Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The collection documents his career as an artist and organizer for the radical political left through an interview, legal papers, financial records, family papers, artifacts, correspondence, writings, organizational records, extensive printed materials (many of them illustrated by Gellert), photographs, and artwork.
Biographical Material includes an audio interview with Gellert; official documents related to memberships, property, and legal matters; financial documents that include bills, receipts, and contracts related to professional activities; papers of Gellert's brothers, Lawrence and Ernest; and artifacts. Correspondence is with other artists, writers, publishers, activists, friends, and family, including Ernest Fiene, Rockwell Kent, Harry Gottlieb, William Gropper, Philip Evergood, Howard Fast, and Jonas Lie. Writings include essays, book projects, notes, and notebooks written by Gellert; and stories and articles by other authors, including typescripts of early twentieth-century Hungarian short stories collected by Gellert.
Organizational Records are related to political and art organizations in which Gellert was an active organizer, officer, and in some cases, a founder. Because of his central role in many of these organizations, records often contain unique documentation of their activities. Records are found for the American Artists Congress, the Art of Today Gallery, the Artists Committee of Action, the Artists Coordination Committee, the Artists Council, Artists for Victory, Inc., the Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome, Hungarian Word, Inc., the National Society of Mural Painters, and other organizations.
Printed materials include a variety of political publications and periodicals with illustrations by Gellert, including New Masses, Art Front, Magyar Szo, and American Dialog; clippings related to his career, exhibition catalogs, political pamphlets, Hungarian literature, and mass mailings received from political organizations. Photographs contain a few personal photographs but are mostly news and publicity photographs, many of which depict prominent Communists and other newsmakers. Artwork includes sketches, drawings, designs, prints, and production elements for Gellert's artwork, as well as prints and drawings by Philip Reisman, Gyula Derkovits, and Anton Refregier.
Hugo Gellert papers, 1916-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2007 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. A portion of the printed materials and personal bills and receipts have not been scanned.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are an oral history with Hugo Gellert from 1984, a recording of a lecture Gellert gave at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1985, and additional records of Artists for Victory, Inc., 1942-1946.
The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University holds additional papers of Hugo Gellert.
Hugo Gellert (1892-1985) was a mural painter, graphic artist, designer, cartoonist, illustrator, and writer from New York, N.Y. Born in Budapest, Hungary. Gellert had strong political convictions and believed in the power of collective action and endorsed the formation of a liberal labor party and an artists' union. Book illustrator for "Aesop Said So," 1936, and "Century of the Common Man," 1943. Author of "Karl Marx Capital in Lithographs," 1934.
Many letters, writings and printed materials are in Hungarian.
Materials on reel 2812 donated 1970 by Hugo Gellert. Unmicrofilmed materials were donated by Gellert and his wife, Livia, 1983 and 1986.
The papers of Hugo Gellert in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007 and 2008 and total 7,769 images. The bulk of the papers have been scanned in their entirety. Books and publicity materials that Gellert himself did not produce have been partially scanned or not scanned.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001