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Rockwell Kent papers, circa 1840-1993, bulk 1935-1961

Creator:
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Subject:
Wildenstein, Felix  Search this
Phillips, Duncan  Search this
Hays, Lee  Search this
Untermeyer, Louis  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl  Search this
Robeson, Paul  Search this
DuBois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt)  Search this
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano)  Search this
Ruggles, Carl  Search this
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur  Search this
Nearing, Helen  Search this
Nearing, Scott  Search this
Pach, Walter  Search this
Rasmussen, Knud  Search this
Reeves, Ruth  Search this
Seeger, Pete  Search this
Daniel, Charles  Search this
Cleland, T. M. (Thomas Maitland)  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen)  Search this
Chamberlain, J. E.  Search this
Boyesen, Bayard  Search this
Chase, William Merritt  Search this
Freuchen, Peter  Search this
Gellert, Hugo  Search this
Gottlieb, Harry  Search this
Hartley, Marsden  Search this
FitzGerald, James  Search this
Keller, Charles  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes  Search this
Henri, Robert  Search this
Jones, Dan Burne  Search this
United American Artists  Search this
United Office and Professional Workers of America  Search this
United Scenic Artists  Search this
National Farmers' Union (U.S.)  Search this
National Maritime Union of America  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Citizens' Committee for Government Arts Projects  Search this
Farmers Union of the New York Milk Shed  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Writers' Project  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
International Workers Order  Search this
Type:
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Topic:
Designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Politics and culture  Search this
Authors -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State)  Search this
Illustration of books  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Art and war  Search this
Commercial art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9557
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211757
AAA_collcode_kentrock
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211757
Online Media:

Rockwell Kent papers

Creator:
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Names:
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Citizens' Committee for Government Arts Projects  Search this
Farmers Union of the New York Milk Shed  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Writers' Project  Search this
International Workers Order  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
National Farmers' Union (U.S.)  Search this
National Maritime Union of America  Search this
United American Artists  Search this
United Office and Professional Workers of America  Search this
United Scenic Artists  Search this
Boyesen, Bayard  Search this
Chamberlain, J. E.  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916  Search this
Cleland, T. M. (Thomas Maitland), 1880-1964  Search this
Daniel, Charles, 1878-1971  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928  Search this
DuBois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963  Search this
Fitzgerald, James, 1899-1971  Search this
Freuchen, Peter, 1886-1957  Search this
Gellert, Hugo, 1892-1985  Search this
Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Hays, Lee, 1914-1981  Search this
Henri, Robert, 1865-1929  Search this
Jones, Dan Burne  Search this
Keller, Charles, 1914-2006  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-1952  Search this
Nearing, Helen  Search this
Nearing, Scott, 1883-1983  Search this
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958  Search this
Phillips, Duncan, 1886-1966  Search this
Rasmussen, Knud, 1879-1933  Search this
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976  Search this
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945  Search this
Ruggles, Carl, 1876-1971  Search this
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014  Search this
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962  Search this
Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977  Search this
Wildenstein, Felix, 1883-1952  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-  Search this
Extent:
88 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Date:
circa 1840-1993
bulk 1935-1961
Summary:
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88.0 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Scope and Content Note:
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.

Circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the papers are highlighted in an article by Garnett McCoy ("The Rockwell Kent Papers," in the Archives of American Art Journal, 12, no. 1 [January 1972]: 1-9), recommended reading for researchers interested in the collection. The collection is remarkably complete, for in the mid 1920s Kent began keeping carbon copies of all outgoing letters, eventually employing a secretary (who became his third wife and continued her office duties for the remainder of Kent's life).

Series 1: Alphabetical Files contain Kent's personal and professional correspondence, along with business records of the dairy farm and associated enterprises; also included are printed matter on a wide variety of topics and promotional literature relating to organizations and causes of interest to him. Voluminous correspondence with his three wives, five children, and other relatives, as well as with literally hundreds of friends, both lifelong and of brief duration, illuminates Kent's private life and contributes to understanding of his complex character. Among the many correspondents of note are: his art teachers William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller; fellow artists Tom Cleland, Arthur B. Davies, James Fitzgerald, Hugo Gellert, Harry Gottleib, Marsden Hartley, Charles Keller, and Ruth Reeves; collectors Duncan Phillips and Dan Burne Jones; critics J. E. Chamberlain and Walter Pach; and dealers Charles Daniel, Felix Wildenstein, and Macbeth Galleries. Kent corresponded with such diverse people as Arctic explorers Peter Freuchen, Knud Rasmussen, and Vilhjalmar Steffanson; composer Carl Ruggles and songwriters Lee Hays and Pete Seeger; civil rights pioneers Paul Robeson and Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; writers Bayard Boyesen, Scott and Helen Nearing, and Louis Untermeyer; and art historian and print curator Carl Zigrosser.

Kent's interest and involvement in the labor movement are reflected in correspondence with officials and members of a wide variety and large number of unions and related organizations, among them: the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America, Farmers' Union of the New York Milk Shed, International Workers Order, National Maritime Union, and United Office and Professional Workers of America. Of special interest is his participation, often in leadership roles, in various attempts to organize artists. Files on the American Artists' Congress, Artists League of America, The Artists Union, United American Artists, and United Scenic Artists contain particularly valuable material on the movement.

A supporter of New Deal efforts to aid artists, Kent was actively interested in the various programs and often was critical of their limitations; he advocated continuing federal aid to artists after the Depression abated. The Kent papers include correspondence with the Federal Arts Project, Federal Fine Arts Project, Federal Writers Project, and the War Department, as well as correspondence with the Citizens' Committee for Government Art Projects and President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the subject.

Kent's professional correspondence documents exhibitions, sales, consignments, and reproduction of prints and paintings. He kept meticulous records of his advertising commissions and illustration work. Detailed correspondence with publishers and printers indicates Kent's involvement in the technical aspects of production and provides a good overview of the publishing industry during the mid-twentieth century.

Business records of Asgaard Farm include records of the dairy and transfer of ownership to its employees, tax and employee information, and documents concerning several related business ventures such as distributor ships for grain, feed, and farm implements.

Series 2: Writings consists of notes, drafts, and completed manuscripts by Rockwell Kent, mainly articles, statements, speeches, poems, introductions, and reviews. The Kent Collection given to Friendship House, Moscow, in 1960, was augmented later by a set of his publications and the illustrated manuscripts of many of his monographs. Also included are a small number of manuscripts by other authors.

Series 3: Artwork consists mainly of drawings and sketches by Kent; also included are works on paper by other artists, many of whom are unidentified, and by children.

Series 4: Printed Matter consists of clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, broadsides, programs, and newsletters. These include items by and about Kent and his family, as well as articles written and/or illustrated by him, and reviews of his books. There is also material on a variety of subjects and causes of interest to him. Additional printed matter is included among the alphabetical files, mainly as attachments to correspondence.

Series 5: Miscellaneous includes biographical material, legal documents, and memorabilia. Artifacts received with papers include textile samples, a silk scarf, dinnerware, ice bucket, and rubber stamp, all featuring designs by Rockwell Kent. Also with this series are a variety of documents including a phrenological analysis of an ancestor, lists of supplies for expeditions, a hand-drawn map of an unidentified place, and technical notes regarding art materials and techniques.

Series 6: Photographs includes photographs of Kent, his family and friends, travel, and art number that over one thousand. Also included here are several albums of family and travel photographs.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series. Series 1 is arranged alphabetically. The arrangement of the remaining series is explained in each series description. Note that sealed materials that became available in 2000 were microfilmed separately on reels 5740-5741, but have integrated into this finding aid.

Missing Title

Series 1: Alphabetical Files, circa 1900-1971, undated (Reels 5153-5249, 5256, 5740-5741)

Series 2: Writings, 1906-1978, undated (Reels 5249-5252, 5741)

Series 3: Art Work, 1910-1972, undated (Reels 5252, 5741)

Series 4: Printed Matter, 1905-1993, undated (Reels 5252-5254)

Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1859-1969, undated (Reels 5254, 5741)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840-1970, undated (Reels 5254-5255, 5741)
Biographical Note:
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an energetic and multitalented man, pursued many interests and careers during his very long and active life. At various times he was an architect, draftsman, carpenter, unskilled laborer, painter, illustrator, printmaker, commercial artist, designer, traveler/explorer, writer, professional lecturer, dairy farmer, and political activist.

While studying architecture at Columbia University, Kent enrolled in William Merritt Chase's summer school at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island. He then redirected his career ambitions toward painting and continued to study with Chase in New York. Kent spent a summer working and living with Abbott H. Thayer in Dublin, New Hampshire, and attended the New York School of Art, where Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller were his teachers.

Critically and financially, Kent was a successful artist. He was very well known for his illustration work--particularly limited editions of the classics, bookplates, and Christmas cards. He was a prolific printmaker, and his prints and paintings were acquired by many major museums and private collectors. During the post-World War II era, Kent's political sympathies resulted in the loss of commissions, and his adherence to artistic conservatism and outspoken opposition to modern art led to disfavor within art circles. After many years of declining reputation in this country and unsuccessful attempts to find a home for the Kent Collection, Kent gave his unsold paintings--the majority of his oeuvre--to the Soviet Union, where he continued to be immensely popular.

An avid traveler, Kent was especially fascinated by remote, Arctic lands and often stayed for extended periods of time to paint, write, and become acquainted with the local inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1935, he wrote and illustrated several popular books about his experiences in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland. In the 1930s and 1940s, Kent was much in demand as a lecturer, making several nationwide tours under the management of a professional lecture bureau; he spoke mainly about his travels, but among his standard lectures were some on "art for the people."

In 1927, Kent purchased Asgaard Farm at AuSable Forks, New York, in the Adirondacks, where he lived for the remainder of his life, operating a modern dairy farm on a modest scale for many years.

As a young man, Kent met Rufus Weeks, became committed to social justice, and joined the Socialist Party. Throughout his life, he supported left-wing causes and was a member or officer of many organizations promoting world peace and harmonious relations with the Soviet Union, civil rights, civil liberties, antifascism, and organized labor. Kent was frequently featured as a celebrity sponsor or speaker at fund-raising events for these causes. In 1948, he ran unsuccessfully as the American Labor Party's candidate for Congress. Kent's unpopular political views eventually led to the dissolution of his dairy business, resulted in a summons to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and prompted the U.S. State Department to deny him a passport, an action that subsequently was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kent wrote two autobiographies, This Is My Own (1940) and It's Me, O Lord (1955). In 1969, he was the subject of an oral history interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.

Missing Title

1882 -- born, Tarrytown, New York

1887 -- death of Rockwell Kent, Sr.

1894-1896 -- attended Cheshire Academy

1895 -- toured Europe with Aunt Jo

1896 -- attended Horace Mann School, New York City

1900-1902 -- studied architecture at Columbia University

1900-1902 -- attended William Merritt Chase's summer school, Shinnecock Hills, Long Island

1903 -- studied with William Merritt Chase, New York City

1904 -- first sale of a painting

1904 -- met Rufus Weeks and attended first Socialist meeting

1905 -- lived and worked with Abbott H. Thayer, Dublin, New Hampshire

1905 -- first painting trip to Monhegan Island, Maine

1907 -- first one-man show, Claussen Galleries, New York City

1908 -- marriage to Kathleen Whiting

1908 -- studied with Robert Henri

1908 -- joined Socialist Party

1909 -- birth of Rockwell, III

1910 -- ran Monhegan Summer School of Art

1910 -- first trip to Newfoundland

1910 -- helped to organize first Independent Exhibition

1911 -- birth of Kathleen

1912 -- moved to Winona, Minnesota

1913 -- birth of Clara

1914 -- settled in Newfoundland

1915 -- deported from Newfoundland

1915 -- birth of Barbara

1917 -- served as full-time organizer and administrator of Independent Exhibition

1918-1919 -- in Alaska with son Rocky

1919 -- purchased Egypt Farm, Arlington, Vermont

1919 -- incorporated self

1920 -- publication of Wilderness

1920 -- birth of Gordon

1922 -- traveled to Tierra del Fuego

1924 -- publication of Voyaging

1925 -- trip to France

1925 -- divorced from Kathleen

1926 -- marriage to Frances Lee

1926 -- traveled to Ireland

1927 -- purchased Asgaard Farm, AuSable, New York

1927 -- editor of Creative Art

1927 -- helped organize National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.

1929 -- sailed to Greenland on Direction

1930 -- publication of N by E

1932-1933 -- returned to Greenland

1934-1935 -- final trip to Greenland

1935 -- publication of Salamina

1936 -- trip to Puerto Rico

1937 -- trip to Brazil

1937-1938 -- Post Office Department mural commission and controversy over Eskimo-language message interpreted as encouraging Puerto Rican independence

1939 -- divorced from Frances

1939 -- General Electric Co. mural commission for New York World's Fair

1940 -- publication of This Is My Own

1940 -- marriage to Shirley Johnstone (Sally)

1942 -- solo exhibition, Know and Defend America, at Wildenstein Galleries, New York City

1946 -- elected to Executive Committee of American Labor Party

1948 -- congressional candidate, American Labor Party

1948 -- transferred ownership of dairy to remaining employees after boycott resulting from support of Wallace for president

1949 -- attended World Congress for Peace, Paris

1950-1958 -- denied U.S. passport; lawsuit, appeals, and Supreme Court decision reinstating right to travel

1953 -- testified before House Un-American Activities Committee

1955 -- publication of It's Me, O Lord

1958 -- one-man show at Hermitage Museum, Leningrad

1959 -- publication of Of Men and Mountains

1960 -- gift of Kent Collection to Friendship House, Moscow

1960 -- exhibition at Pushkin Museum, Moscow

1963 -- publication of Greenland Journal

1966 -- elected to Academy of Arts of the USSR

1967 -- awarded Lenin Peace Prize, Moscow

1969 -- oral history interview, Archives of American Art

1969 -- home at Asgaard destroyed by fire; papers survived with some water and smoke damage

1969 -- first installment of Rockwell Kent Papers donated to Archives of American Art

1971 -- died, Plattsburgh, New York

1971 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art

1979 -- gift of textile samples to the Archives of American Art

1996 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art

2000 -- death of Sally [Shirley Johnstone] Kent Gorton

2000 -- previously sealed correspondence of wives Frances and Sally (Series 1) opened to researchers

2001 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent papers to the Archives of American Art from the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton
Provenance:
In 1969, Rockwell Kent donated his papers to the Archives of American Art; textile samples were received in 1979, and his widow gave additional papers in 1971 and 1996. Letters to Rockwell Kent from wives Frances and Sally, sealed during Sally Kent Gorton's lifetime, became available for research after her death in 2000, and further material was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2001 by the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton.
Restrictions:
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not microfilmed or digitized requires an appointment.
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Politics and culture  Search this
Authors -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State)  Search this
Illustration of books  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Art and war  Search this
Commercial art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Function:
Labor unions
Genre/Form:
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Citation:
Rockwell Kent papers, circa 1840-1993, bulk 1935-1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kentrock
See more items in:
Rockwell Kent papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kentrock
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Massimo Vignelli

Interviewee:
Vignelli, Massimo  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Benetton (Firm)  Search this
Container Corporation of America  Search this
Herman Miller, Inc.  Search this
Knoll Associates, inc.  Search this
Metron Orts- und Regionalplanung  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
New York City Transit Authority  Search this
New York Herald. (New York.)  Search this
Rochester Institute of Technology  Search this
Sansoni (Firm)  Search this
Steelcase, Inc.  Search this
United States Postal Service  Search this
United States. National Park Service  Search this
Venini International  Search this
Vignelli Associates  Search this
De Carlo, Giancarlo, 1919-2005  Search this
Domus  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Eames, Ray  Search this
Eckerstrom, Ralph E. (Ralph Eugene), 1921-  Search this
Eco, Umberto  Search this
Frau, Poltrona  Search this
Gardella, Ignazio  Search this
Graves, Michael, 1934-2015  Search this
Kacik, Walter  Search this
Kahn, Louis I., 1901-1974  Search this
Le Corbusier, 1887-1965  Search this
Loos, Adolf, 1870-1933  Search this
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969  Search this
Pagano, Giuseppe, 1896-1945  Search this
Pomodoro, Arnaldo, 1926-  Search this
Ponti, Gio, 1891-1979  Search this
Rams, Dieter  Search this
Scarpa, Carlo, 1906-1978  Search this
Terragni, Giuseppe, 1904-1943  Search this
Toscani, Oliviero  Search this
Venturi, Robert  Search this
Vignelli, Lella  Search this
Zevi, Bruno, 1918-2000  Search this
Extent:
9 Items (Sound recording: 9 sound files (6 hr., 52 min.))
153 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2011 June 6-7
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Massimo Vignelli conducted 2011 June 6-7, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Vignelli's home and office, in New York, New York.
Vignelli speaks of his youth and early start in art design and architecture; his early work at Catiglione architects at the age of 16; his father; his education; meeting his favorite architects; his influences; architecture and design magazines; organic and rationalist architecture in Italy; influence of Ignazio Gardella; Adolf Loos' idea of spoon to the city; European, American, and Italian architecture; education in Milan; his work with Venini Glass; Italian design; his early graphic work; design and vulgarity; marriage and working with Lella Vignelli; graphic design work at the Container Corporation; concept of design as a whole; his work on corporate identities; his establishment of Vignelli Associates; introduction and use of Helvetica in the United States; working with Knoll; choosing clients; design and culture; his work on St. Peter's Lutheran Church; design work for the United States National Parks newspaper design and layout; Unimark; timelessness and design; working with Poltrona Frau, Zero Labor design; major influences; his work for the United States Postal Service; connectivity and context in architecture; his clothing designs and historical perspectives on clothing; postmodernism; his work on the New York Subway; design work before and after computers; Japanese architecture and design; his work as a teacher; Oliviero Toscani and working for Benetton; America and international design; modernism and the office building; modern design and furniture; a timeline of his career; the Vignelli Center at RIT and archiving. Vignelli also recalls, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Giuseppe Terragni, Giuseppe Pagano, Domus, Gió Ponti, Metron, Bruno Zevi, Ignazio Gardella, Ray and Charles Eames, Giancarlo De Carlo, Venini Glass, Carlo Scarpa, Ralph Eckerstrom, Umberto Eco, Sansoni Publishing House, Vignelli Associates, Walter Kacik, Helvetica, Knoll, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, National Parks, New York Herald, Unimark, Lella Vignelli, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Poltrona Frau, Dieter Rams, Louis Kahn, Stendig Calendar, A to Z, Salon de Mobile, Michael Graves, Robert Venturi, Oliviero Toscani, Benetton, Herman Miller, Steelcase, and the Vignelli Center.
Biographical / Historical:
Massimo Vignelli (1931- ) is a designer in New York, New York. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded as 9 sound files. Duration is 6 hr., 52 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Architects  Search this
Topic:
Architectural design  Search this
Architecture, American  Search this
Architecture -- Europe  Search this
Architecture, Italian  Search this
Architecture -- Italy  Search this
Architecture, Japanese  Search this
Architecture -- United States  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Costume design  Search this
Design  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design  Search this
Postmodernism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.vignel11
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-vignel11
Online Media:

Charles Sheeler papers

Creator:
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Names:
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S. (Louise Stevenson), 1879-1953  Search this
Arensberg, Walter, 1878-1954  Search this
Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987  Search this
Eidlitz, Dorothy  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Lane, William H.  Search this
Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993  Search this
Newhall, Nancy Wynne.  Search this
Rourke, Constance, 1885-1941  Search this
Sheeler, Musya, 1908-1981  Search this
Waters, George  Search this
Weston, Edward, 1886-1958  Search this
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963  Search this
Photographer:
Sheeler, Musya, 1908-1981  Search this
White, Minor  Search this
Extent:
4.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Artifacts
Awards
Photographs
Journals (accounts)
Scrapbooks
Writings
Date:
circa 1840s-1966
bulk 1923-1965
Summary:
The papers of painter, photographer, lithographer and industrial designer Charles Sheeler measure 4.9 linear feet and date from circa 1840s to 1966, with the bulk of the material dating from 1923-1965. The collection documents Sheeler's family, personal life and career through financial and medical records, awards, correspondence, writings, an autobiography, journal and notebooks, scrapbooks, exhibition catalogs and announcements, printed materials, photographs, funeral records and artwork by Sheeler and others. The collection is particularly rich in Sheeler's writings, and also includes Sheeler's industrial designs and manufactured artwork. Notable photographs include Sheeler with Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, and John Marin.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, photographer, lithographer and industrial designer Charles Sheeler measure 4.9 linear feet and date from circa 1840s to 1966, with the bulk of the material dating from 1923-1965. The collection documents Sheeler's family, personal life and career through financial and medical records, awards, correspondence, writings, an autobiography, journal and notebooks, scrapbooks, exhibition catalogs and announcements, printed materials, photographs, funeral records and artwork by Sheeler and others. The collection is particularly rich in Sheeler's writings, and also includes Sheeler's industrial designs and manufactured artwork. There are photographs of Sheeler with Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, and John Marin.

Biographical materials date from 1875, and 1928-1965, and include funeral records, medical records, insurance, tax, and scattered financial records. There is one folder of records relating to artwork and exhibitions, as well as Sheeler's numerous certificates, prizes and awards, and the condolence book used at his funeral.

Correspondence consists of Sheeler's personal and professional correspondence dating from 1937-1966 with friends, artists, dealers, collectors, photographers, and curators. Notable correspondents include Ansel Adams, Walter and Louise Arensberg, William Lane, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, George Waters, William Carlos Williams, and Edward Weston. The series also includes correspondence with the Archives of American Art, Sheeler's biographer Constance Rourke, and with publishers, editors, children, and the general public. Lastly, there are condolence letters written to Musya Sheeler following Sheeler's death in May 1965.

Writings include Sheeler's journal dating from the 1950s-1963 and two notebooks containing notes, addresses, recipes, etc. Also found are Sheeler's writings on artists, drafts for articles, and a manuscript and notes for an autobiography that Sheeler wrote for Harcourt Brace. The autobiography became the basis for Constance Rourke's biography Charles Sheeler: Artist in the American Tradition published in 1938. The writing series also includes a short story by Musya Sheeler, and an illustrated short story by friend Dorothy Eidlitz.

The scrapbook series contains two oversize scrapbooks dating from 1930s-1960s that include newspaper and magazine clippings about Sheeler and his artwork, exhibition announcements and brochures, a poem, and a thank you letter from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

Additional printed materials date from 1923-1966 and document Sheeler's numerous exhibitions, notably his partnership with Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. Found here are clippings, copies of magazines, exhibition announcements and catalogs, museum bulletings, books, and miscellaneous items.

Photographs date from circa 1840s-1963 and include photographs of Sheeler's family, of Sheeler, and of Sheeler with friends and colleagues. There is one daguerreotype, two ambrotypes, and two tintypes of Sheeler's family and of Sheeler as a child. There are copyprints of these originals. Additional photographs are of Sheeler's mother and father (or possibly Sheeler's grandparent), of Sheeler, of Sheeler with his wife Musya, Sheeler with William Lane, Sheeler with Edward Weston, and Sheeler with Edward Steichen and John Marin. The series also includes photographs of Sheeler's collection of Shaker furniture, and photographs of exhibitions.

Artwork by Sheeler dates from circa 1930s-1960s and includes artifacts of manufactured pieces based on his industrial designs. Found are a glass tumbler, salt and pepper shakers, a tea spoon, fabrics designed by Sheeler, and sketches. The series also includes a drawing by Peggy Bacon and a photograph by Minor White.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into seven series. Materials are arranged by material type and chronologically or alphabetically thereafter:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1875, 1928-1965 (Boxes 1, 5, OV10; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1966 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1930s-1965 (Boxes 1-2 ; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1930s-1960s (Boxes 2, 6; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1923-1966 (Boxes 2-4, 7; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840s-1963 (Box 4, OV11; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1930s-1960s (Boxes 4-5, 8-9, OV12-OV14; 1.1 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Painter, photographer, lithographer and designer, Charles Rettew Sheeler Jr. was born on July 16, 1883 to Mary Cunningham Sheeler and Charles Rettew Sheeler in Philadelphia. He attended the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia from 1900-1903 and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied under William Merritt Chase. He found early success as a painter and exhibited at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908.

Around 1910 Sheeler took up photography, and by 1912 financially supported himself photographing buildings for local Philadelphia architects. The following year, Sheeler exhibited six paintings at the 1913 Armory Show in New York. In the mid 1910s, Sheeler began to collect American antiques, and by the 1920s was actively acquiring Shaker crafts and furniture.

In 1916, Sheeler was hired by Marius de Zayas of the Modern Gallery in New York to photograph objects and artwork. From 1917-1924, he worked as the staff photographer for the Modern Gallery and moved to New York in 1918. In 1920, Sheeler was hired as a still photographer for The Arts Magazine.

In 1926, Sheeler was hired by Edward Steichen to work as a fashion and celebrity photographer for Conde Nast Publications. His photographs were regularly featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair, but Sheeler also worked as a still life photographer for numerous advertising agencies. The following year, he was commissioned by the advertising firm N.W. Ayer and Son to photograph Ford Motor Company's new plant at River Rouge.

While working as a photographer, Sheeler continued to paint and used the subjects and composition of his photographs as a basis for his painting. His paintings Skyscrapers, 1922; Upper Deck, 1929; and American Landscape, 1930 are examples of Sheeler's technique of merging photographic imagery with painting and his overall precisionist style.

In 1931, upon the advice and guidance of Edith Halpert of the Downtown Gallery, Sheeler began to paint more often and to photograph less. Halpert became Sheeler's primarily dealer, and from 1931-1966 regularly exhibited his paintings and drawings. With Halpert's support, Sheeler produced Classic Landscape, 1931; American Interior, 1934; Silo, 1938; Amoskeag Canal, 1948; and Convolutions, 1952. In addition to Sheeler's partnership with Halpert, his work was exhibited by other galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad.

In 1939, Sheeler married his second wife, Musya Metas Sokolova (1908-1981) and, in 1942, the couple moved to Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. Sheeler continued to paint and photograph until he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1959. After 1959, Sheeler remained active exhibiting his artwork until his death on May 7, 1965 in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Related Material:
The Archives of American Art holds several collections that are related to Charles Sheeler.

There are two oral history interviews with Sheeler conducted by Mary Bartlett Cowdrey in December 1958, and by Martin Friedman in June 1959. The Archives also has the records of the Macbeth Gallery, which include a substantial amount of correspondence with Sheeler from 1907-1921, and the Downtown Gallery records, which also include correspondence with Sheeler, photographs of Sheeler and his artwork, exhibition publications, clippings, press releases, and audio visual materials dating from 1904-1972.

Also found in the the Archives is a loan of Charles Sheeler letters filmed on reel NY/59-5 containing letters written by Sheeler to his psychologist and art collector, Dr. Helen Boigon, art student George Craven, and friend William Carlos Williams, all dating from 1939-1958. There is a collection of six letters of Sheeler letters addressed to Doris Royce, possibly an art critic, dating from 1949-1957. Miscellaneous manuscript collections include one letter written by Sheeler to E.P. Richardson in 1958, and another letter written to Frank Crowninshield in September, 1939.
Separated Material:
Portions of Sheeler's papers that were originally loaned for microfilming were not included in the later gifts and are available only on microfilm reel NSH-1. A watercolor study microfilmed on reel 1811 was later transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. These materials are not described in the container list of this finding aid.
Provenance:
Charles Sheeler's wife Musya initially loaned the papers to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1958, 1965, and 1966. In June, 1966, she donated most of the earlier loaned materials. In 1964, Sheeler's friend Howard Lipman donated three photographs of Sheeler with Edward Steichen and John Marin. The third accrual was transferred to the Archives by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library in June 1979.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
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:
Works of art  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Lithographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Industrial designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Artifacts
Awards
Photographs
Journals (accounts)
Scrapbooks
Writings
Citation:
Charles Sheeler papers, circa 1840s-1966, bulk 1923-1965. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.sheechar
See more items in:
Charles Sheeler papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sheechar
Online Media:

Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records

Creator:
Schaefer, Bertha, 1895-1971  Search this
Names:
Bertha Schaefer Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
New Bertha Schaefer Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Barnet, Will, 1911-2012  Search this
Ben-Zion  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Greene, Balcomb, 1904-1990  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Vasilieff, Nicholas  Search this
Zóbel, Fernando  Search this
Extent:
4.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Date:
1909-1975
bulk 1940-1965
Summary:
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1909-1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1940-1965. The collection documents the Bertha Schaefer Gallery as well as Bertha Schaefer, the interior designer, through correspondence with artists and galleries, artist files, client files, exhibition material, printed material, financial material, biographical material, photographs, and six scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1909-1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1940-1965. The collection documents the Bertha Schaefer Gallery as well as Bertha Schaefer, the interior designer, through correspondence with artists and galleries, artist files, client files, exhibition material, printed material, financial material, biographical material, photographs, and six scrapbooks. Also found here are oversized blue prints and sketched plans of interior design projects, as well as a number of oversized photographic prints and stereo slides. Correspondence contains handwritten notes by many notable artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Fernando Zobel, with a bulk of the letters from Balcomb Greene.

Separated into three series, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery records document the artists represented by and function of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. The Bertha Schaefer papers pertain to Bertha Schaefer as an interior designer through a large number of photographic materials and client files. Six scrapbooks document artists Will Barnet, Ben-Zion, Balcomb Greene, and Nicolai Vasilieff, as well as the Bertha Schaefer gallery and the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as 3 series. Records are generally arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.

Missing Title

Series 1: Bertha Schaefer Gallery Records, 1909-1971 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Bertha Schaefer Papers, 1914-1971 (2.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 6-7, OV 8-9)

Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1944-1975 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 3-5)
Biographical / Historical:
Bertha Schaefer (1895-1971) was an interior designer and director of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York, New York. Schaefer was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi to Emil and Julia (Marx) Schaefer. She received her B.A. on June 1, 1914 from Mississippi State College for Women, and received a diploma for interior decorating from the Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 1924, after living in Paris for 5 months, she opened Bertha Schaefer Interiors in New York. In 1944, she opened the Bertha Schaefer Gallery of Contemporary Art, which featured American and European paintings and sculpture. "The Modern House Comes Alive" (1947-1948) is one of the key exhibitions she created. Schaefer designed furniture for Joe Singer of M. Singer and Sons Furniture Company in New York, 1950-1961.

Schaefer won design awards from the Museum of Modern Art (1952) and the Decorators Club of New York (1959). In 1958, she was given an award of recognition from the U.S. Department of State for her gallery's assistance in the American program for the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, and an outstanding achievement in interior design award from the American Institute of Interior Designers. She was a member of several design organizations, including: the American Institute of Decorators, the Home Lighting Forum, the Illuminating Engineers Society, the American Federation of the Arts, and the Art Dealers Association of America. She was the president of the Decorators Club of New York from 1947-1948 and 1955-1957.

Schaefer was one of the first people to use fluorescent lighting in domestic spaces, with Percy Block as her first client, in 1939. In honor of Edison's birthday in 1953, she designed a bathroom for General Electric, applying new developments in lighting. She died on May 24, 1971, after which the gallery was renamed the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Bertha Schaefer conducted by Paul Cummings, April 20-22, 1970.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming. Reel N69-115 is comprised of papers concerning Alfred H. Maurer, including a scrapbook about Maurer from 1946 to 1969. Reel N70-60 contains material concerning Hale Woodruff, including correspondence, sketches and drawings, articles, photographs, catalogs, announcements, clipping, notes kept while a student of Diego Rivera, and a scrapbook. Lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records were donated in several installments from 1969 to 1974 by Bertha Schaefer and Bertha Schaefer Gallery Inc. She also loaned material for microfilming in 1970. Paul Creamer donated three scrapbooks from the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery in 1979. Additional material was donated in 1984 by Syracuse University.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
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.
Occupation:
Gallery directors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Interior decoration  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Interior designers -- New York (State) -- New York
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Citation:
Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records, 1909-1975, bulk 1940-1965. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.schabert
See more items in:
Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-schabert

Oral history interview with Julia Santos Solomon

Interviewee:
Santos Solomon, Julia, 1956-  Search this
Interviewer:
Espinosa, Fernanda  Search this
Names:
Pandemic Oral History Project  Search this
Extent:
1 Item ((23 min.), digital, mp4)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Video recordings
Date:
2020 August 26
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Julia Santos Solomon conducted 2020 August 26, by Fernanda Espinosa, for the Archives of American Art's Pandemic Oral History Project at Santos Solomon's home in Woodstock, New York.
Biographical / Historical:
Julia Santos Solomon (1956- ) is a teacher, painter, and textile and fashion designer in the Dominican Republic and Woodstock, New York.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Julia Santos Solomon papers.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
This interview is open for research.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its Oral History Program interviews available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. Quotation, reproduction and publication of the audio is governed by restrictions. If an interview has been transcribed, researchers must quote from the transcript. If an interview has not been transcribed, researchers must quote from the audio recording. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- New York (State) -- Woodstock  Search this
Art teachers -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Painters -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Woodstock  Search this
Textile designers -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Textile designers -- New York (State) -- Woodstock  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Pandemics  Search this
COVID-19 (Disease)  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women textile designers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Video recordings
Identifier:
AAA.santos20
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-santos20
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Julia Santos Solomon

Interviewee:
Santos Solomon, Julia, 1956-  Search this
Interviewer:
Espinosa, Fernanda  Search this
Extent:
7 Items (sound files (8 hrs., 1 min), digital, m4a)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Interviews
Date:
2021 March 9- 2021 April 15
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Julia Santos Solomon conducted 2021 March 9- 2021 April 15, by Fernanda Espinosa, for the Latino Initiatives Pool 2019, at Santos Solomon's studio in Woodstock, New York.­
Biographical / Historical:
Julia Santos Solomon (1956- ) is a teacher, painter, and textile and fashion designer in the Dominican Republic and Woodstock, New York.
Related Materials:
The Archives also holds the Julia Santos Solomon papers and an oral history interview with Santos Solomon conducted 2020 August 26 as a part of the Archives of American Art's Pandemic Oral History Project.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
This interview is open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its Oral History Program interviews available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. Quotation, reproduction and publication of the recording is governed by restrictions. If an interview has been transcribed, researchers must quote from the transcript. If an interview has not been transcribed, researchers must quote from the recording. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Art teachers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Fashion designers -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Fashion designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Textile designers -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Textile designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- Dominican Republic  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women textile designers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.santos21
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-santos21

Oral history interview with Stefan Sagmeister

Interviewee:
Sagmeister, Stefan, 1962-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
75 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2012 Dec. 4-5
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Stefan Sagmeister conducted 2012 December 4 and 5, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Sagmeister's studio, Sagmeister & Walsh, in New York, N.Y.
Biographical / Historical:
Interviewee Stefan Sagmeister (1962- ) is a designer in New York, New York. Interviewer Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, Calif.
General:
Originally recorded as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 25 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Topic:
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sagmei12
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sagmei12
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Vladimir Kagan

Interviewee:
Kagan, Vladimir  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
120 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2010 June 10-11
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Vladimir Kagan conducted 2010 June 10-11, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Kagan's studio in Nantucket, Connecticut.
Biographical / Historical:
Vladimir Kagan (1927- ) is a designer and sculptor in New York, N.Y. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a writer and independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 memory cards as 8 digital sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 57 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kagan10
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kagan10
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Niels Diffrient

Interviewee:
Diffrient, Niels  Search this
Interviewer:
McQuaid, Matilda, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Bassett, Chuck  Search this
Dreyfuss, Henry, 1904-1972  Search this
Hernmarck, Helena, 1941-  Search this
King, Bob  Search this
Knoll, Florence, 1917-  Search this
Knoll, Hans  Search this
Loewy, Raymond  Search this
Magnusson, Carl G., 1940-  Search this
Rowland, David Lincoln, 1924-2010  Search this
Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961  Search this
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950  Search this
Whelan, Elizabeth  Search this
Wolf, Henry, 1852-1916  Search this
Extent:
55 Pages (Transcript)
4 Items (Sound recording: 4 sound files (2 hr., 58 min.), digital, wav)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Italy -- description and travel
Michigan -- Detroit -- Description and Travel
Mississippi -- Description and Travel
Date:
2010 July 28-August 31
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Niels Diffrient conducted 2010 July 28 and August 31, by Matilda McQuaid, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Diffrient's home and studio, in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Diffrient speaks of growing up in Detroit while spending his summers with his mother's family in Mississippi; the value of growing up on a farm; attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit; realizing that he did not want to work in a factory; learning about crafts at Cranbrook Academy; travelling to Italy on a Fulbright Grant; working with Italian versus American designers; designing office chairs; the state of education in America. Diffrient's wife, Helena Hernmarck, contributes to the discussion of craft, weaving, and textiles. Diffrient also recalls Hans and Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen, Chuck Bassett, David Rowland, Henry Dreyfuss, Bob King, Carl Magnusson, Raymond Loewy, Henry Wolf, Elizabeth Whelan, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Niels Diffrient (1928-2013) is an industrial designer in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Matilda McQuaid (1958-) is deputy curatorial director, Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 memory cards. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 58 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Industrial designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.diffri10
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-diffri10
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Marek Cecula

Interviewee:
Cecula, Marek, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Barneys New York  Search this
Garth Clark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art  Search this
Kunst- og designhögskolen i Bergen  Search this
Memphis (Group)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Parsons School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
Tiffany and Company  Search this
Cecula, Lanie  Search this
De Waal, Edmund  Search this
Earl, Jack  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Kottler, Howard, 1930-1989  Search this
Mayer, Jean  Search this
Nagle, Ron  Search this
Ogen, Gdula, 1929-  Search this
Price, Kenneth, 1935-2012  Search this
Shire, Peter  Search this
Spurey, Gerda  Search this
Spurey, Kurt, 1941-  Search this
Veiteberg, Jorunn, 1955-  Search this
Extent:
104 Pages (Transcript)
10 Items (Sound recording: 10 sound files (4 hr., 55 min.), digital, wav)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Brazil -- Description and Travel
Israel -- Description and Travel
Poland -- description and travel
SoHo (New York, N.Y.) -- Description and Travel
Date:
2009 May 19-20
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Marek Cecula conducted 2009 May 19-20, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Cecula's studio, in New York, New York.
Marek Cecula speaks of his childhood in Kielce, Poland, during World War II; his move to Israel at age 16; studies with ceramists Gdula Ogen and Jean Mayer; the influence of Japanese ceramics on his early studies; life on the kibbutz HaSolelim in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the influence of Kurt and Gerda Spurey and their use of porcelain and slip-casting; his work in both functional and sculptural ceramics; his move to Tel Aviv in early 1970s, then to a commune in Binyamina in 1971; his move to Curitiba, Brazil, and subsequent work with Schmidt porcelain factory; "Art Project 79" exhibition, La Jola, Curitiba, Brazil, 1979; his move to Washington, D.C., with girlfriend (later wife) Lanie in 1976; Klepisko (2008); the cyclical nature in his work; move to New York City in late 1970s; the Soho arts scene in the 1970s and '80s; his work blending design and sculpture; establishing Contemporary Porcelain gallery, 1978; interest in work by Memphis Group, Peter Shire, Jack Earl, Ken Price, and Ron Nagle; head of ceramics department, at Parsons School of Design, New York City (1985-2004); continued design and production work, including for Tiffany & Co. and Barneys New York; establishment of Modus Design firm; continued exploration of industrial processes and use of decals in his work; influence of Howard Kottler; his quest to balance digital and handmade processes, and the continued importance of the tactile; "Scatology" exhibition; series Hygiene, his first purely sculptural series; Porcelain Carpet; representation at Garth Clark Gallery (New York City, Los Angeles, and Kansas City, Missouri); series Violations; series Mutants; series Industrial Interference; "Interface" exhibition (2002), in response to terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; Look Into My Mind; The Stand For the Heroes, 2001; series Beauty of Imperfection; move to Poland in early 2000s; a teaching/artistic position at Bergen National Academy of Arts, Norway; establishment of Design Centrum Kielce in late 2000s; Menorah, 2007, Kielce (site-specific); Six Stations, 2007, Porsgrunn, Norway (site-specific); future projects for the city of Kielce; work with the Łódź Design Festival, Poland, and design center in Cieszyn, Poland; "kilo of earth" product; Last Supper; Mandala; Islam; limitations and advantages of ceramics as a medium; his globalized, multicultural experiences and outlook; the European vanguard in ceramics; periodicals and publications of interest; writers of interest: Edmund de Waal, Jorunn Veiteberg, Janet Koplos; the "desire society"; curating Third Biennale for Israeli Ceramics, 2004; fusion art, craft, and design; "Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics," Gardiner Museum, Toronto, 2008; redefinition of the concept of the object.
Biographical / Historical:
Marek Cecula (1944- ) is a ceramist and designer, who lives and works in New York and Poland.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 55 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Occupation:
Ceramicists  Search this
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Japan  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Kibbutzim  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Poland  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.cecula09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cecula09
Online Media:

Oral history interview with John Eric Byers

Interviewee:
Byers, John Eric, 1959-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
143 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2011 June 13-14
Scope and Contents:
An interview of John Eric Byers conducted 2011 June 13 and 14, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Byers' home and studio, in Newfield, New York.
Biographical / Historical:
John Eric Byers (1959- ) is an artist and designer in Newfield, New York. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded as 7 digital sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 4 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Topic:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.byers11
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-byers11
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Dror Benshetrit

Interviewee:
Benshetrit, Dror, 1977-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
80 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2012 November 30-December 3
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Dror Benshetrit conducted 2012 November 30 and December 3, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Benshetrit's studio, in New York, New York.
Biographical / Historical:
Dror Benshetrit (1977- ) is a designer in New York, New York. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded as 8 sound files. Duration is 5 hr.; 1 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Topic:
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.benshe12
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-benshe12
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Jack Lenor Larsen

Interviewee:
Larsen, Jack Lenor, 1927-2020  Search this
Interviewer:
Fisch, Arline M.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of Washington -- Students  Search this
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Rossbach, Ed  Search this
Extent:
78 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 February 6-8
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Jack Lenor Larsen conducted 2004 February 6-8, by Arline M. Fisch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Longhouse, East Hampton, N.Y.
Larsen speaks of his childhood in Seattle, Washington; his parents and other adults who had a positive impact on his development; building things with his friends; attending the University of Washington to study architecture and deciding to study textiles instead; visiting Dorothy Liebes's textile studio; leaving school and moving to Los Angeles; attending the University of Southern California and eventually returning to the University of Washington; becoming a teaching assistant to Ed Rossbach; getting a Masters degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art; meeting many influential people in San Francisco and New York; moving to New York and setting up a studio; working on commission for several companies including Thaibok; expanding his offices to include larger looms and a showroom; setting up a branch of production in Haiti; working in the fashion industry and designing home decor; and working in Southeast Asia developing handcrafted woven exports. He also speaks of his involvement with the American Craft Council and the World Crafts Council, re-organizing and building the new campus at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; traveling to Central Asia, Africa, Europe, and his desire to travel more; working and exhibiting in Japan; experiencing the Japanese textile industry; writing numerous books on fiber arts including, "The Dyer's Art," often collaborating with other fiber artists; developing a classification system for interlacing; collecting art; gardening and its relation to art and design; building Round House and the inspiration behind it; building LongHouse using the Japanese Ise Shrine as a model and plans for further expansion; retiring and difficulties writing, "A Weaver's Memoir." Larsen also recalls Dorothy Liebes, Marianne Strengell, Florence Knoll, Edgar Kaufman, Ed Rossbach, Toshiko Takaezu, Francis Merritt, Mary Bishop, Garth Clark, Issey Miyake, Mildred Constantine, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Jack Lenor Larsen (1927-2020) was a weaver and textile designer from East Hampton, N.Y. Arline M. Fisch (1931- ) is a jeweler from San Diego, Cailfornia.
General:
Originally recorded on 7 sound discs and 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 19 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hrs., 23 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Textile designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Textile crafts  Search this
Textile industry -- Japan  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.larsen04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-larsen04
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Massimo Vignelli, 2011 June 6-7

Interviewee:
Vignelli, Massimo, 1931-2014  Search this
Vignelli, Massimo, 1931-2014  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
De Carlo, Giancarlo  Search this
Domus  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Eames, Ray  Search this
Eckerstrom, Ralph E. (Ralph Eugene)  Search this
Eco, Umberto  Search this
Frau, Poltrona  Search this
Gardella, Ignazio  Search this
Graves, Michael  Search this
Kacik, Walter  Search this
Kahn, Louis I.  Search this
Le Corbusier  Search this
Loos, Adolf  Search this
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig  Search this
Pagano, Giuseppe  Search this
Pomodoro, Arnaldo  Search this
Ponti, Gio  Search this
Rams, Dieter  Search this
Scarpa, Carlo  Search this
Terragni, Giuseppe  Search this
Toscani, Oliviero  Search this
Venturi, Robert  Search this
Vignelli, Lella  Search this
Zevi, Bruno  Search this
Benetton (Firm)  Search this
Container Corporation of America  Search this
Herman Miller, Inc.  Search this
Knoll Associates, inc.  Search this
Metron Orts- und Regionalplanung  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
New York City Transit Authority  Search this
New York Herald. (New York.)  Search this
Rochester Institute of Technology  Search this
Sansoni (Firm)  Search this
Steelcase, Inc.  Search this
United States. National Park Service  Search this
United States Postal Service  Search this
Venini International  Search this
Vignelli Associates  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Architectural design  Search this
Architecture, American  Search this
Architecture -- Europe  Search this
Architecture, Italian  Search this
Architecture -- Italy  Search this
Architecture, Japanese  Search this
Architecture -- United States  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Costume design  Search this
Design  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design  Search this
Postmodernism  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15958
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)302171
AAA_collcode_vignel11
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_302171
Online Media:

Charles Sheeler papers, circa 1840s-1966, bulk 1923-1965

Creator:
Sheeler, Charles 1883-1965  Search this
Subject:
Adams, Ansel 1902-1984  Search this
Bacon, Peggy 1895-1987  Search this
Lane, William H  Search this
Newhall, Beaumont 1908-1993  Search this
Weston, Edward 1886-1958  Search this
Williams, William Carlos 1883-1963  Search this
Waters, George  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S (Louise Stevenson) 1879-1953  Search this
Newhall, Nancy Wynne  Search this
Rourke, Constance 1885-1941  Search this
Arensberg, Walter 1878-1954  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor 1900-1970  Search this
Eidlitz, Dorothy  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Archives of American Art  Search this
Photographer:
Sheeler, Musya  Search this
White, Minor  Search this
Physical description:
4.9 linear feet
Type:
Scrapbooks
Collection descriptions
Date:
1840
1840-1966
circa 1840s-1966
bulk 1923-1965
Local number:
AAA 1811-1812
AAA NSH 1-NSH 3
AAA sheechar
Restrictions & Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center
See more items in:
Charles Sheeler papers, circa 1840s-1966, bulk 1923-1965
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_211598

Oral history interview with Jack Lenor Larsen, 2004 February 6-8

Interviewee:
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Interviewer:
Fisch, Arline M  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Subject:
Rossbach, Ed  Search this
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
University of Washington Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Physical description:
Transcript: 78 pages
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Japan
Date:
2004
2004-2004
2004 February 6-8
Topic:
Textile crafts  Search this
Textile industry  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Local number:
AAA
AAA larsen04
Restrictions & Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_247149

Oral history interview with Niels Diffrient, 2010 July 28-August 31

Interviewee:
Diffrient, Niels  Search this
Interviewer:
McQuaid, Matilda 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Subject:
Bassett, Chuck  Search this
Dreyfuss, Henry 1904-1972  Search this
Hernmarck, Helena 1941-  Search this
King, Bob  Search this
Knoll, Florence 1917-  Search this
Knoll, Hans  Search this
Loewy, Raymond  Search this
Magnusson, Carl G. 1940-  Search this
Rowland, David Lincoln 1924-2010  Search this
Saarinen, Eero 1910-1961  Search this
Saarinen, Eliel 1873-1950  Search this
Whelan, Elizabeth  Search this
Wolf, Henry 1852-1916  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Physical description:
Transcript: 55 pages
Sound recording: 4 sound files (2 hr., 58 min.) digital, wav
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Italy
Michigan
Detroit
Mississippi
Date:
2010
2010 July 28-August 31
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Local number:
AAA
AAA diffri10
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_295428

Oral history interview with Van Day Truex, 1971 November 15

Interviewee:
Truex, Van Day, 1904-1979  Search this
Truex, Van Day, 1904-1979  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul, 1933-1997  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12515
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213179
AAA_collcode_truex71
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213179
Online Media:

Dorothy Liebes papers

Creator:
Liebes, Dorothy  Search this
Names:
Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company  Search this
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Textile Fibers Department  Search this
Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Morin, Relman, 1907-1973  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959  Search this
Extent:
24.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Interviews
Date:
circa 1850-1973
bulk 1922-1970
Summary:
The papers of weaver, textile designer, and consultant Dorothy Liebes date from circa 1850-1973 (bulk 1922-1970) and comprise 24.7 linear feet. Through biographical material including a sound recording of an interview, family and general correspondence, writings including a draft of Liebes's autobiography, subject files providing detailed records of her influential consulting work, financial and legal files, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork, textile samples, and photographic material picturing a wide variety of career and personal activities, the collection provides rich and extensive documentation of Liebes's career and personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of weaver, textile designer, and consultant Dorothy Liebes date from circa 1850-1973 (bulk 1922-1970) and comprise 24.7 linear feet. Through biographical material including a sound recording of an interview, family and general correspondence, writings including a draft of Liebes's autobiography, subject files providing detailed records of her influential consulting work, financial and legal files, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork, textile samples, and photographic material picturing a wide variety of career and personal activities, the collection provides rich and extensive documentation of Liebes's career and personal life.

Biographical material consists of awards, biographical notes, membership and identification cards, passports, a will, and a sound recording of a 1945 interview with Liebes.

Correspondence is personal with family and friends, and general with friends and colleagues including artists, and fellow weavers and designers. Notable correspondents include Dorr Bothwell, Daren Pierce, Beatrice Wood, and Frank and Olgivanna Lloyd Wright.

Diaries and calendars record Liebes's busy professional and personal life, with notations on daily activities and, beginning in 1952, detailed notes by staff recording activities at the studio on days when Liebes was absent.

Writings by Dorothy Liebes include notes, drafts, and manuscripts of published and unpublished writings, including an autobiography, speeches, and drafts for an unpublished book on weaving.

Subject files contain correspondence, printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous items in varying combinations, and focus heavily on Liebes's consulting work for businesses in the textile industry, including her work with DuPont, Bigelow-Sanford, Goodall, Dow, and others. The files document the importance of her work as a colorist and show how she successfully adapted craft weaving to machine methods. Furthermore, they record how Liebes used her marketing instincts and broad media appeal to rebrand the image of companies such as DuPont from one of chemistry and utility, to one that represented high style and glamor in durable and practical fabrics that were affordable and desirable in home furnishings. Other subject files document organizations, individuals, and topics of interest to Liebes, including files recording her involvement with arts and crafts organizations, her role as director for the Decorative Arts Display at the Golden Gate Exposition in 1939, her work as director of the Red Cross's Arts and Skills workshop, scattered exhibition records, and files on weavers and weaving. Files on Liebes's extensive promotional work for multiple clients are also included here, as are files documenting Liebes's relationship with Relman Morin, such as correspondence and scattered records of Morin's career as a Pullitzer Prize winning journalist.

Financial and legal records are comprised of accounting records from the 1930s-1940s, financial summaries, investment statements, personal and business inventories, personal and business tax returns, and some legal records.

Printed material includes advertisements, articles, and exhibition announcements and catalogs, recording Liebes's career. This material is supplemented by thirty-three bound scrapbooks of printed publicity material, photographs, and documents recording Liebes's career in substantial depth.

Artwork by Dorothy Liebes consists of designs, feather weavings, a small hooked composition, and tapestry samples. Artwork by others includes prints by Dorr Bothwell, designs by Lawrence J. Colwell, and painted sketches of clothing designs by Daren Pierce. Two linear feet of samples consist primarily of textile swatches primarily designed by Dorothy Liebes Studio, Inc.

Photographic material includes professional portraits of Liebes and others, photos of Liebes at events and parties, with staff and other weavers, at work in her studio, and traveling. Of note are a series of pictures taken at Taliesin West with Frank and Olgivanna Wright, Relman Morin, and others. Photographic material also provides examples of Liebes's design work in homes, hotels, offices, and elsewhere, and shows her work pictured in exhibitions and showrooms. Photographs of other subjects include portraits of unidentified women by Man Ray and Consuela Canaga.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 11 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1934-circa 1970 (Box 1, OV 23; 0.28 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1973 (Boxes 1-2; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 3: Diaries and Calendars, 1948-1971 (Boxes 2-4; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1920-circa 1971 (Boxes 4-5; 1.05 linear feet)

Series 5: Subject Files, circa 1933-1971 (Boxes 5-13, 20, OVs 23, 59; 8.43 linear feet)

Series 6: Financial and Legal Records, circa 1935-1972 (Box 13, 20; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1897-1971 (Boxes 14, 20-21, OV 38; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1933-1972 (Box 21-22, 24-36; 5 linear feet)

Series 9: Artwork, circa 1920s-circa 1960s (Boxes 14, 22, OVs 23, 39, 42, RD 37; 1.24 linear feet)

Series 10: Samples, circa 1850-1855, circa 1930s-circa 1970 (Boxes 15-16; 2.0 linear feet)

Series 11: Photographic Material, circa 1875, circa 1897-circa 1970 (Boxes 17-19, 36, OVs 38, 40-41; 2.0 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
California and New York weaver, textile designer, and consultant Dorothy Wright Liebes (1899-1972) was known for distinctive textiles featuring bold color combinations and unusual textures achieved through the use of materials such as glass rods, sequins, bamboo, grass, leather, ribbon, wire, and ticker tape. Her work with companies in the synthetic fiber industry to make craft weaving compatible with man-made fabrics and machine looms, produced an innovative and exciting new aesthetic in interior design that was both functional and affordable, and made Liebes a mid-century household name.

Born Dorothy Wright in Santa Rosa, California, Liebes was the daughter of chemistry professor Frederick L. Wright and teacher Bessie Calderwood Wright. She studied art, education, and anthropology at San Jose State Teachers College and the University of California, Berkeley. During her college years, a teacher encouraged her to experiment with weaving and textile design since many of her paintings resembled textiles.

Liebes was a teacher for several years before deciding to pursue a career in textile design. She then studied weaving at Hull House in Chicago and traveled to France, Italy, Guatemala, and Mexico to learn the traditional weaving forms of those cultures. Upon her return to the United States, Liebes opened her first professional studio for weaving and textile design on Powell Street in San Francisco; Dorothy Liebes Design, Inc. was established in 1934, and eventually employed a staff of weavers. Liebes moved her studio to 545 Sutter Street in 1942.

Her first client in the industry was Goodall-Sanford Mills, with whom Liebes worked as a consultant for more than a decade. As her client base expanded, she decided to open a New York studio and maintained both studios until 1948 when she closed her San Francisco operation and relocated to New York City.

Liebes became a color and design consultant to corporations such as DuPont, Dow, and Bigelow-Sanford and tested and promoted newly developed synthetic fibers. She advised textile chemists in the development of fibers that were versatile enough to produce many different textures and worked with engineers and technicians to develop new machines that could reproduce the irregularities of hand-loomed fabrics. Liebes became a sought-after speaker by textile industry and consumer groups, and sometimes taught workshops on color and design.

Liebes's commissions included the United Nations Delegates Dining Room, the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel and the King of Saudi Arabia's traveling royal throne room. Between 1937 and 1970, Liebes participated in more than thirty solo and group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, Cranbrook Museum, Detroit Institute of Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, and other venues. She received prizes and awards from institutions and corporations such as Lord and Taylor, Neiman-Marcus, the Paris Exposition, the American Institute of Decorators, the American Institute of Architects and the Architectural League. She was also awarded the Elsie de Wolfe Award and an honorary degree from Mills College in 1948.

Liebes's other notable activities included her work a director of the Decorative Arts Display for the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair, which she credited with establishing her as an authority in the field, and her work as organizer and director of "Arts and Skills," a Red Cross occupational therapy project that included training in weaving for soldiers injured in World War II. In the 1950s, she worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, journeying though the southwest to study Indian schools and weaving techniques.

Liebes was married to businessman Leon Liebes from 1928 until their divorce in 1940 and continued to use the name Liebes for the remainder of her life. In 1948, she married Pulitzer prize winning Associated Press special correspondent Relman "Pat" Morin.

During the last year of her life, Dorothy Liebes was semi-retired due to a heart ailment. She died in New York City on 10 September 1972.
Provenance:
Gift of the Estate of Dorothy Liebes through Relman Morin, 1972, and Ralph Higbee, 1973-1974.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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.
Occupation:
Textile designers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Textile designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Weavers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Weavers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art consultants -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Women textile designers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Interviews
Citation:
Dorothy Liebes papers, circa 1850-1973. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.liebdoro
See more items in:
Dorothy Liebes papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-liebdoro
Online Media:

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