Events | Lecture and Panel Discussion: "J. R. Davidson – A California Modernist"

Los Angeles, CA | November 6, 2019 | 7:00 PM

Southern California has been one of the centers of modern architecture. An important but typically overlooked figure was the Berlin-born architect Julius Ralph Davidson. Davidson, who lived in Los Angeles since the beginning of the 1920s, worked in the field of interior design and furniture design before he began focusing on architectural projects.

In 1940, Davidson got in touch with author Thomas Mann. Mann spent the previous years of his exile in Princeton but decided to move to Los Angeles with his family. The Manns bought a property in the hills of Pacific Palisades and hired J.R. Davidson to build their house, which was intended to be aligned with the family’s lifestyle as well as their daily routines.

Whereas Davidson’s previous houses were built in an international style, the house on San Remo Drive resembles a moderate modernist design. The interior embodied German bourgeois culture in contrast to the modern white appearance of the house. Journalist Heinrich Wefing noted: “The outside form suggests an adjustment to the new Californian world, while on the inside, you see the attempt to reconstruct, even if only partially, what was lost.”

Panelists include Lilian Pfaff, Davidson scholar, author and curator of the current exhibit at University of California, Santa Barbara “J.R. Davidson: A European Contribution to California Modernism.” After her lecture she will be joined by Christopher Long, Ph.D. the Martin S. Kermacy Centennial Professorship in Architecture at the University of Texas and Monica Penick, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Design at the University of Texas. The panel will be moderated by Kenneth Briesch, Ph.D. Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.


Thomas Mann House
1550 N San Remo Drive
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 7pm

Participation by invitation only.

An event in cooperation with Society of Architectural Historians/Southern California Chapter

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