written by:
April 28, 2014
From furniture to interiors, Jewish designers made their mark on modernist American design in the postwar years.
kaufmann house richard neutra photograph patio pool
Vienna-born architect Richard Neutra designed the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs in 1947 for Edgar Kaufmann, Sr., the Jewish owner of a trendsetting Pittsburgh department store. Jewish architectural photographer Julius Schulman captured the striking home in this image. Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust.
1 / 6
schiff house richard neutra san francisco exterior
Neutra also designed the modern Schiff duplex for a Jewish couple that relocated to San Francisco after being forced out of Nazi Germany in 1935. The couple decorated the home with furniture by Jewish designer Harry Rosenthal that they had shipped from Europe. Photo by Julius Shulman. Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust.
2 / 6
ernest Sohn coffee pot set in black and white
German designer Ernest Sohn created household products such as lazy Susan trays, candlesticks, and fruit bowls after emigrating to New York in 1936. The “Esquire” coffee pot set and casserole dishes from 1963 feature matte-black exteriors and shiny white interiors and lids. Photo by John Halpern.
3 / 6
alvin lustig chair black upholstered
Graphic designer Alvin Lustig, known for designing more than 70 book covers in his lifetime, ventured into furniture and interiors later in his career. Upholstered chair for Paramount Furniture, 1949. Photo by Conner/Healy.
4 / 6
george nelson marshmallow sofa red dots

George Nelson's Marshmallow sofa for Herman Miller, 1956. In 1945, Nelson was appointed director of design for Herman Miller, where he helped design everything from furniture to the brand's logo. Photo courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum.

5 / 6
Ruth Adler Schnee Cuneiforms screen print on linen
After fleeing Germany and settling in Detroit, Ruth Adler Schnee worked for industrial designer Raymond Loewy, studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and started to produce her own textiles. Cuneiforms textile, 1947-1948. Courtesy Cranbrook Art Museum.
6 / 6
kaufmann house richard neutra photograph patio pool
Vienna-born architect Richard Neutra designed the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs in 1947 for Edgar Kaufmann, Sr., the Jewish owner of a trendsetting Pittsburgh department store. Jewish architectural photographer Julius Schulman captured the striking home in this image. Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust.

An exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum explores the influential role that Jewish architects and designers played in the formation of the midcentury modernist aesthetic in the U.S. "The arena of modern design in particular offered an unprecedented flourishing of opportunities for and acceptance of Jews," writes guest curator Donald Albrecht. "For most postwar modern designers and their patrons, religion was a nonissue." 

FoIlowing the fall of the Nazi rule, Jewish designers had a chance to enter the mainstream of American design—and they did so in a flourish, influencing the worlds of furniture, architecture, interiors, graphics, and textiles. Here, Dwell takes a peak at some of the notable works by Jewish makers on view in the exhibition, from George Nelson's Marhmallow sofa for Herman Miller to architect Richard Neutra's Schiff House in San Francisco.

Dwell is the proud media sponsor of "Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism," on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum through Oct. 6, 2014. Find out more about the exhibition here.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016