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Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers

view Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers digital asset: Finding aid
Artist:
Louis, Morris, 1912-1962
Names:
André Emmerich Gallery.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Robert Pierce/Films, Inc.
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993
Brenner, Marcella, 1912-2007
Faatz, Anita J., (Anita Josephine)
Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-2011
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994
Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010
Truitt, Anne, 1921-2004
Extent:
17.8 linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
circa 1910s-2007
bulk 1965-2000
Summary:
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers measure 17.8 linear feet and date from circa 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-2000. The collection documents Morris Louis' career as a Color Field painter and founding participant in the Washington Color School, as well as the subsequent administration of his estate by his wife Marcella Brenner. Found within Morris Louis’ papers are biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, scattered financial records, notes, writings, printed materials, and a canvas sample. The Morris Louis Estate papers include records of gallery exhibitions, mostly André Emmerich Gallery; artwork inventories; legal records concerning the lawsuit Bernstein v. Brenner; financial records of the sale of Louis’ artwork; printed materials; writings about Louis; photographs of exhibition installations and artwork; and project files which include documentation of film projects by Robert Pierce Productions, a catalog raisonne, documentation of PBS documentaries, video recordings of the exhibition "Morris Louis Now", and numerous sound recordings of interviews with artists discussing Morris Louis conducted by Anita Faatz.
Scope and Contents note:
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers measure 17.8 linear feet and date from circa 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-2000. The collection documents Morris Louis' career as a Color Field painter and founding participant in the Washington Color School, as well as the subsequent administration of his estate by his wife Marcella Brenner. Found within Morris Louis’ papers are biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, scattered financial records, notes, writings, printed materials, and a canvas sample. The Morris Louis Estate papers include records of gallery exhibitions, mostly André Emmerich Gallery; artwork inventories; legal records concerning the lawsuit Bernstein v. Brenner; financial records of the sale of Louis’ artwork; printed materials; writings about Louis; photographs of exhibition installations and artwork; and posthumous project files which include documentation of film projects by Robert Pierce Productions, a catalog raisonne, PBS documentaries, video recordings of the exhibition "Morris Louis Now", and numerous sound recordings of interviews with artists, many with transcripts, discussing Morris Louis and conducted by Anita Faatz.

Within the Morris Louis papers (circa 3 linear feet) are scattered biographical materials for Morris Louis and Marcella Brenner. Correspondence is with family friends, artists, and galleries, the bulk of which consists of photocopies. Of note are letters from Helen Frankenthaler, Clement Greenberg, Leonard Bocour, Kenneth Noland, and Anne Truitt. Business records include lists of artwork, receipts for art supplies, and scattered tax records. Six notebooks belonging to Morris Louis contain miscellaneous notes about students, studio rental payments, addresses, travel expenses, and a short list of paintings. There is one notebook of Marcella Brenner’s containing notes about expenses and addresses. Also found are printed materials, one canvas sample, and one embossing stamp. Photographs are of Morris Louis, Marcella Brenner, and the Bernstein family.

The majority of the collection (circa 15 linear feet) consists of records created and maintained by Marcella Brenner in the course of managing Louis’ estate and posthumous exhibitions and projects. There are numerous gallery exhibition records for many posthumous and retrospective exhibitions between 1965 through 2002, including those held at the Andre Emmerich Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum, and numerous other U.S. and international galleries and museums. Louis' artwork is documented in highly detailed inventory lists and cards. Legal records document the lawsuit brought by the Bernstein family against Marcella Brenner which began in 1964 and ended in 1970 in favor of Brenner. Financial records document sales.

Printed materials include clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, and other miscellaneous materials. Writings include essays about Louis and manuscript copies of the book Trustee for the Human Race: Litigation over the Morris Louis Paintings written by Ruth S. Blau under contract for Marcella Brenner. Photographs are primarily of artwork depicted in exhibition installations. Project files are found for several posthumous documentary film projects and a catalog raisonne, and include a series of audio recordings of interviews of 27 artists conducted by Anita Faatz in 1970-1971. Artists interviewed include Clement Greenberg, Leonard Bocour, Andre Emmerich, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, and many others.
Arrangement note:
This collection is arranged as 2 series.

Series 1: Morris Louis Papers, circa 1910s-1998 (2.9 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)

Series 2: Morris Louis Estate Papers, 1947-2007 (14.9 linear feet; Boxes 3-19, OV 20)
Biographical/Historical note:
Morris Louis (1912-1962) was one of the earliest American Color Field painters, and, along with other Washington, D.C. painters, formed the movement known as the Washington Color School.

Born in Baltimore, M.D. to Russian immigrants Louis Bernstein and Cecelia Luckman, Morris Louis attended the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts from 1927-1932 and served as president of the Baltimore Artists' Association in 1935. During the Depression, he worked in New York City on the steering committee of the Easel Division of the Federal Arts Projects of the Works Project Administration (WPA). He exhibited Broken Bridge at the WPA Pavilion of the New York World's Fair in 1939.

In 1947, Louis married Marcella (Siegel) Brenner, and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, a close suburb of Washington, D.C. where he taught private art classes and continued painting, using his apartment bedroom as a studio. In 1948, Louis participated in the Maryland Artists, 16th Annual Exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and began using Leonard Bocour's Magna acrylic paint, which he would use exclusively for the rest of his painting career.

In 1952, Morris Louis and Marcella Brenner moved to Washington, D.C. and set up a studio in his home where he would complete his most notable canvases. He began teaching at the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts and met artist Kenneth Noland who was also exploring Color Field painting. Through Noland, Louis met art critic Clement Greenberg in 1953, and they visited artist studios in New York City to study abstract expressionist works, including those by Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline. Louis and Noland were greatly influenced by Frankenthaler's staining technique, and Louis began experimenting with staining methods upon his return to Washington. Clement Greenberg became a life-long advocate for Louis and, in 1954, included Louis in the seminal group exhibition, "Emerging Talent," organized by Greenberg for the Kootz Gallery. In 1960, Andre Emmerich became his dealer in the United States and Lawrence Rubin represented him in Paris.

Using thinned Magna paint and unstretched, unprimed canvases, Louis created his works by rotating the canvas as the paint moved across and soaked in. Between 1958 and 1962 Louis produced three major series of paintings—the Veils, the Unfurleds, and the Stripes. Each series numbered more than one hundred canvases. Louis never documented his exact painting methods and would not allow anyone to watch him work, including his wife. His own worst critic, Louis destroyed many of his paintings that did meet his standards, including a large number of his earliest works and many created between 1954 and 1957. He also designated numerous surviving works for destruction prior to his death.

Louis was diagnosed with lung cancer on July 1, 1962 and died a few months later. The Andre Emmerich Gallery held a previously scheduled exhibition as planned, a month following Louis' death, as a memorial exhibition.
Related Archival Materials note:
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the Marcella Brenner journals, 1962-2000. The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) also holds papers of Morris Louis and the Morris Louis Estate in their Morris Louis Study Collection.
Provenance:
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers were donated by Marcella Brenner in several installments in 1976, 1986, and 1988. Subsequent donations in 2009 and 2012 were donated by Marcella Brenner via Ann M. Garfinkle, Executor. The Anita Faatz interviews were donated in 1976 by Marcella Brenner.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Many of the audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with 26 artists conducted by Anita Faatz in 1970-1971 are access restricted and written permission is required from the person interviewed. Please contact reference services for more information. Any use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Abstract expressionism--New York (State)--New York
Art, Modern--20th century
Art--Study and teaching
Color-field painting
Law and art--United States
Painters--United States
Transcripts
Washington Color School (Group of artists)
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Citation:
Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate Papers, circa 1910s-2007, bulk 1965-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.louimorr
See more items in:
Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-louimorr

Alexander Liberman papers

view Alexander Liberman papers digital asset: Finding aid
Creator:
Liberman, Alexander, 1912-1999
Names:
André Emmerich Gallery.
Bennington College.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981
Beaton, Cecil Walter Hardy, Sir, 1904-
Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-
Chernow, Burt
Dalí, Salvador, 1904-
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-
Dietrich, Marlene
Emmerich, André
Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-2011
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994
Hopps, Walter
Klein, William
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962
Leibovitz, Annie, 1949-
Motherwell, Robert
Mulas, Ugo
Namuth, Hans
Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970
Newton, Helmut, 1920-
Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006
Parsons, Betty
Penn, Irving
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
Ritts, Herb
Snowdon, Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of, 1930-
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973
Vogel, Lucien
Vreeland, Diana
Extent:
59 linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
circa 1912-2003
Summary:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and publishing executive Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman date from circa 1913-2003 and measure 59 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials; correspondence with family, galleries, museums, and many artists; numerous recorded interviews and transcripts with and by Liberman, including one of Walter Hopps; writings and writing project files; extensive subject files maintained by Liberman; exhibition files; printed materials; scattered drawings; and extensive photographs of Liberman's artwork, exhibitions, Liberman, and of Liberman with notable artists, dealers, collectors, and critics. Many of the photographs were taken by noted photograhers. Also found within the papers are unidentified sound and video recordings. Additional sound and video recordings have been integrated into other series.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and publishing executive Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman date from circa 1913-2003 and measure 59 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials; correspondence with family, galleries, museums, and many artists; numerous recorded interviews and transcripts with and by Liberman, including one of Walter Hopps; writings and writing project files; extensive subject files maintained by Liberman; exhibition files; printed materials; scattered drawings; and extensive photographs of Liberman's artwork, exhibitions, Liberman, and of Liberman with notable artists, dealers, collectors, and critics. Many of the photographs were taken by noted photograhers. Also found within the papers are unidentified sound and video recordings. Additional sound and video recordings have been integrated into other series.

Biographical materials include awards, biographies and chronologies, family history materials, membership cards, writings by Liberman's mother, and a scrapbook about his father.

Correspondence is extensive and concerns both personal and professional affairs. It is with artists and photographers, art magazines, organizations and museums, art collectors, businesses, and family. Notable correspondents include Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Burt Chernow, Salvador Dali, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett and Annalee Newman, Additional correspondence is found within the subject files compiled and organized by Liberman (series 6).

There are sound and video recordings and transcripts of interviews with and by Liberman, most completed for broadcast television and radio shows. Of particular interest are sound cassettes, a sound tape reel, and a transcript of an interview with Walter Hopps by Liberman.

Writings by Liberman include essays, short stories, and a play entitled 2+1. Writing project files were organized by Liberman for writing projects for which he was the author, collaborator, or subject. There are numerous files concerning Barbara Rose's book about Liberman Alexander Liberman that also include recorded interviews with Liberman and transcripts. Other books for which there are files include The Art and Technique of Color Photography, The Artist in His Studio, Vogue: The First 100 Years, Vogue History of Fashion Photography, and others.

Subject files were organized by Liberman for a wide variety of work projects, activities, topics, and entities of interest. Files cover commissions, the filming and distribution of the 1981 documentary film Alexander Liberman: A Lifetime Burning, Liberman’s personal collection of art, gifts of artwork, and his relationship with galleries and dealers, particularly André Emmerich Gallery.

Exhibition files document exhibitions of Liberman’s artwork, and include those held at André Emmerich Gallery, Bennington College, the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, among other venues. Files contain correspondence, contracts, photographs, plans and drawings, notes, etc. Also found are inventory records of Liberman’s artwork in the form of lists, index cards, bound registers, and notes.

Ten linear feet of printed materials include exhibition announcements and catalogs, books and book flyers, brochures, calendars, clippings, postcards, posters, press releases, and other materials.

There are scattered drawings and sketches found within the papers, some of which are sketches of sculpture pieces.

Nearly one-half of the collection is comprised of photographs of Liberman and his artwork, and of artists and colleagues, many of which were taken by noted photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Henri Lartique, Annie Leibowitz, Inge Morath, Ugo Mulas, Hans Namuth, Helmut Newton, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, and Lord Snowden, among others. Subjects of note found in the photographs include Alfred Barr, Salvador Dali, Marlene Dietrich, Willem de Kooning, Andre Emmerich, Helen Frankenthaler, Clement Greenberg, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Betty Parsons, Pablo Piccaso, Edward Steichen, Lucien Vogel, and Diana Vreeland, among many others.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged into twelve series. Photographs retain Liberman's original numerical and alpha schemas and the corresponding indexes are found in the Inventory Records in Series 8.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, circa 1930s-1999 (1 linear foot; Box 1, 56)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1944-1997 (4 linear feet; Boxes 1-5, 56, OV 65)

Series 3: Interviews, 1946-1996 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 5-7, 56)

Series 4: Writings, 1948-1995 (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 7-8)

Series 5: Writing Project Files, 1951-1997 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 8-9, 56)

Series 6: Subject Files, 1946-2000 (6 linear feet; Boxes 9-15, 56, OV 66-67)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1954-1991 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 15-16, 56, OV 68)

Series 8: Inventory Records, 1938-1998 (6 linear feet; Boxes 16-22)

Series 9: Printed Materials, 1932-2003 (10 linear feet; Boxes 22-31, 56-57, OV 69)

Series 10: Artwork, circa 1940s-1990s (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 32, 57, OV 70)

Series 11: Photographic Materials, circa 1912-1999 (26 linear feet; Boxes 32-55, 57-64, OVs 71-77)

Series 12: Unidentified Sound and Video Recordings, circa 1941-1999 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 55, 64)
Biographical/Historical note:
Alexander S. Liberman (1912-1999) was a sculptor, painter, photographer, graphic designer, writer, and publishing executive who worked primarily in New York City. He held senior positions at Condé Nast Publications for 32 years.

Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman was born in 1912 in Kiev Russia. He was educated in London and the École des Beaux Art in Paris. He began his journalistic career in Paris at VU magazine owned by Lucien Vogel and there he befriended photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Robert Capa, and André Kértesz. He served in the French army for a short time in 1940, but he and his family fled Paris in 1941 to New York City. Condé Nast hired Liberman in 1941 as an assistant to the art director of Vogue magazine. Liberman became art director in 1943 and editorial director of Condé Nast Publications in 1962, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

Liberman was also a photographer whose subjects included Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Marlene Dietrich, among others, many represented in his 1960 book entitled The Artist in his Studio and Marlene: An Intimate Photographic Memoir (1992). He was also the subject of the work of noted photographers Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, Lord Snowden, Jill Krementz, Henri Lartique, Annie Leibovitz, and Hans Namuth.

Liberman took up painting and sculpting in the 1950s. Although his first exhibition was at the Betty Parsons Gallery, he was primarily associated with the André Emmerich Gallery in New York City. His monumental sculptures were mostly assembled from industrial parts and painted and can be seen in museums and public sites worldwide.

Liberman was briefly married to Hildegarde Sturm. He married his second wife Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix in 1942. Before their marriage, they fled occupied France together. She was a noted hat designer, working for Henri Bendel and Saks, where she became known as Tatiania of Saks. She died in 1991 and, in 1992, Liberman married Melinda Pechangco, a nurse who had earlier cared for Tatiania. Alexander Liberman died in 1999 in Miami, Florida.
Related Archival Materials note:
Related collections found at the Archives of American Art include the Dodie Kazanjian and Calvin Tomkins research materials on Alexander Liberman and numerous collections of gallery records.
Provenance:
The Alexander Liberman papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Liberman Art Partners in 2010 via Dodie Kazanjian.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. research center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Alexander S. Liberman papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Note:
Graphic designers
Publishers--New York (State)--New York
Topic:
Fashion photography
Painters--France--Paris
Painters--New York (State)--New York
Photographers--France--Paris
Photographers--New York (State)--New York
Photography
Sculptors--France--Paris
Sculptors--New York (State)--New York
Genre/Form:
Drafts (documents)
Drawings
Interviews
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Video recordings
Citation:
Alexander Liberman Papers, circa 1912-2003. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.libealex
See more items in:
Alexander Liberman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-libealex

Fletcher Benton papers

view Fletcher Benton papers digital asset: Finding aid
Creator:
Benton, Fletcher, 1931-
Names:
André Emmerich Gallery.
Galerie Denino.
Bury, Pol, 1922-2005
De Wilde, Dan
Finn, David
Jones, Lillian E.
Louchheim, Marlene
Lucie-Smith, Edward
Marquand, Ed
Neubert, George W.
Rickey, George
Sanders, Pieter
Tooker, Dan
Valentine, De Wain, 1936-
Wilke, Ulfert, 1907-1987
Extent:
8.2 linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
1934-2014
Summary:
The papers of sculptor and painter Fletcher Benton measure 8.2 linear feet and date from 1934 to 2014. They document his career as a sculptor with international presence through certificates, personal photographs, legal papers, correspondence, exhibition and commission documentation, clippings, exhibition-related printed materials, broadcast materials, publications about his work, an editioned kinetic Christmas card, and photographs, sound and video recordings, and motion picture film documenting his work and career.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of sculptor and painter Fletcher Benton measure 8.2 linear feet and date from 1934 to 2014. They document his career through personal photographs, legal papers, correspondence, exhibition and commission documentation, clippings, exhibition-related printed materials, broadcast materials, publications about his work, an editioned kinetic Christmas card, photographs, sound and video recordings, and motion picture film.

Biographical Materials include personal photographs, legal documents related to a court case with book designer Ed Marquand, biographical texts, interview transcripts, and a home video made by the artist. Correspondence is with other artists, friends, galleries, museums and other institutions, including George W. Neubert, André Emmerich Gallery, Pieter Sanders, Pol Bury, George Rickey, Ulfert Wilke, Marlene Louchheim, DeWain Valentine, Lillian E. Jones, and Edward Lucie-Smith. Interviews include sound recordings of interviews with Benton by academics and journalists, including Edward Lucie-Smith, Dan Tooker, and Dan De Wilde.

Exhibition and Commission Files consist of correspondence with galleries, museums and commission patrons; financial records; shipping and subcontracting documentation; motion picture film, video, and sound recordings related to exhibitions and installations; and planning and design materials. Series includes a significant amount of oversized drawings and plans for site-specific work. There is a large volume documentation from the Folded Circle-Arc commission by Stanley Consultants, Inc. in Muscatine, Iowa; the California/International Arts Foundation Traveling Sculpture Exhibition; Double Folded Circle Ring in Brussels and Double Circle Folded by Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Printed Materials include news clippings related to Benton’s career, as well as brochures, exhibition catalogs, posters and other printed materials related to exhibitions and commissions. Broadcast materials include television news footage, radio and television interviews, documentaries, and promotional materials made by galleries and other cultural institutions.

Photographic and Moving Image Materials include art-related images showing Benton in his studio and images of exhibitions, installations and inaugurations. Also found are still photographs and motion picture films of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and kinetic drawings, and a series of photographs of sculptures taken by David Finn.

Artwork consists of an editioned art Christmas card created by Benton for Galeria Bonino in New York from 1969. An American Artist Moving Image Materials consist of 13 videocassettes (VHS) which document the production process of the documentary Fletcher Benton: An American Artist by Morgan Cavett. There is footage from interviews with Benton and with curator George W. Neubert, footage of San Francisco with comments from Benton about his time there, interviews with the artist’s studio assistants, images of his studio in Dore street and a couple of almost finished rough versions of the documentary.
Arrangement note:
This collection is arranged as nine series.

Series 1: Biographical Material (0.3 linear feet; boxes 1, 9)

Series 2: Correspondence (1 linear foot; boxes 1, 2, OV 10)

Series 3: Interviews (0.3 linear feet; box 2)

Series 4: Exhibition and Commission Files (2 linear feet; boxes 2-4, OV 11-13, RD 14, FC 15)

Series 5: Printed Materials (2.3 linear feet; boxes 4-6, OV 10)

Series 6: Broadcast Materials (1.1 linear foot; boxes 6-7)

Series 7: Photographic and Moving Image Matarials (0.5 linear feet; boxes 7, 9, FC 16-17)

Series 8: Artwork (1 item; box 7)

Series 9: -- An American Artist -- Video Recordings (0.6 linear feet; boxes 7-8)
Biographical/Historical note:
Fletcher Benton was born in Jackson, Ohio in 1931 to Fletcher and Nell Cavett Benton and was the oldest of three children. Benton graduated from Jackson High School in 1949. After serving in the Navy he graduated from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 1956 and moved to San Francisco, where he started working as an instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1959. He was in San Francisco during the flourishing of the Beat generation, where he had a studio in the North beach area and exhibited at coffee house galleries.

After travelling around Europe in 1960, Benton moved to New York City where he tried to make his living through painting and teaching privately. During those years he was supported by Jackson’s local arts patron and family friend, Lillian E. Jones. In 1960 he had his first solo exhibition at Gump’s gallery in San Francisco, but his work was taken down after one day because it was considered obscene for including female nudes. He returned to San Francisco in late 1961.

In 1966 Fletcher started teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute and established himself as a primary figure of American kinetic art. In 1966, Peter Selz included his work in the exhibition Directions in Kinetic Sculpture at the University Art Gallery in Berkeley, CA. During the exhibition Benton met the artists Pol Bury and George Rickey with whom he became friends. The exhibition, along with an article "The Movement Movement" that appeared in Time magazine the same year, established Benton's reputation as a significant American Kinetic artist. He also started teaching at the California State University in San José in 1967 where he continued working until 1986.

By 1974 Benton abandoned kinetic art to continue exploring sculpture in three dimensions in a style that became known as "new constructivism." The artworks were conceived in the series Folded Circles and Folded Square Alphabets and were produced in bronze, aluminum and steel. It was also during the 1970s that he started doing large-scale commissions such as the 1977 IBM commission.

Between 1981 and 1984 Benton constructed his studio in Dore Street in the Market district of San Francisco where he continues to work today. During the 1980s Benton started his Balanced/Unbalanced series, which introduced the idea of gravity using geometric forms in different formats and sizes.

From 1984 he began to show more work in Europe, especially in Germany, where in 1993 he got a major commission to create a colossal public sculpture in Cologne entitled Steel Watercolor Triangle Ring. It was also in Germany where Benton encountered the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich, and he began work on his Construct Relief series in reponse, which he dedicated to Kandinsky. These geometric constructions are flat, canvas-like steel structures that combine features of painting and sculpture. As the series evolved, the work became more like painting, constructed to hang on the wall without a back piece, so they seem to be floating in the space.

Benton continues to live and work in San Francisco and is represented by multiple galleries in the United States and Germany.
Related Archival Materials note:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Fletcher Benton conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom, 1989 May 2-4 is available on the Archives of American Art website.
Provenance:
Donated 2005-2006 and 2014 by Fletcher Benton. Benton's wife, Bobbie Benton, organized the material by subject matter and date.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of audiovisual material without a duplicate copy requires advanced notice.
Rights:
The Fletcher Benton papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Artists' studios--Photographs
Painters--California--San Francisco
Sculptors--California--San Francisco
Genre/Form:
Christmas cards
Drawings
Interviews
Motion pictures (visual works)
Photographs
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Video recordings
Citation:
Fletcher Benton papers, 1934-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bentflet
See more items in:
Fletcher Benton papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bentflet

John McLaughlin papers

view John McLaughlin papers digital asset: Finding aid
Creator:
McLaughlin, John, 1898-
Names:
André Emmerich Gallery.
Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Pasadena Art Museum.
Tamarind Lithography Workshop.
Anderson, Eugene Newton
Benjamin, Karl
Felix Landau Gallery
Hammersley, Frederick, 1919-2009
Langsner, Jules, 1911-1967
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973
McLaughlin, John, 1898- -- Photographs
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967
Salz, Peter
Extent:
3.3 linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
1922-1979
bulk 1936-1976
Summary:
The papers of Southern California art dealer and abstract painter John McLaughlin measure 3.3 linear feet and date from 1922 to 1979. The collection documents John McLaughlin's personal life and career through biographical material, correspondence, writings, Tamarind Lithography fellowship files, scattered personal business records, printed materials, artwork, and photographic material.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of Southern California art dealer and abstract painter John McLaughlin measure 3.3 linear feet and date from 1922 to 1979. The collection documents John McLaughlin's personal life and career through biographical material, correspondence, writings, Tamarind Lithography fellowship files, scattered personal business records, printed materials, artwork, and photographic material.

Biographical material includes McLaughlin's military service records, art awards, and resumes. Correspondence is with friends, artists, museums, and galleries. Notable correspondents include Eugene Anderson, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, Jules Langsner, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Ad Reinhardt, and others. Writings and notes include several artist statements, lectures, notes, and lists and descriptions of paintings, some in the form of hand drawn sketches. Users will find McLaughlin's ideas about his work and aesthetics are referenced in much of the correspondence and writings. Some of the letters also document the evolution of the 1959 "Four Abstract Classicists" exhibition, particularly correspondence with Karl Benjamin, Peter Selz, and Jules Langsner. There are also writings about McLaughlin by others, including Jules Langsner. The Tamarind Lithography fellowship files consists of the letter of appointment, printed material, and profiles for fellow artists at the workshop.

Personal business records include assorted legal and financial papers, such as contracts with galleries, art loan agreements, consignment records, and art shipment expenses. There are business papers about McLaughlin's Japanese print gallery, The Tokaido, Inc. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs for McLaughlin's shows at the Andre Emmerich Gallery, Felix Landau Gallery, a retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1968, and the seminal 1959 "Four Abstract Classicists" in Los Angeles, among others. Also found are exhibition announcements, news clippings, and press releases. Artwork includes a few paintings and collages. Photographs, negatives, and slides are of McLaughlin, including one portrait by John Waggaman), artwork, and exhibition installations. There is one album of photographs from a 1963 retrospective exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum.
Arrangement note:
This collection is arranged as 8 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1942-circa 1969 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1936-1976 (0.7 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1934-1976 (0.7 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Series 4: Tamarind Lithography Fellowship Files, 1958-1970 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1938-1974 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1932-1979 (1.5 linear feet; Box 2-4)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1958 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3-4)

Series 8: Photographic Material, 1922-1979 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)
Biographical/Historical note:
John Dwyer McLaughlin (1898-1976) was best known as one of the leading Los Angeles "hard-edge" geometric abstractionist painters and one of the artists featured in the seminal 1959 exhibition "Four Abstract Classicists" curated by Jules Langsner. McLaughlin was also a dealer of Japanese art prints.

McLaughlin was born and educated in Massachusetts. He served in the United States Navy during World War I from 1917-1921 and married Florence Emerson in 1928. McLaughlin began painting around 1932 with no formal training. In 1935, the couple moved to Japan and lived for several years before moving back to Boston, where they opened The Tokaido, Inc., a Japanese art print gallery. From this time up to the beginning of World War II, McLaughlin worked primarily as a print dealer, without huge success. During World War II, he served as a language intelligence officer in the Marines, primarily because of his knowledge of Japanese.

After the war, McLaughlin and his wife settled in Dana Point, California, where he began painting in earnest, gaining some early local successes. His painting, Hope Deferred was awarded first prize for oil painting in the 1948 San Diego Art Guild Annual. He became associated with the Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles and was one of four painters included in the historic 1959 "Four Abstract Classicists" exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized by critic Jules Langsner which also featured the work of Frederick Hammersley, Lorser Feitelson, and Karl Benjamin. The phrase "hard-edge painting" was first used in association with this exhibition as a description of a unique California style of geometric abstractionist painting.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s McLaughlin exhibited widely and became a mentor for many younger Los Angeles area reductive painters. He was widely admired for his integrity and independent position regarding the art market. John McLaughlin died in Dana Point, California in 1976 at the age of 77.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of John D. McLaughlin conducted July 23, 1974, by Paul J. Karlstrom.
Provenance:
The John McLaughlin papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in multiple installments. John McLaughlin donated material in 1973 and his widow Florence McLaughlin donated material in 1976. Additional papers were donated by the artist's nephew John McLaughlin in 1998 and 1999.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The John McLaughlin papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Note:
Art dealers--California
Topic:
Art, Modern--California--Los Angeles
Painters--California
Painting, Abstract--California--Exhibitions
Prints, Japanese
Genre/Form:
Collages
Paintings
Photographs
Sketches
Citation:
John McLaughlin papers, 1922-1979, bulk 1936-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mclajohn
See more items in:
John McLaughlin papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mclajohn

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