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Alfred Victor Frankenstein papers

Creator:
Frankenstein, Alfred V. (Alfred Victor), 1906-1981  Search this
Names:
American Arts Alliance  Search this
California Palace of the Legion of Honor  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
San Francisco Chronicle (Firm)  Search this
Copley, John Singleton, 1738-1815  Search this
Decker, Joseph, 1853-1924  Search this
Haberle, John, 1856-1933  Search this
Harnett, William Michael, 1848-1892  Search this
Ives, Charles, 1874-1954  Search this
Jenkins, Paul, 1923-2012  Search this
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973  Search this
Mount, William Sidney, 1807-1868  Search this
Murdock, Roland P.  Search this
Peto, John Frederick, 1854-1907  Search this
Extent:
19.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Date:
1875-1985
Summary:
The papers of art critic and historian Alfred Victor Frankenstein measure 19.1 linear feet and date from 1875 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of Frankenstein's research and writing files on American painting, particularly artists working in the nineteenth-century. There are extensive files on artists John Haberle, William Michael Harnett, and William Sidney Mount. The collection also includes biographical material, correspondence, general writings and notes, professional activities files, personal business records, printed materials, photographs, and unidentified sound recordings.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art critic and historian Alfred Victor Frankenstein measure 19.1 linear feet and date from 1875 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of Frankenstein's research and writing files on American painting, particularly artists working in the nineteenth-century. There are extensive files on artists John Haberle, William Michael Harnett, and William Sidney Mount. The collection also includes biographical material, correspondence, general writings and notes, professional activities files, personal business records, printed materials, photographs, and unidentified sound recordings.

Biographical materials include awards, museum passes from the 1970s, school records, and a scrapbook documenting Frankenstein's career at the San Francisco Chronicle. Also found is his father's medical school diploma.

Largely professional in nature, Frankenstein's correspondence is with galleries, museums and institutions, colleges and universities, as well as art historians and museum colleagues including Paul Jenkins, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, and Thomas E. Ripley.

General writings are on subjects such as music, art, California, and the Ronald P. Murdock art collection. It is likely that some writings may be drafts for articles that later appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Also found are three notebooks, a recorded interview, recorded lectures by Frankenstein and by others.

The bulk of the collection consists of Frankenstein's extensive research files on American sill-life painting in the nineteenth-century. Research topics focus primarily on artists John Haberle (including sketches by Haberle), William Michael Harnett, William Sidney Mount, and John Frederick Peto; however, some files are found for collectors, dealers, and subjects. Files are found both for the research and writing of Frankenstein's books, After the Hunt (1953) and The World of Copley: 1738-1815 (1970). Contents of the research files vary but many contain correspondence, photographs, notes and writings, provenance research, printed materials, and photocopied and original primary documents. Additional research files are also found in Series 5, Exhibition Files.

Files concerning exhibitions curated or organized by Frankenstein include Artist Self-Portraits (1974) at the National Gallery of Art, an exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the World's Fair Exposition exhibition, Our Land, Our Sky Our Water: an Exhibition of American and Canadian Art (1974). Files contain loan agreements, gallery plans, photographs, writings, correspondence, and printed materials.

Frankenstein's professional activities files include material about his job as a music critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, and records documenting his participation in the American Arts Alliance and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Also found are scattered student writings, lecture notes, and some correspondence from his teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley.

An appraisal for a Joseph Decker work, the estate records of Sylvia Frankenstein, general receipts for purchases and shipping records, and vehicle ownership records comprise Frankenstein's personal business records.

Printed materials include clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, magazines, and blank postcards. Also found are eight commercial audio recordings, including a musical piece by Charles Ives on cassette, and six phonograph records that are likely of music. A cassette entitled "Heritage of American Art" may be from an exhibition of the same title held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1975. Personal photographs include snapshots of Frankenstein with his family and portraits of him, as well as a photocopy of a family photo album. The bulk of the photographs are of artwork.

There are six unidentified sound recordings.
Biographical / Historical:
Alfred Victor Frankenstein (1906-1981) was an art historian, writer, art and music critic, and educator active in San Francisco, California.

Frankenstein was born in 1906 in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at the University of Chicago but moved to San Francisco to take a job as a music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle . Later, the position expanded to include critiques of visual art and art exhibitions. He remained at the San Francisco Chronicle until 1979, concentrating only on art from 1965.

He was an expert on 19th century American still-life and his notable book, After The Hunt (1953), examined the American trompe-l'œil movement in late 19th century and early 20th-century through the work of painters William Harnett and John Frederick Peto. He also authored The World of Copley: 1738-1815 in 1970. Frankenstein curated several major exhibitions, including American Self-Portraits (1974) at the National Portrait Gallery and the 1974 World's Fair Exposition exhibition, Our Land, Our Sky Our Water: an Exhibition of American and Canadian Art..

An educator, Frankenstein was a professor of Art History at the University of California at Berkeley (1940-1974), Stanford University (1973-1981), and at Mills College (1945-1974), where he also taught American music.
Related Materials:
Also found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are two oral histories with Alfred Frankenstein, one conducted by Mary McChesney on November 9th, 1965 and the other conducted by Paul Karlstrom from 1978 to 1979. Additionally, Frankenstein donated one sketchbook and twelve loose sketches that are cataloged as a separate collection: the William Harnett sketches, 1870.
Provenance:
Alfred Frankenstein donated some of his papers in 1972, and lent materials for microfilming in 1978. His estate, handled by his son John Frankenstein, donated the materials original loaned as well as additional records in 1981.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Alfred Victor Frankenstein 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, American  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Art criticism -- United States  Search this
Art critics -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Art historians -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Alfred Victor Frankenstein papers, 1875-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.franalfr
See more items in:
Alfred Victor Frankenstein papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-franalfr
Online Media:

Oranges on the Tree, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Morris Museum of Art 1 Tenth Street Augusta Georgia 30901 Accession Number: 1993.C0340
Date:
1889
Topic:
Landscape--Tree--Orange Tree  Search this
Object--Fruit--Orange  Search this
Control number:
IAP 67990399
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_375084

Joseph Decker: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF000817
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_138292

Bough of Pears with Yellow Jackets, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1884-1885
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Pear  Search this
Animal--Insect--Wasp  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F360025
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_467728

Joseph Decker, 1853-1924 : still lifes, landscapes and images of youth : [exhibition] May 17th to June 11th, 1988, Coe Kerr Gallery / essay by William H. Gerdts ; with the assistance of Evdokia Savidou

Author:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Gerdts, William H  Search this
Savidou, Evdokia  Search this
Coe Kerr Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
[56] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1988
C1988
Call number:
N40.1.D287 G3 1988
N40.1.D287G3 1988
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_392832

Strawberries on a Marble Ledge, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on board
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Colby College Museum of Art Waterville Maine 04901 Accession Number: 082.2008
Date:
Ca. 1895
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Strawberry  Search this
Control number:
IAP 18830520
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_440268

Squirrel with Nuts, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Terra Foundation for American Art 980 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1315 Chicago Illinois 60611 Accession Number: 1992.32
Topic:
Animal--Squirrel  Search this
Object--Foodstuff--Nuts  Search this
Control number:
IAP 66030096
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_310694

Grapes, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
National Gallery of Art Fourth Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20565 Accession Number: 1994.59.3
Date:
Ca. 1890/1895
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Grape  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08601027
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_360768

Roasting Apples, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Museum of Fine Arts 465 Huntington Avenue Boston Massachusetts 02115 Accession Number: 1993.944
Date:
1868
Topic:
Architecture interior--Detail--Fireplace  Search this
Figure male--Full length  Search this
Occupation--Domestic--Cooking  Search this
Object--Fruit--Apple  Search this
Control number:
IAP 20492526
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_367528

Still Life, Peaches, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
New Britain Museum of American Art 56 Lexington Street New Britain Connecticut 06052 Accession Number: 81.136
Date:
1896
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Peach  Search this
Control number:
IAP 07130404
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_372156

Twelve Plums, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Yale University Art Gallery 1111 Chapel Street New Haven Connecticut 06520 Accession Number: 1980.37
Date:
1896
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Plum  Search this
Control number:
IAP 07262044
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_373716

Still Life with Tin Can and Nuts, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Yale University Art Gallery 1111 Chapel Street New Haven Connecticut 06520 Accession Number: 1983.80
Date:
Ca. 1886
Topic:
Still Life--Foodstuff--Nut  Search this
Object--Other--Container  Search this
Control number:
IAP 07262045
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_373717

Upset, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco M. H. de Young Memorial Museum Golden Gate Park San Francisco California 94118 Accession Number: 77.7
Date:
Ca. 1887
Topic:
Still Life  Search this
Control number:
IAP 04150147
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_392995

Their Winter Hoard, (painting)

Title:
Gluttons, (painting)
Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1889
Topic:
Animal--Squirrel  Search this
Object--Foodstuff--Nut  Search this
Control number:
IAP 83150024
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_203183

Our Gang, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1886
Topic:
Genre--Figure  Search this
Control number:
IAP 81470179
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_212451

Our Gang, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1890
Topic:
Figure group  Search this
Control number:
IAP 81881174
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_219965

Pears, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1885
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Pear  Search this
Control number:
IAP 87000003
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_237222

George Inness, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Subject:
Inness, George  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery 2 Erie Boulevard Canajoharie New York 13317
Date:
1893
Topic:
Portrait male  Search this
Occupation--Art--Artist  Search this
Control number:
IAP 33750073
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_281653

Oranges and Blossoms, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Christie's East 219 East 67th Street New York New York 10021
Date:
1889
Topic:
Still Life--Flower  Search this
Still Life--Fruit--Orange  Search this
Control number:
IAP 62643345
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_287213

Strawberries and Cherries, (painting)

Painter:
Decker, Joseph 1853-1924  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Kenneth Lux Gallery 1021 Madison Ave New York New York 10021
Topic:
Still Life--Fruit--Cherry  Search this
Still Life--Fruit--Strawberry  Search this
Control number:
IAP 62410018
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_110204

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