The papers of art historian and writer Peter Howard Selz measure 31.5 linear feet and 0.696 GB and date from 1929 to 2018, with the bulk of the materials from 1950 to 2005. The papers document Selz's long career via correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, membership and association records, artists' research files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed and digital materials, and nine scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art historian and writer Peter Howard Selz measure 31.5 linear feet and 0.696 GB and date from 1929 to 2018, with the bulk of the materials from 1950 to 2005. The papers document Selz's long career via correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, membership and association records, artists' research files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed and digital materials, and scrapbooks.
Correspondence is with colleagues, artists, museums, and galleries concerning a wide variety of topics, including exhibitions and publications. The bulk of the correspondence consists of alphabetical files (two linear feet) that includes correspondence with artists. Notable correspondents include Pol Bury, Alexander Calder, Gordon Onslow Ford, Alberto Giacometti, Morris Graves, Philip Guston, Dimitri Hadzi, Jacques Lipchitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Jean Tinguely, and others. Eight additional files of chronological correspondence is with curators, arts organizations, and publishers. Additional correspondence is found in the professional files, project files, membership files, artists' research files, and exhibition files.
The bulk of the writings series is comprised of files related to Selz's books and includes typescript drafts and galleys, printed and digital material, correspondence, and publishing contracts. Files are found for Art in Our Times, Art of Engagement, Beyond the Mainstream, and Theories of Modern Art. Other writings consist of drafts of articles, essays, notes, and lectures by Selz. Also included are writings by others, including materials related to Paul Karlstrom's biography of Selz.
Professional files document curatorial and teaching positions at the Chicago Institute of Design, Pomona College, University of California, Berkeley, and the Museum of Modern Art. The series includes contracts, recommendations, syllabi, and correspondence.
Project files document Selz's professional work on specific art projects, panels, and symposiums. There is extensive documentation of Selz's work as project director of Christo's Running Fence, as well as other environmental art work projects by Christo, the Berkeley Art Project, Disney Art Project, "Funk Art" symposium, and the "Art and Politics in the 20th Century" symposium. Project files contain a wide variety of materials, such as correspondence, printed material, financial records, reports, photographs, and other documents. There are 2 tape reels, 1 VHS, and 1 sound cassette.
Membership and association records document Selz's involvement with or membership in various art councils, trustee boards, such as the College Art Association, Art in Chicago Advisory Committee, Bay Area Rapid Transit (B.A.R.T.) Art Council, and the San Francisco Crafts and Folk Art Museum Advisory Board, among others. Materials include meeting minutes, bulletins, correspondence, and memoranda.
Artists' Research Files consist of a wide variety of research materials Selz compiled about artists for lectures, writings, projects, exhibitions, etc. Files vary and may include original and photocopied correspondence, photographic material, resumes, printed and digital material, and writings. There is also 1 sound cassette. Files are found for Bedri Baykam, Max Beckmann, Fletcher Benton, Ciel Bergman, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Bruce Conner, Jean Dubuffet, Lyonel Feininger, Leon Golub, Dimitri Hadzi, Rico Lebrun, Harold Paris, Irving Petlin, among many others.
Exhibition files include catalogs, reviews, clippings, writings, correspondence, and other material documenting exhibitions organized by Selz. Limited materials are found for the MOMA Art Nouveau exhibition. More extensive documentation is found for Seven Decades of Modern Art, 1895-1965, The Joint Show (1967), The American Presidency in Political Cartoons (1976), American Modern Art Between the Two World Wars (1979), German Realism in the Twenties: Artist As Social Critic (1980), Twelve Artists from the German Democratic Republic (1989), a Richard Lindner Retrospective (1996), Spaces of Nature (1999), Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000 (2000), and a Nathan Oliviera Retrospective (2002), among others. Some of the materials are in digital format.
Personal business records are related to the Mark Rothko estate and Kate Rothko's legal case against Marlborough Gallery, Inc. Also included in this series are Peter Selz's school transcripts, bequests, royalty statements, house designs, and other material.
Printed materials include clippings, prints of articles written by Peter Selz, exhibition announcements and invitations, and photocopies of artwork images.
There are nine disbound scrapbooks dating from the 1940s up through 2012 containing clippings, exhibition announcements, and photographs of art events, Selz, and artists. This series also includes materials from the 2018 addition that may have previously been compiled in binders.
This collection is arranged as 10 series. When possible the original order of Peter Selz was maintained. However, multiple accessions were merged and integrated.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-2013 (2.3 linear feet; Box 1-3, Box 37)
Series 2: Writings, 1942- circa 2014 (8.3 linear feet; Box 3-10, OV 32, Box 37, 0.035 GB; ER01, ER12)
Series 3: Professional Files, 1949-2012 (1 linear feet; Box 11, Box 37)
Series 4: Project Files, 1962-2015 (2.8 linear feet; Box 12-14, OV 33, Box 37)
Series 5: Membership and Association Records, 1958-2014 (1.1 linear feet; Box 14-15, Box 37)
Series 6: Artists' Research Files, 1955-2014 (7.9 linear feet; Box 15-22, OV 34-35, 0.520 GB; ER02-ER08)
Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1959-2014 (5.2 linear feet; Box 23-27, Box 38, 0.093 GB; ER09-ER11)
Series 8: Personal Business Records, 1929-2014 (1.2 linear feet; Box 28-29, OV 36, Box 38)
Series 9: Printed Material, 1957-2014 (0.3 linear feet; Box 29, Box 38)
Series 10: Scrapbooks, 1947-2018 (1.4 linear feet, Box 29-31, Box 38)
Biographical / Historical:
Peter Howard Selz (1919-2019) was a pioneering historian of modern art, professor, and writer who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-1988 and founded and directed the Berkeley Art Museum from 1965-1973.
Selz was born in 1919 in Munich, Germany to Eugene Selz and Edith Drey Selz. In 1936, the family fled Nazi Germany and immigrated to the United States. Selz attended Columbia University from 1937 to 1938 and became a naturalized citizen in 1942. During World War II, Selz served in the U.S. Army in the Office of Strategic Services. He married writer Thalia Cheronis in 1948 but they later divorced in 1965; he married several times afterwards.
After the war, Selz attended and taught at the University of Chicago where he received a Ph. D. in German Expressionism. He spent a year in Paris, 1949-1950, at the Sorbonne and École du Louvre on a Fulbright grant. He received a second Fulbright grant in 1953 to study at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Belgium. From 1953-1955, Selz also taught at the Chicago Institute of Design.
In 1955 Peter Selz accepted a position to chair the art history department at Pomona College in Claremont and relocated to California for a few years. He also became director of the college's art gallery.
In 1958 Selz moved to New York City to become curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art and was there through the transformative mid-1960s. While at MOMA, he organized several significant exhibitions of modern art, including the 1960 Jean Tinguely "Homage to New York," a sculpture that destroyed itself (and started a fire) in the sculpture garden of the museum; New Images of Man (1959), the Art Nouveau show (1960), and the Art of Assemblage (1961). He also launched important retrospectives, including the first Rodin retrospective in the United States and a comprehensive exhibition of Alberto Giacometti's work in 1965.
In 1965, Peter Selz returned to California to become the founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum at the University of California, Berkeley, a position he held until 1973. He organized exhibitions of Funk, film, and ceramicists like Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson. Peter Selz later became project director for Christo's "Running Fence", the 24.5-mile long fabric fence over the Marin County hills in 1976. He also served concurrently as a professor of art history at UC until retiring in 1988.
Peter Selz was a member of the College Art Association's board of directors for two terms, 1958-1964 and 1966-1971. Selz is a prolific writer, and the author or co-author of numerous books, exhibition catalogs, and articles. Notable books include German Expressionist Painting (1957), Art in a Turbulent Era (1965), Art in Our Times (1981), and Sam Francis (1975).
In 1988 Peter Selz was named emeritus professor at University of California, Berkeley. In 1993 he was on the acquisitions committee of the Museums of Fine Arts, San Francisco. In 2012, Selz curated The Painted Word exhibition. Selz died in 2019 in Albany, California.
The Archives of American Art also holds oral history interviews of Peter Selz conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom on July 28, 1982, October 12, 1982, and November 3, 1999.
The Peter Howard Selz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Peter Selz in multiple installments from 1976 through 2014. Additional papers were donated in 2018 by Gabrielle Selz, Peter Selz's daughter.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Photographs of artists, many from the San Francisco Bay Area, taken by Mimi Jacobs.
Artists photographed: Ansel Adams, Robert Arneson, Ruth Asawa, Billy Al Bengston, Fletcher Benton, Robert Bechtle, J. B. Blunk, William Brice, Joan Brown, Imogen Cunningham, Jay De Feo, Eleanor Dickinson, Richard Diebenkorn, Laddie John Dill, Archeliat Esherick, Sam Francis, David Gilhooly, Joseph Goldyne, Robert Graham, Henry Hopkins, Robert B. Howard, John Ihle, Robert Irwin, Allen Jones, Alvin Light, Lee Mullican, Isamu Noguchi, Howard Paris, Joseph Raffael, Fred Reichman, Ed Ruscha, Betye Saar, Raymond Saunders, Richard Shaw, Louis Siegriest, Nell Sinton, Wayne Thiebaud, DeWain Valentine, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, Peter Voulkos, William T. Wiley, Emerson Woelffer.
Photographs of Mark Adams, William Allan, Jeremy Anderson, Ruth Armer, Charles Arnoldi, Dennis Beall, Bruce Beasley, Tony Berlant, Elmer Bischoff, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago, Bruce Conner, Roy de Forest, Tony DeLap, Guy Dill, Claire Falkenstein, Gerald Gooch, Russell Gordon, Wally Hedrick, Tom Holland, Robert Hudson, Robert Emory Johnson, Frank Lobdell, Robert Craig Kaufman, Richard McLean, Bill Martin, Manuel Neri, Bruce Nauman, Nathan Oliveira, Mel Ramos, Sam Richardson, Michael Todd, Julius Wasserstein, Paul Wonner and Norman Zammitt.
In 1999, additional photographs were donated including many duplicates of the previous donations. These include 50 mounted photographs of West Coast artists, twenty-four of which were exhibited in 1980 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and published in 50 West Coast Artists: A Critical Selection of Painters and Sculptors (1981, Chronicle Books). Photographs are of Ansel Adams, Robert Arneson, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Bechtle, Fletcher Benton, J. B. Blunk, William Brice, Joan Brown, Imogen Cunningham, Jay De Feo, Eleanor Dickinson, Richard Diebenkorn, Laddie John Dill, Archeliat Esherick, Sam Francis, David Gilhooly, Joseph Goldyne, Robert Graham, Henry Hopkins, Robert Howard, John Ihle, Robert Irwin, Allen Jones, Alvin Light, Lee Mullican, Isamu Noguchi, Howard Paris, Joseph Raffael, Fred Reichman, Ed Ruscha, Betye Saar, Richard Shaw, Louis Siegrist, Nell Sinton, Wayne Thiebaud, De Wain Valentine, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, Peter Voulkos, William Wiley, and Emerson Woeffer.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer; Kentfield, Calif.; b. 1911; d. April 1, 1999. Known in the San Francisco Bay Area for her portraits of prominent local figures, many of whom were artists. She eventually expanded her scope beyond Northern California to included artists in the Los Angeles region as well. These images were widely reproduced in books and in exhibitions and in many cases became the portraits by which the individuals were best known. Among her subjects were Ed Ruscha, Robert Graham, Peter Voulkos, Joan Brown, Isamu Noguchi, Jay DeFeo, Wayne Thiebaud, Imogen Cunningham, and Richard Diebenkorn. Several exhibitions were devoted to the photographs as independent works of art, an acknowledgement of their pictorial qualities as well as their value as documents.
Donated 1976-1992 by Mimi Jacobs. Additional photos, many of them duplicates of previous donations, were donated in 1999 by Leslie Fleming, Jacobs' daughter, for the Estate.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
11.1 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 9 reels))
Scope and Contents:
Biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, inventories, works of arts, business and financial records, printed material, and photographs.
REELS 2759-2762: Resumes; correspondence; photographs of works of art and installations; writings, including school papers and articles; drawings, mostly designs for sculptures; business and personal financial records, including transactions with galleries; printed material including announcements, catalogs and press releases; and miscellany.
REELS 4010-4014: Correspondence (14 items), including a carbon copy and several drafts of Paris' letter, ca. 1969, to Mr. Withofs of Gallerie Withofs in Brussels regarding the installation of the exhibition "Voices of Packaged Souls," a letter from Paris to Debbie Little and friends, ca. 1969, in which he comments on his stay in Milan and his exhibition at the Studio Marconi, and a draft of a letter to Hilton Kramer;
a manuscript "A Temporarily Harold Paris," in which Paris comments on his work and recounts numerous autobiographical incidents; 3 p. of hand illustrated and written notes "The Dissillussion of Hero Modern"; 4 address books; and photocopies of annotated art inventories, identified as: "Works of art 1940-1979," "Blue prints, black lines and blue lines," "Works of art personal collection," and "Inventory Smithsonian Institution."
Also included are fifteen sketchbooks, including one executed during Paris' service as an artist correspondent for the army newspaper STARS AND STRIPES, and ca. 50 loose sketches entitled "Book of Packaged Souls"; clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements,; a scrapbook containing exhibition announcements and reviews of Paris' work, 1975-1976; photographs of family, friends, art works executed by Paris between ca. 1956-1978, and negatives and transparencies.
UNMICROFILMED: Biographical material including a resume, membership cards and travel papers; correspondence, 1946-1980, with friends including Angelo Ippolito and Paris' second wife Frieda, some illustrated, business correspondence regarding Paris' Guggenheim fellowship and exhibitions; illustrated writings by Paris including notes and essays regarding one of his works "26 Days of John Little" and notes and writings for his unpublished book "Temporarily Harold Paris," 1978; 8 sketchbooks, 7 prints and many loose sketches undated; business records including price lists and inventories of paintings, a ledger and a tax return;
printed material, 1946-1979, including exhibition announcements, catalogs, brochures, and a scrapbook of clippings; 4 cassette tapes of notes on "Temporarily Harold Paris, " and 1 cassette tape "Harold Paris Reading Article on Souls;" subject files on the Smith Anderson Gallery, 1973-1978, the Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1977-1979, (including a card catalog with photographs of Paris' work) and the Bart Commission; and photographs, slides and negatives including snapshots of Paris, friends and family, portraits of Paris and works of art.
Biographical / Historical:
Harold Paris (1925-1979) was a sculptor, assemblage artist and printmaker in California.
Donated by the Paris estate, 1982 and 1988, and by Paris' widow Deborah Little Paris, 1986.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm.
Manuscript and photographs of: "Temporarily Harold Paris," reel 4010, frames 242-370: The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that they may own.
Assemblage artists -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Search this
Printmakers -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Search this
Sculptors -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Search this
The papers of Wally Goodman and William Stanton Picher measure 1.2 linear feet and date from 1940-1982. Included are correspondence, printed material, subject file concerning Christo's "Running Fence" project, business records, art works, notes, and photographs.
Correspondence (1966-1981) concerns Goodman's and Picher's collecting activities and friendships with artists, including letters from Fred Martin, Nathan Oliveira, Joseph Raffael, Mel Ramos, and William T. Wiley and a greeting card decorated with an Oliveira print (1940). The "Running Fence" file contains correspondence, including 2 letters from Christo, summaries of the project, receipts, clippings, and photographs.
Business records include loan requests from museums (1966-1981), bills of sale (1950-1982), insurance and appraisal lists of works and their values (1967-1981), conservation reports (1970-1976), and files concerning the "Mexican Masters Suite", Christo print documentation (1970-1972), and appraisers Butterfield and Butterfield (1979-1981).
Original art work includes rubber stamp designs by Phil Pasquini, a booklet made by Lout Sue, an illustrated booklet by William T. Wiley (1975) and 2 collages by Harold Paris (1976). Among the printed material are reproductions of works collected, clippings (1966-1981), and exhibition catalogs (1967-1981). Photographs are of the wedding of Tom Garver and Natasha Nicholson at Goodman and Picher's home.
Also included are records documenting Goodman's and Picher's Asian Collection, consisting of a few letters (1964-1971), bills of sale (1948-1978), receipts and photographs of works, loan forms (1969-1979), 2 appraisal forms (1971), "non-American" receipts, miscellaneous financial material, and notes (1946-1971), clippings (1969-1979), and photographs and slides of works.
Biographical / Historical:
Wally Goodman (1922-2008) and William Stanton Picher were art collectors in San Francisco, California.
The Archives of American Art also holds the papers of Patrick Duffy and Wally Goodman.
Donated 1983 by Wally Goodman.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.