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Gordon Newton note to Samuel J. Wagstaff

Creator:
Newton, Gordon, 1948-  Search this
Wagstaff, Samuel J., 1921-1987  Search this
Subject:
Newton, Gordon  Search this
Wagstaff, Samuel J.  Search this
Type:
Correspondence
Date:
19--
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9820
See more items in:
Samuel J. Wagstaff papers, circa 1932-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9820

Samuel J. Wagstaff papers

Creator:
Wagstaff, Samuel J.  Search this
Names:
Basen, Dan, 1939-  Search this
Brecht, George  Search this
Byars, James Lee  Search this
De Maria, Walter, 1935-2013  Search this
Di Suvero, Mark, 1933-  Search this
Fine, Albert M.  Search this
Flavin, Dan, 1933-  Search this
Halprin, Anna  Search this
Hartigan, Grace  Search this
James, Charles, d. 1978  Search this
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Manning, Doreen  Search this
Manning, Robert  Search this
Martin, Agnes, 1912-2004  Search this
Newton, Gordon, 1948-  Search this
Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Roth, Dieter, 1930-1998  Search this
Saret, Alan, 1944-  Search this
Tuttle, Richard, 1941-  Search this
Warhol, Andy, 1928-  Search this
Wilson, Mary F.  Search this
Extent:
6.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Drawings
Date:
circa 1932-1985
Summary:
The Samuel J. Wagstaff papers, circa 1932-1985 comprise 6.4 linear feet of correspondence, writings, miscellaneous records, printed material, and photographs documenting Wagstaff's professional and personal relationships with artists and photographers, his career as an art curator, and his position as an important collector of paintings and photographs. Correspondence with artists and others such as curators, arts organizations, galleries, and museums, reflects the diversity of contemporary American art and includes individuals associated with the abstract expressionist, Fluxus, pop, earth, conceptual, and minimalist art movements.
Scope and Content Note:
The Samuel J. Wagstaff papers, circa 1932-1985, comprise 6.4 linear feet of correspondence, writings, miscellaneous records, printed material, and photographs documenting Wagstaff's professional and personal relationships with artists and photographers, his career as an art curator, and his position as an important collector of paintings and photographs.

Correspondence with artists and others such as curators, arts organizations, galleries, and museums reflects the diversity of contemporary American art and includes individuals associated with the abstract expressionist, Fluxus, pop, earth, conceptual, and minimalist art movements. Wagstaff's importance as a collector and curator and his generosity to and interest in artists is evident from the large number of invitations to view and critique work, requests for fellowship and grant recommendations, and thank you notes from artists to whom he extended financial or moral support. Among the most prolific correspondents found here are: Dan Basen, George Brecht, James Lee Byars, Walter de Maria, Mark Di Suvero, Albert Fine, Dan Flavin, Ann Halprin, Grace Hartigan, Charles James, Philip Johnson, Ray Johnson, Doreen and Robert Manning, Agnes Martin, Gordon Newton, Claes Oldenburg, Ad Reinhardt, Dieter Rot, Alan Saret, Richard Tuttle, May Wilson, and Andy Warhol.

Writings by Wagstaff consist of "Looking at Modern Art" prepared for the Trinity College Reading Program, and an untitled, undated piece about multiplicity in art. Among the writings by other authors are Bruce Bennard's "The Photographer Rediscovered," "Pop Art" by Henry Geldzahler, and "Collecting Photographs" by Bonnie Barrett Stretch.

Miscellaneous records are drawings by Bruce Kleinsmith, a print by Harold Paris and artists' resumes. Also included is a costume consisting of a stuffed devil's tail and two red silk caps connected by a long sash, all in a matching red silk bag.

Among the printed material are books, exhibition catalogs and prospectuses, periodicals, press releases, reproductions, and a variety of other printed items relating to photography and art.

Photographs consist largely of copy prints and a small number of original prints. Also included are a few images of exhibition installations and other miscellaneous subjects. There are no portraits of Samuel J. Wagstaff among the photographs of people. Identified individuals include: Bella Abzug, Peter Allen, Michael Collins, Angela Davis, Candy Darling, Wendell Ford, Joseph Hirshhorn, W. A. Huffman, David Love, Marc Miller, Bettie Ringma, and Andy Warhol.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 5 series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1932-1986 (Boxes 1-3, 8, OV 9-10; 2.5 linear ft.)

Series 2: Writings, 1961-1983 (Box 3; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 3: Miscellaneous Papers and Artifacts, 1970s-1980s (Box 3; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1914-1988 (Boxes 3-8, OV 11; 3.2 linear ft.)

Series 5: Photographs, 1975-1982 (Boxes 7-8; 0.1 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Samuel J. Wagstaff, Jr. (1921-1987), the son of a lawyer from an old New York family and fashion artist Olga Piorkowska, was born in New York City. A graduate of Yale University, he was an ensign in the Navy and took part in the D-day landing at Omaha Beach.

Following World War II, Wagstaff studied Renaissance art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. A David E. Finley art history fellowship took him to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. in 1959. He served as curator of contemporary art at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., from 1961 to 1968, where he coordinated sculptor Tony Smith's first museum show in 1966. In 1971, during Wagstaff's tenure as curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts (1968-1971), he presented Michael Heizer's installation Dragged Mass Geometric on the grounds of the museum.

In addition to his curatorial work, Samuel J. Wagstaff was a noted collector. Originally, he was a fairly influential collector of avant-garde paintings. After seeing the exhibition "The Painterly Photograph" and meeting photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Wagstaff became convinced that photographs were the most unrecognized and, possibly, the most valuable works of art. He moved to New York and began selling his collection of paintings, using the proceeds to begin his photography collection and concentrating on 19th century American, British, and French examples. Then, influenced by his lover, photographer Mapplethorpe, Wagstaff's taste veered toward the daring, and he began to depart from established names in search of new talent. His collection was soon recognized as one of the finest private holdings in the United States. An exhibition of his photographs was organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., in 1978, and A Book of Photographs from the Sam Wagstaff Collection was published to accompany the show that toured the country.

The photograph collection was sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, Calif., in 1984, for a reported $5 million. Wagstaff then focused his attention on collecting 19th century American silver, and a selection from that collection was exhibited at the New York Historical Society in 1987.

Samuel J. Wagstaff died in New York City on January 14, 1987, from pneumonia, a complication of HIV infection.
Provenance:
Samuel J. Wagstaff donated his papers between 1976 and 1986.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
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.
Topic:
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Photography  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists -- United States  Search this
Photographs -- Collectors and collecting -- United States  Search this
Curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Fluxus (Group of artists)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Drawings
Citation:
Samuel J. Wagstaff papers, circa 1932-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.wagssamu
See more items in:
Samuel J. Wagstaff papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-wagssamu
Online Media:

Gordon Newton : selections from the James F. Duffy Jr. gift : the Detroit Institute of Arts / [curators of the exhibition, Nancy Sojka and MaryAnn Wilkinson ; editor, Judith Ruskin]

Author:
Newton, Gordon 1948-  Search this
Sojka, Nancy  Search this
Wilkinson, MaryAnn  Search this
Ruskin, Judith  Search this
Detroit Institute of Arts  Search this
Subject:
Newton, Gordon 1948- Themes, motives  Search this
Duffy, Jim Art collections  Search this
Detroit Institute of Arts  Search this
Physical description:
161 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Michigan
Detroit
Date:
2001
C2001
Topic:
Art--Private collections  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.N559 D48 2001
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_682523

Daytona Beach, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Newton, Gordon 1948-  Search this
Medium:
Logs, charcoal, tape, paraffin and plaster
Type:
Sculptures-Outdoor Sculpture
Sculptures
Place:
Michigan
West Bloomfield
Date:
1972
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Allegory--Place--Daytona Beach  Search this
Control number:
IAS 87840048
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_298907

Double Coaster Black and White, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Newton, Gordon 1948-  Search this
Medium:
Wood and paint
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Detroit Institute of Arts 5200 Woodward Avenue Detroit Michigan 48202 Accession Number: F77.90
Date:
1977
Topic:
Undetermined  Search this
Control number:
IAS 24150124
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_26514

Oklahoma, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Newton, Gordon 1948-  Search this
Medium:
Wood, wax, clay and paint
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Detroit Institute of Arts 5200 Woodward Avenue Detroit Michigan 48202 Accession Number: F1983.19
Date:
1972
Topic:
Allegory--Place--Oklahoma  Search this
Control number:
IAS 24150125
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_26515

SDX Satellite Delay, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Newton, Gordon 1948-  Search this
Medium:
Iron and polyester resin
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Detroit Institute of Arts 5200 Woodward Avenue Detroit Michigan 48202 Accession Number: T1984.424
Date:
1983-1984
Topic:
Undetermined  Search this
Control number:
IAS 24150126
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_26516

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