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Eldzier Cortor in his studio

Subject:
Cortor, Eldzier  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1995
Topic:
Artists at or with their work  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)15452
See more items in:
Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_15452

Photograph of Eldzier Cortor with dog

Subject:
Cortor, Eldzier  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
19--
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)20142
See more items in:
Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_20142
Additional Online Media:

Eldzier Cortor Papers

Creator:
Cortor, Eldzier, 1916-  Search this
Names:
Anderson Gallery  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago -- Students  Search this
Kenkeleba House  Search this
Sylvan Cole Gallery  Search this
Anderson, Carol  Search this
Carracio, K.  Search this
Collier, Leontine L.  Search this
Driskell, David C.  Search this
Harrigan, Violetta C., 1941-  Search this
Lynch, Acklyn  Search this
Saar, Betye  Search this
Taha, Halima  Search this
Extent:
3.1 Linear Feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Sketches
Collages
Diaries
Watercolors
Place:
Haiti -- description and travel
Date:
circa 1930s-2015
bulk 1972-2015
Summary:
The papers of painter and printmaker Eldzier Cortor measure 3.1 linear feet and date from circa 1930s to 2015, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1972 to 2015. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, professional files, exhibition and gallery files, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter and printmaker Eldzier Cortor measure 3.1 linear feet and date from circa 1930s to 2015, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1972 to 2015. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, professional files, exhibition and gallery files, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical material consists of awards certificates; Cortor's artist biography; an obituary and prayer cards for his father in law; an address book; and a Christmas list.

Correspondence includes letters from Cortor's family; correspondence with or about individuals or organizations; and general correspondence. Individuals included in the general correspondence are Acklyn Lynch, Leontine Collier, Violetta Harrigan, Halima Taha, David C. Driskell, Carol Anderson, and Betye Saar. Art institutions represented in this series include Sylvan Cole Gallery, Anderson Gallery, and Kenkeleba House.

Professional files include materials related to the Cosby Collection of Fine Arts; publishing; materials related to fake Cortor works; the Public School Mural Project; teaching files; lists of possible titles for paintings; financial documents; materials related to painting and etching plates for storage; and notes of museum and gallery contacts.

Exhibition and gallery files include correspondence; contracts and agreements; exhibition announcements; inventories; other exhibition materials; clippings; press releases; photographs and photocopied images of artwork; and photographs of exhibitions.

Writings consist primarily of essays and articles about Eldzier Cortor. Also included are his answers to a questionnaire about art, a diary, and notes, as well as hand-copied excerpts of reviews.

Printed material includes exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, newsletters, clippings, research and source material, and books.

Artwork includes ink and watercolor sketches from Cortor's time as a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. This series also includes additional sketches, sketchbooks, and a collage by K. Carracio.

Photographs depict Cortor, other individuals, his artwork, and exhibitions. There are also photographs from his time in Cuba and Haiti (circa 1950s).
Arrangement:
The Eldzier Cortor papers are organized into 8 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1947-2012 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1970-2015 (Box 1; 8 folders)

Series 3: Professional Files, 1960, 1972-2015 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet, OV 4)

Series 4: Exhibition and Gallery Files, 1972-2015 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 5: Writings, circa 1970s-2006 (Box 2; 8 folders)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1940-1976, 1996-2015 (Boxes 2-3; 0.8 linear feet, OV 4)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1930s, circa 1970s-circa 1990s (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, 1939-2002, 2014 (Box 3; 0.5 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Eldzier Cortor (1916-2015) spent his professional career as a painter and printmaker in Chicago and New York. He was born in Richmond Virginia to John and Ophelia Cortor. In 1917, the family moved to Chicago along with countless other African-Americans as part of the Great Migration.

In 1936, Cortor began taking evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to enrolling full time. Kathleen Blackshear, an instructor at the Institute, recommended Cortor for employment at the Work Projects Administration in 1940. It was under Blackshear's guidance that Cortor was introduced to African Art. The depiction of African-Americans became the defining subject of Cortor's career, specifically the portrayal of the African-American woman, which he commonly represented nude in paintings and prints.

In 1941, with funding by the Work Projects Administration, Cortor helped found the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago. Over the next few years he would receive two Rosenwald Fellowships, which allowed him to travel to the Sea Islands of Georgia. Afterward, Cortor moved to New York, and in 1946 Life magazine published his artwork of a nude African-American woman. In 1949 he received a Guggenheim fellowship, which provided the opportunity to travel to Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti. He settled in Port-au-Prince, where he taught for two years.

Cortor married Sophia Schmidt on August 20, 1951, and they subsequently had four children: Michael, Mercedes, Stephen, and Miriam. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Studio Museum of Harlem, and the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. Notable exhibitions include Three Masters: Eldzier Cortor, Hughie Lee-Smith, and Archibald John Motley, Jr. at Kenkeleba House in 1988; Southern Gate: African American Paintings from the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution at Duke University Museum of Art, 1999; Eldzier Cortor: Master Printmaker at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, 2002; and Black Spirit: Works on Paper by Eldzier Cortor at the Indiana Art Museum, 2006.

Eldzier Cortor died in November of 2015, at the age of 99.
Related Material:
Materials on reel N70-47, which were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming, include biographical material; correspondence; printed material; materials related to exhibitions; photographs; and sketchbooks. Three photographs from that microfilm appear in this collection (Box 3, Folder 19).
Provenance:
The material on reel N70-47 was lent for microfilming in 1970 by Eldzier Cortor and subsequently returned to him. Cortor donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 2009. Additional material was donated in 2016 by his son, Michael Cortor.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Rights:
The Eldzier Cortor 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 -- Economic aspects  Search this
African American painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Printmakers -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
African American painters -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Art -- Forgeries  Search this
African American painters -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Cuba -- Description and Travel  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sketches
Collages
Diaries
Watercolors
Citation:
Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.corteldz
See more items in:
Eldzier Cortor Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-corteldz

Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015

Creator:
Cortor, Eldzier, 1916-2015  Search this
Subject:
Driskell, David C.  Search this
Harrigan, Violetta C.  Search this
Taha, Halima  Search this
Anderson, Carol  Search this
Lynch, Acklyn  Search this
Carracio, K.  Search this
Saar, Betye  Search this
Collier, Leontine L.  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Sylvan Cole Gallery  Search this
Anderson Gallery  Search this
Kenkeleba House  Search this
Topic:
Sketches  Search this
Art  Search this
Sketchbooks  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Collages  Search this
Diaries  Search this
Printmakers  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Watercolors  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7524
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209683
AAA_collcode_corteldz
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
African American
Lives of American Artists
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209683
Additional Online Media:

Halsted & Monroe

Creator:
Cortor, Eldzier, 1916-2015  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Place:
Chicago, Ill.
Date:
193-?
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)18086
See more items in:
Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_18086

Classical Study No. 34

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
oil on canvas
Dimensions:
14 x 18 in. (35.6 x 45.7 cm)
Type:
Painting
Date:
1968
Topic:
Figure female  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.10
Restrictions & Rights:
© 1968, Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Painting and Sculpture
On View:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 36B
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.10

Composition Jewels

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
etching on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 20 1/2 x 18 in. (52.1 x 45.7 cm) sheet: 33 x 26 in. (83.8 x 66 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
n.d.
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.1
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.1

Figure Composition No. II

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
oil on canvas
Dimensions:
37 x 37 in. (94 x 94 cm)
Type:
Painting
Date:
1982
Topic:
Figure female\nude  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.11
Restrictions & Rights:
© 1982, Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Painting and Sculpture
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.11

Dance Composition No. 31

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
etching on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 20 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. (52.1 x 38.7 cm) sheet: 28 x 20 in. (71.1 x 50.8 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
n.d.
Topic:
Figure group\female  Search this
Performing arts\dance  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.3
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.3

Facets VIII

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
aquatint on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 15 x 11 in. (38.1 x 27.9 cm) sheet: 22 1/2 x 15 in. (57.2 x 38.1 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
n.d.
Topic:
Figure group\female  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.4
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.4

Figure/Assemblage I

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
woodcut on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 12 1/2 x 20 in. (31.8 x 50.8 cm) sheet: 13 3/4 x 21 3/8 in. (34.9 x 54.3 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
late 1950s - early 1960s
Topic:
Figure group  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.5
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.5

L'Abbatoire I

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
color woodcut on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 19 3/4 x 15 in. (50.2 x 38.1 cm) sheet: 21 3/4 x 16 3/4 in. (55.2 x 42.5 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
late 1950s - early 1960s
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.6
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.6

L'Abbatoire No. VI

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
woodcut on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 35 1/2 x 24 in. (90.2 x 61.0 cm) sheet: 40 1/2 x 29 in. (102.9 x 73.7 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
late 1950s - early 1960s
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.7
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.7

Sepia Odalisque I

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
aquatint on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 19 1/4 x 14 in. (48.9 x 35.6 cm) sheet: 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
n.d.
Topic:
Figure group  Search this
Object\fruit\watermelon  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.8
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.8

Trio Assemblage #1/Composition III

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
color aquatint on paper
Dimensions:
image: 12 1/2 x 20 in. (31.8 x 50.8 cm) irreg. sheet: 14 1/2 x 22 in. (36.8 x 55.9 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
1950s
Topic:
Abstract  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.9
Restrictions & Rights:
© Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.9

In These Troubled Times

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
lithograph on paper
Dimensions:
image: 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in. (26.7 x 21 cm) sheet: 11 1/2 x 10 in. (29.2 x 25.4 cm) irreg.
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
1937
Topic:
Dress\accessory\hat  Search this
Figure male\knee length  Search this
Object\written matter\book  Search this
Architecture Exterior\religious\church  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in memory of Sophia Cortor
Object number:
2012.72.2
Restrictions & Rights:
© 1937, Eldzier Cortor
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2012.72.2

Southern Gate

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Medium:
oil on canvas
Dimensions:
46 1/4 x 22 in. (117.5 x 55.8 cm.)
Type:
Painting
Date:
1942-1943
Topic:
Figure female\nude  Search this
Ethnic\African-American  Search this
Figure female\knee length  Search this
Architecture Exterior\detail\gate  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection
Object number:
1980.137.19
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Painting and Sculpture
On View:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1st Floor, South Wing
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_1980.137.19

Eldzier Cortor: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Cortor, Eldzier 1916-2015  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF000681
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_137962

Compositional Study No. III, from the portfolio Impressions: Our World, Volume I

Artist:
Eldzier Cortor, born Richmond, VA 1916-died Seaford, NY 2015  Search this
Publisher:
Printmaking Workshop  Search this
Printer:
Mohammed Omer Khalil, born Burri, Sudan 1936  Search this
Linda Swanson, n.d.  Search this
Mary Ann Unger, born New York City 1945-died New York City 1998  Search this
Medium:
color etching on paper
Dimensions:
plate: 20 7/8 x 16 in. (53.0 x 40.6 cm)
Type:
Graphic Arts-Print
Date:
1974
Topic:
Figure group\female  Search this
Figure female\head  Search this
Ethnic\African  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts
Object number:
1988.18.25
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Graphic Arts
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_1988.18.25

American Negro Art by Cedric Dover, Inscribed to Eldzier Cortor

Collection Creator:
Cortor, Eldzier, 1916-  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 34
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1960
Scope and Contents:
Includes printed material laid in at back.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Rights:
The Eldzier Cortor 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:
Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2015, bulk 1972-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Eldzier Cortor Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-corteldz-ref607

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