The papers of New York artist Lillian Kiesler and architect and sculptor Frederick Kiesler measure 49.1 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1910s-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1958-2000. The collection documents their personal and professional lives and the legacy of Frederick Kiesler's work through biographical material, correspondence, legal, financial and business records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed and digital material, writings and interviews, monographs, photographic material, and sound and video recordings. Also found are papers related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann and the papers of artist Alice Hodges.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of artist, performer, and arts educator Lillian Kiesler and sculptor, architect, set designer, educator, and writer Frederick Kiesler measure 49.1 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1910s-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1958-2000. The collection documents their personal and professional lives and the legacy of Frederick Kiesler's work through biographical material, correspondence, legal, financial and business records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed and digital material, writings and interviews, monographs, photographic material, and sound and video recordings. Also found are papers related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann and the papers of artist Alice Hodges.
The collection is arranged into two series: the Lillian Kiesler Papers (Series 1) and the Frederick Kiesler Papers (Series 2). Measuring 41.1 linear feet, the Lillian Kiesler Papers (Series 1) make up the bulk of the collection and document her personal life and professional career as an artist, actor, teacher, arts benefactor and promoter of Frederick Kiesler's legacy. The series spans her lifetime, although most of the material is dated after 1965. Among her papers are biographical materials, correspondence, legal and financial records, teaching files, exhibition and performance files, artwork, subject files, printed material, monographs, papers related to Frederick Kiesler and his legacy, papers of and related to Hans Hofmann, papers of Alice Hodges, photographic material, and sound and video recordings.
Found among Lillian Kiesler's personal papers are address books, numerous calendars and appointment books, and diaries and journals. Her correspondence is extensive and contains business correspondence with John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, and Erick Hawkins Dance Foundation, and personal letters and greeting cards from friends, family, artists, scholars, and researchers, including Etel Adnan, Alcopley, Fritz Bultman, Steve Buscemi, Mike Diamond, Burgoyne Diller, Lucia Dlugoszewski, Piero Dorazio, Jean Dubuffet, Jay Gottlieb, Erick Hawkins, Burgess Meredith, Henry Miller, James Purdy, and Herrel Thomas. Of interest is a letter from Harry Holtzman postmarked March 13, 1935 describing his initial meeting with Mondrian, and a letter from E.B. Gordon describing Henry Miller in Paris.
Materials related to Lillian Kiesler's estate and last wishes can also be found, as well as teaching plans, student work, and writings by Lillian Kiesler's mentor and friend, New York University professor Chandler Montgomery. Various printed material, correspondence, scripts, and rehearsal schedules from Lillian Kiesler's exhibitions and performances are also found, and among the directors, artists and writers represented are Jo Andres, Steve Buscemi, Cindy Lugar, Tim Miller and James Purdy. Artwork contains photographs by Bob Del Fredici, drawings by Piero Dorazio, and notes to Frederick Kiesler from Lillian Kiesler.
Subject files about artists, friends, colleagues, performances, and organizations in which she supported, such as the Anthology Film Archives, include printed materials and research materials. Signed exhibition catalogs of Loren MacIver, Dina Ghen, Lenore Tawney, and Toshiko Takaezu, and a reprint article inscribed by Alcopley can be found, as well as numerous inscribed monographs, including books inscribed by Max Weiler and Piero Dorazio, an inscribed first edition of Henry Miller's Black Spring (1936), and a 1937 monograph by Harry Holtzman titled American Abstract Artists.
Series 1 also includes materials related to her husband Frederick Kiesler, papers of and related to Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann, and the personal papers of artist Alice Hodges. The Papers Related to Frederick Kiesler were primarily created or compiled by Lillian Kiesler and document her work on behalf of Frederick Kiesler's legacy. Of interest are letters from Frederick Kiesler to Lillian Kiesler and Alice Hodges; a bound volume of correspondence to Piero Dorazio; an inventory of objects in the Frederick Kiesler estate; photographs of artwork; an interview (sound recordings and transcript) with Lillian Kiesler about Frederick Kiesler for "Music of the Age," included on the tape is a portion of a Frederick Kiesler interview (1965); a recording of Lillian Kiesler interviewing Richard Kamler about Frederick Kiesler; and Frederick Kiesler's dialogue with Leo Castelli (undated).
Lillian Kiesler was a student of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, as well as an enthusiastic volunteer promoter and assistant to The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. The bulk of the papers of and related to Hans Hofmann were created or compiled by Lillian Kielser and are about Hofmann's career and legacy. However, also found are some papers of Hans Hofmann, including letters from Hofmann to Lillian Kiesler and Alice Hodges describing his artwork, life in Provincetown, and issues with The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, typed and handwritten lectures given by Hofmann, Hofmann's 1941 address to the American Abstract Artists (AAA), three boxes of card files on students of the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in New York City and Provincetown, and photographs of Hofmann and his house in Provincetown taken by Wilfrid Zogbaum and Tom Milius.
The artist Alice Hodges (b. unknown-1965) was a close friend of Lillian Kiesler, a former secretary to Frederick Kiesler, and a student of Hans Hofmann. Included among her personal papers is some correspondence from Hans Hofmann and Katherine Drier and numerous postcards from Hodges and Lillian Kiesler's trip to Europe in 1950, posters and printed material from her exhibitions, an oversized scrapbook chronicling Lillian Kiesler's teaching career, records from the United States Treasury War Bond Art Auction in 1945, original artwork and greeting cards made by Hodges and Lillian Kiesler, and 31 rolled negative strips in metal canisters of Frederick Kiesler sculptures, Provincetown and Hans Hofmann, Wellfleet, Empire State Music Festival (1955), and travels to Colorado and Europe, some of which may be printed and found in this subseries.
Photographs found in the Lillian Kiesler Papers are mostly black and white and color snapshots of Lillian Kiesler's friends and family at events and at home, including candid photos of Hans Hofmann, Alice Hodges, Frederick Kiesler, and Alcopley. Slides prepared by Lillian Kiesler for a lecture on Frederick Kiesler and her lecture notes on index cards are found. Sound and video recordings include recordings of productions in which Lillian Kiesler performed, and music, film, or live stage performances written, directed, or performed by friends.
Measuring 7.1 linear feet, Frederick Kiesler's personal papers (Series 2) document his professional career and date from 1923-1992. Biographical materials include his curriculum vitae, four passports, and numerous appointment books and notes from late in his life. Correspondence with architects, publishers, editors, universities, museums, galleries, manufacturers, artists and friends includes letters from L. Alcopley, Leopold Arnaud, Armand P. Bartos, Piero and Virginia Dorazio, George Howe, Kay Johnson, Jane Owen, and others. There are also photocopied letters from Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Piet Mondrian. Business and financial records from the 1940s to mid-1960s comprise a significant bulk of this series and are primarily tax returns and receipts and statements used to file tax returns. Materials on the publication of "Inside the Endless House" (1966), the International Theatre Exposition (in German) in 1924 and other exhibits from shortly after his death are found, as well as student artwork and papers from Kiesler's classes in the mid-1950s. A bound copy of the "Bibliography of Writings of and About Frederick Kiesler" compiled by Lillian Kiesler is found, as well as printed material about Frederick Kiesler and a handful of photographs of artwork.
Users should note that Lillian Kiesler's and Frederick Kiesler's papers contain similar types of material that often overlap in subject matter, especially among the Papers Related to Frederick Kiesler (Subseries 1.10) in Series 1 and the Frederick Kiesler Papers (Series 2). This collection contains limited material related to Lillian Kiesler prior to the 1940s and Frederick Kiesler prior to his arrival in the United States in 1926.
The collection is arranged into two series. Each series is divided into several subseries, with the arrangement described in detail in the series descriptions.
Series 1: Lillian Kiesler papers, circa 1910s-2003 (Box 1-39, 47-52, OV 53-57; 41.1 linear feet, ER01; 0.001 GB)
Series 2: Frederick Kiesler papers, 1923-1992 (Box 40-46, OV 53; 7.1 linear feet)
Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) was a sculptor, architect, set designer, educator, and writer active in New York and Connecticutt. Lillian Kiesler (1911-2001) was a performer, arts educator, and painter married to Frederick Kiesler. She was also active in the administration of the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts.
Frederick Kiesler was born in Romania in 1890, although he gave various other dates for his birth and regularly cited Vienna as his birthplace. He arrived in the United States with his wife Steffi in 1926 for the International Theatre Exposition at Steinway Hall in New York City. They stayed in the United States and were granted citizenship in 1936.
Kiesler secured a teaching position at Columbia University's School of Architecture in 1930, and from 1934 through 1957 he was the scenic design director at The Juilliard School of Music. He also lectured at Yale University from 1950-1952. Often labeled a Surrealist, Kiesler's work was experimental and frequently described as ahead of its time. He published, lectured, and participated in numerous exhibitions throughout his career. He is known for his theory of "coreallism;" "The Space House" (1933), a full-scale model of a single family home; an installation designed for Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century gallery in 1942; "The Endless House" drawings and model (1950); "The Universal Theatre" (1961) model; and the Shrine of the Book (1965), a building to exhibit the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. He died in New York City in December 1965.
Lillian Olinsey met architect and sculptor Frederick Kiesler in 1934. After years of friendship, they were married in 1964, a year and a half before Frederick's death in 1965.
Lillian Kiesler studied art at the Art Students League, Cooper Union, and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, where she also assisted Hofmann and the school administration. She taught art to children and young adults for twenty years in New York City. From 1945 to 1955, she taught at the Greenwich House Art workshops and the Woodward School, followed by the Brooklyn Museum (1948-1958), Barnard School (1953-1963), New York University School of Education (1955-1966), and Juilliard School of Visual Arts (1963-1965). Lillian was involved in the performing arts and between the late 1970s through the 1990s she performed in New York City with numerous directors, notably Jo Andres, Steve Buscemi, Richard Foreman, John Jesurun, Cindy Lubar, and Tim Miller. She frequently performed with her close friend, painter Maryette Charlton, who was the executor of the Lillian Kiesler estate.
Lillian Kiesler tirelessly promoted Frederick Kiesler's work and legacy after his death in 1965. From the late 1980s through the 1990s, she delivered lectures about his work at universities and museums, gave interviews, corresponded with researchers, and organized his papers to donate to the Harvard Theatre Collection, Yale School of Art and Architecture, and the Archives of American Art. In 1997, she helped found the Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Foundation in Vienna, Austria. She endowed the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize, an award given to a notable contributor to the field of architecture. The first recipient was Frank Gehry in 1998. Lillian Kiesler passed away in 2001 in New York City.
The holdings of the Archives of American Art include the Hans Hofmann Papers, 1904-1978 and the Maryette Charlton Papers, 1929-1998. Additional Frederick Kiesler papers are available at the Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard Theater Collection, and the Yale School of Art and Architecture.
Some of the materials related to Frederick Kiesler were initially loaned for microfilming on reels 57 and 127-128. This material is not described in the container listing of this finding aid. Most, but not all, of the loaned material was later donated and has been merged with the other accretions.
The collection was donated by Lillian Kiesler and Maryette Charlton, executrix of her estate, in several accessions between 1980-2002. Some of the papers related to Frederick Kiesler were originally loaned for microfilming in 1971, most of which was later donated in 1980. Additional papers related to Frederick Kiesler were donated in 1993. Papers related to Hans Hofmann were given in 1981. Lillian Kiesler's papers were donated in 2000 by Lillian Kiesler, and in 2002, by Maryette Charlton.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The papers of painter Hanes Ownby (1929-2001) measure 10.1 linear feet and date from circa 1946-2008. Included are project, grant and exhibition files; material regarding the Hofmann school; material regarding Myron Stout; personal and professional letters to Ownby; drafts of letters; writings by Ownby and others; journals, notebooks and trip logs; calendars; photographs and slides of works of art, places, people (including a photo album) and events; interviews with Ownby on VHS; audio cassettes of interviews and talks; biographical material; printed material; and few sketches.
Biographical / Historical:
Haynes Ownby (1929-2001) was a painter and writer in Provincetown, Massachusetts and was a student of Hans Hofmann. In addition to being a painter, Haynes invented a game, wrote and produced a play, and edited writings of artist Myron Stout.
Donated in 2022 by JoAnn Heiser, Executor, Haynes Ownby estate.
This collection is closed for processing. Contact References Services for more information.
The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 23.7 linear feet and 2.21 GB and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed and digital material, and photographs.
There is a 15.7 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes exhibition files; commission files; project files; ledgers; photograph albums, slides, transparencies and glass plate negatives of works of art and installations and photographs of Simon, family and others; inventories of works of art; files relating to World War II including personal and professional photographs, blank postcards, sketches, printed material, and personnel information; unidentified CDs and a cassette with a letter from mother; journals with sketches and notes; biographical information including certificates and awards; printed material including catalogs and announcements and articles about Simon; appraisals; correspondence including posthumous letters of condolence; sketchbooks and drawings, including oversized student drawings and drawings for commissions and competitions; interviews with Simon on Hi8 tapes, mini DV; a scrapbook; and a zinc metal plate. Materials date from circa 1940-1997 and 2008.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 23.7 linear feet and 2.21 GB and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed and digital material, and photographs.
Biographical material chronicles Simon's academic training and professional activities through curriculum vitae, biographical accounts, and awards. Included are letters and memoranda, many from Forbes Watson pertaining to Simon's service as a combat artist in World War II. Also found is a transcript of an interview with Simon recounting his experiences in the Southwest Pacific. Simon's personal correspondence with colleagues, friends, and family includes scattered letters from Jacqueline Helion, Penelope Jencks, William King, Burgess Meredith, among others. Many letters are illustrated by Sidney Simon and others. General correspondence includes letters from artists, galleries, museums, public and religious institutions primarily relating to Simon's exhibitions and commissioned projects. Among the correspondents are Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, Colby College, André Emmerich, Eric Makler Gallery, Xavier Gonzalez, Graham Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Interspersed among the files are letters of a personal nature. Other correspondence relates to Simon's faculty positions and his activities in professional organizations, e.g., Century Association, National Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Writings and notes include Simon's 1943 diary entries recording his activities in the Army Corps of Engineers, draft versions of writings and lectures, and notes. Included are digital audio recordings of Simon's lectures at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Subject files provide documentation on Simon's commissioned projects, select exhibitions and competitions, as well as his faculty positions and memberships in several arts organizations. Printed material consists of clippings, invitations, announcements, newsletters, and programs. Exhibition catalogs are of Simon's solo and group shows at galleries, museums, and art organizations from 1959-1966. Photographs are of Simon by Budd Brothers, Richard Pousette-Dart, and Bernard Gotfryd. There are a number of photographs of the artist in his studio and outdoors as well as of Simon's family and friends, including group photographs with Ellsworth Kelly, André Emmerich, Robert Motherwell, and Louise Nevelson. Also found are three personal and family albums and twenty-one photograph albums of Simon's paintings and sculptures.
There is a 15.7 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes exhibition files; commission files; project files; ledgers; photograph albums, slides, transparencies and glass plate negatives of works of art and installations and photographs of Simon, family and others; inventories of works of art; files relating to World War II including personal and professional photographs, blank postcards, sketches, printed material, and personnel information; unidentified CDs and a cassette with a letter from mother; journals with sketches and notes; biographical information including certificates and awards; printed material including catalogs and announcements and articles about Simon; appraisals; correspondence including posthumous letters of condolence; sketchbooks and drawings, including oversized student drawings and for commissions and competitions; interviews with Simon on Hi8 tapes, mini DV; a scrapbook; and a zinc metal plate. Materials date from circa 1940-1997 and 2008.
The collection is arranged as 10 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-1998 (Boxes 1, 9; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1936-2002 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1943, circa 1960-1997 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet, ER01-ER03; 2.21 GB)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1940-1941, 1951-1997 (Boxes 2-4, 9; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Sketches, 1937-1942 (Box 4; 1 folder)
Series 6: Sketchbooks, 1939-1995 (Boxes 4-5, 9; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1933, 1942-1998 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1978-1995 (Box 5; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1917-1997 (Boxes 5-10; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 10: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1940-1997, 2008 (Boxes 11-27, OV 28-43; 15.7 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Sidney Simon (1917-1997) was a sculptor, painter, and educator who worked primarily in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he won a place as a special student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934 and from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1936. Simon also studied at the Barnes Foundation from 1937-1940. Simon received professional recognition early in his career; he was awarded the Prix de Rome Collaborative Prize in 1939 and the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship in mural painting in 1945.
In 1941, Simon enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Army Corps of Engineers. Assigned to MacArthur's headquarters as an official war artist for the Southwest Pacific Theater, Simon was chosen to paint the signing of the peace treaty between the U.S. and Japan aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. He was discharged from the army with a Bronze Star and five presidential citations. In 1945, along with Bill Cummings and Henry Varnum Poor, Simon co-founded the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he later served as a director and a member of the Board of Governors. By the mid-1950s, Simon's interest shifted from painting to sculpture, creating works in wood, clay, and other media. Over the years, Simon collaborated with architects on a number of public and private commissions, including the doorway for the Downstate Medical Center, the Jewish Chapel at West Point, a playground sculpture for Prospect Park, and the totemic column for the Temple Beth Abraham. In addition to serving on the faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Simon also taught at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Museum, and Parsons School of Design. An active champion of artists' rights, Simon established the New York Artists Equity Association. He participated in solo and group shows at the Graham Gallery, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Sculptors Guild, among other venues.
In 1997, Sidney Simon died at the age of 80 in Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was divorced from Joan Crowell in 1964. He is survived by his wife, Renee Adriance Simon and five children from his first and second marriages.
The Archives has two oral history interviews with Sidney Simon conducted by Paul Cummings in October 17-November 8, 1973 and the Karl E. Fortress taped interviews with artists, [1963-1985].
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming (reel D210) including biographical material, correspondence, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and photographs of Sidney Simon. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Sidney Simon lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming in 1965. Rene Simon, Simon's widow, donated the Sidney Simon papers in 2009. Additional material donated in 2022 by the Renee A. Simon Revocable Trust via trustees Barbara Sussman, Alexa Elam and Susanne Howard.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings and born-digital records in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
The records of modernist New York City Kootz Gallery measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1923-1966. They consist of scattered correspondence and exhibition files; photograph files of artists, including ones for Picasso, William Baziotes, and Hans Hofmann, among many others; 23 scrapbooks; photographs and slides of the gallery and exhibitions; and scattered personal papers of Samuel M. Kootz.
Scope and Contents note:
The records of modernist New York City Kootz Gallery measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1923-1966. They consist of scattered correspondence and exhibition files; photograph files of artists, including ones for Picasso, William Baziotes, and Hans Hofmann, among many others; 23 scrapbooks, photographs and slides of the gallery and exhibitions; and scattered personal papers of Samuel M. Kootz.
There are two folders of scattered routine incoming letters. Three folders of exhibition files contain limited documentation of the 1952 Kootz Gallery exhibition "To South America," and printed material related to the 1951 exhibition "Art for a Synagogue" held at the Synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey.
Artists' Photograph Files contain mostly photographs of 52 artists, their artwork, and their exhibitions. In addition to photographs, there is one folder of artists' autographs. Pablo Picasso and Hans Hofmann's close friendship with Kootz is reflected in this series, as numerous informal personal photos are found in their respective files. A few folders also contain documents, such as transcript notes for a lecture and other writings by Hans Hofmann and a brief review of the work of Georges Braque and David Hare.
Printed Material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, advertisements, and newspaper and magazine clippings on the gallery and artists associated with the gallery. There are catalogs for Kootz Gallery exhibitions, including "The Intrasubjectives" show of 1949.
Twenty-three scrapbooks date from 1931 through 1966 and include exhibition announcements, catalogs, photographs, clippings, and miscellaneous printed material. Scrapbook 1, 1947-1948, focuses on Pablo Picasso. Scrapbooks 2-21 document approximately one year of Kootz Gallery events and press coverage from 1945 to 1966, and Scrapbooks 22-23, 1950-1958, focus on architectural models and exhibitions.
Photographic material includes photographs, transparencies, and slides of Kootz Gallery New York and Kootz Gallery Provincetown; interior design photographs showcasing Kootz Gallery artwork hanging in office and residential spaces; group and unidentified exhibitions; group and unidentified artists/artwork; and informal photographs of Samuel Kootz and of his wife, Jane.
Samuel Kootz Personal Papers consist of a cocktail party invitation and a copy of the 1923 Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1.
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1950-1962 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 2: Exhibition Files, circa 1944-1966 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 3: Artists Photographs Files, 1936-1966 (Boxes 1-2, 5; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1944-1966 (Boxes 2, 5; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1931-1966 (Box 3, BV 6-23; 4 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1944-1966 (Boxes 4-5; 11 folders)
Series 7: Samuel Kootz Personal Papers, circa 1923-1957 (Box 4; 2 folders)
Samuel M. Kootz officially opened the Kootz Gallery in 1945 in New York City. In 1953, he opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that closed one year later.
Samuel M. Kootz (1898-1982) received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1921 and practiced law briefly before moving to New York City to accept a job as an advertising account executive. While still in law school, he began visiting New York art galleries and was particularly drawn to works by modern artists that were showing at the Stieglitz Gallery and the Charles Daniel Gallery. In 1930, he independently published his first book, Modern American Painters and began to regularly contribute articles on painting and photography to various periodicals, including The Times. In 1942, he curated an abstract expressionist showcase for Macy's and published New Frontiers in American Painting one year later. Kootz's second book was one of the first to examine the emerging abstract expressionist movement and marked the beginning of his full transition into the art world.
In 1944, Kootz resigned from his advertising job to represent Robert Motherwell and William Baziotes as a professional art dealer. He officially opened the Kootz Gallery opened in 1945 and showcased the work of both American and European abstract expressionists, including Hans Hofmann and Adolph Gottlieb. In 1946, during the Kootz Gallery's preparation for Pablo Picasso's first one man exhibition in America, Picasso became quite friendly with Kootz and his wife Jane. Upon the artist's suggestion, Kootz agreed to close his gallery and represent Picasso and his other artists as a private dealer. Although this was a successful venture, Kootz missed the structure of an office and decided to reopen his gallery on Madison Avenue in 1949. The gallery's first show at the new location was "The Intrasubjectives," a term Kootz had coined for abstract expressionists. The exhibition included four artists from his stable, William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, and Hans Hofmann, along with Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Bradley Walker Tomlin.
In 1953, Kootz opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that was managed and operated by gallerist Nathan Halper. In 1954, they mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership and Kootz focused his energies on his New York gallery, which grew to include Herbert Ferber, David Hare, Philippe Hosiasson, Ibram Lassaw, Conrad Marca-Relli, Georges Mathieu, Raymond Parker, William Ronald, Gerard Schneider, Emil Schumacher, and Pierre Soulages.
A number of factors, including competition from new galleries, commoditization of art by investment collectors, and the public's interest in emerging pop art, influenced Kootz's decision to close his gallery in 1966.
Related Archival Materials note:
Also found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Samuel M. Kootz by John Morse on March 2, 1960 and by Dorothy Seckler on April 13, 1964. Records of Kootz Gallery are also interspersed among the records of Nathan Halper's galleries.
Separated Materials note:
Records loaned for microfilming in 1965 included eight articles from the publication Modern Artists in America (1951) which were not included in the later donation and are now available on microfilm reel NY65-1.
Samuel M. Kootz donated the gallery records in two increments in 1971. Nearly all of the same records had been loaned in 1965 for microfilming.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. All scrapbooks are restricted due to their fragile condition; #1-#5 have been digitized and are available on the Archives of American Art's website, and #6-#23 are only available for use on microfilm reels 1318-1320 and 1322-1323.
The papers of painter, teacher, and writer Hans Hofmann measure 29.92 linear feet and 5.00 GB and date from circa 1904 to 2011, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1945 to 2000. The majority of the papers were created after 1932 and document Hofmann's life and professional career after settling in the United States. Among his papers are personal and professional correspondence; records of his schools in Munich, New York City, and Provincetown, Mass.; writings and notes; financial records; photographs; printed matter; estate records; and a small number of personal papers of his second wife, Renate Schmitz Hofmann. Hofmann's personal papers are augmented by a large selection of printed matter, including exhibition catalogs, articles, news clippings, and monographs about Hofmann and modern art, as well as documentary projects including Tina Dickey's compilation of oral histories and records of Hofmann's students, and research materials, sound and video recordings, digital material, and motion picture film created and gathered by Madeline Amgott during the production of two video documentaries about Hans Hofmann released in 1999 and 2002. Hofmann's Library was acquired with his papers; inscribed/annotated volumes have been retained with the collection.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, teacher, and writer Hans Hofmann measure 29.92 linear feet and 5.00 GB and date from circa 1904 to 2011, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1945 to 2000. The majority of the papers were created after 1932 and document Hofmann's life and professional career after settling in the United States. Among his papers are personal and professional correspondence; records of his schools in Munich, New York City, and Provincetown, Mass.; writings and notes; photographs; address and appointment books; artifacts; artwork; biographical information; interview transcripts; sales and estate records; and a small number of personal papers of his second wife, Renate Schmitz Hofmann. Hofmann's personal papers are augmented by a large selection of printed matter, including exhibition catalogs, articles, news clippings, and monographs about Hofmann and modern art, as well as documentary projects including Tina Dickey's compilation of oral histories and records of Hofmann's students, and research materials, sound and video recordings, digital materials, and motion picture film created and gathered by Madeline Amgott during the production of two video documentaries about Hans Hofmann released in 1999 and 2002. Hofmann's Library was acquired with his papers; inscribed/annotated volumes have been retained with the collection.
Correspondence, 1914-1966 (Series 1), consists mainly of incoming letters about professional matters and personal business. A large portion of the letters are from museum directors and curators regarding the exhibition, loan, sale or donation of Hofmann's work; publishers, editors, and others preparing catalogs or biographical works; and galleries that showed Hofmann's paintings or represented him. Also among the correspondents are students and former students, art historians, art critics, fans, and friends. Family correspondents are a sister-in-law, nieces, and a nephew in Germany. Additional correspondence concerning administrative matters, and requests for catalogs, transcripts and recommendations are among the Records of the School of Fine Arts (Series 2). Financial Records (Series 4) contain a small amount of correspondence regarding banking, taxes, and Social Security. Estate Records (Series 9) include correspondence relating to taxes, the sale of Hofmann's Provincetown house, and various legal documents. Correspondence among the Papers of Renate Schmitz Hofmann (Series 10) include condolence letters, and a small number of personal letters and business correspondence regarding Hofmann's estate.
School of Fine Arts Records, 1915-1965 (Series 2), include a very small number of items relating to the Hans Hofmann Schule fur Bildende Kunst that operated in Munich from 1915 until 1933. These are printed prospectuses, a financial record, 1925; and "Italian Schools of Painting: The Renaissance in Italy," a printed chart, probably used as a teaching aid. Other items relating to the Munich school are photographs (Series 6) of Hans Hofmann with students in the 1920s, including some taken during the summer course in Capri, circa 1925. Travel photographs, 1920s, may have been taken while teaching summer courses in Europe, and an unidentified photograph, undated, of an exhibition installation in Germany may be school-related.
The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts was established in New York in 1933, and his summer school in Provincetown, Mass., opened in 1934; both operated continually until Hofmann closed them in 1958 in order to paint full-time. Records of these schools are more substantial, but still quite incomplete. They consist of administrative files containing accreditation records, correspondence, model bookings, inquiries from prospective students, and printed matter about the schools. Financial records are comprised of expense statements and an analysis of income from the 1956 summer session. Student records consist of student ledgers, registration and payment records, and requests for transcripts and recommendations. Miscellaneous items are student artwork and notes. Records postdating the schools' closing are inquiries from prospective students and requests from former students for transcripts or recommendations. Additional letters from former students about matters other than transcripts and recommendations are filed with Correspondence (Series 1).
Writings, circa 1904-1965 (Series 3), are published and unpublished manuscripts by Hans Hofmann and other authors. Hoffman wrote extensively about his philosophy of painting, about himself as a teacher and an artist, and about modern art. Included are manuscripts, drafts, and revisions of Hofmann's book, Das Malerbuch: Form und Farbe in Gestaltung, circa 1904-[1952?], Search for the Real in the Visual Arts and Other Essays, published in 1948, and The Painter and His Problems-A Manual Dedicated to Painting, 1963. Articles and Essays include the constituent essays of Search for the Real in the Visual Arts and Other Essays and others on theoretical aspects of painting, Alfred Maurer, and Charles W. Hawthorne. Talks and Lectures consist of notes, outlines, and some complete texts of Hofmann's speeches. Miscellaneous Writings are shorter, informative pieces, mostly unpublished. Representative titles include: "I Am Often Asked to Explain My Work," 1946, and "About the Relation of Students and Teachers," undated. Poems by Hofmann include some written to Miz Hofmann. Notes and Lists include notes on specific works of art and lists of paintings for exhibitions, framing, and shipping.
Financial Records, 1927-1966 (Series 4), consist mainly of banking records and tax returns with supporting documentation. There are also statements of assets and liabilities, and a few subject files concerning financial matters such as "House Expenses," "Social Security," and "University of California-Financial Standing With." Additional tax records are among the documents of the Estate of Hans Hofmann (Series 9), and expenses are recorded in his 1932 appointment book (Series 5).
Miscellaneous Records, 1906-1966 (Series 5) include Addresses and Appointment Books. Artifacts are a leather wallet and 6 photogravure blocks. Artwork consists of 4 sketches and block prints of 3 red shapes, one the numeral 5. Included with Biographical Information are birth and marriage certificates, immigration and naturalization papers, wills, Hofmann and Wolfegg family documents, biographical notes and chronologies, and a bibliography of writings on and by Hofmann. Interview Transcripts are of 3 interviews with Hofmann conducted for various purposes. Sales Records include lists of paintings sold through galleries and privately, and a list of prices computed by canvas size.
Photographs, circa 1925-1966 (Series 6) are of People, Events, Places, Works of Art, and Miscellaneous Subjects; also, Oversize Photographs. People include views of Hofmann alone and with Miz, students, and others; Miz Hofmann; Renate Schmitz Hofmann; and the Hofmann family. Also, there are pictures of identified and unidentified individuals and groups. Events recorded are "Forum 49" at Gallery 200, exhibition installations, openings, and ceremonies for honorary degrees awarded Hofmann. Photographs of places include Miz Hofmann's Munich apartment; interior and exterior views of Hofmann's Provincetown house; exterior views of the Provincetown school; Hofmann's New York studio; and unidentified houses and landscapes. Travel pictures are of Italy, Mexico, California [?], and unidentified locations. Photographs of works of art by Hofmann are mainly 35-mm color slides of works completed from 1935 to 1965. There are also photographs of works by other artists and Hofmann students. Teaching materials are photographs of Old Masters paintings, drawings, and Classical sculpture, some marked to indicate line, form, or proportion. Miscellaneous subjects are a dog, cat, and doll; also, a cover design for Search for the Real in the Visual Arts. The oversize photographs include portraits of Hans Hofmann and Miz, and works of art by Hofmann students.
Printed Matter, 1930-1978 (Series 7), contains articles, essays and a letter to the editor by Hans Hofmann; the remaining material by other authors is categorized by type. Exhibition Catalogs and Related Items (mainly announcements and invitations), 1931-1978, undated, are from group and solo shows that featured the work of Hans Hofmann; also, catalogs and announcements of other artists' exhibitions collected by Hofmann. Newspaper clippings and articles from periodicals include reviews, feature articles, articles with brief references to Hofmann or reproductions of his work, and obituaries. Others are on art-related topics and miscellaneous subjects. Miscellaneous printed matter includes a variety of items such as brochures about art courses (not the Hofmann school), reproductions of works by Hofmann and other artists, book prospectuses, and statements. Art Museum: A Center for Cultural Study, a prospectus showing models and drawings of the proposed University Art Museum, Berkeley, notes the location of its Maria and Hans Hofmann Wing. A Scrapbook, 1944-1962, contains clippings, exhibition reviews, and some catalogs, checklists, and invitations. Nineteen books that mention or are about Hofmann are a part of this series.
Hans Hofmann's Library (Series 8) of art books and general literature was acquired with his papers. Inscribed and annotated volumes have been retained. Books about or mentioning Hofmann are among Printed Matter (Series 7). All other books and periodicals (376 items) were transferred to the Library of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum.
Estate of Hans Hofmann, 1945-1974 (Series 9), consists of records of Hofmann's attorney and co-executor, Robert Warshaw, and includes correspondence and legal documents concerning taxes, the Provincetown house, and miscellaneous business matters.
Papers of Renate Schmitz Hofmann, 1962-1967 (Series 10), include notes, correspondence, condolence letters and records regarding Hans Hofmann's funeral, and information about the theft of Hofmann paintings from his Provincetown house in 1966.
Hans Hofmann Documentary Projects, 1944-2011 (Series 11) includes research materials compiled by Tina Dickey concerning Hofmann's students, correspondence as well as primary source and supplementary research materials produced and gathered by Madeline Amgott for two video documentaries on Hofmann released in 1999 and 2002. Original and edited audiovisual recordings are included in the series, as well as primary source material gathered from a variety of sources. Some material is in digital format.
The Hans Hofmann papers are arranged into 11 series. Correspondence (Series 1), Financial Records (Series 4), and Papers of Renate Schmitz Hofmann (Series 10) are arranged alphabetically by folder title. Unless noted otherwise, material within each folder is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1914-1966 (3 linear feet; Box 1-3)
Series 2: School of Fine Arts records, 1915-1965 (2 linear feet; Box 4-5)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1904-1965 (2.5 linear feet; Box 6-8)
Series 4: Financial records, 1927-1966 (0.5 linear feet; Box 8)
Series 5: Miscellaneous records, 1906-1966 (0.8 linear feet; Box 9)
Series 6: Photographic materials, circa 1925-1965 (1.5 linear feet; Box 9-10, Box 19, MGP 1)
Series 7: Printed material, 1928-1978 (5.2 linear feet; Box 11-15, Box 20)
Series 8: Hans Hofmann Library (2.5 linear feet; Box 16-18, Box 20)
Series 9: Estate of Hans Hofmann, 1945-1974 (0.5 linear feet; Box 18)
Series 10: Papers of Renate Schmitz Hofmann, 1962-1967 (0.1 linear feet; Box 18)
Series 11: Hans Hofmann Documentary Projects, 1944-2011 (12.3 linear feet; Box 19, 21-31, FC 32-44, 5.00 GB; ER01-ER04)
German-born Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), a leading figure of the 20th century art world, was the first painter to be called an Abstract Expressionist. An esteemed and influential teacher, Hofmann operated his own school in Munich and later in New York City and Provincetown, Mass. He wrote extensively on theoretical aspects of modern art, and about himself as an artist and teacher, and was in demand as a speaker. Hofmann alternated among a variety of styles and techniques throughout his career. Many paintings combine Fauve-inspired color and Cubist structure; influenced by the Surrealist's automatism, much of Hofmann's abstract work often uses poured and spattered paint.
Johann (Hans) Georg Albert Hofmann showed musical and artistic talent as a boy and excelled in the study of science and mathematics. Technical knowledge acquired through working as assistant to the Director of Public Works of the State of Bavaria enabled him, while still a teenager, to invent several mechanical devices. Hofmann attended Moritz Heymann's Munich art school in 1898. Willi Schwarz, one of his teachers during this period, introduced him to Impressionism, and by visiting galleries Hofmann's awareness of contemporary art movements expanded. Schwarz also introduced him to art collector Phillip Freudenberg whose patronage made a move to Paris possible.
Hofmann arrived in Paris in 1904 and began attending evening sketch classes at the Académie Colarossi and the Académie de la Chaumière where Matisse was among his fellow students. During his 10 years in Paris, Hofmann established a close friendship with Robert Delaunay and met Braque, Arthur B. Carles, Léger, Picasso, and Leo Stein. He painted Cubist landscapes, still lifes, and figure studies, and participated in group shows with Neue Sezessions, Berlin, 1908 and 1909. In 1910, the Paul Cassierer Gallery, Berlin, presented Hofmann's first solo exhibition.
When World War I broke out, Hofmann was visiting Germany. War conditions prevented his return to Paris and terminated Freudenberg's financial assistance. Disqualified for military service due to a lung condition, Hofmann decided to earn his living by teaching. The Hans Hofmann Schule für Bildende Kunst in Munich opened in 1915 and was a success from its earliest days. Beginning in 1917, summer courses were offered in locations such as Italy, France, Bavaria, and Dalmatia. After the war, Hofmann's school began to attract American students including Carl Holty, Alfred Jensen, Louise Nevelson, Worth Ryder, Vaclav Vytlacil, and Glenn Wessels.
Hofmann first came to the United States in 1930, when former student Worth Ryder, art department chairman at the University of California, Berkeley, invited him to teach the summer session at Berkeley. He returned to California the following year, teaching a semester at the Chouinard School of Art, Los Angeles, followed by another summer session at Berkeley. Hofmann moved to New York in 1932 because of the political situation at home and at the urging of his wife, who was to remain in Germany until 1939.
While Hofmann served as guest instructor at the Thurn School of Art, Gloucester, Mass., during the summers of 1932 and 1933, his Munich school offered summer sessions taught by Edmund Daniel Kinzinger. Its 1933 prospectus noted, "Mr. Hofmann will probably conduct the summer school personally..." But he did not return, and the school closed in the fall of 1933.
Hofmann taught at Art Students League in the fall of 1932. The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts opened in New York City in the autumn of 1933, operating in several locations before moving to permanent quarters at 52 West 8th Street in 1938. He established the summer school at Provincetown, Mass. in 1934. Firsthand knowledge of Picasso, Matisse, and european modern art trends, along with his theories and the freedom he offered students, made Hofmann a widely admired, influential, and important teacher. Among his students were: Burgoyne Diller, Ray Eames, Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Harry Holtzman, Allen Kaprow, Lillian Kiesler, Lee Krasner, George McNeil, Irene Rice Pereira, and Richard Stankiewicz. In addition, art critic Clement Greenberg was significantly influenced by Hofmann's lectures on artistic theory. Both schools flourished until Hofmann decided to close them in 1958; after teaching for 43 consecutive years, he wanted to paint full-time.
In his writings, Hofmann expanded on theories regarding form, color, and space developed during his years in Paris. His most important text, Das Malerbuch: Form und Farbe in Gestaltung, based on notes begun in Paris circa 1904, was written during his second summer at Berkeley, 1931. That same year, Glenn Wessels translated it into English as Creation in Form and Color. Although Hofmann produced additional notes and revisions over the next two decades, the manuscript remains unpublished. Hofmann wrote essays and articles, many of which were published. A collection of Hofmann's writings, Search for the Real and Other Essays, was published in conjunction with his 1948 retrospective exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass., the first solo show of an Abstract Expressionist to be organized by a museum. Other published and unpublished articles, essays, and shorter writings that elucidate his theoretical concerns include: "The Mystification of the Two- and Three-Dimensional in the Visual Arts," 1946; "Pictorial Function of Colours," 1950; "Space Pictorially Realized Through the Intrinsic Faculty of the Colours to Express Volume," 1951; "The Color Problem in Pure painting-Its Creative Origin," 1955; "The Creative Process-Its Physical and Metaphysical Performing," 1956; "Nature as Experience and Its Pictorial Realization," undated; and "Pure Colour Space," undated.
Hofmann's lectures to his own students, and talks presented to art groups and the general public addressed many of the same themes. He gave his first American lecture in 1930 at the University of Minnesota, and presented talks to a variety of groups while in California. Hofmann was a frequent speaker at the Provincetown Art Association, and participated in the "Forum 49" series he helped to organize at Gallery 200 in Provincetown, 1949.
In the last decade of his life, Hofmann produced a large number of paintings. He was represented in the XXX Venice Biennale, 1960, and major retrospective exhibitions were organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957, and the Museum of Modern Art, 1963. In 1963, he made a gift of 45 paintings to the University of California, Berkeley, and funded construction of a wing to house them in the soon-to-be-built University Art Museum. Hans Hofmann died in New York City on Feb. 17, 1966.
1880 -- Hans Hofmann is born in Weissenburg, Bavaria, on 21 March, the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann.
1886 -- The family moves to Munich, where Theodor becomes a government official. Hans studies mathematics, science, and music at the gymnasium. He plays the violin, piano and organ and begins to draw.
1896 -- With his father's help, finds a position as assistant to the director of public works of the State of Bavaria. Develops his technical knowledge of mathematics, resulting in several scientific inventions, including an electromagnetic comptometer.
1898 -- Studies with Willi Schwarz at Moritz Heymann's art school in Munich, where he is introduced to Impressionism.
1900 -- Meets Maria (Miz) Wolfegg, his future wife.
1903 -- Through Willi Schwarz, he meets the nephew of a Berlin collector, Philipp Freudenberg, who becomes his patron from 1904-1914 and enables him to live in Paris.
1904 -- Frequents the Café du Dome, a haunt of artists and writers, with Jules Pascin, a friend from Moritz Heymann's school. Miz joins him in Paris. Attends evening sketch class at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi. Meets Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Henri Matisse.
1908 -- Exhibits with the Neue Sezession in Berlin and again in 1909. Miz designs scarves with Sonia Delaunay (then Sonia Uhde).
1910 -- First one-person exhibition held at Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin. Meets Robert Delaunay, with whom he designs patterns for Sonia Delaunay's Cubist fashions. During their close friendship, both men develop as colorists.
1914 -- Hans and Miz leave Paris for Corsica so that Hans can regain his health during a bout of what turned out to be tuberculosis. Called to Germany by the illness of his sister Rosa, they are caught on the Tegernsee by the outbreak of World War I.
1915 -- Disqualified for the army due to the after effects of his lung condition, and with the assistance of Freudenberg terminated by the war, Hofmann decides to earn a living teaching. In the spring, he opens the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts at 40 Georgenstrasse, Munich.
1918-29 -- After the war his school becomes known abroad and attracts foreign students such as Worth Ryder, Glenn Wessels, Louise Nevelson, Vaclav Vytlacil, Carl Holty, Alfred Jensen, and Ludwig Sander. Holds summer session at Tegernsee, Bavaria (1922), Ragusa (1924), Capri (1925-1927), St. Tropez (1928-1929). Makes frequent trips to Paris. Has little time to paint but draws continually.
1924 -- Marries Miz Wolfegg on 5 June.
1929 -- A series of his drawings is reproduced by a photographic process known as Lichtdrucke.
1930 -- At the invitation of Worth Ryder, teaches in a summer session at the University of California, Berkeley, where Ryder is chairman of the Department of Art. Returns to Munich for the winter.
1931 -- In the spring, teaches at the Chouinard School of Art, Los Angeles, and again at Berkeley in the summer. Wessels helps him with the first translation of his book Form und Farbe in der Gestaltung, begun in 1904. Exhibits a series of drawings at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, his first show in the United States.
1932 -- Returns to the Chouinard School of Art in the summer. Advised by Miz not to return to Munich because of a growing political hostility to intellectuals, settles in New York. Vaclav Vytlacil helps arrange a teaching position for him at the Art Students League.
1932-33 -- Summer sessions at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts continue in St. Tropez (1932) and Murnau (1933), taught by Edmund Daniel Kinzinger. The school closes in the fall of 1933, and Miz gives up the lease in 1936.
1933 -- Spends the summer as guest instructor at the Thurn School of Art in Gloucester, Mass. In the fall, opens the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts at 444 Madison Avenue in New York. After a prolonged period of drawing, begins to paint again.
1934 -- Upon the expiration of his visa, travels to Bermuda to return with a permanent visa. Opens a summer school in Provincetown, Mass. The Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts opens at 137 East 57th Street in New York. In 1936, the Hofmann School moves to 52 West 9th Street.
1938 -- The Hofmann School moves to 52 West 8th Street. A planned European summer session (traveling to Paris, the Cote d'Azure, Italy, and Capri) is called off after Hitler moves into Austria in the Spring. Delivers a lecture series once a month at the school in the winter of 1938-39, which is attend by the vanguard of the New York art world, including Arshile Gorky and Clement Greenberg.
1939 -- Miz Hofmann arrives in America. After a stay in New Orleans, joins her husband in Provincetown. They spend five months each summer in Provincetown and the rest of the year in New York.
1941 -- Becomes an American citizen. Delivers an address at the annual meeting of the American Abstract Artists at the Riverside Museum. One-person exhibition at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans.
1942 -- Hofmann's former student Lee Krasner introduces him to Jackson Pollock.
1944 -- First exhibition in New York at Art of This Century Gallery, arranged by Peggy Guggenheim. "Hans Hofmann, Paintings, 1941-1944" opens at the Arts Club in Chicago and travels on to the Milwaukee Art Institute in January 1945. Howard Putzel includes Hofmann in "Forty American Moderns" at 67 Gallery, New York. He is also included in "Abstract and Surrealist Art in America" at the Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York (arranged by Sidney Janis in conjunction with publication of Janis's book of the same title).
1947 -- Exhibitions at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, in Pittsburgh, and at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The Texas show travels to Denton, Tex.; Norman, Okla.; and Memphis, Tenn. Begins to exhibit with the Kootz Gallery in New York. Kootz holds a one-person show of Hofmann's work each year until his death (with the exception of 1948 and 1956).
1948 -- Retrospective exhibition a the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass., in conjunction with publication of his book, Search For the Real and Other Essays.
1949 -- Travels to Paris to attend the opening of his exhibition at the Galerie Maeght and visits the studios of Picassso, Braque, Constantin Brancusi, and Joan Miro. Helps Fritz Bultman and Weldon Kees organize Forum 49, a summer series of lectures, panels, and exhibitions at Gallery 200 in Provincetown.
1950 -- Participates in a three-day symposium at Studio 35 in New York with William Baziotes, James Brooks, Willem de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Theodoros Stamos, David Smith, and Bradley Walker Tomlin. Joins the "Irascibles"-a group of Abstract Expressionists-in an open letter protesting the exclusion of the avant-garde from an upcoming exhibition of American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
1951 -- Juries the 60th Annual Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago with Aline Louchheim and Peter Blume.
1954 -- One-person exhibition held at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
1955 -- Designs mosaic murals for the lobby of the new William Kaufmann Building, architect William Lescaze, at 711 Third Avenue, New York. Retrospective held at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia.
1957 -- Retrospective exhibitions held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which then travel to Des Moines, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Utica, and Baltimore.
1958 -- Hofmann ceases teaching to devote himself full time to painting. He moves his studio into the New York and Provincetown schools. Completes a mosaic mural for the exterior of the New York School of Printing (Kelley and Gruzen, architects) at 439 West 49th Street.
1960 -- Represents the United States with Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Theodore Roszak at the XXX Venice Biennale.
1962 -- Retrospective exhibition opens in Germany at the Frankische Galerie am Marientor, Nuremberg, and travels to the Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, and the Kongreilhalle, Berlin. In Munich, Neue Galerie im Kunstlerhaus presents "Oils on Paper, 1961-1962." Awarded an honorary membership in the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Nuremberg and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Dartmouth College in Hanover, N. H.
1963 -- Miz Hofmann dies. Retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art organized by William Seitz travels throughout the United States and internationally to locations in South America and Europe, including Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Bielefeld. Signs a historic agreement to donate 45 paintings to the University of California at Berkeley and to fund the construction of a gallery in his honor at the new university museum, then in the planning stage. The exhibition "Hans Hofmann and His Students," organized by the Museum of Modern Art, circulates in the United States and Canada.
1964 -- Awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Serves on the jury for the 1964 Solomon Guggenheim International Award. Becomes a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York. Renate Schmitz inspires the Renate series.
1965 -- Awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Pratt Institute, New York. Marries Renate Schmitz on 14 October.
1966 -- Hans Hofmann dies on 17 February in New York.
The holdings of the Archives of American Art include papers and oral history interviews of many former students and friends of Hofmann; among these collections are correspondence, photographs, reminiscences, writings, and printed items relating to Hofmann and his school. The Lillian Kiesler Papers, 1920s-1990s include records of the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts.
Other Hans Hofmann Papers, 1929-1976 (1.65 linear ft.) are owned by The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (Collection number: BANC MSS 80/27 c). An inventory is available on The Bancroft Library's website at http//www.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/
Monographs and periodicals (376 items) from Hofmann's Library not directly related to the artist were transferred to the Library of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in 2001. The Library retained relevant volumes, dispersed others to appropriate libraries within the Smithsonian Institution, and made final decisions regarding disposition of any remaining items.
Renate Schmitz Hofmann, widow of the artist, donated to the Archives of American Art 313 35-mm color slides of work by Hans Hofmann in 1974. The remainder of the collection was a gift of the Estate of Hans Hofmann in 1997. Tina Dickey donated her research material in 2000 and 2001 under the auspices of the Renate, Hans, and Maria Hofmann Trust. In 2006, additional manuscripts, notes, and illustrations for Hofmann's Das Malerbuch: Form und Farbe in der Gestaltung were received from the Trust. In 2015, the Trust donated additional correspondence, research and video production materials related to two documentaries on Hans Hofmann by Madeline Amgott. 13.0 linear ft. books, exhibition catalogs, and periodicals (376 items) from Hofmann's library, received with the collection, were transferred to the Smithsonian's American Art Museum-National Portrait Gallery Library.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Max Spoerri interview: Authorization to quote or reproduce for purposes of publication requires written permission from Max Spoerri. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Study and teaching Search this
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Art schools -- Massachusetts
Art Schools -- New York (State)
Hans Hofmann papers, circa 1904-2011, bulk 1945-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
The Jack Tworkov papers measure 9.7 linear feet and are dated 1926-1993. Tworkov's work as a painter and influential teacher, as well as his personal life, are documented by extensive journals and substantive correspondence that record his ideas about art and teaching, and illuminate his relationships with friends, colleagues, and students. Many sketchbooks, writings, interviews, photographs, and moving images are also included.
Scope and Content Note:
The Jack Tworkov papers measure 9.7 linear feet and are dated 1926-1993, with the bulk from the period 1931-1982. Tworkov's work as a painter and influential teacher, as well as his personal life, are documented by extensive journals and substantive correspondence that record his ideas about art and teaching, and illuminate his relationships with friends, colleagues, and students. Many sketchbooks, writings, interviews, photographs, and moving images are also included.
Biographical material includes Tworkov's citizenship certificate, awards, diplomas, a copy of Jack Tworkov: Video Portrait, produced by Electronic Arts Intermix, and a motion picture film, USA Artists: Jack Tworkov, produced by National Education Television.
Correspondence consists largely of incoming letters. It is both professional and personal in nature and often combines both spheres. Correspondents include artists Jennifer Bartlett, William H. Calfee, Giorgio Cavallon and Linda Lindeberg, Grace Hartigan, Helene Herzbrun (also named Helene McKinsey), Karl Knaths, Joe Summerford, Joan Thorne, and Adja Yunkers; cartoonist Robert C. Osborn; collectors Donald M. Blinken and David A. Praeger (who was also Tworkov's lawyer); illustrator Roger Dovoisin; critics Dore Ashton and Andrew Forge; critic and poet John Ashbury; galleries that represented Tworkov: Egan Gallery, Leo Castelli, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, Poindexter Gallery, Stable Gallery and Zabriskie Gallery; and many museums, arts organizations, colleges and universities.
Interviews with Tworkov include one with Ricky Demarco videotaped in 1979 and two conducted on video by Twokov's daughter Helen in 1975. The remaining interviews are sound recordings, one conducted by Grace Alexander for the show Artists in New York in 1967, one conducted by Michael Newman in 1980, and the remainder by unidentified interviewers. None have transcripts.
All writings are by Tworkov and include poems, an artist's statement, and documentation for two children's books by Tworkov illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. Two additional notebooks contain miscellaneous notes, teaching notes, and some specific to identified courses. Lectures exist as untranscribed sound recordings.
Tworkov's journals (33 volumes) span a period of 35 years, from 1947 until 1982, with the final entry dated a few weeks before his death. They record his reflections on painting, his challenges as a painter, aesthetics, the role of the artist in society, Jewish identity, painters he admired (especially Cézanne and Edwin Dickinson), politics, and teaching. They also recount everyday life: the comings and goings of friends and family members, social engagements, professional activities, illness, and travel.
The lone subject file concerns Mark Rothko and includes a photograph of Rothko and the guest list for the dedication of the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
Artwork consists of a small number of sketches by Tworkov in pencil and ink. Tworkov's sketchbooks (28 volumes) contain sketches and some finished drawings. Most are in pencil, but scattered throughout are a few pencil sketches embellished with colored marker or pastel, and a small number in ink.
Photographs are of people, places and events. Most photographs are of Tworkov alone and with others including Giogio Cavallon, though most friends and students are unidentified. Of note are views of Tworkov producing a series of prints at Tamarind Institute. Also found is an informal portrait of Wally Tworkov. Events recorded include the jurying of "Exhibition Momentum" in Chicago, 1956. Among the places shown are Tworkov's studios at Black Mountain College and in Provincetown. When known, photographers are noted; among them are Paul Katz, Herbert Matter, Arnold Newman, Renate Ponsold, Theo Westenberger, Dennis Wheeler, and Howard Wise.
A separate series of audiovisual recordings was established for those recordings that could not be readily identified to be arranged in other series. They consist of three videocassettes (2 VHS and 1 miniDV).
The collection is arranged as 11 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1933-1981 (Boxes 1, 9, 11, FC 13; 0.7 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1926-1993 (Boxes 1-5; 3.8 linear ft.)
Series 3: Interviews, 1978-1982 (Boxes 5, 9-10; 1 linear ft.)
Series 4: Writings, Notes, and Lectures, 1955-1982 (Boxes 5, 9; 0.5 linear ft.)
Series 5: Journals, 1947-1982 (Boxes 5-7; 2.0 linear ft.)
Series 6: Subject File, 1961-1977 (Box 7; 1 folder)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1952-1981 (Box 7, OV 12; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1950s-1960s (Box 7: 3 folders)
Series 9: Sketchbooks, circa 1950s-1960s (Boxes 7-8, 11; 1.0 linear ft.)
Series 10: Photographic Materials, 1941-1981 (Boxes 8-9; 0.5 linear ft.)
Series 11: Audiovisual Recordings, 1961-1975 (Box 9; 0.1 linear ft.)
New York School painter Jack Tworkov (1900-1982), best known for his Abstract Expressionist paintings and as a highly regarded teacher, lived and worked in New York City and Provincetown, MA.
At age 13, Tworkov (born Yakov Tworkovsky) emigrated from Poland with his mother and sister to join his father already in the United States. In America, they chose to use the name of distant relatives, the Bernsteins, who were their sponsors. Eventually, Jack and his sister, Janice, reclaimed and shortened their name to Tworkov; later, she adopted the name of their hometown in Poland and became the painter Janice Biala.
As a high school student in New York City, Tworkov attended drawing classes. After graduating from Columbia University, where he had been an English major and considered becoming a writer, Tworkov instead turned to art. He studied with Ivan Olinsky at the National Academy of Design between 1923 and 1925, and from 1925 to 1926 attended painting classes taught by Guy Péne Du Bois and Boardman Robinson at the Art Students League. During his college years, Tworkov began visiting museums and became a great admirer of Cézanne. Tworkov's early paintings - still life, landscapes, and portraits - showed the influence of European modernism and Cézanne.
Tworkov spent his first summer in Provincetown while still a student and subsequently returned to study with Ross Moffet. In Provincetown he met and was greatly influenced by Karl Knaths and developed a lifelong friendship with Edwin Dickinson. By 1929, Tworkov was painting there year round. Over the years, Tworkov and his family continued to return for long stretches, and in 1958 he purchased a house in Provincetown.
During the Great Depression, Tworkov participated in the Treasury Department's Public Works of Art Project until 1934, and then moved to the easel division of the WPA Federal Art Project. He felt uncomfortable with the growing ideological and political influences on art and found it depressing to paint for the WPA rather than for himself, so he left the WPA in 1941. Tworkov, who had studied mechanical drawing while in high school, spent most of the War years employed as a tool designer and draftsman at an engineering firm with government contracts.
By the 1940s, Tworkov was painting in the Abstract Expressionist style. Between 1948 and 1953, he leased a studio on Fourth Avenue that adjoined that of his friend Willem de Kooning. During this time, they mutually influenced each other as they developed into mature Abstract Expressionists. At Yale in the 1960s, Tworkov became close friends with fellow student Josef Albers. Alber's influence on Tworkov resulted in a turn to geometric compositions of small, systematic, and repetitive strokes defined by a grid. He experimented with diagonal compositions, and later geometric work that featured large areas of color and soft texture.
Tworkov's first teaching experience was during 1930-1931 when he served as a part-time painting instructor at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. His teaching career began in earnest when he joined the faculties of Queens College, 1948-1955, and Pratt Institute, 1955-1958. During the summers he taught at various schools, most notably Black Mountain College's 1952 summer session. Tworkov was a visiting artist at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture, 1961-1963, and became chairman of its Art Department from 1963 until his retirement in 1969. In retirement he lived in Provincetown and was a visiting artist for both short and extended periods at various universities and art schools.
An avid reader of literature and poetry, Tworkov also wrote poems and essays. He published essays in It Is, Art Digest, and Art In America; his most notable piece, "The Wandering Soutine," appeared in Art News, November 1950. Tworkov also kept a journal for 35 years (1947-1982) that recorded his thoughts on a wide range of subjects concerning professional, personal, and philosophical issues, as well as details of everyday life.
Tworkov was among the founders of the Artists' Club or The Club in 1949, and for a decade actively participated in the stimulating discussions for which the group was known. In 1968 he helped to establish the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Its residency program enabled younger artists and writers to advance their careers and kept Provincetown's historic artists' colony active year round.
He was the recipient of the William A. Clark Award and Corcoran Gold Medal from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1963; Skowhegan School of Art's Painter of the Year Award, 1974; and Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from College Art Association, 1976. Tworkov was appointed to serve on the Massachusetts Art Commission, 1970-1971, and in 1981 was named a Fellow of The Cleveland Museum of Art and of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Following his second divorce in 1935, Rachel (Wally) Wolodarsky became Tworkov's third wife and their marriage endured. They had two daughters. Hermine Ford (b. 1939) is an artist married to fellow painter Robert Moskowitz. Helen Tworkov (b. 1943) is the founder of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and the author of a book about yoga.
Tworkov remained physically and intellectually active after a diagnosis of bone cancer around 1980, and continued to paint until shortly before his death in Provincetown on September 4, 1982.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Jack Tworkov, one conducted by Dorothy Seckler, Aug. 17, 1962, and another by Gerald Silk, May 22, 1981. There is also a small collection of three letters written by Jack Tworkov to friend Troy-Jjohn Bramberger.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel N70-38 and 62) including writings by Tworkov, notebooks, notes for teaching and talks, notes on art and miscellaneous subjects, poems, artist's statements, biographical data, the transcript of a 1970 interview with Tworkov conducted by Phyllis Tuchman, and a few letters and drafts of letters, 1950-1963. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Jack Tworkov lent the Archives of American Art papers for microfilming in 1970-1971. Jack Tworkov's daughters, Hermine Ford and Helen Tworkov, donated the rest of the collection in 2009, which included some of the material from the original loan.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Reels N70-38 and 62: Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Helen Tworkov or Hermine Ford. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Dorothy Gees Seckler collection of sound recordings relating to art and artists measures 1.6 linear feet and dates from 1962 to 1976. Recordings include 17 interviews conducted by Seckler, one interview by John Jones, and 17 additional recordings of mostly contemporary art-related programs and interviews taped from radio and television broadcasts. Recordings are on 26 sound cassettes and 25 sound tape reels.
Scope and Contents:
The Dorothy Gees Seckler collection of sound recordings relating to art and artists measures 1.6 linear feet and dates from 1962 to 1976. Recordings include 20 interviews conducted by Seckler, one interview by John Jones, and 17 additional recordings of mostly contemporary art-related programs and interviews taped from radio and television broadcasts. Recordings are on 26 sound cassettes and 25 sound tape reels.
Interviews with Artists consist of 17 interviews by Dorothy Seckler with artists including Elise Asher, Fritz Bultman, Judith Rothschild, Giorgio Cavallon, Marcia Marcus, Jean Cohen, William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, Shirley Gorelick, Hans Hofmann, Wolf Kahn, Raoul Middleman, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Olin Orr, Larry Rivers, Alvin Ross, George Segal, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Several interviews are with two subjects at once. Many of these interviews were conducted in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and are referenced in her introduction to the catalog for the exhibition Provincetown Painters, 1890's – 1970's held at the Everson Museum and the Provincetown Art Association in 1977, and several interviews were conducted as research for articles Seckler wrote and published in Art in America. Also found are group interviews on specific subjects, including an interview with Julio de Diego, Marion Greenwood, Fletcher Martin, and Anton Refregier on the Woodstock art colony, and with Sally Avery, Boris Margo, Jan Gelb, Margit Beck and others on Op Art. In September of 1966, Seckler recorded some of Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable in Provincetown, which includes a performance by Nico and the Velvet Underground, as well as an interview with one of the band's members, John Cale. A single interview conducted by John Jones of George Segal appears to have been copied by Seckler to prepare for her April 1966 interview of Segal.
Broadcast materials include sound recordings of television and radio broadcast programs taped off the air presumably by Seckler. Most programs are interviews, with subjects including Maxim Karolik, James Thomas Flexner, R. Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Alex Katz, Phillip Pearlstein, Roslyn Drexler, Barnet Newman, Saul Bellow, Ben Shahn, Marshall McLuhan, Isamu Noguchi, Andrew Wyeth, and William H Whyte. Other recordings include documentary programs related to contemporary art, book reviews, and a comedy performance with actor Peter Ustinov.
Photographs include 12 color slides from October of 1967 that appear to have been shot in Provincetown, Mass. Subjects include Dorothy Seckler and two other unidentified women.
This collection is arranged in 3 series.
Series 1: Interviews with Artists, 1962-1976 (1 linear foot; Box 1)
Series 2: Broadcast Materials, 1962-1972 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
Series 3: Photographs, 1967 (1 folder; Box 3)
Biographical / Historical:
Dorothy Gees Seckler was an art historian, critic, journalist, and artist active in New York City and Provincetown, Mass. Born Dorothy Elizabeth Gees in Baltimore, MD in 1910, she completed the program in Advertising Design at Maryland Institute College of Art in 1931 and was awarded a traveling scholarship upon graduation, which she used to study in Europe. She later received a masters degree from Columbia University in Art History and Art Education, and worked during World War II as head of an illustration unit in the Army's Judge Advocate General's office.
After the war, she worked at the Museum of Modern Art as an art historian in the education office until 1950, when she began writing for ARTnews magazine, reviewing New York gallery shows for its "Gallery Notes" section, and exploring painters' processes in the "Paints a Picture" series. She later served as contributing editor for Art in America from the late 1950s through the late 1960s, where her published work included features on Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson, as well as broad surveys of contemporary art such as "A Folklore of the Banal" (Winter 1962) and "Audience is His Medium" (February 1963). She taught at New York University and City College of New York, and wrote a long essay on the history of the Provincetown's art colony, published in Art in America in 1959, and later updated for the catalog for the 1977 exhibition Provincetown Painters, 1890's - 1970's. Between 1962 and 1968, she conducted thirty oral history interviews for the Archives of American Art and served as one of its manuscript collectors.
Throughout her career as a writer and critic, Seckler painted and worked in collage, and her work was shown in several Provincetown galleries, and in the Provincetown Art Center and Museum. She married Jerome Seckler in 1937 and they had one son. Seckler received the American Federation of Arts Award for outstanding writing in the field of American Art in 1952. She died in 1994.
Other related materials in the Archives' collections include several additional interviews conducted by Seckler for its oral history program, a full recording and transcript of the August 28, 1963 symposium on pop art, for which brief sound notes are found in this collection, and a transcript of the John Jones interview with George Segal in the John Jones interviews with artists collection, 1965 Oct. 5-1965 Nov. 12.
In 2012, several duplicates of recordings Seckler made for the Archives of American Art's oral history program were removed from the collection including: Peter and Riva Dechar (1965 and 1967), David von Schlegell (1967), Joan Mitchell (1965), Theresa Schwartz (1965), Paul Burlin (1962), Ibram Lassaw (1964), Jack Tworkov (1962), Allan Kaprow (1968), Edwin Dickinson (1962), Nathan Halper (1963), Louise Nevelson (1964-1965), Karl Knaths (1962), and Stephen Greene (1968). Joan Mitchell's 1965 oral history interview remains with the Seckler collection because reel 2 of this recording also contains a discussion of optical art that belongs in the Seckler collection. The oral history interview has been digitized and is available through the Archives' oral history program.
The bulk of the collection, including the interviews with the Provincetown artists, was donated 1995 by Don Seckler, son of Dorothy Seckler. The source of acquisition for the Seckler interviews with the Woodstock artists is unknown.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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