The papers of artist Isabella Howland measure 1.2 linear feet and date from 1899-1979. The collection documents her career through biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, sculptor, caricaturist, and portraitist Isabella Howland measure 1.2 linear feet and date from 1899-1979. Correspondence makes up about a third of the collection, with the remainder comprised of biographical material, writings, printed material, photographs, and artworks.
Correspondence is found between Isabella Howland and other artists or dealers. Among these are Eugenie Gershoy, Henry Strater, Edith Halpert, Peggy Bacon, Forbes Watson, Jerry Bywaters, Adolph Dehn and Dorothea Greenbaum. Letters from Juliana Force, the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, are present. Many invitations to exhibit are included. The collection includes a small number of letters with Howland's family. She maintained written communication with several individuals over decades.
The biographical material contains Isabella Howland's handwritten notes and typed documents about her life. Some legal documents and financial records are present. The writing series includes her story 'Willy Nilly' with accompanying illustrations of animals, in addition to some other writings. The artwork series includes sketches and sketchbooks from childhood into adulthood. Photographs include images of Howland as well as her paintings and portraits.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1901-1972 (4 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1917-1973 (22 folders; Box 1)
Series 3, Writings, 1935-1964 (8 folders; Box 1)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1928-1976 (5 folders; Box 1)
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1900-1979 (4 folders; Box 1, OV 2)
Series 6: Artwork, 1899-circa 1940s (8 folders; Box 1, OV 2)
Biographical / Historical:
Isabella Howland (1895-1974) lived and worked in New York City. She drew portraits, painted on canvas, sketched on paper, and sculpted caricature busts of people in the art world. She wrote that she could do anything with her hands.
Howland was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. From her youth she knew she wanted to be an artist. She had her earliest artistic training at age 16. Her art education included time at the Boston Museum School and the Art Students League in New York City. She completed her secondary education in France and Germany, moved back to the United States afterwards, and in 1920 travelled again to Europe. In 1922 she settled in Greenwich Village and spent summers in Woodstock to paint landscapes and still-lifes.
She actively painted in the 1920s, and had three shows in 1927, 1929, and 1931. During the Depression she worked for the Public Works of Art Project and the Works Progress Administration. In 1934 she married Armando Zegri, and they divorced in 1937. While they were married they owned a club in the West Village named The Café Latino. She began teaching at a private school in the early 1940s while dealing with some personal difficulties. She found religion which comforted her as she dealt with her mother's declining health and her sister's waning mental state.
Howland had many friends in the art world and regularly received requests to exhibit at museums. She became known as an accomplished portrait artist, and she was commissioned many times to execute drawings or sculptures. She dabbled in writing and illustrating stories, and produced a set of 33 Christmas cards featuring two monks.
Donated between 1975-1976 by Mrs. Martha Craig and Barbara Summer. Three photographs of works of art were donated by Eugenie Gershoy in 1979.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The papers of New York artist Lillian Kiesler and architect and sculptor Frederick Kiesler measure 49.1 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1910s-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1958-2000. The collection documents their personal and professional lives and the legacy of Frederick Kiesler's work through biographical material, correspondence, legal, financial and business records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed and digital material, writings and interviews, monographs, photographic material, and sound and video recordings. Also found are papers related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann and the papers of artist Alice Hodges.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of artist, performer, and arts educator Lillian Kiesler and sculptor, architect, set designer, educator, and writer Frederick Kiesler measure 49.1 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1910s-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1958-2000. The collection documents their personal and professional lives and the legacy of Frederick Kiesler's work through biographical material, correspondence, legal, financial and business records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed and digital material, writings and interviews, monographs, photographic material, and sound and video recordings. Also found are papers related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann and the papers of artist Alice Hodges.
The collection is arranged into two series: the Lillian Kiesler Papers (Series 1) and the Frederick Kiesler Papers (Series 2). Measuring 41.1 linear feet, the Lillian Kiesler Papers (Series 1) make up the bulk of the collection and document her personal life and professional career as an artist, actor, teacher, arts benefactor and promoter of Frederick Kiesler's legacy. The series spans her lifetime, although most of the material is dated after 1965. Among her papers are biographical materials, correspondence, legal and financial records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed material, monographs, papers related to Frederick Kiesler and his legacy, papers of and related to Hans Hofmann, papers of Alice Hodges, photographic material, and sound and video recordings.
Found among Lillian Kiesler's personal papers are address books, numerous calendars and appointment books, and diaries and journals. Her correspondence is extensive and contains business correspondence with John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, and Erick Hawkins Dance Foundation, and personal letters and greeting cards from friends, family, artists, scholars, and researchers, including Etel Adnan, Alcopley, Fritz Bultman, Steve Buscemi, Mike Diamond, Burgoyne Diller, Lucia Dlugoszewski, Piero Dorazio, Jean Dubuffet, Jay Gottlieb, Erick Hawkins, Burgess Meredith, Henry Miller, James Purdy, and Herrel Thomas. Of interest is a letter from Harry Holtzman postmarked March 13, 1935 describing his initial meeting with Mondrian, and a letter from E.B. Gordon describing Henry Miller in Paris.
Materials related to Lillian Kiesler's estate and last wishes can also be found, as well as teaching plans, student work, and writings by Lillian Kiesler's mentor and friend, New York University professor Chandler Montgomery. Various printed material, correspondence, scripts, and rehearsal schedules from Lillian Kiesler's exhibitions and performances are also found, and among the directors, artists and writers represented are Jo Andres, Steve Buscemi, Cindy Lugar, Tim Miller and James Purdy. Artwork contains photographs by Bob Del Fredici, drawings by Piero Dorazio, and notes to Frederick Kiesler from Lillian Kiesler.
Subject files about artists, friends, colleagues, performances, and organizations in which she supported, such as the Anthology Film Archives, include printed materials and research materials. Signed exhibition catalogs of Loren MacIver, Dina Ghen, Lenore Tawney, and Toshiko Takaezu, and a reprint article inscribed by Alcopley can be found, as well as numerous inscribed monographs, including books inscribed by Max Weiler and Piero Dorazio, an inscribed first edition of Henry Miller's Black Spring (1936), and a 1937 monograph by Harry Holtzman titled American Abstract Artists.
Series 1 also includes materials related to her husband Frederick Kiesler, papers of and related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann, and the personal papers of artist Alice Hodges. The Papers Related to Frederick Kiesler were primarily created or compiled by Lillian Kiesler and document her work on behalf of Frederick Kiesler's legacy. Of interest are letters from Frederick Kiesler to Lillian Kiesler and Alice Hodges; a bound volume of correspondence to Piero Dorazio; an inventory of objects in the Frederick Kiesler estate; photographs of artwork; an interview (sound recordings and transcript) with Lillian Kiesler about Frederick Kiesler for "Music of the Age," included on the tape is a portion of a Frederick Kiesler interview (1965); a recording of Lillian Kiesler interviewing Richard Kamler about Frederick Kiesler; and Frederick Kiesler's dialogue with Leo Castelli (undated).
Lillian Kiesler was a student of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, as well as an enthusiastic volunteer promoter and assistant to The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. The bulk of the papers of and related to Hans Hofmann were created or compiled by Lillian Kielser and are about Hofmann's career and legacy. However, also found are some papers of Hans Hofmann, including letters from Hofmann to Lillian Kiesler and Alice Hodges describing his artwork, life in Provincetown, and issues with The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, typed and handwritten lectures given by Hofmann, Hofmann's 1941 address to the American Abstract Artists (AAA), three boxes of card files on students of the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York City and Provincetown, and photographs of Hofmann and his house in Provincetown taken by Wilfrid Zogbaum and Tom Milius.
The artist Alice Hodges (b. unknown-1965) was a close friend of Lillian Kiesler, a former secretary to Frederick Kiesler, and a student of Hans Hofmann. Included among her personal papers is some correspondence from Hans Hofmann and Katherine Drier and numerous postcards from Hodges and Lillian Kiesler's trip to Europe in 1950, posters and printed material from her exhibitions, an oversized scrapbook chronicling Lillian Kiesler's teaching career, records from the United States Treasury War Bond Art Auction in 1945, original artwork and greeting cards made by Hodges and Lillian Kiesler, and 31 rolled negative strips in metal canisters of Frederick Kiesler sculptures, Provincetown and Hans Hofmann, Wellfleet, Empire State Music Festival (1955), and travels to Colorado and Europe, some of which may be printed and found in this subseries.
Photographs found in the Lillian Kiesler Papers are mostly black and white and color snapshots of Lillian Kiesler's friends and family at events and at home, including candid photos of Hans Hofmann, Alice Hodges, Frederick Kiesler, and Alcopley. Slides prepared by Lillian Kiesler for a lecture on Frederick Kiesler and her lecture notes on index cards are found. Sound and video recordings include recordings of productions in which Lillian Kiesler performed, and music, film, or live stage performances written, directed, or performed by friends.
Measuring 7.1 linear feet, Frederick Kiesler's personal papers (Series 2) document his professional career and date from 1923-1992. Biographical materials include his curriculum vitae, four passports, and numerous appointment books and notes from late in his life. Correspondence with architects, publishers, editors, universities, museums, galleries, manufacturers, artists and friends includes letters from L. Alcopley, Leopold Arnaud, Armand P. Bartos, Piero and Virginia Dorazio, George Howe, Kay Johnson, Jane Owen, and others. There are also photocopied letters from Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Piet Mondrian. Business and financial records from the 1940s to mid-1960s comprise a significant bulk of this series and are primarily tax returns and receipts and statements used to file tax returns. Materials on the publication of "Inside the Endless House" (1966), the International Theatre Exposition (in German) in 1924 and other exhibits from shortly after his death are found, as well as student artwork and papers from Kiesler's classes in the mid-1950s. A bound copy of the "Bibliography of Writings of and About Frederick Kiesler" compiled by Lillian Kiesler is found, as well as printed material about Frederick Kiesler and a handful of photographs of artwork.
Users should note that Lillian Kiesler's and Frederick Kiesler's papers contain similar types of material that often overlap in subject matter, especially among the Papers Related to Frederick Kiesler (Subseries 1.10) in Series 1 and the Frederick Kiesler Papers (Series 2). This collection contains limited material related to Lillian Kiesler prior to the 1940s and Frederick Kiesler prior to his arrival in the United States in 1926.
The collection is arranged into two series. Each series is divided into several subseries, with the arrangement described in detail in the series descriptions.
Series 1: Lillian Kiesler papers, circa 1910s-2003 (Box 1-39, 47-52, OV 53-57; 41.1 linear feet, ER01; 0.001 GB)
Series 2: Frederick Kiesler papers, 1923-1992 (Box 40-46, OV 53; 7.1 linear feet)
Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) was a sculptor, architect, set designer, educator, and writer active in New York and Connecticutt. Lillian Kiesler (1911-2001) was a performer, arts educator, and painter married to Frederick Kiesler. She was also active in the administration of the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts.
Frederick Kiesler was born in Romania in 1890, although he gave various other dates for his birth and regularly cited Vienna as his birthplace. He arrived in the United States with his wife Steffi in 1926 for the International Theatre Exposition at Steinway Hall in New York City. They stayed in the United States and were granted citizenship in 1936.
Kiesler secured a teaching position at Columbia University's School of Architecture in 1930, and from 1934 through 1957 he was the scenic design director at The Juilliard School of Music. He also lectured at Yale University from 1950-1952. Often labeled a Surrealist, Kiesler's work was experimental and frequently described as ahead of its time. He published, lectured, and participated in numerous exhibitions throughout his career. He is known for his theory of "coreallism;" "The Space House" (1933), a full-scale model of a single family home; an installation designed for Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century gallery in 1942; "The Endless House" drawings and model (1950); "The Universal Theatre" (1961) model; and the Shrine of the Book (1965), a building to exhibit the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. He died in New York City in December 1965.
Lillian Olinsey met architect and sculptor Frederick Kiesler in 1934. After years of friendship, they were married in 1964, a year and a half before Frederick's death in 1965.
Lillian Kiesler studied art at the Art Students League, Cooper Union, and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, where she also assisted Hofmann and the school administration. She taught art to children and young adults for twenty years in New York City. From 1945 to 1955, she taught at the Greenwich House Art workshops and the Woodward School, followed by the Brooklyn Museum (1948-1958), Barnard School (1953-1963), New York University School of Education (1955-1966), and Juilliard School of Visual Arts (1963-1965). Lillian was involved in the performing arts and between the late 1970s through the 1990s she performed in New York City with numerous directors, notably Jo Andres, Steve Buscemi, Richard Foreman, John Jesurun, Cindy Lubar, and Tim Miller. She frequently performed with her close friend, painter Maryette Charlton, who was the executor of the Lillian Kiesler estate.
Lillian Kiesler tirelessly promoted Frederick Kiesler's work and legacy after his death in 1965. From the late 1980s through the 1990s, she delivered lectures about his work at universities and museums, gave interviews, corresponded with researchers, and organized his papers to donate to the Harvard Theatre Collection, Yale School of Art and Architecture, and the Archives of American Art. In 1997, she helped found the Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Foundation in Vienna, Austria. She endowed the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize, an award given to a notable contributor to the field of architecture. The first recipient was Frank Gehry in 1998. Lillian Kiesler passed away in 2001 in New York City.
The holdings of the Archives of American Art include the Hans Hofmann Papers, 1904-1978 and the Maryette Charlton Papers, 1929-1998. Additional Frederick Kiesler papers are available at the Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard Theater Collection, and the Yale School of Art and Architecture.
Some of the materials related to Frederick Kiesler were initially loaned for microfilming on reels 57 and 127-128. This material is not described in the container listing of this finding aid. Most, but not all, of the loaned material was later donated and has been merged with the other accretions.
The collection was donated by Lillian Kiesler and Maryette Charlton, executrix of her estate, in several accessions between 1980-2002. Some of the papers related to Frederick Kiesler were originally loaned for microfilming in 1971, most of which was later donated in 1980. Additional papers related to Frederick Kiesler were donated in 1993. Papers related to Hans Hofmann were given in 1981. Lillian Kiesler's papers were donated in 2000 by Lillian Kiesler, and in 2002, by Maryette Charlton.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
An interview of Edward Landon conducted 1975 Apr. 17-May 28, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Landon speaks of working with the local theater in high school; leaving Hartford at age 17 or 18 for Greenwich Village in New York and the Art Students League; studying figure drawing with George Bridgman; getting married and moving to Springfield, Mass.; exhibiting with the Springfield Art League; the Artist Union and the Artist Congress in the 1930s; spending a summer with Georgia O'Keeffe and Paul Strand in Taos, N.M.; the cooperation amongst artists that lasted into the 1950s to establish serigraphs as an American fine art print medium; when he received the Solomon Guggenheim Scholarship for Non-objective Art in 1939; when he made furniture and picture frames and the publishing of his book on making picture frames in 1946; when he began working as an easel painter in the Massachusetts Federal Art Project of the WPA in 1933; becoming president of the Western Chapter of the Artists Union in 1934; when he corresponded and visited Arthur Dove; his friendship with Elizabeth McCausland; his introduction to Harry Gottlieb and silk screen printing; the love of color and currently trying for emotional effects in his work; initiating silk screen exhibitions in the Springfield Museum; the beginning of the National Serigraph Society and his work as the exhibition secretary; his teaching approach; the first class held in his garage with fellow artists; more on his relationship with Elizabeth McCausland; Arthur Dove's influence on a recent painting Landon finished; his trip to Taos in 1930 and the importance of artist colonies for him early on; the feeling of not having roots, but being comfortable with the idea; the purpose of the National Serigraph Society; his feelings about printmakers moving away from traditional printing; organized exhibitions for the United States Information Service; his enjoyment in organizing things; the commercialization of creating "prints;" how photo-realism does not translate well in the print medium; the importance of trying to convey an idea in his work; his success in covering small boxes, address books and other items, as well as book binding; his preference for printing small editions of 25 to 35 prints; of a description of his method of printing; his Fulbright Fellowship in 1950 to travel to Norway and lecture; an interest in early Scandinavian art; publishing a silkscreen portfolio of pre-Viking art for the American Scandinavian Foundation; traveling through Europe; his influence as an innovator in France and Scandinavia; meeting with silk screen artists in Oslo; art forms in his work at this time; his inclusion in "Who's Who in American Art;" the avoidance of art movements; how by the 1950s the reason for the National Serigraph Society no longer existed because the medium was popular by that time; his move to Vermont in 1957 or 1958; work as a color mixer, book binder, and returning to framing because of health reasons; his second illness changing what he found important in his life; and how the content of his work became more emotional. Landon also recalls Louie Lozowick, Gertrude Stein, Marian Hughes, Elizabeth Olds, John Marin, Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott, Marvo Perry, Hilla Rebay, Sir William T. Rogers, Max Weber, Dennis Hartley, Alfred Maurer, Bernie Sabbath, and Henry Mark.
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Landon (1911-1984) was a printmaker from Weston, Vt.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 39 min.
These interviews are 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 others.
Biographical materials, correspondence, business records, writings, art works, photographs, and printed material.
Biographical material includes ID cards and an autobiographical statement. Correspondence, 1935-1964, includes letters sent to Nickelsen as Supervisor for the WPA Massachusetts Federal Art Project; correspondents include Beaumont Newhall and muralist Elizabeth Tracy. Project files regard mural and stained glass commissions, among them the East Boston murals; Nebraska capitol murals; Springfield, Mass. Museum of Fine Arts library murals; Worcester, Mass. Parcel Post Building murals; and stained glass commissions, ca.1938-1942. Files contain correspondence, art work, including large mural cartoons, reference photographs, photographs of works of art, and printed material. Also included are a list of mural ingredients and notes; business records, 1927-1937; photocopies of articles and writings, 1930-1967; art work by Nickelsen including stained glass rendering and mural drawings by Elizabeth Tracy Montminy; exhibition catalogs, clippings, photographs of Nickelsen and his art work, including one of him painting a window for St. Patricks Church, N.Y. in the Charles Connick Studio, Boston, 1950; and of Montminy and her murals.
Biographical / Historical:
Stained glass artist; mural painter; Boston, Mass. Born in Hamburg, Germany. Initially studied at the stained-glass studio of his father, John R. Nickelsen, and later went to the State Art School, Hamburg. He came to the United States in 1922 and attended the Art Students' League, N.Y. and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Participated as an artist and as a supervisor on the WPA Art Project in Boston, and was associated with the stained-glass design firm of Charles J. Connick Associates for many years.
Donated 1991-1999 by Nickelsen's widow, Ingeborg R. Nickelsen.
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 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 audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk 1953-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation.
An interview of Dana Chandler conducted 1993 March 11-May 5, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Chandler remembers his childhood in the Black community of Roxbury, Massachussets, with numerous siblings, pugnacious, hard-drinking longshoreman father, and mother who was the linchpin of the family; precocity as a reader and child artist; attendance at Saturday morning children's art classes at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and at Boston Educational High School where needed discipline was instilled in him by its all-white faculty; and as an assistant at school after graduation (1959-61).
Chandler talks about his awareness of budding civil rights movement; his attendance (1962-67) at Massachusetts College of Art while supporting his new, young family and working for the Jamaica Plain Area Planning Action Council which was funded by the federal Model Cities program; his first exhibitions (1967), in a liberal local church and a black businessmen's club; the exhibition (1969) "Twelve Black Artists from Boston," at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; and his involvement, along with Harold Tovish and Michael Mazur, in the group, Artists Against the War.
He recalls his initiation of the exhibition, "Afro-American Artists/New York and Boston," at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1970, for which he was given no credit; his position as an unpaid cultural commentator for a Black newspaper and radio station; his politically-charged paintings and prints from the late 1960s onward; his meetings with senior Black artists, such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett Mora, and Benny Andrews; and his steady espousal of confrontation.
Chandler discusses teaching at Simmons College, Boston, 1971 to present; his creation in 1974 of the African-American Master Artists-in-Residence Program (AMARP), Northeastern University, Boston, and his direction of it until 1993, when he was relieved of the position by the University.
Chandler discusses his exhibition at Northeastern University in 1976, "If the Shoe Fits, Hear It!" under the name Akin Duro, and its evidence of the respect in which he was held; the loss of much of his work in a studio fire; and his current large-scale graphic work.
Biographical / Historical:
Dana Chandler (1941- ) is an African American painter, printmaker, and educator from Boston, Massachussets.
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 51 min.
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. Funding for the transcription of this interview provided by the Newland Foundation.