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 records of the American Abstract Artists measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1936 through 1983. The records document the founding of the organization in 1936, membership activities, general administration, and exhibitions via correspondence, member writings, financial and legal records, printed materials, and photographs.
Correspondence mainly relates to the exhibitions and member activities of the American Abstract Artists. There are letters from Josef Albers, Alexander Archipenko, Alexander Calder, Lyonel Feininger, Harry Holtzman, Piet Mondrian, and Irene Rousseau, President Emeritus of the American Abstract Artists. Official bulletins sent to members are also found among the correspondence.
Administrative records include founding prospectus, meeting minutes, lists of members, and drafts and amendments to the American Abstract Artists constitution.
Member writings are by Saburo Hasegawa, Henry Billings, Leo Rabkin, and Ruth Gurin. Financial and legal records include ledger books, insurance documents, and other financial material. Printed materials include announcements for the American Abstract Artists' annual exhibitions, as well as exhibition posters. Finally, there are two photographs of collage paintings by members.
American Abstract Artists records, 1936-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Legacy microfilm portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels D539, N69-72, N69-96 through N69-97, and N69-137 at the Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Materials available on Reels N70/48 and N59/11 were originally loaned for microfilming but included in later gifts, some of which may have been microfilmed again. The legacy microfilm does not represent the entirety of the collection. Researchers should note that the filmed order does not match the order of the collection as described in this finding aid.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are the Ruth Bowman Interviews of American Abstract Art members, 1963-1965, and Susan C. Larsen's Interviews of American Abstract Art members, 1973-1978.
Organized in 1936 by a group of artists interested in abstract painting and sculpture. Its chief function is the holding of exhibitions. Former presidents include Alice Trumbull Mason, Leo Rabkin, and Irene Rousseau.
Most of the collection is in English. Some materials are in Danish, French, and German.
Leo Rabkin donated records in 1969. Alice Trumball Mason loaned records for microfilming in 1959 and in 1969 donated most of those same materials. Irene Rousseau donated additional records in 1983. All three donors are Presidents Emeriti of the American Abstract Artists.
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Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001