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Modern Homes

  • Name:
    Modern Homes
  • Alternative names:

    The Modern Home, Modern Home

  • Kind of Organisation:
    Architecture and Furniture Company
  • Introduction:

    The three firms The Modern Home, Modern Home and Modern Homes existed from 1931 until 1950. Run by the Paulick brothers together with the Jewish emigrant Luedecke, the firms provided work for many emigrants.

    Word Count: 32

  • Content:

    The Modern Home (TMH) was founded in 1931 by Rudolf Hamburger at 653 Avenue Foch (now Yan’an Road). When Richard Paulick reached the city in 1933, fleeing from the National Socialists in Germany, he started working at TMH. In April 1934 the company was bought by the tycoon Victor Sassoon, who renamed it Modern Home (MH), and continued to operate until the end of 1936. During this phase, the company furnished apartments in the high-rise art deco buildings Broadway Mansion and Grosvenor House. Richard Paulick’s brother Rudolf, who had studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau and had been in Shanghai since the end of 1933, also worked at MH as, in 1936, did the Jewish architect Hans Werther from Breslau, who had studied under Otto Bartning at the Bauhochschule Weimar. Werther had previously worked for the Darmstadt-trained Chinese architect Xi Fuquan, with whom Hamburger also collaborated on individual projects.

    After the liquidation of MH, Werther and the Paulick brothers took over the company under the new name Modern Homes (MHs) in December 1936. At the same time, the American Rachel Sand established the company Sand’s Furnishing, which operated under the umbrella of MHs at 871 Bubbling Well Road (now West Nanjing Road). Werther committed suicide in April 1937, after which the Paulick brothers continued to run the company until they left Shanghai at the end of 1949. During the war years, they had a third partner, H. A. Luedecke. He and his wife Eva came from Berlin and were of Jewish origin, the reason the Japanese occupiers forced them into the designated area in Hongkou. H. A. Luedecke could only leave because, as a partner in MHs, he received a special permit. Paulick also issued work certificates to other Jews, even if they were not actually employed by him.

    In addition to the architects and designers employed by the company, external artists were also involved in the apartments furnished by MHs. The Austrian artist Friedrich Schiff painted a black and white picture of a snow landscape over an open fireplace in one of the living rooms.

    Both MH and MHs had contacts with other foreigners and local experts. The American Rachel Sand worked with the Paulick brothers in the MHs office. In 1938, the Russian Nikolay N. Emanoff was on the list of MHs employees as, after the war, were also the Viennese architect Walter Eichberg and a female designer trained at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle (presumably V. Oppenheimer). Artists such as the Austrian Friedrich Schiff also received commissions and, in the late 1940s, more and more young local architects, such as Li Dehua, Victor Chung and Zeng Jiang, who had previously studied with Paulick at St. John’s University, also worked in the office.

    In 1946 and 1947 MHs had a branch in the capital Nanjing which was headed by Rudolf Paulick. Projects there included the interior design of the embassies of Canada, Italy and the Netherlands. There were also other projects such as the Officers Club of the Chinese Airforce and the interior decoration of the residence of Sun Fo, the son of the founder of the republic, Sun Yatsen.

    The creative approach of TMH, MH and MHs was in line with moderate ideas of modernity, which were strongly oriented towards the craft opportunities that existed in Shanghai. Machine production would have been too expensive and an army of local craftsmen was available for little money.
    Modern Homes played an important role in the political and cultural life of the exile community, and also as a bridge to other milieus in Shanghai’s diverse society.

    Word Count: 586

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    653 Avenue Foch, French Concession (Yan’an Lu, Huangpu Qu); 871 Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing Xi Lu, Huangpu Qu), Shanghai

  • Signature Image:
    Rudolf Hamburger, interior decoration for The Modern Home, photography (© Hamburger family).
  • Media:
    Advertisement, The Modern Home, 1931.
    Modern Homes, letterhead, around the late 1940s (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).
    Modern Homes, Tango Bar, interior, photography (© Architekturmuseum der TU Munich, Estate Richard Paulick).
    Modern Homes, interior, photography, around 1941, pauli-22-1002 (© Architekturmuseum der TU Munich, Estate Richard Paulick). The landscape painting was made by the Austrian artist Friedrich Schiff.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Kögel, Eduard. Zwei Poelzigschüler in der Emigration: Rudolf Hamburger und Richard Paulick zwischen Shanghai und Ost-Berlin (1930–1955). , University of Weimar, 2006, doi:

    Word Count: 26

  • Archives and Sources:

    United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section Holocaust Archive Project, Oral history interview with Eva Luedecke, Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.92 | RG,  Number: RG-50.091.0092, 1984 November 10, Accessed 2 March 2021.

    Word Count: 37

  • Author:
    Eduard Kögel
  • Date of Founding:
  • Date of Disbandment:
  • Participants (selection):

    Rudolf Hamburger, Richard Paulick, Rudolf Paulick, Hans Werther, Hans Achim Luedecke

  • Metropolis:
  • Entry in process:
  • Eduard Kögel. "Modern Homes." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 15-09-2021.
  • David Ludwig Bloch

    David Ludwig Bloch is known for his paintings and watercolours revolving around the Holocaust and his exile. With the woodcuts from his time in exile in Shanghai, Bloch created an artistic account of everyday life in the city, while harvesting the simplicity of form and colour of the medium.

    Word Count: 49

    David Ludwig Bloch, Rickshaw, book of woodcuts, cover, ink on paper, 20 cm x 14 cm, 1945, Taiping Yinshua Gongsi, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).
    David Ludwig Bloch, Invitation to Bloch's exhibition of watercolors, linotype, 16.5 x 25 cm, 1941, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai Soldier, woodcut, ink on paper, 53.3 cm x 76.2 cm, 1942, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Chinese Street Scene–Shanghai, hand colored woodcut, matted with Chinese silk, Shanghai 1945 (© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David L. Bloch).David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai Street, woodcut, hand tinted, matted with Chinese silk, framed in gilded bamboo, 105 x 27 cm, 1945, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York). This print was signed for Hans Jacoby.David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai, Street Scene, watercolor on paper, 39 x 57 cm, 1949, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, street scene, ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, Wing Hon Coffin Co., ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, Race Course, ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York). While many of Block's prints show details and small sections of street life, this is one of those that capture a wide urban space from an elevated perspective. This print is reminiscent of those by Emma Bormann.Sax-Darnous. "Houang Pao Tch'ô." Revue National Chinoise, vol. 22, no. 156, 1946, pp. 56–57. This article was published on the occasion of Bloch's book Rickshaw.Future, vol. 1, no. 12, January 1948, series 5, printed materials, 1939–1988, Future, 1948, John and Harrier Isaack papers (© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of John and Harriet Isaack). Published by the Shanghai Jewish Youth Community Center. Cover lettering print by John Isaack, cover print by David Ludwig Bloch. Last issue “our magazine has served as a binding link between those of our members who have gone abroad and those who will remain in Shanghai.”
    Richard Paulick

    After studying with Hans Poelzig, Richard Paulick worked in Walter Gropius’s office and frequented the Bauhaus in Dessau before emigrating to Shanghai in 1933. After his return, he became an influential planner and architect in the GDR, from 1950 until his retirement

    Word Count: 41

    Richard Paulick on board ship, en route to exile, photography, 1933. (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick on a weekend boat trip around Shanghai, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick sketches in the landscape, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick (with a pipe) in his office. His brother Rudolf is standing in front of the plan cupboard, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Ye Qianyu, cover print, The Second-class Rail Carriage, Modern Sketch, July 1935.
    Lyceum Theatre

    The new Lyceum Theatre was designed in an eclectic style by British architects Davies & Brooke and opened on 5 February 1931.

    Word Count: 20

    Lyceum Theatre, facade, photography (© Eduard Kögel 2004). The Lyceum Theatre was designed by the British architects Davies & Brooke in 1931.
    Lyceum Theatre, foyer, photography (© Eduard Kögel 2004).Horst zum Eschenhoff, Stage design for the play Arm wie eine Kirchenmaus, photography, Bühnenspiegel im Fernen Osten, 30 October 1929.Advertisement for the play Parkstr. 13,Bühnenspiegel im Fernen Osten, 22 March 1939. The stage design was made by Richard Paulick.Richard Paulick, Stage design for the British Amateur Dramatic Club around the late 1940s, photography (© Architekturmuseum der TU Munich, Estate Richard Paulick).
    Photo Willinger
    Photo Studio

    Before their emigration to China in 1938, Margarete and Wilhelm Willinger ran several successful photo studios and agencies in Berlin (until 1927), Budapest and Vienna. Their son was the photographer Laszlo Willinger.

    Word Count: 30

    Advertisement, Willinger & Co, 88 Nanking Road, Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 2 October 1940, S. 20.
    Advertisement, Photo Willinger, 794/4 Point Rd., Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 7 May 1945, S. 12.E. F. “Im Zeichen der Chrysantheme. Die grosse Herbstblumenschau.” Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 24 November 1940, p. 9. Photographs by Willinger & Co.“Die Ejas auf der Fussballbuehne.“ Special Issue, Supplement, Two Years Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 11 May 1941, p. XIII. Photographs by Willinger & Co.Advertisement, Pollack Foto-Studio, Eroeffnung (opening), 896 East Seward Road, Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 14 September 1941, S. 13.Announcement, Rembrandt-Studio, vormals Hamilton-House, jetzt: 581/20 Kungping Road (formerly Hamilton House, now: 581/20 Kungping Road), Shanghai Jewish Chronicle, 28 May 1943, S. 4.
    Friedrich Hermann Schiff

    Friedrich Schiff was an Austrian-born artist who went to Shanghai in 1930. He became known for his humorous cartoons, which were enjoyed by the colonial bourgeoisie.
    Due to his Jewish origins, he was unable to return to Austria after Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938. He left Shanghai for Buenos Aires in 1947.

    Word Count: 51

    The North China Daily News?, S. M. L. Sanzetti, Portrait Friedrich Schiff.
    Paula Eskelund and Friedrich Schiff,Squeezing through! Shanghai Sketches 1941–1945, Hwa Kuo Print. Co, 1945, cover.Paula Eskelund and Friedrich Schiff, Squeezing through! Shanghai Sketches 1941–1945, Hwa Kuo Print. Co, 1945. The Japanese officer depicted is Kano Ghoya who ruled despotically and cruelly over the affairs of the ghetto residents.Friedrich Schiff, "Hong Kong, a sporting paradise," in Hong Kong Baptist University Library Art Collections, accessed 28/05/2021, Poster for the Hong Kong Travel Association, 101 x 71 cm, around 1938.Friedrich Schiff, "Fly to the Far East B.O.A.C," in Hong Kong Baptist University Library Art Collections, accessed 28/05/2021, Poster advertising the service of B.O.A.C (now British Airways), 73 x 48 cm, 1940–49.Schiff, Friedrich and Ellen Thorbecke. China. Java-China-Japan Lijn. Het geheimzinnige China. Mysterious China. 1937, cover.Schiff, Friedrich and Ellen Thorbecke. Hong Kong. Kelly & Walsh, 1938, cover.Schiff, Friedrich and Ellen Thorbecke. Shanghai, North China daily News & Herald Ltd., 1941, cover.Friedrich Schiff. Maskee. A Shanghai Sketch Book. The Yellow Hall, Shanghai, 1940, fan fold binding, first page.
    Victor Sassoon

    Victor Sassoon was a descendant of the Baghdadi Jewish Sassoon merchant family. He contributed significantly to a real estate boom in Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s and helped European Jews in the Shanghai Ghetto. An ambitious amateur photographer, he produced many images of people and events of the time.

    Word Count: 50

    Photograph of Victor Sassoon. G. L. “Die Immigration – ein Problem.” Shanghai Woche (Weekly Review), 30 March 1939, p. 3.
    Hahn, Emily. China to Me. A Partial Autobiography. BCE, The Blakiston Company, 1944, cover.
    St. John’s University
    University / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    In the first half of the 20th century, St. John’s University in Shanghai was an important Protestant university under American leadership. During the 1940s, German emigrants also taught there, after British and American university lecturers were interned in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Word Count: 48

    St. John’s University S.Y Hall with clock tower, photography (© Eduard Kögel 2004).
    Former administration building of St. John’s University, photography (© Eduard Kögel 2004).Mary Lamperton. St. John’s University Shanghai. New York, United Board of Christian Colleges in China, 1955. An overview of St. John’s University around 1950.Student exhibition put on by Richard Paulick’s architecture class, photography, 1947 (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick, letterhead 1948, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).