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Photographs of Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and Gustave Gerlach

Creator:
Gerlach, Margarett  Search this
Names:
Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904: Saint Louis, Mo.)  Search this
Pan-American Exposition (1901: Buffalo, N.Y.)  Search this
Bitter, Karl Theodore Francis, 1867-1915  Search this
Calder, Alexander Stirling, 1870-1945  Search this
Gerlach, Gustave, b. 1866  Search this
Konti, Isidore, 1862-1938  Search this
McGuigan, John F., Jr. (John Fuller)  Search this
McGuigan, Mary K.  Search this
Weinman, Adolph A. (Adolph Alexander), 1870-1952  Search this
Extent:
0.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1892-circa 1915
Summary:
The photographs and papers of sculptor Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and his pupil and colleague Gustave Gerlach measure 0.8 linear feet and date from circa 1892-circa 1915. The collection documents the work and studio practice of Bitter and Gerlach primarily through photographs and a photograph album, in addition to paper records including a proposal and lists of work completed for two international expositions, news clippings, and two drawings by Bitter on his personal stationary.
Scope and Contents:
The photographs and papers of sculptor Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and his pupil and colleague Gustave Gerlach measure 0.8 linear feet and date from circa 1892-circa 1915. The collection documents the work and studio practice of Bitter and Gerlach primarily through photographs and a photograph album, in addition to paper records including a proposal and lists of work completed for two international expositions, news clippings, and two drawings by Bitter on his personal stationary.

Papers include lists of artwork for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Photographs number approximately 250 and document the studio practice and work of Karl Bitter and Gustave Gerlach during Gerlach's tenure in Bitter's studio. Photos include images of Bitter, Gerlach, Isidore Konti, Joseph Sibbel, and other sculptors and studio assistants, and depict important works in progress such as Bitter's Alexander Hamilton and monumental sculpture for the 1901, 1904, and 1915 expositions, including Bitter's Standard Bearer (1901) and Adolph Weinman's Destiny of the Red Man (1904).

As a child Gerlach's daughter, Margarett, evidently spent time watching her father at work. She compiled this collection of photographs and papers and provided historical context in notes on the versos of some of the items.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as two series.

Series 1: Papers, circa 1892-circa 1915 (7 folders; Box 1)

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1895-circa 1915 (0.7 linear feet Boxes 1-2, OVs 3-4)
Biographical / Historical:
Austrian born sculptor Karl Bitter (1867-1915) was active in New York City, New York. He exhibited his works at worldwide expositions and examples of his sculpture and memorials can be found throughout the United States. Sculptor Gustave Gerlach (b. 1866) was a pupil and colleague of Bitter's and was also active in New York City.

Karl Theodore Francis Bitter was born in Vienna, Austria, where he trained as a sculptor. While serving in the Austrian military in 1889, Bitter immigrated to the United States and applied for citizenship. Ultimately, Bitter settled in New York City and worked as an assistant in a home decorating firm while establishing his reputation as a sculptor. After working as a sculptor at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and as director at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901, Bitter was named head of the sculpture programs at both the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California. Bitter was awarded the silver medal of the Paris Exposition, 1900; the gold medal of the Pan-American Exposition, 1901; and the gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904.

Bitter offered work to sculptor Gustave Gerlach after seeing some of his sculpture. Gerlach subsequently assisted Bitter at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition as superintendent of sculpture, and at the 1904 and 1915 expositions. Following Bitter's sudden death in 1915, Gerlach proposed the execution of a memorial fountain for him in Weehawken, New Jersey, based on an original design by Bitter. However, due to anti-German sentiment in the United States at that time, Gerlach was unable to proceed with the memorial and ultimately returned the money he had raised for the fountain.

Bitter and Gerlach worked with many prominent sculptors of the day, including Isidore Konti, Adolph Weinman, and Alexander Stirling Calder who was named acting-chief of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Bitter and Calder both employed the services of renowned model Audrey Munson.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Karl Theodore Francis Bitter Papers, 1887-circa 1977.
Provenance:
The papers were donated in 2019 by Mary K. McGuigan and John F. McGuigan Jr., art historians and collectors in Milford, Pennsylvania, who purchased the collection at auction. The collection was originally complied by Gustave's daughter, Margarett.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Citation:
Photographs of Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and Gustave Gerlach, circa 1892-circa 1915. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gerlmarg
See more items in:
Photographs of Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and Gustave Gerlach
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gerlmarg
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