Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The papers of artist Jay DeFeo measure 1.3 linear feet and date from circa 1940s to circa 1970s. The collection documents her career through biographical material, correspondence with friends, personal business records, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.
About half of the collection is made up of correspondence and photographs. DeFeo maintained ongoing communications with many artists, friends, and business associates. Notable correspondence is with Wallace and Shirley Berman, Irving Blum/Ferus Gallery, Bruce Conner, Frank Lobdell, Fred Martin, Michael McClure, Margaret Peterson, Deborah Remington, Ruth Terrill, and Eleanor (Nell) Sinton. The photographs document her adult years, although there are some as a teenager. DeFeo, her artist husband Wally Hedrick, and friends appear in many of the images. The remainder of the collection includes printed materials, exhibition information, some writings and some limited artwork. The collection is particularly rich in documentation on her artwork, "The Rose."
Jay DeFeo papers, circa 1940s-1970s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Microfilm reels 1645, 908, 2673 and 3957 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
The Archives of American Art has an oral history interview with DeFeo conducted 1975 June 3-1976 January 23 by Paul Karlstrom for the Archives of America Art. An 83 page transcript is available online.
The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley holds some of DeFeo's archival materials.
Jay DeFeo (1929-1989) lived and worked in Northern California where she was a prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene as both a painter in the progressive art community. Prominent in Bay Area art scene as painter and "hostess" of numerous parties from mid 1950's to 1960's.
Donated between 1975-1981 by Jay DeFeo.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001