Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
73 documents - page 1 of 4

Hugo Gellert papers

Creator:
Gellert, Hugo, 1892-1985  Search this
Names:
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Art of Today Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Artist's Committee of Action (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Artists Coordination Committee (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Artists Council  Search this
Artists for Victory, Inc.  Search this
Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome  Search this
Hungarian Word, Inc.  Search this
National Society of Mural Painters (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Derkovits, Gyula, 1894-1934  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Fast, Howard, 1914-  Search this
Fiene, Ernest, 1894-  Search this
Gellert, Ernest  Search this
Gellert, Lawrence, 1898-1979  Search this
Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-  Search this
Gropper, William, 1897-1977  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Lie, Jonas, 1880-1940  Search this
Refregier, Anton, 1905-  Search this
Reisman, Philip, 1904-  Search this
Sequenzia, Sofia  Search this
Extent:
6.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Photographs
Date:
1916-1986
Summary:
The papers of graphic artist, muralist, and activist Hugo Gellert measure 6.9 linear feet and date from 1916 to 1986. They document his career as an artist and organizer for the radical political left through an interview, legal papers, financial records, family papers, artifacts, correspondence, writings, organizational records, extensive printed materials (many of them illustrated by Gellert), photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of graphic artist, muralist, and activist Hugo Gellert measure 6.9 linear feet and date from 1916 to 1986. They document his career as an artist and organizer for the radical left through an oral interview conducted by Sofia Sequenzia, legal papers, financial records, family papers, artifacts, correspondence, writings, organizational records, clippings, exhibition catalogs, various printed materials illustrated by Gellert, pamphlets, periodicals, mass mailings, photographs, and artwork.

Biographical Material includes an audio interview with Gellert; official documents related to memberships, property, and legal matters; financial documents that include bills, receipts, and contracts related to professional activities; papers of Gellert's brothers, Lawrence and Ernest; and artifacts. Correspondence is with other artists, writers, publishers, activists, friends, and family, including Ernest Fiene, Rockwell Kent, Harry Gottlieb, William Gropper, Philip Evergood, Howard Fast, and Jonas Lie. Writings include essays, book projects, notes, and notebooks written by Gellert; and stories and articles by other authors, including typescripts of early twentieth-century Hungarian short stories collected by Gellert.

Organizational Records are related to political and art organizations in which Gellert was an active organizer, officer, and in some cases, a founder. Because of his central role in many of these organizations, records often contain unique documentation of their activities. Records are found for the American Artists Congress, the Art of Today Gallery, the Artists Committee of Action, the Artists Coordination Committee, the Artists Council, Artists for Victory, Inc., the Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome, Hungarian Word, Inc., the National Society of Mural Painters, and other organizations.

Printed materials include a variety of political publications and periodicals with illustrations by Gellert, including New Masses, Art Front, Magyar Szo, and American Dialog; clippings related to his career, exhibition catalogs, political pamphlets, Hungarian literature, and mass mailings received from political organizations. Photographs contain a few personal photographs but are mostly news and publicity photographs, many of which depict prominent Communists and other newsmakers. Artwork includes sketches, drawings, designs, prints, and production elements for Gellert's artwork, as well as prints and drawings by Philip Reisman, Gyula Derkovits, and Anton Refregier.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 7 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-1982 (Box 1 and OV 9; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1920-1986 (Boxes 1-2, 8; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1916-1970 (Boxes 2 and 8; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 4: Organizational Records, circa 1920-1977 (Boxes 3, 8, and OV 9; 1 linear foot)

Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1920-1986 (Boxes 4-6, 8, and OV 9; 3 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1920-1959 (Boxes 6-7; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1927-1981 (Box 7, OV 10; 0.4 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Graphic artist, muralist, and activist Hugo Gellert was born Hugo Grünbaum in Budapest, Hungary in 1892, the oldest of six children. His family immigrated to New York City in 1906, eventually changing their family name to Gellert.

Gellert attended art school at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. As a student, he designed posters for movies and theater, and also worked for Tiffany Studios. A number of student art prizes with cash awards enabled him to travel to Europe in the summer of 1914, where he witnessed the outbreak of World War I, an experience which helped shape his political beliefs. Aesthetically, he was also influenced by a folk revival among Hungarian artists at the time of his trip, and was more impressed, he later said, with the street advertising in Paris than he was with the cubism he saw in the Louvre.

Returning to the United States, Gellert became involved in the Hungarian-American workers' movement, and contributed drawings to its newspaper, Elöre (Forward). He remained involved in Hungarian-American art and activism throughout his life, including membership in the anti-fascist group, the Anti-Horthy League. When members of the fascist Horthy government unveiled a statue of a Hungarian hero in New York in 1928, Gellert hired a pilot and dropped leaflets on the group, a stunt for which he was arrested. In the 1950s, Gellert served as director of Hungarian Word, Inc., a Hungarian-language publisher in New York.

Gellert's political commitment and art remained deeply intertwined throughout his life, as he continually sought to integrate his commitment to Communism, his hatred of fascism, and his dedication to civil liberties. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, he contributed artwork to several magazines of the radical left, including Masses and its successors Liberator and New Masses, both of which featured Gellert's artwork on their inaugural issue. Through Masses, he came to know other radicals such as Mike Gold, John Reed, Louise Bryant, Max Eastman, Floyd Dell, Anton Refregier, William Gropper, Harry Gottlieb, Bob Minor, and Art Young, and with them he followed the events of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia with sympathy and growing political fervor.

His brother, Ernest Gellert, also a socialist and activist, was drafted into the military but refused to serve. He died of a gunshot wound under suspicious circumstances while imprisoned at Fort Hancock, New Jersey, as a conscientious objector. Traumatized by this event, Gellert fled to Mexico to avoid conscription. In 1920 to 1922, he taught art at the Stelton School in New Jersey, a radical, utopian community school. He participated in the cultural scene of Greenwich Village, working on set designs, publications, and graphic art for political productions. He founded the first John Reed Club in 1929 with a group of Communist artists and writers including Anton Refregier, Louis Lozowick, and William Gropper. Initially, the group held classes and exhibitions, and provided services for strikes and other working-class activism. Later, John Reed Clubs formed around the country and became a formal arm of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA).

In the late 1920s, Gellert became a member of the National Society of Mural Painters (which, partly due to Gellert's activism in the group, became the Mural Artists' Guild local 829 of the United Scenic Artists Union of the AFL-CIO in 1937. Other members included Rockwell Kent, Anton Refregier, Arshile Gorky, and Marion Greenwood). In 1928, he created a mural for the Worker's Cafeteria in Union Square, NY. Later murals include the Center Theater in Rockefeller Center, the National Maritime Union Headquarters, the Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union Building, NYC, the interior of the Communications Building at the 1939 World's Fair, and the Seward Park Housing Project in 1961.

In 1932, Gellert was invited to participate in a mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and submitted a political mural about the robber barons of contemporary American politics and industry called Us Fellas Gotta Stick Together - Al Capone. The museum attempted to censor the mural, along with the murals of William Gropper and Ben Shahn. Other artists threatened to boycott the exhibition over the censorship and were successful in restoring them to the show.

The cooperation of artists in this controversy foreshadowed a larger protest in 1934, organized by Gellert, Saul Belman, Stuart Davis, and Zoltan Hecht, when Diego Rivera's pro-labor mural was destroyed at Rockefeller Center. After the incident, the group formed the Artists' Committee of Action and continued to fight censorship and advocate for artists' interests and welfare. They also co-published the magazine Art Front with the Artists' Union, a labor organization. Gellert served for a time as editor of Art Front, and chairman of the Artists' Committee of Action.

Gellert was active in producing both art and strategic policy for the cultural arm of the CPUSA, and he worked to mobilize the non-communist left, often referred to as the Popular Front. In 1933 he illustrated Karl Marx's Capital in Lithographs, and in 1935, he wrote a Marxist, illustrated satire called Comrade Gulliver, An Illustrated Account of Travel into that Strange Country the United States of America. Other published graphic works include Aesop Said So (1936) and a portfolio of silkscreen prints entitled Century of the Common Man (1943).

Other artist groups he helped to found and/or run include the American Artist's Congress, a Communist organization founded with Max Weber, Margaret Bourke-White, Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Harry Sternberg, and others, which held symposia and exhibitions between 1936 and 1942; the Artists' Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of national organizations which sought protections for federally-employed and unionized artists; Artists for Victory, Inc., which formed in 1942 to mobilize artists in support of the war effort; and the Artists' Council, formed after the war to advocate for artists' welfare and employment.

Gellert maintained his loyalty to the Communist party throughout the post-war period despite growing disillusionment in the Popular Front over the actions of Josef Stalin, and despite the intense anti-communist crusades in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was investigated by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and was nearly deported. He spent a number of years during this period in his wife's native Australia. Returning to the United States in the early 1950s, he threw his efforts into the defense of others who faced prison, deportation, and the blacklist following the HUAC hearings. He established The Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome in 1951 when Jerome, the cultural commissioner of CPUSA, was convicted under the Smith Act. The writer Dorothy Parker was the group's treasurer.

In 1954, Gellert established the Art of Today Gallery in New York City with Rockwell Kent and Charles White to provide an exhibition venue for blacklisted artists. Exhibitions included Maurice Becker, Henry Glintenkamp, Harry Gottlieb, Kay Harris, and Rockwell Kent. Gellert served as the gallery's secretary until it closed in 1957.

In the 1960s until his death in 1985, Gellert continued his activism through involvement in grassroots political organizations. Unlike many of his radical contemporaries, Gellert lived to see the revival of some of the ideas of the progressive era of the thirties in the countercultural years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were retrospectives of his work in Moscow in 1967 and in his native Budapest in 1968, and he appeared in Warren Beatty's film Reds in 1981.

Sources used for this essay include James Wechsler's 2003 dissertation "The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert: Embracing the Spectre of Communism," his essay "From World War I to the Popular Front: The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert," ( Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts number 24, Spring 2002), and Jeff Kisseloff's biographical essay for the 1986 Hugo Gellert exhibition at the Mary Ryan Gallery.
Related Material:
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are an oral history with Hugo Gellert from 1984, a recording of a lecture Gellert gave at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1985, and additional records of Artists for Victory, Inc., 1942-1946.

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University holds additional papers of Hugo Gellert.
Provenance:
A portion of the papers were donated in 1970 by Hugo Gellert. Additional papers were donated by Gellert and his wife, Livia Cinquegrana, in 1983 and 1986.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Rights:
The Hugo Gellert 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.
Topic:
Artists' writings  Search this
Politics in art  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Graphic artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Citation:
Hugo Gellert papers, 1916-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gellhugo
See more items in:
Hugo Gellert papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gellhugo
Online Media:

Stephen Antonakos papers

Creator:
Antonakos, Stephen, 1926-2013  Search this
Names:
Allentown Art Museum  Search this
Ethniko Mouseio Synchronēs Technēs (Greece)  Search this
Fischbach Gallery  Search this
Galerie Bernier  Search this
Galleria Bonomo  Search this
Galleriaforma  Search this
Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center  Search this
John Weber Gallery  Search this
Kalfayan Galleries  Search this
Konrad Fischer Gallery  Search this
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art  Search this
Lori Bookstein Fine Art  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Mouseio Benakē  Search this
Rose Art Museum  Search this
Savannah College of Art and Design  Search this
The Drawing Room  Search this
Ādo furondo gyararī  Search this
Adler, Sebastian  Search this
Bladen, Ronald, 1918-1988  Search this
Kitagawa, Fram, 1946-  Search this
Kokkinos, George  Search this
Koshalek, Richard  Search this
Marzona, Egidio  Search this
Spector, Naomi  Search this
Extent:
24.2 Linear feet
1.73 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Transcripts
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Drawings
Blueprints
Obituaries
Date:
1932-2014
bulk 1960-2014
Summary:
The papers of American sculptor Stephen Antonakos measure 24.2 linear feet and 1.73 GB and date from 1932-2014, with the bulk of the material dating from 1960-2014. The collection documents Antonakos's pioneering work in neon, through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, project files, exhibition files, printed and digital material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of American sculptor Stephen Antonakos measure 24.2 linear feet and 1.73 GB and date from 1932-2014, with the bulk of the material dating from 1960-2014. The collection documents Antonakos's pioneering work in neon, through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, project files, exhibition files, printed and digital material, and photographs.

Biographical material comprises biographical statements and resumes, transcripts of 5 interviews, copies of obituaries, and other records relating to Antonakos's memorial service in 2013.

Correspondence is primarily professional, with scattered personal correspondence, and provides suppemental documentation of all aspects of the artist's career, including gifts, sales, loans, and consignments to galleries and museums such as Fischbach Gallery; John Weber Gallery; Lori Bookstein Fine Art; Galleria Bonomo, Bari; Art Front Gallery, Tokyo; Galerie Bonnier, Stockholm; Galerie Bernier, Athens; Kalfayan Gallery, Athens; Galerie Citronne, Poros; Konrad Fischer Gallery, Berlin; Daniel Marzona Gallery, Berlin; The American Academy of Arts and Letters; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; the Onassis Cultural Center; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; the Smith College Museum of Art; the Dallas Museum of Art; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki; and the Benaki Museum, Piraeus.

Writings and notes provide artist statements on all aspects of Antonakos's work, as well as teaching notes from the 1960s.

Project files are a rich source of information on Antonakos's work in neon, particularly for the large-scale permanent Public Works including Hampshire College, Amherst; the Tacoma Dome; Pershing Square, Los Angeles; the Atlanta Hartsfied Airport; the 59th Street Transfer Station, New York City; Faret Tachikawa, Japan; the Stadtsparkasse, Cologne; the Reading Power Plant, Tel Aviv; the San Antonio Public Library; the University of Dijon; the Attiko Metro, Athens; the Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee; and the Airport of Puglia, Bari. All aspects of the artist's work, from conception on paper through execution and reception by the public, are documented here in correspondence, artist statements and proposals, contracts, insurance records, original drawings, plans and blueprints, printed and digital material, and photographs. Ideas and proposals for projects not executed are also documented in this series, and comprise the same types of material.

Antonakos's conceptual Packages are documented in lists, letters of transmittal, and photographs. The series also holds the contents of a Package given to the Archives of American Art in 1975 and opened, as requested, after his death: a 35mm microfilm of a sketchbook kept by Antonakos from 1974-1975, with sketches and notes about his neon projects.

Antonakos's artistic development can be traced chronologically in the exhibition files from some of his earliest work with neon in combination with found objects, to the use of neon alone. Exhibition files document the artist's progression from placing neon on a base or wall and at the corners and ceilings of rooms, to placing tubes at the edges of panels in order to generate a colored glow around them; furthermore, they document the evolution from his early boxes, contained spaces, and indoor and outdoor rooms, to his meditation spaces and chapels. Also in evidence in this series is the artist's prolific output of drawings, which were shown in numerous exhibitions. Exhibition files include documentation from circa 100 solo shows and from his over 250 group shows, at venues including Allentown Art Museum, the Benaki Museum, The Drawing Room, Galleriaforma, Genoa, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens, John Weber Gallery, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Rose Art Museum, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Many of the files include Antonakos's original drawings and plans.

Printed material comprises announcements and catalogs for Antonakos's solo and group exhibitions, posters of the same, press and publicity clippings, and 10 publications about or including Antonakos and his work.

There are 7 photographs of Antonakos, including portraits by George Kokkinos and photos with others including Sebastian Adler, the artist's daughter Evangelina Mary Spector Antonakos, Naomi Spector Antonakos, Ronald Bladen, and Richard Koshalek. Also found are photos of artwork by category, and digital photographs of sample images.

The collection includes 1 reel of microfilm (35mm).
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1970s-2014 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2014 (3.25 linear feet; Boxes 1-4, 24)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1966-2012 (0.3 linear feet; Box 4, 0.932 GB; ER01)

Series 4: Project Files, 1965-2014 (8.6 linear feet; Boxes 4-11, 24, OVs 25-40, 0.275 GB; ER02-ER04)

Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1960-2014 (8.95 linear feet; Boxes 11-19, 24, OVs 40-45, 0.094 GB; ER05)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1959-2013 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 19-23, OVs 46-47)

Series 7: Photographs, 1932-2013 (0.5 linear feet; Box 23, 0.431 GB; ER06)
Biographical / Historical:
American sculptor Stephen Antonakos (1926-2013) was a pioneer in the use of neon as an artistic medium from the early 1960s onward. Born in Agios Nikolaos in southern Greece, he immigrated to the US with his family at the age of four and lived in New York City thereafter.

After serving in WWII he established his first studio in the 1950s in New York City's fur district, a fertile neighborhood for the found objects and found materials of his early large Assemblages, Constructions, and "Sewlages" (sewn fabric collages) through that decade, when he worked also as a commercial artist. Seeing the neon signs in these Manhattan streets night after night released his intuition of the medium's untapped flexibility. He called neon "a paradise" he wished to "control" in his own new way, with abstract geometric forms in space.

Concentric neon circles and squares appeared first, notably in the transitional White Light (1962). Mostly black, it incorporated a cut-up Thonet chair and a box-form of found rabbit fur. In the same year, he moved on to his central engagement with neon in architectural space with his Hanging Neon, whose colored tubes jut diagonally into the viewers' space from a box suspended from the ceiling. He continued this key dynamic boldly in many large mid-1960s installations: Orange Vertical Neon, Red Neon from Wall to Floor, and Red Neon from Wall to Wall. There are small-scale models from the period for many more. All fulfill the artist's definition of his work as "real things in real spaces."

His 1962-63 Pillows and Pillow Drawings, exhibited first at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, are distinguished by the intense engagement of the hand: cutting, adding, sewing, stuffing, drawing, layering, and combining materials in ways that clearly predict his constant practice with drawings and collages through the following decades. The subsequent role of works on paper in forming Antonakos's development cannot be over-emphasized; he drew almost every day. The physicality of these compositions and of the cuts and tears and layering in his collages through the years, make them not images, but objects. The same holds for the many Travel Collages produced from the late 1970s through 2001.

Throughout the 1970s, medium-scale two- and three-dimensional variations of his geometric vocabulary were strategically positioned on white walls in formal dialogue with their sites' ceilings, floors, inside corners, and outside corners. Known as the Direct Neons, these works were exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across Europe and the US. As ever, new work was conceived for each venue's particular sites.

A very large group of Project Drawings from the late 1960s through the early 1970s charts Antonakos's thinking through the Direct Neons and on into installations of greater scale, his Walls and Rooms.

First shown in Athens, the Walls investigated both bold and subtle variations of almost "syntactical" relationships between the neon forms "drawn" on the colored surfaces. Two 1973 Rooms allowed simultaneous formal engagement with interior and exterior architectural spaces. In both, making the entire interior a single unit fulfilled Antonakos's hope of including the viewer within the space of the art. San Francisco Room was exhibited inside the Museum of Art. The Room, placed outdoors in downtown Grand Rapids, offered more viewing options from greater distances, rooftops and, very importantly, with exposure to the daily 24-hour cycle of natural light. 1974, Outdoor Neons for the Fort Worth Art Museum upped the ante further with enormously greater scale and geometric diversity. This was nourishment for Antonakos's central concerns uniting light, form, and time throughout his future Public Works.

The mid-1970s saw a definitive change in the drawings. They became completely abstract, without reference to anything outside the work itself. Often made in series, they explored complete and incomplete linear forms in relation to the proportions of the sheets.

All through the 1970s Antonakos produced his conceptual Packages. Filled, sealed, and sent to individuals or groups of friends, they were meant either never to be opened, to be opened on a specific date, or to be opened after the death of the artist. There were approximately thirty projects. An important set sent in 1974 and 1975 to Richard Artschwager, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Ryman to be filled by them was opened twenty-five years later as the central event during the major exhibition Time Boxes 2000 at the Brandeis's Rose Art Museum. Less concerned with their contents than with our consciousness through time of not knowing, they relate to such concepts as "incomplete circle" -- knowing what/that we do not know/see. The Greek art historian Savvas Michael has written: "The material of the Packages is time."

From the late 1970s, for over thirty years, there was an active practice of Public Works in neon. More than fifty were constructed and installed in indoor and outdoor sites in airports, rail stations, university campuses, banks, and downtown areas in cities across the US, Europe, and Japan. They range from the spare 15' incomplete square on the facade of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art to the almost 500' treatment of the chimney complex of the Reading Power Plant in Tel Aviv. Antonakos began each project by considering the formal qualities of the site day and night and its use by the public. He considered working for the public a special responsibility.

Moving into the 1980s, Antonakos placed neon forms on painted unstretched canvases and on the faces of large geometric forms on walls and floors. This period also saw the crucial introduction of neon placed behind the edges of wall Panels, so that only the colored glows are seen. These Panels developed into one of his major practices to the end -- their single or segmented geometric surfaces variously monochrome, painterly, or gold or silver-leafed. They have been extensively exhibited in Europe and the US. In 2009 the public-scaled neon Panel The Road to Mistra was commissioned for the Onassis Cultural Center in New York. In response to this work, the New York art historian Irving Sandler wrote, "Essentially a classicist in the Constructivist tradition, he has revealed the poetry of neon."

Antonakos started to design his Chapels and Meditation spaces with neon in the late 1980s and continued through the rest of his life. Their roots lie in his lifelong commitment to Greek Orthodoxy and in the evolution of his activation of geometric space. They include his 1993 Chapel of the Saints in a fortress in Rhodes, which he described in a letter to Elias Kollias as being, at that point, "the masterwork of my life." The full-scale iron Chapel of the Heavenly Ladder was exhibited in the XLVII Venice Biennale and is permanently installed now in Thessaloniki. In 2003, the Greek art critic Alexandra Koroxenides wrote of Antonakos's "capacity to create surroundings of meditation and spirituality." Many Chapels have been created for important temporary exhibitions here and in Greece, and small precise models exist for more of them.

Through the 1980s and to the end, the drawings on various papers and vellums developed in many directions, some full of white space, some filled to the hilt with intensely colored forms -- sometimes singly and often in series. In the mid-1990s Antonakos began using the multicolored pencil, in dense overall hatchings and later in open spatial "clouds." One drawing of 72 dense square units is like an installation as it plays out rhythmically across the four walls of the gallery. The various ideas of the drawings intersect with those of his collages, reflecting always the active hand. Colored or bare, cut, torn, layered, pleated, or crumpled, they maintain their objecthood within the frame.

All these themes and techniques climaxed in his major Artist's Book, Alphavitos, later in the 1980s. Its many material and printing innovations are structured around the cumulative appearance of hand-made papers with letters of the Greek Alphabet recurring intermittently until the last bears the complete alphabet. The composition of complete and incomplete circles and squares on the front and back covers are in silver on the unique volume and in leather relief on the edition. The book incorporates endless ideas of form, color, scale, proportion and, of course, time, as the pages are turned. Related white wood, silver, and marble Reliefs grew out of the making of the book, as did new graphic variations of some of the plates. In 2011 he began a new series of Gold works. Small sculptures shaped with "incomplete" areas sit on bases, and framed works in gold-leafed Mylar and Tyvek hang in frames. As with the drawings, some have cut edges or various forms cut out of them or are crumpled. They are made in varying sizes, singly and in powerful series, and all have many different "faces" as they intersect with the course of natural light over the day. In Greece, they are seen as echoes of Byzantium.

In 2011, Antonakos took on a climactic project in the ruins of an old oil factory in Elefsina, Greece -- a part of the 40 year history of their Festival of Aeschylus. In thirty-four locations throughout the continuous indoor and outdoor site of 17,000 square meters, he placed spare linear neon forms, accumulations, columns, and Panels, hoping, he said, that the visitors might sense "some of the things that I have found in my life and art." It can be seen in the photographs of Panos Kokkinias and on the artist's website.

Antonakos had over 100 solo exhibitions and over 250 group shows. His work has been the subject of numerous books and catalogues including the key 1999 monograph Antonakos by Irving Sandler. The major catalogue for the 2007-2008 Retrospective organized by the J. F. Costopoulos Foundation at the Benaki Museum in Athens includes essays by Martin Filler, Eleftherios Iconomou, Katerina Koskina, Daniel Marzona, and Brian O'Doherty. His work is in the collections of the major museums of New York, Athens, and Thessaloniki, and in many other museums in the US and Europe. In 2011 he received the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Art and the Greek America Foundation.

Since 1963 his studio has been located in Soho.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Stephen Antonakos dated 1975, May 9.
Provenance:
The collection was donated in 1975 and 1981 by Stephen Antonakos, and in 2014 by Naomi Spector Antonakos.
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.

Use of archival born-digital records with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Stephen Antonakos 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.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Neon sculpture  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art critics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Drawings
Blueprints
Obituaries
Citation:
Stephen Antonakos papers, 1932-2014, bulk 1960-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.antostep
See more items in:
Stephen Antonakos papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-antostep

Frank Harmon Myers papers, 1891-1976

Creator:
Myers, Frank Harmon, 1899-1956  Search this
Subject:
Bunker, John  Search this
Weis, John E.  Search this
Wessels, Herman  Search this
Myers, Ella Price  Search this
Cincinnati Art Club  Search this
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8044
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210215
AAA_collcode_myerfran
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210215

Frank Harmon Myers papers

Creator:
Myers, Frank Harmon, 1899-1956  Search this
Names:
Cincinnati Art Club  Search this
Bunker, John  Search this
Myers, Ella Price  Search this
Weis, John E.  Search this
Wessels, Herman, 1878-1969  Search this
Extent:
2.6 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 5 reels))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1891-1976
Scope and Contents:
Letters, photographs, writings, sketches and drawings, printed material, and a typescript biography.
REELS D26-D27: Correspondence, consisting mainly of family letters, ca. 1920-1960, and letters from John Bunker, a Cincinnati advertising man and poet; sketchbooks and loose sketches; photographs; reproductions; catalogs; articles; and clippings.
REEL D42: Scrapbook, ca. 1925-1945.
REELS 840-841: Postcards and letters from Myers' son, Frank P. Myers, while at college and also when in the Navy; letters received from John Bunker; a sales ledger; photographs; childhood drawings and an oil painting done in 1916; exhibition catalogs; clippings; and miscellany.
REEL 3161: Biographical data; letters to Myers from friends, colleagues and others; letters to Myers' widow, Ella, containing information for her biography of Myers; a map tracing Myers' sketching trips; a drawing "Cincinnati Art Front" by Herman Wessel; an exhibition catalog; a brief history of the Cincinnati Art Club; photocopies of notes for a lecture in Santa Fe, New Mexico; clippings on Myers and his teacher, John Weis; and photographs of 8 paintings by Myers. The letters, clippings, and photographs are annotated by Ella Myers.
UNMICROFILMED: Sketches, drawings, reproductions and plans by Myers, and miscellaneous printed material about Myers' work. Also, a typescript biography of Frank Myers ("...And the Glory") by his wife, Ella Price Myers, 1960-1976, 293 p. with loose notes.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter and art instructor; Cincinnati, Ohio and Pacific Grove, Calif. Taught at Cincinnati Art Academy, and moved to California after the 1930s.
Provenance:
Donated by Ella Price Myers, Myers' widow, 1960-1974, except for scrapbook on reel D42 which was lent for microfilming. Typescript biography was donated 1994 by Myers' daughter-in-law Patricia Clarke Myers, ex-wife of Myers' only son Frank P. Myers; she received Myers' estate in a property settlement. Additions are expected.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Educators -- Ohio -- Cincinnati  Search this
Landscape painters -- Ohio -- Cincinnati  Search this
Muralists -- Ohio -- Cincinnati  Search this
Painters -- Ohio -- Cincinnati  Search this
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.myerfran
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-myerfran

Art Front

Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1937 Jan
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)15375
See more items in:
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_15375

Art Front

Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1937 Mar.
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)15376
See more items in:
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_15376
Online Media:

Herb Kruckman papers, 1928-1990

Creator:
Kruckman, Herb, 1904-1998  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7784
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209950
AAA_collcode_krucherb
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209950
Online Media:

Herb Kruckman papers

Creator:
Kruckman, Herb, 1904-  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1928-1990
Summary:
The Herb Kruckman papers measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1928-1990. The collection consists of letters, notes and writings, sketchbooks and drawings, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The Herb Kruckman papers measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1928-1990. The collection consists of letters, notes and writings, sketchbooks and drawings, printed material and photographs.

There are seventeen letters in total, two of which are from the American literary critic and biographer, Van Wyck Brooks. Notes and writings include a list of gifts to the Butler Institute including "Backyard" by Kruckman and a one page biographical sketch. There are also three sketchbooks and thirty two cartoons for New Masses and other New Deal era publications. Printed material consists of clippings, reproductions of art works, primarily from 1936 book, Hol' Up Yo Head, exhibition announcements, catalogs, a press release and miscellaneous brochures. Photographs are of artwork.
Arrangement:
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Herb Kruckman (1904-1998) was a cartoonist, author, and illustrator living in New York, N.Y. He studied at the Art Students League, contributed comics to the New York Evening Graphic, New Masses, and Art Front during the 1930s, and exhibited works at ACA Galleries.
Provenance:
The papers of Herb Kruckman were donated by Herb Kruckman in 1976 and 1979, and by his son, Russell Kruckman, in 1991.
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.
Citation:
Herb Kruckman papers, 1928-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.krucherb
See more items in:
Herb Kruckman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-krucherb

Harry Gottlieb papers, 1910-1982

Creator:
Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-1992  Search this
Summit Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo  Search this
Solman, Joseph  Search this
Kent, Rockwell  Search this
American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers  Search this
Artists Equity Association  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
New York WPA Artists, Inc.  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Screen process printing  Search this
Serigraphy -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Trade-unions and the arts -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7190
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209327
AAA_collcode_gottharr
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209327

Harry Gottlieb papers

Topic:
Art front
Creator:
Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-  Search this
Summit Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Names:
American Artists' Congress  Search this
American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers  Search this
Artists Equity Association  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
New York WPA Artists, Inc.  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008  Search this
Extent:
2.4 Linear feet ((on 3 microfilm reels))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1910-1982
Scope and Contents:
Biographical material, correspondence, writings, business records, printed material, photographs, sketches and notebooks.
REEL D343: Files kept by Gottlieb on the Works Progress Administration, 3rd Woodstock Art Conference, American Artists' Congress, American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers and the Artists Union, N.Y.; newsletters, correspondence and minutes from Artists Equity Association; issues of "Art Front", "Art Project Reporter" and "ALA News" of the Artists League of America; correspondence, 1928-1951; clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements; silk screen prints; notes and an autobiographical sketch. Photographs include: one of Gottlieb and Joseph Solomon, ca. 1950; one of Gottlieb in his studio, 1939; 4 of the Carnegie Institute International exhibit, 1931, showing Gottlieb's work; and a group photograph of the Artists Equity Testimonial Dinner honoring Yasuo Kuniyoshi, 1948.
REEL 3889-3890: Biographical information; correspondence, including letters from Rockwell Kent; records of the Summit Gallery, business records and price lists for art work; 1 charcoal drawing, 2 ink drawings and 3 sketches; notes, layouts and a contract for Gottlieb's book, THE ART OF HARRY GOTTLIEB; notebooks; material on the Artists Equity Association, the Artists Union, N.Y., Public Art Preservation Committee, and New York WPA Artists, Inc.; exhibition announcements, catalogs, clippings and press releases; and photographs, 1935-1953, of Gottlieb and his art work.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, printmaker; New York, N.Y. b. 1895; d. 1992. Born in Bucharest, Romania. Member of N.Y. Artists' Union, American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, and the American Artists Congress. Served as a WPA artist. Pioneer in the development of silk screen process as a fine art form.
Provenance:
Material donated by Harry Gottlieb, 1968 and 1982.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Serigraphers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters  Search this
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Screen process printing  Search this
Serigraphy -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Trade-unions and the arts -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.gottharr
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gottharr

Negative Log Book Number 8, (76-1 to 76-19384)

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Photographic Services  Search this
Physical description:
Ink on paper
Type:
Logs (records)
Collection descriptions
Date:
1976
Topic:
Photography--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 10-001 [SIA_10-001_NLB08]
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email photos@si.edu)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_367105
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Negative Log Book Number 8, (76-1 to 76-19384) digital asset number 1

Negative Log Book Number 11, (78-16863 to 79-13777)

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Photographic Services  Search this
Physical description:
Ink on paper
Type:
Logs (records)
Collection descriptions
Date:
1978
1978-1979
Topic:
Photography--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 10-001 [SIA_10-001_NLB11]
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email photos@si.edu)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_367108
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Negative Log Book Number 11, (78-16863 to 79-13777) digital asset number 1

Jacob Kainen papers

Creator:
Kainen, Jacob  Search this
Kainen, Ruth Cole.  Search this
Names:
Addison Gallery of American Art  Search this
Australian National Gallery  Search this
Baltimore Museum of Art  Search this
British Museum  Search this
Brooklyn Museum  Search this
Corcoran Gallery of Art  Search this
Corcoran School of Art (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Middendorf Gallery  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
Smithsonian American Art Museum  Search this
Acton, David, 1953-  Search this
Agee, William C.  Search this
Berman, Avis  Search this
Broun, Elizabeth  Search this
Butler, Bryce  Search this
Cole, Phoebe  Search this
Fine, Ruth, 1941-  Search this
Fort Wayne Museum of Art  Search this
Frohlich, Newton, 1936-  Search this
Gilkey, Gordon  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Halesz, Piri  Search this
Harrison, Carol  Search this
Holden, Donald  Search this
Holladay, Wilhelmina Cole, 1922-  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Jackson, John Baptist, 1701-1780?  Search this
Jordon, Jim  Search this
Kalonyme, Louis  Search this
Lunn, Harry, 1933-1998  Search this
Morse, Peter  Search this
Nordland, Gerald  Search this
O'Connor, Francis V.  Search this
Pollack, Jerome  Search this
Powell, Richard J., 1953-  Search this
Purcell, Ann  Search this
Rand, Harry  Search this
Reynolds, Jock  Search this
Ries, Martin, 1926-  Search this
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008  Search this
Steinberg, Leo  Search this
Taylor, Joshua Charles, 1917-  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Tejera, V. ((Victorino))  Search this
Thornton, Valerie  Search this
Weber, Joanne  Search this
Extent:
33.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Diaries
Transcripts
Videotapes
Visitors' books
Lectures
Prints
Greeting cards
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Date:
1905-2009
bulk 1940-2001
Summary:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diaries, calendars, inventories, interview transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diary and journal entries, calendars, inventories, interview and "dialog" transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.

Biographical materials include items concerning Kainen's career as a curator and artist, in addition to a useful bibliography, detailed biographical outline, and a copy of an FBI report compiled on him. Also included are five videocassette recordings of Kainen.

Alphabetical correspondence/subject files comprise the bulk of the collection and include both Jacob's and Ruth's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, artists, art critics, curators, museums, arts organizations, galleries, and many others. There is a significant amount of correspondence with David Acton, the Addison Gallery of Art and Jock Reynolds, William Agee, Australian National Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Avis Berman, the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Elizabeth Broun and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bryce Butler, Pheobe Cole, the Corcoran Gallery and School of Art, Richard Field, Ruth Fine, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Newton Frohlich, Gordon Gilkey and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Arshile Gorky, Piri Halesz, Carol Harrison, Donald Holden, Wilhelmina Holladay, John Baptist Jackson, Jim Jordon, Lou Kantor, Harry Lunn Jr., Middendorf Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Peter Morse, Gerald Nordland, Francis O'Connor, Jerome Pollack, Richard Powell, Ann Purcell, Harry Rand, Martin Ries, Joseph Solman, Leo Steinberg, Prentiss Taylor, Victorino Tejera, Valerie Thornton, Joanne Weber, and numerous family members.

Writings are by and about Jacob Kainen. Kainen's writings include articles, lectures, exhibition catalog essays, notes, travel notebooks, short stories, poems, and written statements about his artistic motivations and justifications. There are writings about Kainen by Avis Berman, Ruth Cole Kainen, and others. The bulk of the numerous diary entries are from Ruth Cole Kainen's diaries, many of which concern Jacob and their family. There are also annotated and revised diary entries. There is one folder of diary entries and one folder of journal entries by Jacob Kainen and two dismantled journal-like notebooks. The papers include daily calendars and travel itineraries from 1972 through 2001.

The papers include transcripts of formal interviews and informal conversations with Jacob Kainen. Transcripts are of informal dinner, telephone, and general conversations between friends, colleagues, artists, and Ruth Cole Kainen. Included are conversations with Avis Berman, Walter Hopps, Harry Rand, Joshua Taylor, and several others. Many of these transcripts were also annnotated by Jacob and Ruth Kainen. Also found are numerous transcripts of more formal interviews with Kainen by art historians, art critics, and students.

There are inventories, appraisals, and lists of sold and not sold paintings, as well as color photographs of some of Kainen's works of art. Also found are inventories of the Kainens' art collection. Printed materials include Kainen's exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings of articles by and about Jacob Kainen, and an exhibition guestbook.

Photographs are of Kainen with his family and friends, at exhibition openings, and working in his studios. Works of art by others includes handmade greeting cards, limited edition prints, and portfolios given to Jacob Kainen. Nine scrapbooks containing news clippings and exhibition publications document the entirety of Kainen's career as an artist.
Arrangement:
The Jacob Kainen papers are arranged into 11 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1938-2001 (Boxes 1, 32; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence/Subject Files, 1936-2003 (Boxes 1-12, 32-33; 11.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1920s-2002 (Boxes 12-13, 33; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 4: Diaries, circa 1952-2002 (Boxes 13-18, 33-38; 10.0 linear feet)

Series 5: Calendars, 1953-2008 (Boxes 18-20, 38; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 6: Transcripts, circa 1975-1994 (Boxes 20-21, 38; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Inventories, 1927-2001 (Boxes 21-22; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1938-2003 (Box 22, 38, OV 31; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographs, 1905-2000 (Boxes 22-25, 38, OV 31; 3.3 linear feet)

Series 10: Works of Art by Others, 1942-2000 (Boxes 25-26, OV 31; 1.2 linear foot)

Series 11: Scrapbooks, 1936-1998 (Boxes 27-30, 38; 1.3 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator who worked primarily in Washington, D.C.

Born on December 7, 1909 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Jacob Kainen moved with his family to New York City in 1918. Kainen studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1927 until 1930, and at the Art Student's League. In the early 1930s, Kainen became involved in social causes and formed close friendships with the early abstractionists, including John Graham, Arshile Gorky, and Stuart Davis. He joined the Artists' Union and a contributor to its journal, Art Front, along with Stuart Davis and Harold Rosenberg. Jacob's participation in the Artists' Union was later investigated by the FBI.

From 1935 until 1942, Kainen worked for the Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration in New York City and began exhibiting with the New York School. It was during this period that he married Bertha Friedman. Jacob and Bertha had two sons together, Dan and Paul, and divorced in 1968.

In 1942, Kainen made a life-changing decision to leave New York City and move to Washington, D.C. to accept what he thought would be a temporary position as a scientific aide in the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian Institution. Kainen quickly became Assistant Curator and Curator in 1946. He served as Curator for twenty years, completely reshaping the department and building the graphic arts collection. His print exhibitions brought the work of S.W. Hayter, Josef Albers, Adja Yunkers, Louis Lozowick, Karl Schrag, José Guerrero, Louis Schanker, Werner Drewes, and Boris Margo to Washington audiences - graphic work that might not have been shown that early in the area.

1947 marked the opening of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, where Kainen served as a teacher and guide to several important artists, helping to make the workshop a magnet for new talent and instrumental in furthering the careers of several artists. Although Kainen taught Gene Davis and Alma Thomas and introduced Morris Louis to Leon Berkowitz, he never considered himself a member of the "Washington Color School."

In 1949, the Corcoran Gallery of Art held a retrospective of Kainen's prints and three years later Kenneth Noland organized Kainen's first painting retrospective at Catholic University. Kainen's paintings from the 1940s illustrated a shift away from social realism toward abstract expressionism. In 1956, Jacob Kainen received a grant from the American Philosophical society to conduct research in Europe for his monograph on the English woodcut artist, John Baptist Jackson. He traveled to Europe again in 1962 to study paintings and prints from the Mannerist Period.

From 1966 until 1970, Kainen worked as the Curator of prints and drawings at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). He married Ruth Cole in February of 1969. Kainen retired from the Smithsonian a year later to devote himself full-time to his art, but continued to serve as a special consultant to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for nineteen years. In 1971 and 1972, Kainen taught painting and the history of printmaking at the University of Maryland. A retrospective of Kainen's paintings was held in 1993 at the National Museum of American Art (SAAM).

Throughout his artistic career, Kainen experimented with different mediums and explored different styles, yet he identified himself as a painter. Jacob Kainen participated in at least twenty-five one man shows and several group exhibitions. His works are in collections across the United States and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the British Museum. He worked in his studio up until the time of his death on March 19, 2001 at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Related Material:
Found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Jacob Kainen conducted by Avis Berman in 1982 for the Archives' "Mark Rothko and His Times" oral history project. Also found are microfilm copies of Bertha Kainen's correspondence with Avis Berman regarding Berman's essay about Jacob Kainen.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels 565, 2147-2149, and 2200) including correspondence, writings by Kainen, and papers relating to the Smithsonian Institution Loyalty Board's investigation of Jacob Kainen from 1942-1954. Most, but not all, of the loaned materials were included in later gifts. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
Jacob and Ruth Kainen first lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming from 1973-1981, the bulk of which was included in the later gifts. Papers were then donated in multiple accretions between 1981-2007 by Jacob and Ruth Kainen, and in 2009 from the estate of Ruth Kainen via executor Teresa Covacevich Grana. Also in 2003, eight photographs of Jacob and Ruth Kainen were transferred from the National Portrait Gallery to the Archives of American Art.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Jacob Kainen 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:
Curators -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, Modern -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, Abstract -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Diaries
Transcripts
Videotapes
Visitors' books
Lectures
Prints
Greeting cards
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Jacob Kainen papers, 1905-2008, bulk 1940-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kainjaco
See more items in:
Jacob Kainen papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kainjaco
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Jacob Kainen, 1982 Aug. 10-Sept. 22

Interviewee:
Kainen, Jacob, 1909-2001  Search this
Interviewer:
Berman, Avis, 1949-  Search this
Subject:
Davis, Gene  Search this
Davis, Stuart  Search this
De Kooning, Willem  Search this
Gorky, Arshile  Search this
Graham, John  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William  Search this
Lazzari, Pietro  Search this
Margo, Boris  Search this
McNeil, George  Search this
Noland, Kenneth  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad  Search this
Rothko, Mark  Search this
Schnitzler, Max  Search this
Solman, Joseph  Search this
Thomas, Alma  Search this
ACA Galleries  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Pratt Institute  Search this
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12620
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215634
AAA_collcode_kainen82
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215634
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Jacob Kainen

Topic:
Art front
Interviewee:
Kainen, Jacob  Search this
Interviewer:
Berman, Avis  Search this
Creator:
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
ACA Galleries  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Pratt Institute  Search this
Davis, Gene, 1920-1985  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Graham, John, 1887-1961  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988  Search this
Lazzari, Pietro, 1898-1979  Search this
Margo, Boris, 1902-1995  Search this
McNeil, George, 1908-1995  Search this
Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Schnitzler, Max, 1903-  Search this
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008  Search this
Thomas, Alma  Search this
Extent:
6 Cassettes (Sound recording, analog.)
108 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1982 Aug. 10-Sept. 22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Jacob Kainen conducted 1982 Aug. 10-1982 Sept. 22, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kainen speaks about his family and educational background; early interest in art; his studies at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; showing at the ACA Gallery; the community of artists in New York in the late 1930s; writing for ART FRONT; his employment by the graphic arts division of the WPA-FAP in New York; his move to Washington, D.C., in 1942, to work for the Smithsonian Institution; his first marriage to Bertha Friedman and their children; his career in Washinton, D.C. as a curator, painter, printmaker, writer, and teacher; the FBI investigation of his background; and the art scene in Washington, D.C. Kainen also recalls artists he has known including Stuart Davis, Joseph Solman, John Graham, Mark Rothko, Pietro Lazzari, Willem de Kooning, Max Schnitzler, Arshile Gorky, Gene Davis, Alma Thomas, George McNeil, Kenneth Noland, Boris Margo, Stanley Hayter, and Ad Reinhardt. He discusses Mark Rothko's influences, how he "hated the art industry" and was secretive about his art materials. Kainen also recalls encountering Rothko in Provincetown in 1968 and comments on his art and his suicide. Jacob Kainen's wife, Ruth, was also present and contributed her recollections.
Biographical / Historical:
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator from Washington, D.C. Studied at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; died at age 91.
Provenance:
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Katharine Kuh, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kainen82
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kainen82

Art Front magazine

Creator:
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1935 December
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22822
See more items in:
Balcomb and Gertrude Greene papers, circa 1880s-2009
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22822

Oral history interview with Bernarda Bryson Shahn, 1983 April 29

Interviewee:
Bryson, Bernarda, 1903-2004  Search this
Interviewer:
Kirwin, Liza, 1957-  Search this
Subject:
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
John Reed Club  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Painters -- New Jersey -- Interviews  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Printmakers -- New Jersey -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11655
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212312
AAA_collcode_shahn83
Theme:
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212312
Online Media:

Oral history interview with John Opper, 1968 Sept. 9-1969 Jan 3

Interviewee:
Opper, John, 1908-1994  Search this
Interviewer:
Sandler, Irving, 1925-  Search this
Subject:
Mondrian, Piet  Search this
Hofmann, Hans  Search this
Cleveland School of Art  Search this
United States  Search this
American Abstract Artists  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Art -- Societies, etc. -- United States  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12476
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212964
AAA_collcode_opper68
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212964

Oral history interview with Boris Gorelick, 1964 May 20

Interviewee:
Gorelick, Boris, 1912-  Search this
Interviewer:
McGlynn, Betty Lochrie Hoag, 1914-2002  Search this
Subject:
Gorky, Arshile  Search this
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Designers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12336
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213492
AAA_collcode_goreli64
Theme:
Architecture & Design
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213492

Oral history interview with Joseph Solman, 1981 May 6-8

Interviewee:
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008  Search this
Interviewer:
Berman, Avis, 1949-  Search this
Subject:
Rothko, Mark  Search this
Gallery Secession (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art front  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Philadelphia Ten (Group of artists)  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12928
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215647
AAA_collcode_solman81
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215647
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By