Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Additional Online Media

Catalog Data

Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
Arnheim, Rudolf  Search this
Bertoia, Harry  Search this
Blee, Michael  Search this
Boghosian, Varujan  Search this
Brazdys, Konslancija  Search this
Burgess, Lowry  Search this
Burnham, Jack  Search this
Calder, Alexander  Search this
Chermayeff, Serge  Search this
Dreyfuss, Henry  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Eames, Ray  Search this
Egawa, Kazuhiko  Search this
Entwhistle, Clive  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster)  Search this
Gropius, Walter  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William  Search this
Hélion, Jean  Search this
Johnson, Philip  Search this
Kepes, Juliet  Search this
Kowalski, Piotry  Search this
Lynch, Kevin  Search this
McLuhan, Marshall  Search this
Mead, Margaret  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László  Search this
Nusberg, Lev  Search this
Osborn, Robert Chesley  Search this
Piene, Otto  Search this
Read, Herbert Edward, Sir  Search this
Richards, I. A. (Ivor Armstrong)  Search this
Rickey, George  Search this
Saarinen, Eero  Search this
Sonfist, Alan  Search this
Tacha, Athena  Search this
Takis, Vassilakis  Search this
Tange, Kenz?  Search this
Thiel, Philip  Search this
Steinberg, Saul  Search this
Tovish, Harold  Search this
Ts?ai, Wen-ying  Search this
Wolff, Robert Jay  Search this
Wurster, William Wilson  Search this
Zvilna, J?kabs  Search this
Center for Advanced Visual Studies  Search this
Illinois Institute of Technology  Search this
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Search this
Saidenberg Gallery  Search this
Triennale di Milano (Milan, Italy)  Search this
Sound recordings
Times Square (New York, N.Y.)
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
21.2 Linear feet
The collection is arranged as eleven series. Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1940-circa 1980 (0.25 linear feet; Boxes 1, 28) Series 2: Correspondence, 1936-1984 (5.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-7, 28 OV 33, FCs 39-41) Series 3: Interviews and Transcripts, 1954-1970 (4 folders; Box 7) Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1948-circa 1980s (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 28) Series 5: Times Square Project Files, 1972-1974 (6 folders; Box 9) Series 6: Teaching Files Sound Recordings, circa 1953-1972 (0.7 linear feet; Box 9) Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1958-1973 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 9-10) Series 8: Printed Material, circa 1922-1989 (3.6 linear feet; Boxes 10-12, 28-29, OVs 35, 37, FCs 42-49) Series 9: Sketchbooks, circa 1940s-circa 1970s (2 folders; Box 12) Series 10: Artwork and Moving Images, circa 1924-2003 (2.5 linear feet; Boxes 12, 13, OVs 33-36, 38, FCs 50-62) Series 11: Photographs, 1909-1988 (10.4 linear feet; Boxes 13-32)
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
The papers of Hungarian-born artist, art theorist, and educator, Gyorgy Kepes, measure 21.2 linear feet and date from 1909-2003, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1935-1985. The papers document Kepes's career as an artist and educator, and as founder of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), through biographical material, correspondence, writings by Kepes and others, project files, exhibition files, printed material, sketchbooks, artwork, sound recordings and motion picture films, and photographic material.
Gyorgy Kepes papers, 1909-2003, bulk 1935-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
All of the sound recordings in the collection were digitized for research access and are available at Archives of American Art offices. Researchers may view the original reels for the archival notations on them, but original reels are not available for playback due to fragility.
Some of the motion picture films were transferred to VHS in 2003 with a grant from the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels 1211 and 5303-5321 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Use Note:
Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Juliet Kepes Stone or Imre Kepes. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
Additional papers of Gyorgy Kepes can be found at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Visual Studies Special Collection. The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel 1211) including ninety-eight letters to Kepes from colleagues, 1946-1974. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Biography Note:
Painter, designer, art theorist, and educator, Gyorgy Kepes (1906-2001), was born in Selyp, Hungary, and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest. He worked with Moholy-Nagy in Berlin and London before joining him at the New Bauhaus (later the Chicago Institute of Design) in 1937.
Kepes taught courses at the New Bauhaus from 1937 to 1945, and published Language of Vision in 1944, summarizing the educational ideas and methods he had developed during his time at the institute. In 1946 he accepted a teaching position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) where he initiated a program in visual design.
In 1956 Kepes published The New Landscape in Art and Science , in which he presented images from nature that were newly accessible due to developments in science and technology, and explored his ideas for a common language between science and the visual arts.
In 1965, these ideas were apparent in Kepes's proposal of an expanded visual arts program at M.I.T., which would "build new as yet undetermined bridges between art and engineering and science," according to the minutes of an M.I.T. Art Committee meeting in March of that year. Kepes's vision dovetailed with M.I.T.'s vested interest in promoting the arts, and faculty and administrators were open to the argument that "The scientific-technical enterprise needs schooling by the artistic sensibilities." In 1967, they appointed Kepes Director of M.I.T.'s Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS).
Kepes retired from the regular faculty at M.I.T. in 1967, to focus on his role as director of CAVS, where he worked to provide artists with opportunities for exploring new artistic forms on a civic scale through a working dialogue with scientists and engineers. Early fellows of the center included Maryanne Amacher, Joan Brigham, Lowry Burgess, Jack Burnham, Piotry Kowalski, Otto Piene, Vassilakis Takis, and Wen-Ying Tsai.
In 1965-1966 Kepes edited a six-volume series entitled Vision + Value , published by George Braziller, Inc. Each volume featured essays that centered around a core theme: The Education of Vision ; Structure in Art and Science ; The Nature and Art of Motion ; Module, Symmetry, Proportion, Rhythm ; Sign, Image, Symbol ; and Man-Made Object . Contributions came from prominent artists, designers, architects, and scientists of the time including Rudolf Arnheim, Saul Bass, Marcel Breuer, John Cage, R. Buckminster Fuller, Johannes Itten, Marshall McLuhan, and Paul Rand.
Kepes experimented widely with photography, producing abstract images through the application of fluids and objects to photographic paper. He also took commercial work throughout his career, producing designs for all kinds of objects, including books and stained glass windows for churches. He returned to painting in the 1950s, and his development as a painter continued throughout his career at M.I.T., where he remained until his retirement in 1974, and beyond. His paintings, which were abstract and often incorporated organic shapes and hints of landscapes, can be found in museums such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Kepes received many awards during his lifetime, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1958); the Gold Star Award of the Philadelphia College of Art (1958); the National Association of Art Colleges Annual Award (1968); the California College of Art Award (1968); and the Fine Arts Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1968). In 1973 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an associate member, and became a full academician in 1978. He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Language Note:
English .
Gyorgy Kepes lent papers for microfilming in 1974 and donated material to the Archives of American Art in a series of gifts between 1974 and 1993.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Artists' studios--Photographs  Search this
City planning  Search this
Educators--Massachusetts--Cambridge  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)  Search this
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Architecture & Design  Search this
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Architecture & Design
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art