Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
12.6 linear ft.
Arranged in thirteen series: I. Biographical Files, 1954-ca. 2000. II. Correspondence Files, 1951-2000. III. Exhibition Files, 1963-1999. IV. Gallery Files, 1960-2000. V. Project and Workshop Files, 1967-1996. VI. Writings, 1966-1990. VII. Scrapbook, 1955-1964. VIII. Financial Records, 1961-1995. IX. Miscellaneous Subject Files, 1975-1998. X. Printed Material, 1955-2002. XI. Photographs, 1963. XII. Sketches and Drawings, 1984. XIII. Moving Image Material, ca. 1963-1998.
Access Note / Rights:
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 Sperry's career as an artist and teacher through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed material, photographs, films, and artwork. Biographical files contain items outlining Sperry's career including resumes, teaching evaluations, awards, and interviews. Correspondence includes general correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, schools, galleries, art organizations, and publications as well as named files for those with whom Sperry exchanged a significant amount of correspondence over a long period of time. The Exhibition Files contain materials on group and solo exhibitions Robert Sperry participated in, while Gallery Files hold material, such as correspondence and contracts, related to the galleries which exhibited Sperry's work primarily after 1979. The Project and Workshop Files in Series 5 contain material related to public commissions he completed and workshops he gave during the 1980s and 1990s.
Robert Sperry papers, 1951-2002. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Ceramicist, filmmaker, professor of ceramics; Seattle, Wash.; b. 1927; d. 1998. Born in Illinois, Robert Sperry completed his B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 and a B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953. He completed his M.F.A. at the University of Washington, where he stayed to teach ceramics until retiring in 1982. Sperry widely exhibited his clay vessels in group and solo exhibitions and was active in the American Craft Council. Robert Sperry also pursued interests in photography and filmmaking and in 1963 traveled to Japan to complete a documentary film project "Village Potters of Onda". In 1976, Robert Sperry married Patti Warashina, fellow ceramicist and professor at the University of Washington.
Donated 2003- 2004 by Patti Warashina, Sperry's widow, as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Art in America.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001