Joan Semmel papers, 1949-2013, bulk circa 1960s-2013
Semmel, Joan, 1932-
Edelson, Mary Beth
Nieto, José Antonio
Place of publication, production, or execution:
5.9 linear feet
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original material requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, DC Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The papers of painter Joan Semmel measure 5.9 linear feet and are dated 1949-2013, bulk circa 1960s-2013. The papers reflect her career and activities as a painter, writer, feminist, and educator through biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, project files, teaching files, printed material, and photographic materials.
Among the biographical materials are awards, educational records, and audiovisual recordings about Joan Semmel and her work.
Professional correspondence concerns exhibition arrangements, publication permissions, panel discussions, symposia, visiting artist, and summer school appointments. Also included are letters of recommendation for colleagues and students. The majority of personal correspondence consists of letters from Semmel's lover, novelist David Markson. A few letters are from her husband, José Antonio Nieto. The remaining personal correspondence consists of letters from friends of a purely social nature, and routine business such as subletting her loft, jury duty, parking tickets, and real estate owned by a relative.
Writings by Semmel include the manuscript, illustrations, research material, and letters relating to her unpublished book about women's erotic art. Also found are articles, artist's statements, and notes for talks about her work. The writings about Semmel consist of several student papers.
Project files relate to two exhibitions curated by Semmel and a project to document the status of women in art departments.
Most teaching files concern a course about contemporary women artists developed and taught by Semmel for the women's studies program at Rutgers University. Also documented are summer programs at Skowhegan and Sommerakademie in Austria where Semmel served as an instructor.
Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, posters, articles, reviews, and miscellaneous items about or mentioning Semmel, often including reproductions of her work.
Photographs of people include Joan Semmel, friends, and colleagues. Among the individuals pictured are: writer David Markson, painter John Hardy, her husband José Antonio Nieto; and feminist artist; Judy Bernstein, Mary Beth Edelson, Eunice Golden, Nancy Grossman, Harmony Hammond, Miriam Schapiro, Sylvia Sleigh, and May Stevens. There are slides, photographs, color photocopies, and digital images of Semmel's paintings. Of particular interest are photographs, photocopies of photographs, and digital images that served as source material for paintings, including portrait commissions.
Joan Semmel papers, 1949-2013, bulk circa 1960s-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Joan Semmel (1932- ), a figurative painter in New York, New York and Easthampton, New York, is known for erotic themes and bringing a feminist sensibility to paintings of the female body.
Donated 2014 by Joan Semmel.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001