Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday Parties for Free-Thinkers

  A view of the courtyard where social gatherings were held

The outdoor space of the Schindler-Chace house offered a beautiful setting for high spirited gatherings. These courtyards were vast in green land and offered a welcoming ambiance with their open fires. This was how Schindler intentionally designed the courtyards; they were meant to be social spaces. Visitors came and went on a constant basis, some staying a month, a year, or more. The amount of infamous personalities passing through the house was extraordinary. Friends of the Schindlers who were avant-garde in the arts, education and politics were welcomed during Sundays’ open house to join for dinner. When there was a large number of guests, the sawhorses would be brought out. Planks stored on the roof were taken out to set over them to make for tables and on boxes to make for seats. Events were often held in this way as well, whether it was a Bohemian dress-up party, or for a Thanksgiving celebration. 

Thanksgiving at Kings Road, 1923

The most memorable event during these Sunday parties was John Bovington’s dance recital. Along with his companion, Jeanya Marling, they danced in scanty attire, or a lack of thereof. Dione Neutra described these occasions to be sublime, for they would illuminate the garden at night. For music, they would hit gongs which were hung on ropes. Beginning with crawling, the two performers would slowly evolve from lower animal forms to the ultimate human. As they finally stood erected on two legs, they continued to move in trance. For the audience, this was the most thrilling portion of the night.

Schindler's home, 835 North Kings Road, often served as a venue for
performances and presentations

There was always a mixture of people, extending from the most provincial to the most liberal. What was happening was the realization of Pauline’s wishes. She had previously confessed to her mother, "I should like it to be as democratic a meeting-place as Hull House where millionaires and laborers, professors and illiterates, the splendid and the ignoble, meet constantly together."  The conversations that occurred between the diverse group of guests during these special occasions were nothing short of worthy discussion about revolutionary ideas in all fields. Arguments never escalated to aggressiveness and guests were always encouraged to bring their friends to join in dialogue. The rooms and courtyards of the house had freed everyone’s expression in this way. 

Works Cited:
Sarnitz, August. R.M. Schindler: Architect, 1887-1953 A Pupil of Otto Wagner, Between International Style and  Space Architecture. Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 1988.
McCoy, Esther. Vienna to Los Angeles: Two Journeys. Santa Monica, California, Arts + Architecture Press, 1979.
Darling, Michael, and Smith, Elizabeth A. T. The Architecture of R. M. Schindler. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.
Crosse, John. Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism, 1927-1936, Southern California Architectural History. Last modified 2010. Accessed December 8th, 2012.
Fonck, Arnoute. Schindler-Chase house by Rudolf Schindler, 2007.

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