The papers of sculptor Jacques Lipchitz measure 9.5 linear feet and are dated circa 1910-1999, with the bulk of the material from the period 1941-1999. Personal and professional correspondence comprises nearly half of the collection. It, along with biographical material, writings by and about Lipchitz, printed material, and photographs document Lipchitz's commissions, exhibitions, friendships, and interests. Also found are records relating to the compilation and production of The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz: A Catalogue Raisonné by Alan G. Wilkinson.
Biographical material includes an address book, biographical notes, membership cards, rent receipts and a lease, and a survey of Lipchitz's property in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.
Correspondence is both professional and personal in nature. Approximately 20 percent is in foreign languages. French predominates, followed by Russian; German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Latvian, Hebrew, and Yiddish are also represented.
Professional correspondence documents business transactions with architects, potential clients, museum officials, art dealers, and others concerning commissions, exhibition plans, loans of artwork, jury service, etc. Art groups, Jewish organizations and charities wrote to solicit donations of artwork for fundraising events and issued invitations to speak or be a guest of honor. Scholars contacted Lipchitz about their research and requested information about specific works by him, items in his collection, and his opinions on a variety of subjects. Also found are fan letters from aspiring artists seeking advice, and from the general public asking for the opportunity to meet Lipchitz and visit his studio. After the 1952 studio fire, many friends and strangers sent letters of condolence and encouragement.
Among those with whom Lipchtz corresponded regarding commissions are: The Brazilian Embassy ( Prometheus Strangling the Vulture, Ministry of Health and Education, Rio de Janeiro), Vicomte Charles de Noailles ( The Joy of Life) [photocopies of letters from Lipchitz], Jean Devémy (Nôtre Dame de Liesse, Nôtre Dame de Toute Grace at Assy, France), Jane Blaffer Owen (ornamental gates and a cast of Nôtre Dame de Liesse for Philip Johnson's Roofless Church in New Harmony, IN), and the University of Minnesota, Duluth ( Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Luth). There are numerous letters from Fairmount Park Art Association, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and R. Sturgis Ingersoll regarding multiple projects in Philadelphia; from the Emory Memorial and Robert Taft, Jr. about a memorial to Senator Taft; and from Eloise Spaeth concerning a bust of John F. Kennedy. Also documenting commissions are letters from architects, among them: Eero Saarinen and Associates, Kenneth Franzheim, Philip L. Goodwin, I. M. Pei and Associates, Philip L. Goodwin, and Vincent G. Kling and Associates.
Art dealers, galleries, and museums were frequent correspondents. They include: The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Bezalel Museum, Brussels Universal and International Exposition, Buchholz Gallery, Cincinnati Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Curt Valentin Gallery, Fine Arts Associates (later Otto Gerson Gallery, Inc.), Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., Museé Bourdelle, Museé National d'Arte Moderne (Paris), Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Museum of Primitive Art, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum (Oregon), Rijksmuseum Kröller Muller Otterlo, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Worcester Art Museum.
Max N. Benoff, Bernard and Becky Reis, and Alan and Janet Wurtzburger were among the collectors who corresponded with Lipchitz. French artist Pierre Dubaut wrote over an extended period about his collection of Géricault paintings and plans for its eventual disposition. Other individuals who wrote frequently include: critic and writer, Waldemar George; Irene Patai, author of Encounters: The Life of Jacques Lipchitz; and Bert Van Bork, documentary filmmaker and author of Jacques Lipchitz, The Artist at Work; and art historian, Henry R. Hope, a professor active in the College Art Association. The America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Inc. and the International Rescue Committee were also frequent correspondents.
Of particular note is a lengthy letter (with drafts) to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler in which Lipchitz explained in detail how the art dealer's writings about Cubist sculpture failed to adequately recognize his contributions to the genre. Extensive correspondence with Rabbi Schneerson includes thoughts about "graven images" in sculpture and contains lengthy religious discussions. Letters from Juan Gris and Josette Gris consist mainly of general news and pleasantries; they do, however, mention Juan Gris's health, and in one letter Gris states he is afraid of working too much and tiring himself out. While basically illegible, Gertrude Stein's letters seem to be short, quick notes about meetings.
Correspondence with wife Yulla, nephew Gyorgy Hay, and close friends recounts personal and family news, activities, and sometimes touches on future plans. Among these correspondents are: Jenny Courtois, Varian and Annette Fry, Leo Gaspard, R. Sturgis Ingersoll, Gregorio Landau, Juan and Marianne Larrea, Camille Soula, and Joel and Celeste Starrels.
Eleven small pocket diaries, 1940-1965, contain brief, often sporadic entries noting appointments, events, addresses and phone numbers, notes of expenses, and include some sketches. Among the other writings by Lipchitz are: a notebook containing random notes on sculpture; a list of sculpture destroyed in the 1952 studio fire; short pieces and fragments of writings about sculptors Mary Frank, Natan Rapoport, Auguste Rodin, and William Zorach; a memoir of Amedeo Modigliani; and articles and reflections on contemporary art and the church.
Catalogue raisonné records concern the compilation and production of The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz: A Catalogue Raisonné by Alan G. Wilkinson, sponsored by Marlborough Gallery, Inc.
Among the financial records are statements of the sculptor's accounts with Buchholz Gallery and Curt Valentin Gallery, and receipts for Lipchitz Collection purchases. Also found are insurance and tax records, as well as receipts for routine professional expenses and miscellaneous personal expenses.
Artwork consists of a few rough sketches by Lipchitz and several geometric designs by an unidentified artist. Two scrapbooks, 1945-1946, consist of newspaper clippings and a few items from other periodicals that mention Lipchitz or contain reproductions of his work. Volume 2 includes typescripts of an interview and remarks delivered by Lipchitz, both very brief.
Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, articles, press releases, books, programs, and reproductions concerning Lipchitz's exhibitions, sculpture, commissions, and events honoring him. Of particular interest are architectural prints showing sites and project details of several commissions. Also found are a variety of printed items about general art topics.
Photographs document people, artwork, project sites and models, exhibition installations, events, and places. People include Jacques Lipchitz, family members, and other individuals. Artwork represented is by Lipchitz and other artists. Views of Lipchitz exhibition installations mainly document solo shows. Photographs of events record a variety of occasions, among them: the opening of Lipchitz's studio at Hastings-on-Hudson, NY; a dedication ceremony for Philip Johnson's Roofless Church in New Harmony, IN, with ornamental gates and a sculpture by Lipchitz; and Lipchitz addressing an anatomy class at Albert Einstein Medical College. Among the pictures of places are Lipchitz's studios in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and Pietrasanta, Italy, and a view of Picasso's Paris studio.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of audiovisual materials with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.