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Hassel Smith papers, circa 1900-2004, bulk 1930-1995

Creator:
Smith, Hassel Wendell, 1915-2007  Search this
Subject:
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Emmerich, André  Search this
Gimpel, Charles  Search this
Still, Patricia  Search this
Thiebaud, Wayne  Search this
Swanson, Kathryn  Search this
Wollard, Robert  Search this
Butterfield, Jan  Search this
Still, Clyfford  Search this
Bischoff, Elmer  Search this
Anglim, Paule  Search this
Gimpel Fils  Search this
New Arts (Art gallery)  Search this
San Francisco Art Institute  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Sketches
Transcripts
Christmas cards
Photographs
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Educators -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Art -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Art teachers -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5714
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208552
AAA_collcode_smithass
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208552
Online Media:

Hassel Smith papers

Creator:
Smith, Hassel, 1915-2007  Search this
Names:
Gimpel Fils  Search this
New Arts (Art gallery)  Search this
San Francisco Art Institute -- Faculty  Search this
Anglim, Paule  Search this
Bischoff, Elmer, 1916-1991  Search this
Butterfield, Jan  Search this
Emmerich, André  Search this
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Gimpel, Charles  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-  Search this
Still, Patricia  Search this
Swanson, Kathryn  Search this
Thiebaud, Wayne  Search this
Wollard, Robert  Search this
Extent:
4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sound recordings
Sketches
Transcripts
Christmas cards
Photographs
Date:
circa 1900-2004
bulk 1930-1995
Summary:
The papers of Southern California painter and instructor Hassel Smith measure 4 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to 2004 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1930-1995. Found within the papers are correspondence, a transcript of an interview conducted by Jan Butterfield in the 1980s, personal business files, teaching files, writings by Smith and others, sketches, printed materials, and photographs of Smith, his family and friends, and his artwork. There are audio recordings of a lecture series organized by Smith and of reviews of Smith's work. Correspondents include Paule Anglim, Elmer Bischoff, Andre Emmerich, Clyfford Still, Wayne Thiebaud, and many others.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Southern California painter and instructor Hassel Smith measure 4 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to 2004 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1930-1995. Found within the papers are correspondence, a transcript of an interview conducted by Jan Butterfield in the 1980s, personal business files, teaching files, writings by Smith and others, sketches, printed materials, and photographs of Smith, his family and friends, and his artwork. There are audio recordings of a lecture series organized by Smith and of reviews of Smith's work. Correspondents include Paule Anglim, Elmer Bischoff, Andre Emmerich, Clyfford Still, Wayne Thiebaud, and many others.

Biographical materials include biographical sketches, curriculum vitae, genealogical materials, ephemera, and personal appointment books from the mid to late 1970s. Also found here is a transcript of an in-depth interview of Smith conducted by Jan Butterfield in the 1980s.

There is personal and professional correspondence with Paule Anglim, Elmer Bischoff, Andre Emmerich, Charles Gimpel of Gimpel Fils, Clyfford and Patricia Still, Kathryn Swanson of the New Arts Gallery, Wayne Thiebaud, family members, and many others.

Personal business records include art sales records, exhibition checklists, conservation and condition reports, and personal finance records. Teaching materials include class schedules, student lists, and syllabi. Also found are notes on topics such as American art and literature, artistic traits and forms, illusion, and women artists.

Writings by Smith include artist statements, creative writings, his thoughts on the art market and art institutions, the San Francisco art community, and social criticism. Writings by others consist primarily of essays about Smith and his work. There are also writings by Smith's friend Robert Wollard. Artwork includes sketches, doodles, and Christmas cards done by Smith, and a handful of artwork by others.

Printed materials include clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and posters. Also found here are printed materials about other artists, schools where Smith enrolled or taught, Smith's general interests, and collages and flyers by Robert Wollard. There is a printed copy of the pictorial edition of the Communist Manifesto edited by Smith and other artists.

Photographic materials are of Smith, family members, artwork, his studio, exhibition openings and other art events, and friends and colleagues. A family photograph dates from circa 1900 and negatives date from 1920. Most of the photographs date from the 1940s through the 1990s.

Sound recordings include 1 sound tape reel of the radio show, Art Review, with host John Fitz Gibbon reviewing Smith's artwork, and nine sound cassettes of student critiques overseen by Smith at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1930-2004 (0.25 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1930s-2003 (1.0 linear foot; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Personal Business Materials, 1953-2003 (0.25 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 4: Teaching Materials, 1960s-1980s (18 folders; Box 2)

Series 5: Writings, 1940s-1994 (0.25 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 6: Artwork, 1928-1995 (8 folders; Box 2)

Series 7: Printed Materials, 1928-2003 (1.25 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)

Series 8: Photographic Materials, 1900s-2004 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4)

Series 9: Sound Recordings, 1965-1980 (10 items; Box 4)
Biographical Note:
Hassel Smith (1915-2007) was a California Bay area abstract expressionist painter, painting instructor at the California School of Fine Arts, and a lecturer at the University of California. His students included Roy De Forest, Sonia Gechtoff, and Frank Lobdell. Smith was also associated with the famed Los Angeles Ferus Gallery.

Hassel Smith was born on April 27, 1915, in Sturgis, Michigan, settling later with his family in San Mateo, California. He attended Northwestern University with the intention of becoming a chemist, but switched his majors to English and Art History and graduated in 1936. Returning to California, Smith enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), and studied with the painter Maurice Sterne.

In 1937, he left school and shared housing with his adopted brother Lewis in the Haight-Ashbury district, where he maintained a studio on Steiner Street. At the same time, as a social worker for the California Relief State Administration, he worked with men on "skid row" in San Francisco. Declared 4F by the draft board, Smith served various government agencies during World War II, including the Farm Security Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. During this period, he met and married June Meyers. He later described his government service and social work as having a strong influence on his art and politics.

In 1941, Smith was awarded the Abraham Rosenberg Fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley, which allowed him to travel and paint outdoors at Angel's Camp in the Mother Lode of the Sierra foothills, along with Richard Hackett.

At the end of the war, Smith began teaching at the CSFA, joining faculty members Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, and Clyfford Still. Smith taught there until 1952. His students included Roy De Forest, Sonia Gechtoff, and Frank Lobdell. Smith continued to paint and exhibit work throughout the 1950s, and in 1958 became affiliated with the Ferus Gallery founded by Walter Hopps and Ed Kienholz. His wife June passed away in 1958. One year later, Smith remarried Donna Rafferty Harrington, and they had their son Bruce in 1960.

After an exhibition at the New Arts Gallery in Houston, London-based dealer Charles Gimpel invited Smith to exhibit his work in England. As a result of this, Smith moved to England in 1962, and spent a year living in Mousehole, a fishing village in Cornwall. He moved back to California and between 1963 to 1966 was a visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1966, Smith accepted a position as Senior Lecturer at the West England College of Art in Bristol, England where he stayed until 1978. He finished his teaching career as a Principal Lecturer at the Cardiff College of Arts in Wales from 1978 to 1979.

Smith spent most of the next two decades painting and exhibiting, which included exhibitions at the Oakland Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. In 1991, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the San Francisco Art Institute (formerly the California School of Fine Arts). Due to failing health, Smith was forced to stop painting in 1997. Smith died in 2007 in Warminster, England, at the age of 91.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Hassel Smith conducted by Paul Karlstrom, September 5, 1978 and a video interview with Hassel Smith conducted by Paul Karlstrom, January 15, 1986.
Provenance:
Hassel Smith donated most of his papers in several increments between 1980 and 1998. His son Joseph donated audio recordings in 1980, and Hassel Smith's widow Donna donated additional materials in 2004.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Hassel Smith papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Painters -- California  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Educators -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Art -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Art teachers -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Sketches
Transcripts
Christmas cards
Photographs
Citation:
Hassel Smith papers, circa 1900-2004, bulk 1930-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.smithass
See more items in:
Hassel Smith papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-smithass
Online Media:

Reviews of Hassel Smith exhibitions by John Fitz Gibbon for Art Review radio series

Creator:
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1965
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)13404
See more items in:
Hassel Smith papers, circa 1900-2004, bulk 1930-1995
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_13404

The Pilot Hill collection of contemporary art / John Fitz Gibbon

Author:
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Crocker Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Fitz Gibbon, John Art collections  Search this
Fitz Gibbon, Jane Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
xix, 201 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Place:
California, Northern
California
Date:
2002
C2002
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Art--Private collections  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_702853

California A-Z and return : June 23 - August 19, 1990

Author:
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Butler Institute of American Art  Search this
Physical description:
92 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
California
Date:
1990
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Call number:
N6530.C2.C22.1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_640680

H.C. Westermann : West / edited by David King & Melani McKim-King ; with essays by John Fitz Gibbon ... [et al.]. ; reflections by artists and friends

Title:
West
Author:
Westermann, H. C (Horace Clifford) 1922-  Search this
King, David  Search this
McKim-King, Melani  Search this
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Richmond Art Center (Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Westermann, H. C (Horace Clifford) 1922-  Search this
Physical description:
96 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1997
C1997
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_648870

William Morehouse : a memorial exhibition / organized by Michael Schwager ; essay by John Fitz Gibbon ; edited by Hailey Kuhn and Michael Schwager

Author:
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Schwager, Michael 1953-  Search this
Kuhn, Hailey  Search this
Sonoma State University University Art Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Morehouse, William 1929-1993 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
56 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1995
C1995
Call number:
ND237.M722 A4 1995
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_650360

Robert Brady : a survey exhibition / Janice T. Driesbach, curator ; essays by Thomas H. Garver and John Fitz Gibbon

Author:
Brady, Robert 1946-  Search this
Garver, Thomas H  Search this
Driesbach, Janice Tolhurst  Search this
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Crocker Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Brady, Robert 1946- Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
84 p. : ill. (some col.), port. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1989
Call number:
N40.1.B814 D7 1989
N40.1.B814D7 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_384207

Joseph Raffael / essay by John Fitz Gibbon

Author:
Raffael, Joseph 1933-  Search this
Fitz Gibbon, John  Search this
Nancy Hoffman Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Raffael, Joseph 1933-  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 23 x 24 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2003
[2003]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_947651

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