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Artist on a Paris sun deck, 1931

Valeria Carullo

Interwar Paris was an international hub for modern architects – this photo of Jean Welz on the sun deck of Lubetkin and Ginsberg’s Paris apartments on Avenue de Versailles sums it up

25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris  Berthold Lubetkin and Jean Ginsberg, 1931
25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris Berthold Lubetkin and Jean Ginsberg, 1931

Born in Georgia, Berthold Lubetkin studied at the avant-garde art and architecture school Vkhutemas in Moscow before moving to Paris in the 1920s, where he undertook his first major project in collaboration with Polish-born architect Jean Ginsberg. Ginsberg had studied under Robert Mallet-Stevens and worked in the studios of Le Corbusier and André Lurçat. The project was an apartment block at 25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris, on a very small site between existing buildings. Influenced by Le Corbusier’s ideas, Lubetkin and Ginsberg designed a nine-storey block ending with a two-level sun deck with great views towards the Seine and Eiffel Tower. Posing on the sun deck in this photograph is Austrian-born artist and architect Jean Welz. Before moving to South Africa in the late 1930s, Welz worked in Paris with such prominent modern architects as Mallet-Stevens and Adolf Loos, and designed a number of villas, including the striking Maison Zilveli – sadly recently demolished by its new owners. This image perfectly encapsulates the role of 1920s Paris as an international hub for modern architects.

You can read more about Jean Welz in The Lost Architecture of Jean Welz