Revisiting the Eames home after 57 years

schoener-eames-house.jpgNo blogger has written this exact claim before, I suspect. Allon Schoener, the New York author transplanted to Boyle Heights who posts as The Reluctant Angeleno, recently visited the iconic home of Charles and Ray Eames in Pacific Palisades for the first time in almost six decades. "I had been there often between 1951 and 1955," he says of 203 Chautauqua Boulevard. "Sixty years ago, it was my good fortune to have been a periodic guest in the house, to engage in illuminating discussions with Charles and to enjoy Ray's culinary treats presented as beautifully organized visual displays."

By email, Schoener tells me that his first visits took place when was a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Art between 1950 and 1955.

I created a series of TV shows presenting the museum and local artists to a new and different audience - 300,000 people - four times the museum's annual attendance. There was no cultural programming on TV in the early 1950s.

Betty Chamberlain, art critic for Time, brought Charles and Ray to meet me and see one of my shows in production. Thus began one of the most important relationships in my life. While I was in San Francisco, I saw a lot of them, here and there. They invited me to stay at the house when I came to LA.

People search for mentors; mine came to me. About a year after our first contact, we collaborated on one of my TV shows. Charles made a film on the development of the plywood chair for that show.

A Kinescope segment of the show, Schoener says, was included in the recently closed California Design exhibition at LACMA that featured the actual, borrowed living room from the Eames home in Santa Monica Canyon.

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