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Billy Al Bengston papers

Creator:
Bengston, Billy Al  Search this
Names:
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
James Corcoran Gallery  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Alexander, Peter, 1939-  Search this
Altoon, John, 1925-  Search this
Andre, Carl, 1935-  Search this
Chamberlain, John, 1927-2011  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993  Search this
Flavin, Dan, 1933-  Search this
Goode, Joe, 1937-  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Plagens, Peter  Search this
Ruscha, Edward  Search this
Extent:
10.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Photographs
Date:
circa 1940s-1989
bulk 1960-1988
Summary:
The papers of southern California Pop artist Billy Al Bengston measure 10.4 linear feet and date from circa 1940s to 1989, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1988. The collection documents the life and work of the artist through biographical materials, correspondence, personal business records, gallery and museum files, teaching files, project and commission files, scattered artwork, printed materials, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Billy Al Bengston measure 10.4 linear feet and date from circa 1940s to 1989, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1988. The collection documents the life and work of the southern California artist through biographical materials, correspondence, personal business records, gallery and museum files, teaching files, project and commission files, scattered artwork, printed materials, and photographs.

Found within the biographical materials series are three feet of calendars which extensively document Bengston's personal and professional activities for fourteen years, and include ephemera related to these activities. This series also includes health records, wills, and passports.

Correspondence is with galleries, museums, universities, businesses, friends, and colleagues, and primarily concerns exhibitions, sales, consignments, commissions, and Bengston's personal finances. Bengston's relationship with the James Corcoran Gallery, Janie C. Lee Gallery, John Berggruen Gallery, Martha Jackson Gallery, and Texas Gallery are well-documented here, as well as in the Museum and Gallery Files series. Also found is a limited amount of personal correspondence with collectors, researchers, and friends. A few letters from other artists, including Peter Plagens and a letter from Richard Diebenkorn are interfiled here.

Bengston's professional relationships with galleries, museums, and universities are well-documented in the gallery and museum files, including the galleries mentioned above, Ferus Gallery, and others. Lists of consignments and prices, invoices, records of sales, loan agreement forms, shipping receipts, exhibition checklists, and exhibition floor plans provide information about sales, exhibitions, and loans. A few files provide further information about Bengston teaching activities. His personal business records include art sales records, price lists, lists of purchases, records of investment, and personal finance records. Project files include correspondence, notes, and printed materials related to Bengston's commissions for artwork and personal projects, including a book he worked on with Ed Ruscha, Business Cards.

Writings by Bengston include responses to exhibitions of West Coast art and his thoughts on his career, art, the artistic community, motorcycles, as well as a recollection of John Altoon. Also found are questionnaires sent out by Bengston for an art survey, with responses from Peter Alexander, Carl Andre, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Joe Goode, Robert Graham, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Ed Ruscha, and others. Writings by others consist primarily of exhibition catalog essays, manuscripts of interviews with Bengston, and other writings about Bengston. Also found is an essay by Walter Hopps. Photographs of Bengston include a family picture from the 1940s, Bengston at work on projects in Los Angeles and Syracuse, New York, and Bengston at social events. Other photographs consist of pictures of friends and artists, Bengston's artwork, documentary evidence of damaged artwork, and of commission sites.

Printed materials from the 1960s - 1980s include clippings, full articles, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and posters. They document exhibitions, art in southern California, and society and art events. The collection houses limited amounts of artwork including sketches, cut-outs, doodles and drawings.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 10 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1958-1987 (Boxes 1-4, 11; 3.7 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1966-1989 (Boxes 4-6; 1.75 linear feet)

Series 3: Gallery and Museum Files, 1961-1989 (Boxes 6-7; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Teaching Records, 1968-1982 (Box 7; 7 folders)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1960-1987 (Boxes 7-8; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 6: Project Files, 1968-1987 (Boxes 8-9; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 7: Writings, 1967-circa 1988 (Box 9, OV 1; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1960s-1987 (Box 9; 7 folders)

Series 9: Printed Materials, 1958-1988 (Boxes 9-10, OV 1-2; 1.25 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, circa 1940s-1987 (Box 10; 0.5 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Billy Al Bengston was born in Dodge City, Kansas on June 7, 1934. After moving back and forth from Kansas to California multiple times, he and his family settled in Los Angeles in 1948. While attending the Manual Arts High School, Bengston became interested in art, especially ceramics. After a brief stint at Los Angeles Junior College, Bengston worked as a beach attendant at Doheny State Beach. While working there he met fellow surfer and future ceramicist Kenneth Price, who became one of Bengston's closest friends. In 1953, he reenrolled in Los Angeles Junior College to study ceramics. For the next four years he attended both the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design). At these institutions he studied with Richard Diebenkorn, Sabro Hasegawa, Nathan Oliveira, and Peter Voulkos.

Around 1957, Bengston shifted his emphasis from ceramics to painting, and became affiliated with the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, founded that same year by Edward Kienholz and Walter Hopps. Bengston's first solo exhibition was held at the Ferus Gallery in 1958, and a second followed in 1960. At this time Bengston began to work with Pop icons combined with Color Field abstractions. His early bold paintings often featured symmetrical strong color compositions with a central image of a valentine, star, cross, chevron, or iris. The irises he called "draculas," after Kenneth Price remarked that they resembled Dracula flying through a window. He first showed his chevron paintings in 1962 at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. In the early 1960s, Bengston extended his imagery to the California subculture and created paintings of leisure time activities, focusing on motorcycles, racing, and scuba diving - his own interests as well.

Throughout his career, Bengston experimented with technique and materials. He experimented with automobile lacquer and spray painting techniques associated with car customization. He also used non-traditional surfaces, such as masonite and aluminum. In 1965, Bengston began creating paintings on sheets of aluminum into which he hammered dents and sometimes bent and buckled; these subsequently came to be known as "dentos." Along with painting, Bengston has also created watercolors, ceramics, and furniture. He was also one of the artists selected by Carol and Roy Doumani to design their home.

Bengston first visited Hawaii in 1974, and after several subsequent trips, established a second studio there in 1979. The work Bengston created in the following years was characterized by the use of tropical colors and representational images of running figures, airplanes, and the moon. In 1988, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston organized a retrospective entitled "Billy Al Bengston: Paintings of Three Decades," which traveled to the Oakland Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu. Bengston also completed several years as an art instructor and lecturer at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and The University of California at Los Angeles. Bengston continues to create and exhibit new work.
Related Material:
Found in the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Bengston conducted by Susan Larsen, September 9, 1980, and Susan Ford Morgan, August 2-October 7, 2002. Also found are portraits of Bengston in the Photographs of artists taken by Mimi Jacobs collection, and a rare copy of the book Business Cards by Bengston and Ed Ruscha in the Wallace Berman papers.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Billy Al Bengston in 1990.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Billy Al Bengston 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:
Works of art  Search this
Painters -- California  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Citation:
Billy Al Bengston papers, circa 1940s-1989 (bulk 1960-1988). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bengbill
See more items in:
Billy Al Bengston papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bengbill

Hassel Smith at the John Berggruen Gallery [videorecording]/ University of California, Berkeley Office of Educational Television and Radio ; co-producer, Paul Karlstrom, 1986 Jan. 13

Creator:
University of California, Berkeley.Office of Educational Television and Radio  Search this
Subject:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Smith, Hassel Wendell  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
ETVR (Television station)  Search this
University of California, Berkeley.Office of Educational Television and Radio  Search this
Type:
Video recordings
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)21883
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216010
AAA_collcode_univcalb2
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_216010

Billy Al Bengston papers, circa 1940s-1989, (bulk 1968-1988)

Creator:
Bengston, Billy Al, 1934-  Search this
Subject:
Chamberlain, John Angus  Search this
Ruscha, Edward  Search this
Andre, Carl  Search this
Motherwell, Robert Burns  Search this
Alexander, Peter  Search this
Goode, Joe  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy  Search this
Altoon, John  Search this
Flavin, Dan  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard  Search this
Plagens, Peter  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
James Corcoran Gallery  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Topic:
Art  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10220
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213296
AAA_collcode_bengbill
Theme:
The Art Market
Lives of American Artists
Audio - Visual
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213296
Online Media:

Ati Maier : 1998 homesteads / essay by David Hunt

Title:
Homesteads
Author:
Maier, Ati  Search this
Hunt, David 1969-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Maier, Ati  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1998
Call number:
N6888.M32 A4 1998
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_623642

En plein air Tony King, William Morehouse, Jack Stuppin, William Wheeler : September 10-October 3, 1992

Author:
King, Tony 1944- http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/nr98016909 http://viaf.org/viaf/61731346/  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.) http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n86810217 http://viaf.org/viaf/143783021/  Search this
Physical description:
32 unnumbered pages color illustrations 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Place:
California, Northern
Northern California
Date:
1992
20th century
Topic:
Landscape painting, American  Search this
Landscape painting  Search this
Call number:
ND1351.6 .E6 1992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_640602

Mark Adams : watercolors

Author:
Adams, Mark 1925-2006  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Adams, Mark 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
58 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
2007
C2007
20th century
Topic:
Watercolor painting, American  Search this
Watercolorists  Search this
Call number:
ND1839.A33 A4 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_818955

David Bates : roughshod, sculpture and works on paper : [exhibition] November 30, 1994-January 7, 1995, John Berggruen Gallery

Title:
Roughshod, sculpture and works on paper
Author:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
Physical description:
[33] p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 29 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1994
C1994
Call number:
N40.1.B329 B4 1994
NB237.B385 A4 1994
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_590063

John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.) [Folder]

Additional name:
Berggruen Gallery  Search this
Contents:
Folder(s) may include exhibition announcements, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, press releases, brochures, reviews, invitations, illustrations, resumes, artist's statements, exhibition catalogs.
Place:
San Francisco (Calif.)
Topic:
Art Organizations  Search this
Location:
Art & Artist files at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILAF_97848

Ellsworth Kelly : at right angles, 1964-1966

Title:
At right angles, 1964-1966
Author:
Kelly, Ellsworth 1923-2015  Search this
Bernstein, Roberta  Search this
Margo Leavin Gallery  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Paula Cooper Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Kelly, Ellsworth 1923-2015  Search this
Physical description:
27 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1991
C1991
Call number:
N40.1.K28 M32 1991
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_429089

David Bates : southern coast / [interview by Michael Auping]

Title:
Southern coast
Artist, interviewee:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
Interviewer:
Auping, Michael  Search this
Host institution:
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
Physical description:
61 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Interviews
Exhibition catalogs
Date:
2017
©2017
Call number:
N40.1 .B329 J64 2017
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1086995

Nathan Oliveira : recent paintings and works on paper, September 18 - November 1, 1997 / essay by Michael McClure

Author:
Oliveira, Nathan 1928-2010  Search this
McClure, Michael  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Oliveira, Nathan 1928-  Search this
Physical description:
40 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
1997
[c1997]
Topic:
Painters  Search this
Call number:
ND237.O53 A4 1997
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_730232

Diane Andrews Hall / [editing: Katie Clifford]

Author:
Hall, Diane Andrews 1945-  Search this
Berkson, Bill On certain pictures by Diane Andrews Hall  Search this
Editor:
Clifford, Katie  Search this
Publisher:
James Graham & Sons  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Hall, Diane Andrews 1945-  Search this
Physical description:
24 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2006
©2006
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_782282

Seydou Keïta : portraits

Title:
Portraits
Author:
Keita, Seydou approximately 1921-2001  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Keita, Seydou ca. 1921-2001  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet ([6] p.) : ill ; 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Place:
Mali
Date:
2006
[2006]
Topic:
Portrait photography  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Call number:
TR680 .K45 2006
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_802482

Isca Greenfield-Sanders : red boat beaches : August 30-September 29, 2007 : John Berggruen Gallery

Title:
Red Boat Beaches
Author:
Greenfield-Sanders, Isca 1978-  Search this
Close, Chuck 1940-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Greenfield-Sanders, Isca 1978-  Search this
Physical description:
42 p. : col. ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
C2007
Call number:
ND237.G619 A4 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_826021

Lee Mullican : paintings 1952-1968

Title:
Paintings 1952-1968
Author:
Mullican, Lee 1919-1998  Search this
Stauffacher, Jack Werner  Search this
Nahmias, Tamar  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Mullican, Lee 1919-1998  Search this
Physical description:
42 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
C2007
Call number:
ND237.M866 A4 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_827872

Elizabeth Murray : recent paintings and works on paper : [exhibition] September 10-October 10, 1998

Author:
Murray, Elizabeth 1940-2007  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Murray, Elizabeth 1940-2007  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1998
C1998
Call number:
ND237.M923 A4 1998
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_828523

David Bates : nudes, September 5-October 5, 2002

Title:
Nudes
Author:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Bates, David 1952-  Search this
Physical description:
46 p. : ill. (mostly col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2002
C2002
Call number:
ND37.B277 A4 2002
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_701611

Richard Diebenkorn : figurative works on paper / introduction by John McEnroe ; essays by Jane Livingston and Barnaby Conrad

Author:
Diebenkorn, Richard 1922-1993  Search this
Livingston, Jane  Search this
Conrad, Barnaby 1952-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Diebenkorn, Richard 1922-1993  Search this
Physical description:
113 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2003
C2003
Topic:
Human figure in art  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.D56 J64 2003
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_703371

Christopher Brown

Title:
Christopher Brown : new paintings
Author:
Brown, Christopher 1951-  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Brown, Christopher 1951-  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet ([6] p.) : chiefly col. ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2002
20th century
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
Painting, Modern  Search this
Call number:
ND237.B8726 A4 2002
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_703920

Picasso : the Berggruen album

Title:
Berggruen album
Author:
Picasso, Pablo 1881-1973  Search this
Richardson, John 1924-  Search this
McCully, Marilyn  Search this
Berggruen, Olivier  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Mitchell-Innes & Nash  Search this
Subject:
Picasso, Pablo 1881-1973  Search this
Picasso, Pablo 1881-1973  Search this
Physical description:
88 p. : chiefly ill. (some col.) ; 25 x 33 cm
Type:
Books
Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc
Exhibitions
Date:
2004
C2004
Call number:
NC248.P5 A4 2004
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_728353

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