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FBI Files

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 6, Folder 13
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1997-2001
Scope and Contents:
Oversized items housed in Box 15, Folder 2
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref195

Birds

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 33
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1939-2011
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref271

War, Arms

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1941-2011
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref298

Heller, Jules

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 20
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1990s-2002
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref35

Autobiographical Writing

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 12
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1990s-2009
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref74

Journal, "Drawing" (disbound)

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 15
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1958-1961
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref78

Statements on Art and Politics

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1967-2012
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref80

Therapy Notes

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 20
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1961-1968
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref81

War, Arms

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 20
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1940s-2000s
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref916

Journal, "Drawing" (disbound)

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 16
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1959-1965
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref917

Arnold Mesches papers

Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Names:
New York University  Search this
Ciment, Jill, 1953-  Search this
Danto, Arthur Coleman, 1924-  Search this
Marshall, Kerry James, 1955-  Search this
Miami Dade College  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Storr, Robert  Search this
Wayne, June, 1918-2011  Search this
Zinn, Howard, 1922-2010  Search this
Extent:
13.6 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Collages
Diaries
Drawings
Sketches
Date:
1939-2015
Summary:
The papers of New York City and Gainesville, Florida based painter Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1939-2015. The collection documents Mesches' politically-engaged career and work process through biographical material, correspondence, writings, gallery and exhibition files, project files, subject files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material. Project files comprise a bulk of the collection and include grant files, activism files, project notebooks, and over 100 art project files containing drawings, source material, and photographic material for individual artworks.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York City and Gainesville, Florida based painter Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1939-2015. The collection documents Mesches' politically engaged career and work process through biographical material, correspondence, writings, gallery and exhibition files, project files, subject files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material.

Biographical material includes addresses, family papers, interview transcripts, life documents, identification cards, a residency file, resumes, biographical statements, and travel records. Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature and is with wife, novelist Jill Ciment, family, friends, artists, museums, galleries, and magazines. Notable correspondents include Arthur Danto, Robert Storr, June Wayne, and Howard Zinn. Single items of correspondence are from Kerry James Marshall, Henry Miller, Robert Motherwell, and Ben Shahn.

Writings include manuscripts of unpublished novels and short stories, autobiographical writings, recordings of dreams, introductions to artists, a journal, memorials, project proposals, statements on art and politics, notes from Mesches' psychotherapy sessions, as well as numerous outlines, fragments, and notes.

Gallery and exhibition files document dozens of Mesches' gallery and museum exhibitions, including his 2013 retrospective at Miami Dade College, Arnold Mesches: A Life's Work.

Project files consist of grant files, activism files, project notebooks, and art projects. Activism files pertain to the Los Angeles Peace Tower, Arts Coalition for Freedom of Expression, and the pardon of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Project notebooks contain preliminary sketches, technical notes including color palette and paint formulas, Polaroids of in-process works, and source material. Over 100 art project files further detail individual works, and include preliminary drawings in pen, pencil and charcoal, as well as collages, source material, and Polaroids. Several of Mesches' serial works are well represented here, including Anomie, Comings Attractions, and The FBI Files.

Subject files consist of a sequence of alphabetical files maintained by Mesches as reference material. Teaching files document posts at New York University and other institutions and include course descriptions, lists of materials, course notes, newsletters, reference articles, and correspondence.

Personal business records include documentation related to donations, Mesches' estate, gallery representation, inventories, properties, artwork shipment, supplies, and website design.

Printed material documents Mesches' career as both political illustrator and fine artist. Found here are brochures, leaflets, and Frontier and The Nation magazines featuring illustrations by Mesches. Calendars, newsletters, clippings, announcements, exhibition catalogs, and press releases document Mesches' gallery and museum exhibitions.

Photographic material includes hundreds of photographic prints, contact sheets, slides, and negatives of Arnold Mesches, Mesches' family and friends, studio, and artworks from his seven decade long career.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as ten series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960s-2012 (0.2 linear feet, Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-2014 (0.8 linear feet, Box 1)

Series 3: Writings, 1958-2013 (1.1 linear feet, Box 2-3)

Series 4: Gallery and Exhibition Files, 1979-2015 (0.8 linear feet, Box 3)

Series 5: Project Files, 1950s-2014 (5.3 linear feet, Box 3-8, 15, OV 16-19)

Series 6: Subject Files, 1939-2000s (1.3 linear feet, Box 8-9)

Series 7: Teaching Files, 1992-2004 (0.2 linear feet, Box 9-10)

Series 8: Personal Business Records, 1983-2015 (0.5 linear feet, Box 10)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1950s-2000s (1.5 linear feet, Box 10-11, 15, OV 20)

Series 10: Photographic Material, 1940s-2010s (1.9 linear feet, Box 12-15)
Biographical / Historical:
Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) was a painter in New York, New York and Gainesville, Florida. Born in the Bronx and raised in upstate Dunkirk, New York, Mesches studied advertising design in high school before moving to Los Angeles in 1943 to study art at the Jepson Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute.

Mesches began his career as a scenic painter for Hollywood while honing his own style as a fine artist and illustrator influenced by the political landscape and social realism. As a result of his political activity and involvement in the Communist Party, the FBI opened a file on Mesches in the 1950s, and began tracking his activities. The file, obtained by Mesches through a Freedom of Information Act request in 1999, became the basis for one of his most famous series, The FBI Files.

Throughout his life, Mesches was a socially-oriented figurative painter working in an expressionist style, mining the daily news and the current political landscape for subject matter, including the Cold War, the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and the Vietnam War. Mesches was also one of the organizers of the 1966 Peace Tower artwork in Los Angeles and contributed illustrations to Frontier magazine throughout the 1950s, and The Nation magazine from 1960s-1980s.

In the early 1980s, Mesches relocated to New York City with wife, novelist Jill Ciment.

Mesches held several teaching posts over the course of his career, including at the New School, New York University, and the University of Florida.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives of American Art in 2017 by Jill Ciment, Mesches' widow.
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 Arnold Mesches 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:
Art -- Political aspects  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Painters -- Florida  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Politics in art  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Transcripts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Collages
Diaries
Drawings
Sketches
Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mescarno
Additional Online Media:

Artwork

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 12
Type:
Archival materials
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref333

Art Projects

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
3.8 Linear feet (Box 5-8, 15, OV 16-19)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1950s-2010
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Subseries 5.4
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref14

Subject Files

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
1.3 Linear feet (Box 8-9)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1939-2000s
Scope and Contents:
Subject files date from 1940s-2000s and consist of a sequence of alphabetical files maintained by Mesches. Files contain clippings and printed material used as reference material for paintings.
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Series 6
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref6

Biographical Material

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1960s-2012
Scope and Contents:
Biographical material dates from 1960s-2012 and includes addresses, family papers, interview transcripts, life documents, identification cards, a residency file, resumes, biographical statements, and travel records. Interviews are with Arnold Mesches and Jill Ciment.
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Series 1
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref1

Photographic Material

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
1.9 Linear feet (Box 12-15)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1940s-2010s
Scope and Contents:
Photographic material dates from 1940s-2010s and includes hundreds of photographic prints, contact sheets, slides, and negatives of Arnold Mesches, Mesches' family and friends, studio, and artworks from his seven decade long career. Photographs of Mesches' include snapshots and portraits at all stages of life, including at work in his studio, leading classrooms, hanging exhibitions, and at events and gathering in Los Angeles and New York.
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Series 10
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref10

Grant Files

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet (Box 3-4)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1985-2014
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Subseries 5.1
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref11

Activism Files

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
0.3 Linear feet (Box 4)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1960s-2006
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Subseries 5.2
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref12

Project Notebooks

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot (Box 4-5)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1977-2015
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno, Subseries 5.3
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref13

Coming Attractions 1, Coming Attractions 2

Collection Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 23
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
2005
Scope and Contents:
Oversized items for Coming Attractions 1, 2, 3, and 11 housed in Box 15, Folder 1
Collection 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.
Collection Rights:
The Arnold Mesches 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.
Collection Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-mescarno-ref172

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