This is a wonderful and wonder-filled book, an obvious labor of love. It mines the physical transformation of the West and it plumbs the depths of the West of our imagination with hope and clear eyes.

—Ken Burns, filmmaker

By Wolfgang Wagener & Leslie Erganian

No geographical region has evolved more rapidly or profoundly than the American West around the mid-twentieth century. NEW WEST explores the innovations that shaped this unique architectural landscape throughout the ages of steam, steel, oil, and information, drawing on the compelling images and saturated colors of the midcentury linen post card—an early social media art form.

NEW WEST received five Gold 2020 PubWest Book Design Awards. 

Judges Choice Award GOLD

Photography Book GOLD

Art Book GOLD 

Historical Book GOLD

Cover Design GOLD

Stunning in its visual display of information, intuitive in its navigation, and generous in every single way, the design of NEW WEST rewards the reader page after page. The printing is absolutely incredible, using the art of vintage linen post cards to create a textured, color-saturated vision of the American West that is both old and new at once. The harmony between the vision for the design and the technical aspects of the production is a beautiful thing to behold.

2020 PubWest Book Design Award Committee

Place Order

Who knew that deltiology–the study and collection of postcards– is the third largest hobby after coin and stamp collecting? New West, the thoughtful view into the postcard collection of architect Wolfgang Wagener and artist Leslie Erganian, then, should have broad appeal. Organized thematically and presented with a contemplative analysis of the rapid development of the region, it flows with haptic energy while edifying on multiple fronts....Leafing through the pages of this colorful assemblage of natural and manmade wonders is great fun, yielding many intriguing views of landscapes and architectural feats. Sunsets, canyons, bridges, strip mines, factories, and city vistas fill this engaging tome.

—Dan McClure, Art Library Society of North America

The Wagener-Erganian Collection

The Wagener-Erganian Collection focuses on twentieth-century visual arts. It includes more than five thousand images of the American West produced by  Curt Teich & Company in the form of linen post cards, an innovative hybrid of photography, painting, and printing that was popular around midcentury. Additional works on paper include more than three hundred architectural photographs from Julius Shulman, as well as select correspondence and photographs from New Topographics photographers Joe Deal and Robert Adams. 

Speedway, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah 1951
Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, 1935
Gold Dredge, California, 1943
Planetarium, L.A., California 1938
Aquaplaning, California, 1935
Rainbow Bridge, Utah, 1943
Boulder Dam, Arizona/Nevada
Two great concrete spillways, each big enough to float the largest battleship in the world, are molded into the rock walls of Black Canyon. Each spillway is of sufficient capacity to receive the entire flow of the Colorado River at its greatest record flood. Over the Arizona spillway passes the surfaced highway on a graceful concrete arch bridge, leading to Kingman, Arizona and other cities south and east.
Boulder Dam, Arizona / Nevada, 1936
Washington State Capitol, 1942
Shasta Dam, California, 1940
CAHUENGA FREEWAYHollywood, CaliforniaOne of the major networks of the Los Angeles system of super highways. This Pass forms the Gateway to Hollywood from the famous San Fernando Valley and points north.7B-H2072
Hollywood Freeway, California, 1947
LOS ANGELES UNION AIR TERMINALBurbank, CaliforniaThis airport, in the northwest corner of Burbank, was built in 1930. By 1934, the airport had become Los Angeles' primary airport known as Union Air Terminal. Sixteen airline departures a day were scheduled out of Burbank in the 1930s: eight on United Airlines, five on Western Airlines and three on TWA.6A-H2625
Terminal, Burbank, California, 1936
Palm Springs, California, 1948
Palm Springs, California, 1940
San Francisco, California, 1932
Wilshire Blvd, L.A., California, 1941
Palm Springs, California, 1938
THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARDHollywood, CaliforniaThe grand opening of a new feature movie gets a big 'send-off' on the first showing. The attendance of featured movie stars, producers and guests make this a 'gala' event.1A-H347
Hollywood Boulevard, California, 1931
SUBMARINE GARDENSSanta Catalina, CaliforniaThe famous Submarine Gardens are seen from glass bottom boats, whose windows reveal myriads of fish, colored under-sea vegetation, and give a never-to-be-forgotten picture of life at the bottom of the ocean.1A-H423
Submarine Gardens, California, 1931
World’s Fair, San Francisco Bay, 1937
MULTNOMAH STADIUMPortland, OregonThe stadium was built in 1926 for $502,000, by the Multnomah Athletic Club, who named it Multnomah Civic Stadium. The site is used for college football, cricket matches and greyhound racing.0A-5302
Stadium, Portland, Oregon, 1930
Las Vegas, Nevada, 1954
The world's largest Casinos are all in two blocks on fabulous Fremont Street. Wine, dine, or play twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. Atomic detonation shown was 65 miles distant. From the 'Up and Atom' City.
Fremont St, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1954

The Authors

Wolfgang Wagener

WOLFGANG WAGENER is a German-American real estate development adviser, architect, and author practicing in North America and Europe. His previous publications include the architectural monograph Raphael Soriano and Connected Real Estate: Essays from Innovators in Real Estate, Design, and Construction. He graduated with a PhD in architecture and engineering from RWTH Aachen University in Germany and obtained an advanced management degree in real estate from Harvard University. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is also a lifetime member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter, having followed his passion for midcentury modernism from Western Europe to the coast of California.

Leslie Erganian

LESLIE ERGANIAN is an American artist and writer. Her hand-colored photographs are in the permanent collections of the California Museum of Photography and the Xerox Corporation. She contributed her design talents to the production of feature film projects for MGM, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., and Showtime. She has been a writer and television correspondent for NBC, Discovery, and Hallmark. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in art and design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtained a Master of Fine Arts in film production from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her undergraduate studies under New Topographics photographer Joe Deal cultivated an egalitarian eye and a twin interest in the practice and history of photography. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

The Publishers

NEW WEST is a collaboration between WOWA in California and HIRMER Publishers in Germany, one of the most prestigious international publishers of books on art, photography, and architecture.

ISBN: 978-3-7774-3189-5  |  Specs: hardcover; 304 pages; 400 color illustrations  |  Dimensions: 11½ × 9 in.; 29.2 × 22.9 cm  Price (USD): $65.00

Press, Events, and Awards

New West: Lessons from Mid-Century,”  LAEP Spring Speaker Series, Utah State University, February 2022.

New West,”  Zoom presentation, Los Angeles County Museum of  Art, June 2021.

Authors on Architecture: Wagener & Erganian’s New West,”  Zoom presentation, Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter, February 2021.

PubWest Book Design Awards 2020 GOLD.”  NEW WEST received five Gold PubWest Book Design Awards 2020 from PubWest, February 2021.

NEW WEST Shares a Picture Postcard Perfect World,”  review by Artifice, JustLuxe, September 2020.

Gut 500 Postkarten [About 500 post cards], review by Freddy Langer, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 2020.

California Travel: A Book Review, by Pikke Allen, Kaleidoskope Magazine, May 2020.

NEW WEST: Innovating at the Intersection,”  discussion and book signing, Hennessey & Ingalls, Los Angeles, March 2020.

NEW WEST,” review by Julie D. Taylor, Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter newsletter, February 2020.

NEW WEST: Innovating at the Intersection,” review by Dan McClure, Art Library Society of North America,  January 2020.

NEW WEST,” presentation, Book Passage, San Francisco, January 2020.

Tief im Westen [Deep in the West], by Alexander Gutzmer, Baumeister, December 2019.

“The Mid-Century Linen Post Card Makes for a New Book, Cut from a Different Cloth,”  by Jenn Thornton, John Wayne Foundation, November 2019.

New West,” by Mario Koch, Amerindian Research, Zeitschrift für indianische Kulturen von Alaska bis Feuerland, Band 14/4, October 2019.

Der ausgemalte Westen [The Painted West], Die Zeit, October 2019.

Im Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten: Eine Reise in den ehemals Wilden Westen der USA [In the country of unlimited possibilities: A journey through the former Wild West], by Karlheinz Schneidel, Amazon, October 2019.

Eroberung der Vereinigten Staaten [Conquering the United States], by Stefan Fischer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Reise, September 2019.

The New West by Wolfgang Wagener and Leslie Erganian, Literaturzeitschrift: Magazine for Literature, September 2019.

In 500 Postkarten durch die Neue Welt [Around the New World in 500 post cards], Moderne Regional, September 2019.

Ich war Hier (Und du Nicht) Postkarten erzählen die Geschichte des Westens Amerikas [I was here (and you weren’t) post cards tell the story of the American West], Fresko: Das Magazin fur Kultur- and Kunstgeniesser, September 2019.

Reise durch das Amerika der 30er- bis 60er-Jahre [Travels through America from the thirties to the sixties], BizTravel, August 2019.

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