an interest in photography in high school. After briefly attending the University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, Berkeley, Shulman was enlisted by a friend to photograph a new Richard Neutra (American, 1892–1970) home in Hollywood. When Neutra saw the photos, he asked to meet Shulman and began giving the young photographer his first assignments. Shulman would go on to photograph buildings by some of the era’s best-known architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright (American 1867–1959), Charles and Ray Eames (American, 1907–1978; 1912–1988), Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian, b.1907), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American/German, 1886–1969). One of Shulman’s most widely-reproduced works is a 1960 image of Case Study House #22, by Pierre Koenig (American, 1925–2004). The photograph shows two women engaged in conversation in a living room that seemingly floats above the Los Angeles Basin. The transcendence of domesticity over nature is again illustrated in Shulman’s 1947 image of Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, set against a forbidding backdrop of desert expanse and mountains. Although Shulman is best known for his work from the late 1940s through 1960s, he continued to photograph into his 90s. His vast library of images is housed at the Getty Center, which acquired his archive of more than a quarter-million prints, transparencies, and negatives in 2005.

Timeline

1910
Born in Brooklyn, NY
2009
Died in Los Angeles, CA

Exhibitions

2008–2009
Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland
2008
Paris Photo, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris France
Birth of the Cool, Nashe Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC
2005
Death Valley, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2004
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Vest-Pocket Pictures from teh 1930's, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2002
French American Center for the Arts, L’Espace Cardin, Paris, France
Architectural Views, Musee de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
2001
Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver, Canada
3A Garage, San Francisco, CA
ModernBook, Palo Alto, CA
Donzella, New York, NY
House of Photographic Arts, San Juan Capistrano, CA
In Color, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
A History of the Future, Newcastle, UK
Cube Gallery, Manchester, UK
Impressions Gallery, York, UK
Galerie Thierry Marlat, Paris, France
AFW Projects, Cologne, Germany
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
2000
Photographers' Gallery, London, UK
Stefan Vogdt Gallery, Munich, Germany
AFW Projects, Cologne, Germany
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
One Hundred Years of Architecture, MOCA, Los Angeles, CA
Made in California, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
At The Movies, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1999
Galerie Thierry Marlat, Paris
Tatar/Alexander Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Shulman/Ruscha/Welling, Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany
1998–1999
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1998
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Photology Gallery, Milan, Italy
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Obscura: The Architectural Photography of Julius Shulman, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Max Hetzler Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA
1997
Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy
1996
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1995
Joachim Bluher Gallery, Cologne, Germany
1994
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1991
Photographing L.A. Architecture, Turner/Krull Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
1989
Viennese Architects, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Blueprints for Modern Living/Case Study Houses, MOCA, Los Angeles, CA
1985
Julius Shulman, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
1982
Neutra Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1964
Purpose, Project: Environment USA, Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles, CA
1956
Neutra Retrospective, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
1954
Julius Shulman, USC, Los Angeles, CA
1952
Santa Barbara Art Museum, Santa Barbara, CA

Public Collections

The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York, NY
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Literature

2009
Serriano, Pierluigi. Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered. Los Angeles: Taschen, 2009
2008
Shulman, Julius. The Building of My Home and Studio. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2008
Shulman, Julius, and David Tseklenis. Julius Shulman Does His Own House. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2008
1998
Shulman, Julius. Architecture and Its Photography. Preface by Frank O. Gehry. Edited by Peter Gössel. Cologne and New York: Taschen, 1998
1977
Shulman, Julius. The Photography of Architecture and Design: Photographing Buildings, Interiors and the Visual Arts. New York: Whitney Library of Design; London: Architectural Press, 1977
1962
Shulman, Julius. Photographing Architecture and Interiors. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1962