Julius Shulman, 1910-2009

July 16, 2009 · Print This Article

Julius Schulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

I am so sorry to report, via The Los Angeles Times, that legendary architectural photographer Julius Shulman has died. From his obituary:

“Julius Shulman, whose luminous photographs of homes and buildings brought fame to a number of mid-20th century Modernist architects and made him a household name in the architectural world, died Wednesday night. He was 98.

Shulman, who had been in declining health, died at his home in Los Angeles, according to gallery owner Craig Krull, who represented him.

Starting with Richard Neutra in 1936, Shulman’s roster of clients read like a who’s who of pioneering contemporary architecture: Rudolf M. Schindler, Gregory Ain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Eames, Raphael S. Soriano, John Lautner, Eero Saarinen, Albert Frey, Pierre Koenig, Harwell Harris and many others. His work was contained in virtually every book published on Modernist architects.

“He has a sense of visual bravura of composition,” wrote the late Robert Sobieszek, photography curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “so that he can take a rather mundane house and make it look exciting, and take a spectacular house and make it look triply spectacular.”

Shulman had “a profound effect on the writing and teaching of architectural history and understanding architecture, especially Southern California modernism,” said Thomas Hines, UCLA professor emeritus of architecture and urban design. And Newsweek magazine’s Cathleen McGuigan wrote that some of Shulman’s photographs of modern glass houses in Palm Springs and Los Angeles “are so redolent of the era in which they were built you can practically hear the Sinatra tunes wafting in the air and the ice clinking in the cocktail glasses.”

You can view a slideshow of Julius Shulman at work along with some of his most famous images here. Shulman was a Master whose images helped define architectural modernism in Southern California and beyond. He will truly be missed.