The Elise Asher papers measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1994. The collection includes biographical material, letters, writings, works of art, business records, printed material, and photographs reflecting Asher's career as a poet, painter, and sculptor, and her friendships with many prominent artists of the mid-twentieth century.
Scope and Content Note:
The Elise Asher papers, 1923-1994, measure 1.6 linear feet and reflect Asher's career as a poet, painter, and sculptor, and her friendships with many of the more prominent artists of the mid-twentieth century. The collection contains biographical material, letters, writings, works of art, business records, printed material, and photographs.
Notable correspondents found in the collection include Fritz Bultman, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Norman Mailer, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Jack Tworkov, and Kurt Vonnegut.
The collection is arranged into seven series according to material type. The contents of each folder have been arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-1976 (box 1, 1 folder)
Series 2: Letters, 1941-1988, undated (box 1, 2 folders)
Series 3: Business Records, 1955-1988, undated (box 1, 43 folders)
Series 4: Writings, 1973-1979, undated (box 1, 4 folders)
Series 5: Artwork, undated (box 1, 2 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1929-1994, undated (boxes 1-3, 30 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, 1951-1973, undated (box 2, 5 folders)
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1914, Elise Asher studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Bradford Junior College, Boston College, and at Simmons College.
She began her career as a poet, culminating in a volume of her poetry entitled The Meandering Absolute. Upon her 1947 arrival in New York City, her attention turned to painting and sculpture. The Tanager Gallery mounted her first solo exhibition in 1953.
Asher was married to painter Nanno de Groot from 1949 to 1957. A year later she married poet Stanley Kunitz, whose work she often illustrated.
The Elise Asher papers were donated in 1975, 1976, 1989, 1990 and 1995 by the artist.
The collection is open for research. Microfilmed portion must be consulted on microfilm. Use of unmicrofilmed material requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington D.C. research facility.
One notebook from 1949 with autobiographical writings, two letters from de Groot's family in Holland, five greeting cards, four announcements, one exhibition catalogue, one news clipping, two copies of a press release, one personal photograph, one photograph of a work of art, and three magazines containing reviews.
Biographical / Historical:
De Groot, of Dutch origin, lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
The donor, Elise Asher, is de Groot's ex-wife.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.