Start Over

Modern Homes

  • 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.
  • Modern Homes
  • The Modern Home, Modern Home

  • Architecture and Furniture Company
  • 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

  • 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

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

  • Rudolf Hamburger, interior decoration for The Modern Home, photography (© Hamburger family).
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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

  • Eduard Kögel
  • 1931
  • 1950
  • Rudolf Hamburger, Richard Paulick, Rudolf Paulick, Hans Werther, Hans Achim Luedecke

  • Shanghai
  • No
  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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