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George Biddle papers

Creator:
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Names:
Federal Art Project  Search this
Justice Dept. Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
National Library Building (Rio de Janerio, Brazil)  Search this
Supreme Court Building (Mexico City, Mexico)  Search this
United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Section of Fine Arts  Search this
United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Section of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959  Search this
Brewer, Bessie Marsh, d. 1952  Search this
Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963  Search this
Diederich, William Hunt, 1884-1953  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Pascin, Jules, 1885-1930  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1911-2011  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972  Search this
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Sterne, Maurice, 1878-1957  Search this
Extent:
0.76 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Diaries
Place:
United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945
Date:
circa 1910-1970
Summary:
The papers of New York painter and muralist George Biddle (1885-1973), measure 0.76 linear feet and date from circa 1910-1970. The collection includes a certificate signed by President Harry Truman, transcripts of Biddle's diaries, a manuscript of a memoir about meeting President Franklin Roosevelt, three letters from William Hunt Diederich's daughter, transcripts of letters from Bernard Berenson, sketches and mural studies, and two glass plate negatives.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York painter and muralist George Biddle (1885-1973), measure 0.76 linear feet and date from circa 1910-1970. The collection includes a certificate signed by President Harry Truman, transcripts of Biddle's diaries, a manuscript of a memoir about meeting President Franklin Roosevelt, three letters from William Hunt Diederich's daughter, transcripts of letters from Bernard Berenson, sketches and mural studies, and two glass plate negatives.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as one series.

Series 1: George Biddle Papers, circa 1910-1970 (0.7 linear feet; Box 1, OVs 2-4, MGP4)
Biographical / Historical:
New York painter and muralist George Biddle (1885-1973) proposed to President Franklin Roosevelt the establishment of a federal relief program for artists during the Depression, and subsequently painted a number of government murals under the auspices of the Federal Art Project, including murals for the Department of Justice in 1935.

Biddle was born to a prominent Philadelphia family and graduated from Harvard College. He studied at the Académie Julian and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and served in the United States Army in World War I, before returning to New York where he had his first series of one-man shows.

In 1933 Biddle wrote to long-time friend President Franklin Roosevelt, to suggest a work relief program that supported mural painters. Although the idea initially met with opposition, Biddle persisted and the resulting art projects of the Works Progress Administration went on to support the production of thousands of paintings in government buildings throughout the country during the Depression.

In 1940 Biddle was invited by the Mexican government to create a mural for the supreme court building in Mexico City. Biddle had visited Mexico in 1928 where he had traveled and sketched with Diego Rivera, and seen firsthand the value of government sponsored art programs.

In addition to his murals, Biddle was also known for his portraits, lithographs, and paintings. His work can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and others. His work has been shown throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, Japan, and India in over a hundred one-man shows and group exhibitions.
Related Materials:
Originals of the edited diary transcripts in this collection are in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division. The unedited diary has many more entries than the edited version and includes more details about Biddle's daily life and work, versions of articles by Biddle, and lists of his works of art through 1934.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming, including one of Biddle's original diaries, 1933-1935 (reel D127), records from the Federal Art Project, personal correspondence, articles and talks relating to Artists Equity (reels P17-P18), and a photocopy of Biddle's inventory notebook listing artwork and exhibitions (reel 4909). While the inventory notebook was discarded after microfilming, all other loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The papers on reels P12-P18 were loaned for microfilming in 1954 by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, PA. George Biddle lent the material on reel D127 in 1963 and donated the rest of the collection to the Archives of American Art between 1966-1970. In 1972, Michael Biddle, George Biddle's son, gifted a photocopy of an inventory notebook that was discarded after microfilming.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Rights:
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.
Topic:
New Deal, 1933-1939  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Mural painting and decoration, American  Search this
Art and state -- United States  Search this
Muralists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries
Citation:
George Biddle papers, circa 1910-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.biddgeor
See more items in:
George Biddle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw914a8a397-8d17-42b1-8038-b8b6e3075445
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-biddgeor
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