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Finding Aid for the Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Julius Shuman Photography Archive 1935-2009
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Julius Shulman Photography Archive
    Date (inclusive): 1935-2009
    Number: 2004.R.10
    Physical Description: 537.0 linear feet
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Representing Julius Shulman's career as an architectural photographer from 1935 to 2009, the archive documents the modern movement in architecture spanning 60 years and serves as a historical record of the Southern California landscape. The archive comprises 537 linear feet of Shulman's vintage and modern photographs, contact prints, negatives, transparencies, clippings, and indices.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Throughout his long career, photographer Julius Shulman created one of the most comprehensive visual chronologies of modern architecture and the development of the Los Angeles region. Shulman was born October 10, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1920. Throughout the 1930s Shulman used an Eastman Kodak Vest-Pocket camera to photograph historical locations in Los Angeles. In 1936 he photographed Richard J. Neutra's Kun House (Los Angeles, Calif.) and was subsequently asked by Neutra to photograph some of his other projects. Through his relationship with Neutra he was able to secure other architectural photography commissions, documenting the work of such prolific architects as R.M. Schindler, Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, J.R. Davidson, John Lautner and Pierre Koenig, as well as many others. Shulman frequently worked with such writers and editors as Esther [Tobey] McCoy, John Entenza, Dan MacMasters, and Barbara Lenox. While he also produced product and furniture photographs for designers, he is most acclaimed for his iconic images of mid-century modern buildings including the Case Study houses of Southern California.
    Shulman's photographs have been widely published, and he produced several monographs about his work, including: Photography of Architecture and Design: Photographing Buildings, Interiors, and the Visual Arts (1977), Architecture and its Photography (1998), Photographing Architecture and Interiors (2000), and Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea (2005). Over the years Shulman became known as a strong proponent of modernist architecture and his photographs trained the spotlight on the architects whose work he featured. He received the American Institute of Architects Architectural Photography Medal in 1969 and was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects in 1987. After a brief retirement in 1986, Shulman returned to work as a photographer and accepted assignments well into the 21st century. Julius Shulman died in his home at the age of 98 on July 15, 2009.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Julius Shulman photography archive, 1935-2009, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 2004.R.10.

    Acquisition Information

    The main archive was acquired from Julius Shulman and his daughter Judy McKee in 2004. Approximately 290 additional items were acquired in 2011 from the University of Southern California.

    Processing History

    Irene Lotspeich-Phillips registered the base collection and Lora Chin registered additional accretions. Laura Schroffel, Holly Larson, Phil Curtis, Alexis Adkins, Chris Alexander, and Aimee Lind processed the collection. Under the supervision of Jocelyn Gibbs and Andra Darlington, Laura Schroffel cataloged the collection, with Holly Larson's help on Series IV. The arrangement was devised by Jocelyn Gibbs based on Shulman's original order.
    In 2011, Teresa Soleau added to the finding aid approximately 290 photographs acquired and housed separately (accession number 2011.R.2).
    Also in 2011 Laura Schroffel processed and cataloged additions to the collection (boxes 1046-1164) consisting primarily of clippings and color slides. Container descriptions have been integrated into the finding aid.

    Digital Collection

    Selected photographs have been digitized and are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2004r10 . Series II and Series III were digitized in 2010 with support from ARTstor. Series IV was digitized in 2012-2013 with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Julius Shulman Photography Archive documents Shulman's career as an architectural photographer from 1935 to 2009. The collection contains 537 linear feet of vintage and modern photographs, contact prints, negatives, transparencies, color slides, clippings, papers and indices. The material was generated and collected by Shulman.
    Series I contains indices organized numerically by job number and shoot date, alphabetically by architect, or alphabetically by client. The series also includes wall calendars maintained and annotated by Shulman as well as diaries.
    The bulk of the archive documents the modern movement in architecture spanning 60 years and serves as a historical record of the Southern California landscape. Shulman's photography highlights the important relationship between architect and photographer through his strong grasp of design philosophy and his aesthetic sensibility. Series II. Architects, is rich in the projects by California-based architects such as Richard J. Neutra, R.M. Schindler, Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, J.R. Davidson, John Lautner and Pierre Koenig. The architects in series II. were intensively documented by Shulman and were separated out from his other projects for ease of access. Particularly noteworthy in this sereis are the photographs of Richard J. Neutra's Kaufmann House (Palm Springs, Calif.) or John Lautner's Chemosphere (Los Angeles, Calif.).
    Series III. Projects includes documentaion of the Case Study House Program, sponsored by Arts and Architecture and John Entenza. Particulalry note worthy in thise series is Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 (Los Angeles, Calif.). Also included are photographs relating to the publication Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles (1992) as well as photographs for the American Institute of Architecture's Cultural Heritage Board Committee for the City of Los Angeles.
    Series IV. Job Numbers, makes up an extensive portion of the archive documenting projects by lesser-known architects as well as major commercial firms in Southern California (Welton Becket, Victor Gruen, and others). While the bulk of the collection documents architectural projects, also included are product and furniture photographs for designers and other photographs relating to commercial products such as those produced by the United States Gypsum Co. and the Libbey Owens Ford Glass Company. The bulk of the archive reflects Shulman's preference for the dramatic contrast and depth of black and white film. He also was one of few architectural photographers to use infrared film.
    Series V. Display photographs is comprised of large format prints mounted on board or foam core. The display photographs were used by Shulman for exhibiting and publicity purposes.
    The collection is comprised primarily of photographic materials and may contain black and white 8x10 prints, 4x5 black-and-white contact prints, 4x5 black and white negatives, 4x5 color transparencies, 4x5 color negatives. Other photographic formats include 8x10 color photographs, 4x5 color contact prints, color transparencies, 8x10 black and white negatives, Polaroids and slides. Some 8x10 transparencies exist; in most instances these are enlargements of existing 4x5 transparencies. Not all jobs have color photography.
    Papers includes correspondence, invoices, clippings from publications, media relating to architects whom Shulman worked with or projects that Shulman worked on, exhibition materials, print request documentation, printing notes for photography and sometimes architectural plans.
    Selected photographs have been digitized and are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2004r10 .

    Arrangement note

    Organized in five series: Series I. Indices; Series II. Architects; Series III. Projects; Series IV. Job numbers; Series V. Display photographs.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Abell, Thorton M.
    Ain, Gregory, 1908-
    Clark, John Porter
    Cody, William
    Davidson, Julius Ralph, b. 1889
    Eames, Charles
    Eames, Ray
    Ellwood, Craig
    Frey, Albert, 1903-1998
    Gault, Charles
    Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 1869-1924
    Grossman, Greta Magnusson, 1906-1999
    Kesling, William, d. 1983
    Koenig, Pierre, 1925-2004
    Lautner, John, 1911-1994
    Lee, S. Charles
    László, Paul
    Neutra, Richard Joseph, 1892-1970
    Newsom, Joseph C.
    Rodia, Simon, 1879-1965
    Rosenheim, Alfred F., (Alfred Faist), 1859-1943
    Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961
    Schindler, R. M., (Rudolph M.)
    Smith, Whitney Rowland
    Soriano , Raphael, 1904-1988
    Williams, Stewart, 1909-2005
    Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959
    Wright, Lloyd, 1890-1978
    Wurster, William Wilson
    Wyman, George
    Zabludovsky, Abraham
    Zwebell, Arthur
    Zwebell, Nina

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Albert C. Martin and Associates
    Angels Flight (Railway)
    Beverly Hills Hotel
    Buff & Hensman
    Buff, Straub and Hensman
    Bullock's Wilshire (Department store)
    California Club (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Case Study House No. 9 (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Chinese Theatre (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Clark & Frey
    Clark, Frey & Chambers
    Eames House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Freeman House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Frey & Chambers
    Hale House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Hollyhock House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Kaufmann Desert House (Palm Springs, Calif.)
    Killingsworth, Brady, Smith and Associates
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Department of Water and Power
    Los Angeles City Hall (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Miller House (Palm Springs, Calif.)
    Morgan, Walls & Clements
    Museo Rufino Tamayo
    Palm Springs Desert Museum
    Racquet Club (Palm Springs, Calif.)
    Schindler House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Shulman House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Simon Rodia's Towers (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Smith & Williams
    Smith, Powell and Morgridge
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
    Wayfarers Chapel (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.)
    Williams and Williams.
    Williams, Clark & Williams.
    Williams, Williams and Williams
    Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons

    Subjects - Topics

    Architect-designed houses--California
    Architectural photography
    Architecture, Domestic--California--Case studies
    Architecture, Modern--20th century
    Architecture--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Courtyard houses-- California--Los Angeles
    Courtyards--California-- Los Angeles
    Housing, Single family-- California--Case studies
    International style (Architecture)--California--Case studies
    Los Angeles (Calif.). Cultural Heritage Board
    Modern movement (Architecture)--California
    Modern movement (Architecture)--United States--Case studies

    Subjects - Places

    Los Angeles (Calif.)--Buildings, structures, etc.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Color slides
    Color transparencies
    Contact sheets
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original