The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
The Ralph Fabri 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.
Ralph Fabri papers, circa 1870s-1975, bulk 1918-1975. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
This archive includes interesting documents related to Trude Guermonprez's life and work as a weaver. The archives are especially related to the designer's work for her major clients, like Holland America Line and Owens Corning Fiberglass; other pieces in this archive are related to Guermonprez's work for custom curtains made for major synagogues and her designs, interior fabrics, screens and rugs realized in conjunction with J.P. Oud, Architects Associated, New York; Eric Mendelsohn, Warren Callister, etc. The correspondence and the photographs in this collection provide insight into the designer's private life. Included in this collection are press articles, brochures, correspondence, postcards, photographs, color slides, notebooks, textiles, and textile wood patterns.
Unprocessed; Included in this collection are press articles, brochures, correspondence, postcards, photographs, color slides, notebooks, textiles, and textile wood patterns.
Trude Guermonprez is an experienced weaver as well as a designer, artist, craftsman and teacher. She has executed architectural commissions and has done interior design for industry. Her work is of great variety in character and form. Guermonprez started weaving in Halle, Germany at the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. Six years of weaving in a Dutch rug shop preceded her coming to America, at the invitation of Anni Albers, to teach at Black Mountain College, and later to northern California to join her friend Marguerite Wildenhain, at Pond Farm Workshops in a producing-teaching cooperative. She served as Chairman of the Craft Department at The California College of Arts and Crafts. Though she designed fabrics for New York textile manufacturers, her works were mainly custom produced for architects and individuals. In 1970 she was honored the Craftsmanship Medal from the American Institute of Architects.
Guermonprez published works in Art and Architecture, 1949; Shuttlecraft Weaving Magazine, 1957; and Research in Crafts, 1961.
She also participated in the following exhibitions: de Young Museum; American Wallhangings, London; Oakland Art Museum; Pasadena Art Museum; U.S. Information Agency State Department Show, traveling Europe exhibition; "Craftsmen of the West", "Fabrics International" and "10 American Weavers" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2000 at Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg Halle Landeskunstmuseum, Halle (Salle), Germany: "From Bauhaus to the Pacific: The Impact of Emigration on Marguerite Wildenhain and Trude Guermonprez".
Location of Other Archival Materials Note:
The North Carolina State Archives web site has material in its collection related to Guermonprez as a teacher and artist-in-residence at Black Mountain College.
The Archives of American Art hasoral history interviews of Merry Renk conducted 2001 Jan. 18-19 by Arline M. Fisch for Nanette L. Laitman's, Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Guermonprez is only mentioned.
All materials were donated to the museum by Mr. Eric and Mrs. Sylvia Elsesser in 1993.
Unprocessed; access is limited. Permission of Library Director required. Policy.
12.77 Cubic feet (consisting of 26.5 boxes, 1 folder, 7 oversize folders, 2 map case folders, 1 flat box (partial), plus digital images of some collection material.)
Mail order catalogs
Legislation (legal concepts)
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Accounting and Bookkeeping forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Scope and Contents:
This material is concentrated on the 19th century United States textile manufacture and trade, and the sale of textiles in the form of bale, bolt, roll, and fabric to commercial vendors or consumers as source material to make other goods. The first series contains day-to-day records of dealers and vendors, plus advertising and marketing material. Artisan and home production of goods are virtually not covered but are a couple of incidental publications related to arts, crafts (rugs, weaving, looms), and more refined work such as tapestry. The import/export of textiles is well represented with a large volume of records, which may also provide some insight into the shipping industry.
There is not much on the infrastructure of the industry in the way of directories, trade journals, trade associations, along with manufacturing and plants, though there are a few examples of each. There are virtually no catalogues, except for a few thin ones that were filed by company name. While not extensive, the sample books and swatches offer a glimpse into product lines. Material types offers limited, specific information on certain varieties such as cotton, wool, linen, rayon, etc. Thread might be incidentally present but is not specifically included since there is already a dedicated subject category for it.
There is a healthy sampling of product labels. A handful of intellectual property related documents cover protections of designs, plus patents and trademarks. There is a small bulk of publications related to tariffs and the wool industry.
Clothing patterns, home economics, sewing and seamstresses, household use of textiles (furniture covering, as a cleaning tool, bedding/pillows, etc.) are not covered within this category. Researchers should also look at any of a number of other Warshaw categories, particularly those related to clothing, hosiery, dry goods, furniture, curtains, etc. for period popularity of certain materials and patterns.
Textiles is arranged in three subseries.
Business Records and Marketing Material
Forms Part Of:
Forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.
Series 1: Business Ephemera
Series 2: Other Collection Divisions
Series 3: Isadore Warshaw Personal Papers
Series 4: Photographic Reference Material
Textiles is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The papers of painter, printmaker, and photographer Konrad Cramer and his wife, painter and printmaker Florence Ballin Cramer, measure 8.5 linear feet and date from 1897 to 1968. Papers document both artists' personal and professional lives and are especially rich in documentation of the art community of Woodstock, New York, where Florence Ballin first attended art classes in 1906, and where the couple settled in 1911. Records include biographical materials, correspondence, a Christmas card album, diaries, writings, business records, personal financial records, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and photographer Konrad Cramer and his wife, painter and printmaker Florence Ballin Cramer, measure 8.5 linear feet and date from 1897 to 1968. Papers document both artists' personal and professional lives and are especially rich in documentation of the art community of Woodstock, New York, from 1906, when Florence first attended art classes there, and where the couple resided until their deaths in the 1960s. Records include biographical materials, correspondence, a Christmas card album, business records, diaries, writings, personal financial records, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.
Correspondence is between the Cramers and other artists, curators, gallery staff, editors, writers, and personal friends and family. Many drafts and carbons of outgoing letters are also present. The Christmas card album brings together original cards made by their artist friends in the 1920s and early 1930s. Diaries are of both artists, mostly from 1949 onward, with notes and excerpts from earlier diaries present. Writings include technical and biographical essays by Konrad Cramer, and autobiographical and historical essays by Florence Ballin Cramer; notebooks and notes relate to art, travel, photography, and other subjects. Personal Business Records include price lists, receipts, and gallery correspondence with dealers and exhibitors; correspondence, accounting records, and writings related to Florence Ballin Cramer's Florence Gallery in New York City (1919-1920); records related to Woodstock arts and civic organizations in which the Cramers were involved; and personal financial records.
Printed Materials include publicity materials related to the Cramers' various endeavors and the activities of Woodstock arts and civic organizations, as well as dozens of books, little magazines, and journals by and about members of the Woodstock artist's colony. Photographs depict the Cramers and their friends, including early Art Students League Classes and the annual Maverick festival in the 1920s. Also found are a small number of photo-collages and experiments with color photography, and a series of early twentieth century photographs in the pictorialist style. Artwork includes early sketchbooks of both artists; loose sketches, drawings, and designs; textile designs by Konrad Cramer; and prints and printing blocks.
The collection is arranged into 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1898-1955 (3 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1900-1964 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 9)
Series 3: Christmas Card Album, 1921-1961 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 4: Diaries, 1906-1962 (1 linear foot; Box 4)
Series 5: Writings, 1897-1962 (0.7 linear feet; Box 5, OV 11)
Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1918-1962 (0.3 linear feet; Box 5, OV 10)
Series 7: Printed Materials, 1906-1968 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 9, OV 11)
Series 8: Photographs, 1906-1960 (0.5 linear feet; Box 7)
Series 9: Artwork, 1897-1954 (1 linear foot; Boxes 8-9, OV 10-11)
Konrad Cramer was born in Wurtzburg, Germany, in 1888, and studied at the Karlsruhe Academy of Fine Arts from 1906 to 1908 with Ludwig Schmidt-Reutte and Ernest Schurth. After a year in the German army, he returned to Karlsruhe to set up a studio, making frequent trips to Munich, where he was exposed to the experimental artists of the Blaue Reiter group, including Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc.
Florence Ballin was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1884. She studied at the Woodstock, New York, summer school of the Art Students League beginning in 1906 under Birge Harrison along with fellow students John Carlson, Grace Mott Johnson, and Andrew Dasburg. She served as secretary for the League in 1906, and had a studio on 59th Street in Manhattan, where she held her first exhibition in 1909. In 1911, she traveled to Europe and met Konrad Cramer in Munich and joined him on visits to exhibitions and studios of the vanguard artists. The two married, moved to the United States, and settled permanently in Woodstock, New York.
Konrad Cramer is often credited as being an important link between German and American modernism in art, and his experimentations with abstraction and expressionism during his first years in Woodstock would seem to bear this out. In 1912 and 1913, he painted a series he called "Improvisations" (after Kandinsky) which was shown in a group exhibition at the MacDowell Club in 1913 along with Andrew Dasburg, Oliver Chaffee, and Paul Rohland. Cramer was photographed by Alfred Stieglitz and wrote an essay about the 291 Gallery for Stieglitz's magazine, Camera Work, in 1914.
The Cramers had two daughters, in 1914 and 1917, and Konrad Cramer became an American citizen in 1917. For income, he began designing textiles for department stores using stencils and batiks around 1918. In his painting, he turned from abstract experiments to the traditional subjects of landscape, still life, and figure in a more representational style that blended modern and regional influences. Florence Ballin Cramer opened a gallery on 57th Street in 1919, encouraged by the sculptor Elie Nadelman. The mission of the Florence Gallery, as it was called, was to exhibit and sell the work of living artists. Although it only survived the season, it was the first gallery to show work by Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Alexander Brook, Ernest Fiene, and Stefan Hirsch, and generated important sales for several young artists in her circle.
Konrad Cramer returned to Europe in 1920 on a Rockefeller grant to study educational methods for craftsmen in Germany and France, and on his return he taught at the Woodstock School of Painting and Allied Arts. Cramer also studied lithography with Bolton Brown in Woodstock around this time, and both Cramers took up printmaking and began publishing prints in local arts magazines. The Cramers were deeply immersed in Woodstock life, participating in the annual Maverick festivals, the Woodstock Artists Association, the Historical Society, and other organizations, hosting meetings and serving as officers of many committees and organizations that presented and supported artwork in their community. They enjoyed a rich social life there among fellow artists at frequent parties and festivals, where Konrad provided entertainment with his fiddle and both Cramers memorialized events in countless photographs.
Konrad Cramer exhibited at the Whitney Studio Club in 1924, and taught at the Children's University School (now the Dalton School), where he painted a mural in 1929. The 1930s were busy years in both Cramers' professional lives. Konrad's exhibitions included the Carnegie International (1929 and 1933), and a two-man show at the Dudensing Gallery (1930), where Cramer and Adolph Gottlieb had been selected the most deserving unknown American painters of the year. He was also included in the exhibit Abstract Painting in America at the Whitney Museum (1935). Florence Ballin Cramer exhibited at Marie Harriman Gallery (1931 and 1933), Macy Galleries (1933), the Pennsylvania Academy (1934 and 1936), and the Corcoran (1935 and 1937). Both Konrad and Florence Ballin Cramer were included in a traveling exhibition of Woodstock artists organized by the College Art Association (1931), the first and second Whitney Biennials (1933 and 1935), and the Wanamaker Regional Art Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting (1934).
In 1934, the Cramers traveled to Mexico, where they produced many paintings and drawings. Konrad Cramer joined the Federal Art Project briefly in 1935, administering the regional program in Woodstock with Judson Smith. It was around this time that he began to learn photography. He became a sort of community photographer, taking photographs of friends' artwork and commissioned portraits, as well as informal photographs of friends. Cramer experimented with photographic techniques such as solarization and collage, using prisms, panes of glass, or composite printing. He first exhibited photographs in 1936 at the Albany Institute, and established the Woodstock School of Miniature Photography (the "miniature" referring to the then-new format of 35mm film) in 1937. He also taught courses in photography at Bard College in the 1940s, and his photographs and articles about photography were published in national magazines.
For the remainder of his life, Cramer continued to teach, write, and produce photographs, occasionally returning to painting, drawing, and printmaking, creating gouaches, wax resist drawings, and stencils of landscapes and figures, with an increasing interest in abstract styles and automatic techniques. Three of his early paintings were included in the 1946 Whitney Museum exhibition Pioneers of Modern Art in America, and the same year, he exhibited abstract photographs at the Woodstock Artists Association. In the late 1940s, he built an automatic drawing machine which he called the sympalmagraph, which rendered precise, geometric forms. In the late 1950s, he collaborated on a traveling exhibition and book of abstract photographs with Manuel Komroff and Nathan Resnik called The Third Eye.
Florence Ballin Cramer held her last exhibitions at the Woodstock Town House gallery (1953) and at Long Island University (1957). She died in 1962. Konrad Cramer died the following year. Both were memorialized in an exhibition at the Woodstock Artists Association Gallery in 1968.
Separated Materials note:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels 1027, D170, and D171) including photographs, diaries, and sketches. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
A portion of the papers in this collection were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1964 by Aileen Cramer and Margot Cramer Taylor, daughters of Florence and Konrad Cramer. While selected diaries, sketches, and photographs were returned to the donors, some, but not all, of the original loan was subsequently donated with additional materials, in 1975.
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 Konrad and Florence Ballin Cramer 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.
Notes and writings include five diaries containing brief daily entries, one journal written during travel in Japan, England, and Mexico, a second journal from a trip to London and Paris, guest books for an exhibition and for various parties including Bothwell's 80th and 90th birthdays, mailing lists, lists of faculty, students, and schedules of classes for various organizations including the Sierra Club, and Artists Equity, and art schools including the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshop, and Creative Images Class at the Univeristy of California Extension at Santa Cruz. There are also typescripts of lecture notes, a lecture recording on one sound cassette, and supply lists for drawing, collage, color and design, textile and batik, and Notan art classes. Writings include typescripts by Boswell "Rainbow Street" and "Une Nuit de Brume," and writings by others.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The Dorr Bothwell 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.
Dorr Bothwell papers, 1900-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Biographical materials include address books, biographical sketches and resumes, a death notice and will, and passports for Ruth Reeves and Donald Robert Baker. Also found is a divorce record from 1922 of Reeves' first marriage to Leland Olds. Correspondence is scattered and is largely unsigned or with nicknames and initials. A letter from the Girl Scouts of America to Reeves regards a manuscript written by Reeves on textiles. Other letters are from Reeves to her daughter Judith and condolence letters written to her family.
Writings by Ruth Reeves largely concern textiles, designs, and inspiration. An excerpt of a writing entitled "On Designing Textiles" (1935) appeared in Art Education Today. A teaching file contains lecture notes, outlines, and sketches for a course taught at the Cooper Union in the 1940s. Artwork contains painted sketches, three prints, and an ink sketch by Ruth Reeves. Photographs are of Reeves, family, friends, vacation, works of art, and India. Tourist albums are mass produced and of sights in Europe. Of note is a portrait of cartoonist Art Young by Berenice Abbott. Two unbound mixed media scrapbooks serve as a portfolio of Reeves' career as a designer, educator, and writer.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 -- Photographs Search this
13.3 Linear feet
Japan -- Description and Travel
The collection measures 13.3 linear feet, dates from the 1880s-1997 and documents the life and varied career of Rudolph Schaeffer, artist, designer, teacher, writer, collector of Asian art, and pioneer in the field of color study who founded the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco in 1926. The papers include biographical information, correspondence, subject files, writings, diaries, journals, artwork, scrapbooks, sound recordings, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection measures 13.3 linear feet, dates from the 1880s-1997, and documents the life and varied career of Rudolph Schaeffer, artist, designer, teacher, writer, collector of Asian art, and pioneer in the field of color study who founded the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco in 1926. The papers include biographical information, correspondence, subject files, writings, diaries, journals, artwork, scrapbooks, sound recordings, and photographs.
Correspondence documents Schaeffer's personal and professional activities as well as the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design. Subject files contain various combinations of correspondence, photographs, printed material, and drawings reflecting Schaeffer's activities, projects, and interests. Within the subject files is correspondence with artists, including Mark Tobey. Extensive writings include manuscripts for published and unpublished articles and drafts, notes, and manuscripts of several unpublished books including Collected Lectures of Rudolph Schaeffer on Color and Design, Color and Design, Prismatic Color Theory, and Rhythmo-Chromatics, all undated. Diaries include a volume recording Schaeffer's 1936 trip to Japan. 42 volumes of journals, compiled between 1954 and 1987, contain entries on a wide range of subjects including lists of errands, invitation lists, class notes, drafts of letters, notes including staff assignments and staff meetings, autobiographical notes and reminiscences, and musings on religion and philosophy.
The Artwork series houses artwork by Schaeffer and his students. Found are hand-made Christmas cards, designs, sketches, and sketchbooks. Seven scrapbooks document Rudolph Schaeffer's career, his school and former students, and the San Francisco art scene. They contain printed material, photographs, letters, and a small amount of artwork. Volume 3 is devoted to East West Gallery, and volume 7 documents Rudolph Schaeffer's 90th Birthday and the 50th Anniversary of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design.
Most untranscribed sound recordings (audio cassettes and reels) are of lectures by Schaeffer and others delivered at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design.
Miscellaneous records includes a series of hand-baticked fabric samples from the Wiener Werkstatte, as well as transcripts of an oral history with Schaeffer and other interviews.
Printed material concerns the career of Rudolph Schaeffer, his school and former students, the San Francisco art scene, and general art topics. Included are articles and a book by Schaeffer, catalogs and other items produced by the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, and miscellaneous items about or mentioning Schaeffer and his school. Items of note are announcements of courses taught by Schaeffer in Piedmont and San Francisco prior to the opening of his school, and theatre programs from productions with sets and some costumes designed by Schaeffer in the early 1920s.
Photographs are of artwork, people, places, events, stage designs, and miscellaneous subjects. Artwork includes some designs by Rudolph Schaeffer; people include Schaeffer, his family, friends, and students. Of particular note are a photograph of Frank Lloyd Wright's visit to the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, and one of Rudolph Schaeffer and Imogen Cunningham. Places include interior and exterior views of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design at its St. Anne Street and Mariposa Street locations. Also included are photographs by Ansel Adams of the home of Ed and Caroline Fey.
The collection is arranged as 10 series:
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1900-1988 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1906-1989 (Box 1, 19; 0.5 linear ft.)
Series 3: Subject Files, 1907-1988 (Boxes 1-2, OV 16; 1.3 linear ft.)
Series 4: Writings, circa 1910-1987 (Boxes 2-6, 15, 19, 21; 4.2 linear ft.)
Series 5: Artwork, 1911-1957 (Boxes 6-15, 19, 21 OV 17; 0.6 linear ft.)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1933-1976 (Boxes 6, 14, 19; 0.6 linear ft.)
Series 7: Sound Recordings, 1949-1986 (Boxes 11-13; 1.2 linear ft.)
Series 8: Miscellaneous Records, 1905-1986 (Box 7, 19, 22; 0.8 linear ft.)
Series 9: Printed Material, 1906-1994 (Boxes 7-8, 15, 19, 22; 1.2 linear ft.)
Series 10: Photographs, 1880s-circa 1988 (Boxes 8-10,15, 20, 22, OV 18; 1.8 linear ft.)
Rudolph Schaeffer (1886-1988), a proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement, aspired to unite technology, science, and lifestyle in order to live in harmony with nature. An individual with many talents and interests, he was best known for his work in the field of color study and as a teacher and the founder of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco.
Born on a farm in Clare, Michigan in 1886, Rudolph Schaeffer displayed musical and artistic talent from a young age. Although he initially wanted to become a professional musician, he began focusing more on art when his musical abilities were compromised by an improperly set broken wrist. Schaeffer received his first formal art training as a high school student and then attended the Thomas Normal Training School in Detroit, where he studied music, art, and design. He continued studying independently, developing interests in calligraphy and metal craft.
In 1907, Schaeffer taught manual training courses in the Columbus, Ohio, public schools. The following summer he traveled to Paris and London. While in London he saw an exhibition of Josef Hoffman's modern interiors that had a great impact on his own design ideas. He then returned to Michigan and taught in schools close to home. In 1909, Schaeffer attended a design course in Minneapolis taught by A. E. Batchelder, director of Throop Polytechnic Institute in Pasadena. Both Batchelder and his course were strong influences on Schaeffer, as was Ralph Johnot, a proponent of Arthur Wesley Dow's design principles. In 1910 Schaeffer joined the faculty of Throop Polytechnic Institute, where he remained for five years.
The U. S. Commission on Education selected Schaeffer to be part of a delegation of twenty-five American teachers sent to Munich for several months in 1914 to investigate the exemplary industrial design curriculum offered in their secondary schools. Schaeffer subsequently expected to begin teaching at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles at the start of the 1914 school year, but World War I erupted while he was in Germany and his return to the United States was delayed so long that another teacher had to be hired to fill his place.
In 1915 Schaeffer was a manual training instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts (formerly the Hopkins School), and taught design and metal crafts at the University of California Berkeley. For a number of years afterwards, he did free lance design work, taught private classes, and ran a small summer school in his Piedmont studio. Schaeffer was a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1918 when he was drafted and sent to drafting and surveying courses by the Army. Between 1917 and 1924 Schaeffer was on the faculty of the California College of Arts and Crafts where he taught design, color, handicrafts, and interior design. During this period he developed a new approach to teaching color and design based on the prismatic color wheel.
During the early 1920s Schaeffer worked as a set designer and as Art Director of Greek Theatre at the University of California at Berkeley, Schaeffer began applying prismatic color theory to set and costume design. He also designed sets for productions in Detroit. In 1925, Schaeffer saw the Paris Exposition and researched interior and stage design while in France.
The Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design which, in its early days was called the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Rhythmo-Chromatic Design, opened on St. Anne Street in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1926. In 1951 the school then moved to Union Street on Telegraph Hill where it remained for nearly a decade. In 1960, the school purchased a former boys' school on Mariposa Street, Portero Hill. Rudolph Schaeffer lived in a small cottage built for him at the rear of the property where he designed and tended a remarkable "Peace Garden."
The Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design was best known for its courses in color and interior design. Schaeffer was the first person in the United States to teach prismatic color theory, is credited with being the first to use the term "interior design" rather than "interior decoration" and the first to incorporate the use of models into interior design coursework. In 1959 the school's courses were expanded from 2 to 3-year programs and a diploma was awarded. Former students include many successful interior designers, textile designers, furniture designers, industrial designers, commercial artists, color consultants, teachers, and master flower arrangers.
In addition to the interior design and color diploma courses, the school offered a summer session, classes for children, a brief lecture series for the general public, and a wide variety of classes including advertising art, architecture and design, art history, art in public schools, calligraphy, color design, color for television, color for weavers, color theory, design, drawing, environmental aesthetics, fashion design, fashion illustration, flower arrangement, industrial design, interior design, Notan, sculpture, space planning, textile design, and weaving. Always struggling financially and sometimes lacking adequate enrollment, the school nevertheless managed to stay open for nearly 60 years. In 1984, the Board of Directors voted to remove Schaeffer from the board and close the school. Two years earlier the board had forced Schaeffer to retire, appointed him Director Emeritus, and brought in a new director charged with making the institution financially solvent, reorganizing the curriculum, and working toward accreditation. Unable to separate himself from the school (though he had done so legally when it was incorporated in 1953), Schaeffer balked and refused to cooperate with plans for revitalizing the institution.
One of the aims of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design was to interpret Asian esthetic principles. To this end the East West Gallery was established at the school in 1950. A membership organization, it offered exhibitions, lectures, concerts, and other programs that encouraged cultural integration. Exhibitions alternated between East (Asian art and artifacts from Rudolph Schaeffer's collection or other sources) and West (student work or work of local artists illustrating the influence of the Asian esthetic on contemporary art and design). East West Gallery was a membership organization, the first space of its kind in San Francisco for Asian art and operated in each of the school's locations.
In addition to running the school Schaeffer was involved in many other activities. He wrote several articles about flower arrangement, color, and color theory that were published in popular magazines. In 1935, he published Flower Arrangement Folio I (said to be the first on the subject published in this country) and in 1942 edited and wrote the introduction to Sunset's Flower Arrangement Book by Nell True Welch. Over a period of many years, he worked on several monographs on color, design, and "rhythmo-chromatics." None were ever published.
A sought-after speaker on the subjects of color, interior design, flower arrangement, and myriad other art topics, Schaeffer frequently served as a juror for art exhibitions and flower shows. From the 1930s on, the San Francisco department store Emporium used his services as a color consultant, as did Dutch Boy paints, and numerous textile and clothing manufacturers. Builders also asked Schaeffer to select interior and exterior colors for suburban housing developments.
Schaeffer worked on planning and designing the decorative arts exhibition at the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition. In 1943-44, he participated in the Red Cross's Arts and Skills program, using color therapy with shell-shocked soldiers in a psychiatric unit.
The Rudolph Schaeffer Collection of Asian Art began as a collection of ceramics, both historical and contemporary examples chosen for their form and color, which he used for flower arrangements and in set-ups for still life classes. It soon expanded to include color prints, paintings, screens, and other works of art and portions were exhibited frequently in the East West Gallery. Selections from this collection were exhibited in Kansas City in 1960 and at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1976.
The City of San Francisco declared June 26, 1986, Schaeffer's 100th birthday, "Rudolph Schaeffer Day" and it was observed with great fanfare. He died at home on March 5, 1988, a few months before his 102nd birthday.
The Rudolph Schaeffer papers were donated in 1991 by Rudolph Schaeffer and the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design administrator Peter Docili, and in 1999 and 2000 by James Alexander, a friend of both Schaeffer and Docili, who had been storing portions of Docili's estate after his death in 1998, with the assistance of Frances Valesco, a fiber artist and researcher. An addition was received in 2007 by William Woodworth, a close friend and caretaker of Schaeffer's and in 2017 and 2018 by Frances Valesco.
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 requires advance notice.
The Rudolph Schaeffer 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.
The papers of weaver, fiber artist and educator Marianne Strengell date from 1904 to the 1980s and measure 1.5 linear feet. The scattered papers focus on Strengell's career as an artist and include biographical materials, correspondence, writings, six scrapbooks, printed material, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of weaver, fiber artist and educator Marianne Strengell date from 1904 to the 1980s and measure 1.5 linear feet. The scattered papers focus on Strengell's career as an artist and include biographical materials, correspondence, writings, six scrapbooks, printed material, photographs, and artwork.
Biographical / Historical:
Finnish-American textile artist Marianne Strengell (1909-1998) was known for the use of synthetic fibers in her work. She was an educator and was at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1937 to 1962.
Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1909, Marianne Strengell studied industrial arts at a Helsinki university. She spent her early career designing textiles and rugs throughout Scandinavia but came to the United States in 1936. Strengell was invited to teach at the Cranbrook Academy of Art by Eliel Saarinen, a family friend. She began as a professor but became the head of the Department of Weaving and Textile Design after the retirement of Loja Saarinen. Strengell focused on texture in her weavings and often used synthetic fibers. She took many commissions during her career, including many for automotive companies in Detroit. Also, she exhibited her works at institutions and in print.
Under the United States government in 1951, Strengell travelled to the Philippines to establish weaving as a cottage industry. In the mid-1960s she acted as a consultant on textile production to the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration with her husband, Olav Hammarstrom.
Marianne Strengell married fellow Cranbrook artist Charles Yerkes Dusenbury in 1940. They had two children but divorced in 1949. Later, she married architect Olav Hammarstorm.
Additional papers are held at the Cranbrook Archives, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Along with her husband Olav Hammarstrom, Marianne Strengell donated her papers to the Archives of American Art in 1982-1983 and 1989.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
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