United States -- Economic conditions, 1918-1945 -- Washington (State)
The papers of artist, photographer, museum director, anthropologist, and writer Robert Bruce Inverarity are dated circa 1840s-1997 and measure 12.7 linear feet. Biographical information, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, art work, scrapbooks, sound recordings, printed material and photographs are found within the papers. They document Inverarity's work as Director of the Federal Art Project in Seattle and Director of the Art and Craft Project for the State of Washington, as well as his other professional work. Nineteenth century material consists of a Japanese print, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of artist, photographer, museum director, anthropologist, and writer Robert Bruce Inverarity are dated circa 1840s-1997 and measure 13.8 linear feet. Biographical information, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, art work, scrapbooks, sound recordings, printed material and photographs are found within the papers. They document Inverarity's work as Director of the Federal Art Project in Seattle and Director of the Art and Craft Project for the State of Washington, as well as his other professional work. Nineteenth century material consists of a Japanese print, printed material, and photographs.
Among the biographical information are awards and certificates, biographical and genealogical notes, and educational records. Correspondence concerns Inverarity's activities as Director of the WPA Federal Arts Project in Washington State, 1936-1941. Additional personal and professional correspondence, 1929-1993, documents his activities as a museum director, consultant, collector, and writer. Among the friends and colleagues with whom he corresponded are: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, Rockwell and Sally Kent, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Wolfgang Palen, Juliet and Man Ray, Mark Tobey, Edward Weston, and various individuals associated with the WPA.
Manuscripts of a few of Inverarity's many articles on topics such as anthropology, museology, and information storage and retrieval are among his writings and notes. Also included are the manuscript of an unpublished book, Tobey Remembered, along with drafts, notes, correspondence, research materials, and photocopies of Tobey's letters to him and others. Other writings consist of book reviews, children's books, a catalog of the Inverarity Collection, and a copy of his 1946 master's thesis, "The Social-Economic Position of the American Artist." Several journals, 1928-1966, survive, including one that records his 1932 trip to study the Haida Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Subject files include general subjects such as "Folk Art" and "Preservation." Files on the museums where Inverarity was the director contain some official records as well as general information. Art work by Inverarity includes eight volumes of sketch books, 1928-1942, commercial work for Boeing, notes and drawings for book designs. Among the work by other artists are drawings, paintings and prints by friends. Of particular interest are display panels for a small exhibit on airbrush stencil prints produced by the Washington State WPA Federal Art Project. Other noteworthy items are pencil sketches and a watercolor by Mark Tobey, and prints by Hiroshige and Jan Matulka.
Five scrapbooks, 1928-1979, contain newspaper clippings, miscellaneous printed items, and a small number of photographs and letters. Three volumes document his career as an artist and museum director. One consists of biographical information and items designed by Inverarity, and another concerns publication and marketing of his monograph Art of the Northwest Coast Indians.
Sound recordings consist of interviews and conversations. An extensive interview with Inverarity about his life and career was conducted by Craig Gilborn in 1990. Bruce and Jane Inverarity in conversation with former colleague Ernie Johnson and his wife Helen about his departure from the Museum of International Folk Art were recorded in 1980. Also included is a 1981 conversation with Grace T. Stevenson containing references to Mark Tobey and Morris Graves.
Printed material includes many items about or produced by the WPA Federal Art Project. Among the items written by Inverarity are many articles on a wide variety of topics, his book Art of the Northwest Coast Indians, and two published portfolios. Printed material by other authors includes articles, books and reports about or mentioning Inverarity, and books designed or illustrated by him. Among the miscellaneous printed items are catalogs and brochures of the schools where Inverarity taught and studied, and a few ephemeral items designed by him.
Photographs are of art work, people, places, the Washington State WPA Federal Art Project, and miscellaneous subjects. All photographs known to be by Inverarity are clearly marked. Art work includes views of Inverarity's collection of his own work and that of other artists hanging in his home. Photographs of people include artists, friends, colleagues, and various groups. Of special interest are Inverarity's portraits of artists, among them Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Morris Graves, Hilaire Hiler, Rico Le Brun, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning, and Mark Tobey. Photographs of places include the museums where Inverarity was director, places in which he lived, and travel pictures. Of note are a large group of photographs (copy prints) taken in 1932 while studying the Haida Indians in British Columbia. Nineteenth century photographs of family homes, Europe, and South America may have been taken by his father. Photographs of the Washington State WPA Federal Arts Project are of individual works of art, exhibition installations, mosaic procedures and local art centers. Many, probably intended for display, are mounted in groups on large cardboard panels. Miscellaneous subjects include art photographs by Inverarity and the microreader he invented.
The collection is arranged as nine series. Correspondence is in chronological order, Biographical Information and Subject Files are arranged alphabetically by folder title. Other series have been organized into subseries and arrangement is as described in the Series Descriptions/Container List below. Unless noted otherwise, material within folders is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1934-1997, undated (Box 1, OV 18; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1993, undated (Box 1; 0.75 linear ft.)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1928-1993, undated, (Boxes 2-3; 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1938-1990, undated (Boxes 3-6, OV 19-20; 2.5 linear ft.)
Series 5: Art Work, circa 1840s-1969, undated (Boxes 6, 12, 16, OV 21; 1.3 linear ft.)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1928-1991, undated (Boxes 7-8; 1.1 linear ft.)
Series 7: Sound Recordings, 1980-1990 (Box 8; 3 folders)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1902-1995, undated (Boxes 8-13, OV 22; 3.4 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1870s-1990, undated (Boxes 11, 14-17, OV 23; 3.0 linear ft.)
Robert Bruce Inverarity (1909-1999) showed artistic leanings as a boy, and from an early age was fascinated by puppetry and Northwest Coast native culture. During much of his youth, Inverarity's family lived in Canada, but returned to their native Seattle when he was a teenager. After graduating from high school, he made a 500 mile journey on foot along the coasts of the Vancouver Islands, collecting Indian artifacts and studying the area's tribal legends.
He studied briefly with Mark Tobey in Seattle, where the two shared a studio; when Tobey departed for Chicago, Inverarity succeeded him as an art teacher at the Cornish School. He spent the next few years in California working as an artist, exhibiting, and occasionally teaching. From there, he moved to Vancouver where he was Director of the School of Creative Art. In 1932, Inverarity made a three month trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, for the purpose of studying the Haida Indians.
Upon his return to the United States in 1933, Inverarity joined the University of Washington Drama School as a puppetry instructor; in 1938 he published a highly regarded Manual of Puppetry. During 1936-37, he took a leave of absence from the university to assume the position of State Director of the Federal Art Project, where he remained until 1939. He then became State Director of the Art and Crafts Project (1939-1941). The U.S. Navy appointed Inverarity Chief of Design for Camouflage (1941-1943) and he later served as an Official Navy War Artist (1943-1945).
During his early years as a teacher and administrator, Inverarity continued making art and participated in a wide variety of exhibitions. He published a portfolio, 12 Photographs by R. B. Inverarity (1940). In the following year, Movable Masks and Figures of the North Pacific Coast Indians, a portfolio of his watercolors reproduced as silkscreen prints, appeared. Although Inverarity stopped exhibiting in 1941, he continued to produce art; notable work of this period includes photographic portraits of a number of artist friends (Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray).
After World War II, Inverarity completed his formal education. He earned a Bachelor's degree in art and anthropology from the University of Washington (1946), and then studied with Hilaire Hiler at Freemont University in Los Angeles, where he was awarded a Master's degree in fine arts (1947) and a Ph.D. (1948).
Inverarity began his museum career in 1949 when he was appointed the first director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a position that combined his interest in, and knowledge of, anthropology and art. While in Santa Fe, he published Art of the North West Coast Indians (1950). During his five year tenure as director, the museum participated in a pilot study for coding visual files, a project of the anthropological group, Human Resources Area Files, Inc. When Inverarity was dismissed from the Museum of International Folk Art in 1954, most of the staff resigned in protest, and the American Association of Museums investigated the situation.
Inverarity then became the first director of the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, New York, where he remained for eleven years. In addition to planning the museum's building, and developing collections and programs, Inverarity continued his involvement with the visual files project of the Human Resources Area Files, Inc., studying information storage and retrieval, developing a "microreader," and publishing Visual Files Coding Index (1960). In addition, he published many articles on a variety of topics and was active in organizations for anthropologists and museum professionals.
After his 1965 departure from the Adirondack Museum, Inverarity went to California and worked as an illustrator and book designer at the University of California Press. He returned to the east coast in 1969 to assume the directorship of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. During this period, he remained active in professional associations and traveled to study museums abroad. He retired in 1976 and moved to La Jolla, California.
Robert Bruce Inverarity died in 1999.
Originals of most of the drawings and sketches loaned by Mr. Inverarity were returned to him after filming and were not subsequently donated. This material is available on 35 mm microfilm reel D/NDA/I, frames 392-409.
Robert Bruce Inverarity donated his papers to the Archives in several installments between 1965 and 1993. Additional papers were received from his estate in 1999. He also loaned a small number of additional drawings and sketches for microfilming which were returned to him. A few of these drawings were included with the papers he subsequently donated to the Archives of American Art.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
The papers of southern California contemporary art curator, critic, and historian Jules Langsner measure 4.4 linear feet and date from circa 1910s-1998, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1950-1967. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings normal="1941"> travel, and works of art; and audio recordings of Langsner's lectures and eulogies given at his funeral.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of southern California contemporary art curator, critic, and historian Jules Langsner measure 4.4 linear feet and date from circa 1910s-1998, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1950-1967. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings by Langsner; exhibition files; printed materials; photographs of Langsner, others, travel, and works of art; and audio recordings of Langsner's lectures and eulogies given at his funeral.
Biographical materials consist of an address book and file, committee files, scattered financial statements, and documents related to the Ford Foundation and other foundations, teaching, and traveling.
The 0.9 linear feet of correspondence is of both a personal and professional nature. A significant portion of the correspondence is between Langsner and publications for which he wrote such as Art News, the New York Times, Meridian Books, Craft Horizons, Art International, and Art in America; galleries and museums where he lectured or curated exhibitions including the Art Institute of Chicago, California Water Color Society, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pasadena Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, and the Fine Arts Patrons of Newport Harbor; colleges and organizations where he taught or was involved with such as the Graham Foundation, University of Southern California, International Association of Art Critics, and Ford Foundation; and artists that he worked with or knew personally including Rico Lebrun, William Turnbull, Man & Julie Ray, Lorser Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg, Adelaide Fogg, and Clinton Adams.
Letters to June Harwood were written while Langsner was traveling in 1964 and 1965 and discuss his travels and their relationship which culminated in marriage in Italy in 1965.
Among the 2.8 linear feet of the writings of Jules Langsner are articles for Art News, Art in America, Art International, Arts & Architecture, Aware, Beverly Hills Times, Craft Horizons, Creative Crafts, Goya Revista De Arte, Yomiuri, and Zodiac. There are also essays, lectures, poems, drafts, notes, jottings of ideas, proposals and published and unpublished manuscripts. There are drafts and unpublished versions of "Painting in the Modern World", and numerous other essays on contemporary art. There are also extensive handwritten notes on his travels, Asian art, European art, and other subjects.
Exhibition files concern "Black and White" (1958), "California Hard-Edge Painting" (1964), the Man Ray Exhibition (1966), and the William Turnbull Exhibition (1966).
Printed materials include miscellaneous flyers, brochures, and news bulletins, and press releases.
Photographs are of people, places, works of art, and exhibitions. There are photographs of Jules Langsner, June Harwood, Philip Guston, Musa Guston, William Brice, Eddy Feldman, Rube Kadish, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Frank Perls, and unidentified individual people and groups. Photographs of Langsner's travels are of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other locations. Photographs of exhibitions include California Art Club, "Black and White," "California Painters & Sculptors, 35 & Under," and unidentified exhibitions. Photographs of works of art are by William Turnbull, Jack Zajac, Walter Mix, Marion Aldrich, Roger Majorowicz, and Jasper Johns.
Audio recordings include four untranscribed 7" reel-to-reel audio recordings and one cassette tape. The reel-to-reel tapes are of two lectures by Langsner, You & Art/Berlin Party, and of eulogies given at Langsner's funeral by Clement Greenberg, Henry Seldis, Peter Selz, Richard Brown, Donald Brewer, Tom Leavitt, Lorser Feitelson, Sam Francis, June Wayne, Gifford Phillips, and others. The cassette tape is a copy of eulogies.
The collection is arranged as 7 series. Photographs are arranged by subject, otherwise each series is generally arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1957-circa 1960s (Box 1; 9 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1948-1998 (Boxes 1-2; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, 1934-circa 1960s (Boxes 2-4; 2.8 linear feet)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1919, circa 1958-1966 (Box 4; 4 folders)
Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1960s (Box 5; 2 folders)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1910s-1960s (Box 5; 0.25 linear feet)
Series 7: Audio Recordings, 1954-1967 (Box 5; 0.25 linear feet)
Jules Langsner (1911-1967) worked primarily in the Los Angeles area as a contemporary art critic, historian, and curator. He curated several seminal exhibitions of contemporary art, including the 1959-1960 show "Four Abstract Classicists" featuring the work of Southern California artists Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin.
Born Julius Harold Langsner in New York City on May 5, 1911, his family moved to Ontario, California in 1922. The family lived on a farm and opened the Paradise Health Resort which was run by Langsner's father, chiropractor Isadore Langsner, and was popular in Jewish and intellectual circles. In Ontario, Langsner became friends with three of the Pollack family sons, Jackson, Frank, and Sanford, as well as Philip Guston, Reuben Kadish, Leonard Stark, and Don Brown as a teenager. Guston, Kadish, and Jackson Pollock were later mentored by Lorser Feitelston which helped to foster in Langsner an interest in avant-garde painting.
Langsner went on to study philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the early 1940s, Langsner married and had a son, Drew Langsner. He divorced in 1946. In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a psychiatric social worker and psychologist during World War II in the United States.
Art & Architecture magazine was the first to publish Langsner's art criticism in 1948. Throughout the 1950s and 60s his work was published widely in Art & Architecture as well as Art News, Art in America, Craft Horizons, Beverly Hills Times, Zodiac, and others. Langsner wrote extensively about art history in both published and unpublished manuscripts, including Painting in the Modern World which he worked on until his death. Additionally, he taught art history classes at the Chouinard Art Institute and University of Southern California and lectured for a variety of organizations and occasions.
Langsner curated several influential exhibitions in southern California, including the "Four Abstract Classicists" exhibition for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1959 and in whose catalog he and Peter Selz coined the term "Hard-Edge painting." He curated the first full-scale retrospective of Man Ray in the United States at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1966.
Langsner received a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1964 that allowed him to travel throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Europe for a year studying regional art and architecture. He wrote notes on his travels and corresponded frequently with June Harwood, a Hard-Edge painter, whom he married in Italy in 1965.
Jules Langsner died unexpectedly of a heart attack on September 29, 1967, in Los Angeles.
Related Archival Materials note:
The papers of Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg at the Archives of American Art contain a significant amount of writings by Jules Langsner, including exhibition catalog essays.
Papers of Jules Langsner, 1941-1967, are also located at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Jules Langsner papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments from 1973-1996, and in 2004 by June Harwood Langsner, widow of Jules Langsner. Notes for a lecture given at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1966 and 39 pieces of correspondence were donated in 1982 by the University of California Art Library, Los Angeles, via Librarian Virginia Steele.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
An interview of Katharine Kuh conducted 1982 Mar. 18-1983 Mar. 24, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kuh speaks of her invalid childhood in Chicago, the development of her interest in art, classes in art history at Vassar College, and her career as curator of modern art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She recalls in particular the "Sanity in Art" movement against modern art in Chicago. Kuh describes her relationship with Mark Rothko and Rothko's relationships with Mark Tobey, Clyfford Still, Kate Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Milton Avery, Stanley Kunitz, and Hans Hofmann.
Kuh discusses her parents, the family silk business, travelling in Europe as a child, life in Chicago, the effects of polio and other illnesses on her interests, and her student years at Vassar College. She remembers visiting Bernard Berenson in Italy with her family and again with Daniel Catton Rich, with whom she worked very closely at the Art Institute of Chicago. She speaks of the Katharine Kuh Gallery, which she started in the mid-1930s and its place in the vanguard of the Chicago art scene.
Kuh remembers the effects of the stock market crash on her personal situation, her marriage to businessman George Kuh, distaste for life in the suburbs, and her divorce. She discusses the Katharine Kuh Gallery and the actions taken against her business by members of the reactionary "Sanity in Art" movement (including a very funny anecdote concerning Carlos Merida). She speaks of the classes in modern art that she taught at her gallery and of some of the artists she exhibited there, including the photographers Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston.
Kuh remembers the McCarthy era and the political conservatism in Chicago, including her testimony on behalf of Bill Zimmerman, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs. She criticizes blockbuster exhibitions and the changes in the role of a museum curator. She reminisces about building the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and the art education program she ran there, and recalls Stuart Davis, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, and Ivan Albright.
Kuh remembers Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as the collectors Walter Paepcke and Walter and Louise Arensberg (whose collection she surveyed in their home for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago).
Kuh focuses on her memories of Mark Rothko, recalling when they met, their friendship, his manner of working, his feelings about his work, and his worries towards the end of his life. She talks about Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Mark Tobey. Some parts of this tape repeat what she said earlier.
Kuh continues discussing Rothko, particularly his Houston chapel murals and the retrospective exhibition at MOMA in 1961. She remembers visiting Rothko's studio and describes his working methods. She relates Rothko's views on other artists, including Milton Avery, Clyfford Still, Turner, Robert Motherwell, and Adolf Gottlieb; parts repeat things said before. Kuh also discusses Rothko's wife and daughter.
Kuh recounts building the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and speaks of the museum staff, trustees, and donors. She remembers Alfred Barr at MOMA.
Kuh continues speaking about the Art Institute of Chicago, describing the circumstances of her resignation and subsequent move to New York. She talks of knowing Peggy Guggenheim, Max Ernst, and Fernand Leger.
Kuh describes her work as a consultant to college museums and her writings. She discusses the field of art criticism and her career as art editor at Saturday Review. She recalls Clyfford Still's retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his death.
Kuh describes her work as a collector for the First National Bank of Chicago.
Kuh recounts more about her work at Saturday Review and her resignation. She goes into great detail about her travels in Alaska and British Columbia surveying Northwest Indian art for a government report. She speaks again about the McCarthy era.
Kuh speaks again about the Katharine Kuh Gallery and the artists she exhibited there, including Josef Albers (and his Black Mountain College), Alexander Archipenko, Stuart Davis, Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, and Man Ray.
Kuh continues her discussion of artists she exhibited at the Katharine Kuh Gallery, including Mark Tobey, Paul Klee, and Isamu Noguchi.
Kuh continues talking about artists she exhibited at the Katharine Kuh Gallery, including David Smith, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, Rufino Tamayo, and Jack Tworkov.
Biographical / Historical:
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was an art consultant, curator, and critic from Chicago and New York City.
Originally recorded on 16 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 31 digital wav files. Duration is 21 hrs., 52 min.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Jacob Kainen, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Authorization to quote or reproduce for the purposes of publication requires written permission from Avis Berman. Contact Reference Services for more information.
115 letters to Field from George Bellows, Bernard Berenson, Elliott Daingerfield, Arthur B. Davies, Roger Fry, John Marin, Joseph Pennell, Man Ray, John Sloan, Max Weber, J. Alden Weir, and others. Two highly detailed letters from Maurice Sterne in 1913 describe that artist's life in Bali. Also included are signatures of American artists from a guest book, and a 1966 catalog of the Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection.
Biographical / Historical:
Hamilton Easter Field (b. 1873 d. 1922) was an artist, critic, collector, and patron notable for his support of modern art. In 1911, Field founded the Summer School of Graphic Arts in Ogunquit, Maine. The Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection is in the Portland Museum of Art (Me.).
Also in the Archives of American Art are the papers of Robert Laurent, containing material relating to Hamilton Easter Field and the Hamilton Easter Field Foundation.
Lent for microfilming 1968 by Robert Laurent. When Field died in 1922 at the age of 49 he left his estate to Robert Laurent. Laurent formed the Hamilton Easter Field Foundation.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. The collection documents Kuh's career as a pioneer modernist art historian and as the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Biographical material consists of copies of Kuh's birth certificate, resumés, passports, award certificates, honorary diplomas, and address books listing information about several prominent artists and colleagues.
Four linear feet of correspondence offers excellent documentation of Kuh's interest in art history, her travels, her career at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work as a corporate art advisor, and as an author. There are letters from her mother Olga Woolf, friends, and colleagues. There is extensive correspondence with various staff members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the First National Bank of Chicago, and The Saturday Review. Also of interest are letters from artists and collectors, several of whom became life-long friends including Walter and Louise Arensberg, Cosmo Campoli, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Cox, Worden Day, Claire Falkenstein, Fred Friendly, Leon Golub, Joseph Goto, David Hare, Denise Brown Hare, Jean Hélion, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Len Lye, Wallace Putnam, Kurt Seligmann, Shelby Shackelford, Hedda Sterne, and Clyfford Still. Many letters are illustrated with original artwork in various media.
There are also scattered letters from various artists and other prominent individuals including Josef Albers, George Biddle, Marcel Breuer, Joseph Cornell, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Joseph Hirshhorn, Daniel Catton Rich, and Dorothea Tanning.
Personal business records include a list of artwork, Olga Woolf's will, inventories of Kuh's personal art collection, miscellaneous contracts and deeds of gift, receipts for the sale of artwork, files concerning business-related travel, and miscellaneous receipts.
Artwork in the collection represents a wide range of artist friends and media, such as drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages, and prints. Included are works by various artists including lithographs by David Hare and a watercolor set, Technics and Creativity, designed and autographed by Jasper Johns for the Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
Notes and writings include annotated engagement calendars, travel journals for Germany, a guest book for the Kuh Memorial gathering, and many writings and notes by Kuh for lectures and articles concerning art history topics. Of interest are minutes/notes from meetings for art festivals, conferences, and the "Conversations with Artists Program (1961). Also found are writings by others about Kuh and other art history topics.
Six scrapbooks contain clippings that document the height of Kuh's career as a gallery director and museum curator. Scrapbook 6 contains clippings about Fernand Léger, the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953.
Additional printed material includes clippings about Kuh and her interests, a comprehensive collection of clippings of Kuh's articles for The Saturday Review, exhibition announcements and catalogs, calendars of events, programs, brochures, books including Poems by Kuh as a child, and reproductions of artwork. Of particular interest are the early and exhibition catalogs from the Katharine Kuh Gallery, and rare catalogs for artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Hofmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Pablo Picasso.
Photographs provide important documentation of the life and career of Katharine Kuh and are of Kuh, family members, friends, colleagues, events, residences, and artwork. Several of the photographs of Kuh were taken by Will Barnet and Marcel Breuer and there is a notable pair of photo booth portraits of Kuh and a young Ansel Adams. There are also group photographs showing Angelica Archipenko with Kuh; designer Klaus Grabe; painters José Chavez Morado and Pablo O'Higgins in San Miguel, Mexico; Kuh at the Venice Biennale with friends and colleagues including Peggy Guggenheim, Frances Perkins, Daniel Catton Rich, and Harry Winston; and "The Pre-Depressionists" including Lorser Feitelson, Robert Inverarity, Helen Lundeberg, Arthur Millier, Myron Chester Nutting, and Muriel Tyler Nutting.
Photographs of exhibition installations and openings include views of the Katharine Kuh Gallery; Fernand Léger, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. There are also photographs depicting three men posing as Léger's "Three Musicians" and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is a photograph by Peter Pollack of an elk skull used as a model by Georgia O'Keeffe.
Additional photographs of friends and colleagues include Ivan Albright, Alfred Barr, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem De Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Marcel Duchamp, Claire Falkenstein, Alberto Giacometti, poet Robert Graves with Len Lye, Philip Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Carlos Mérida, José Orozco, Hasan Ozbekhan, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sandberg, Ben Shahn, Otto Spaeth, Hedda Sterne, Adlai Stevenson, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and composer Victor Young.
Photographs of artwork include totem poles in Alaska; work by various artists including Claire Falkenstein, Paul Klee, and Hedda Sterne; and work donated to the Guggenheim Museum.
Four audio recordings on cassette are of Katharine Kuh's lectures, including one about assembling corporate collections, and of Daniel Catton Rich reading his own poetry. There is also a recording of the Second Annual Dialogue between Broadcasters and Museum Educators.
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Undated correspondence, artwork, and photographs of individual artists are arranged alphabetically. Otherwise, each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1908-1994 (Boxes 1-5, 13-14, OV 15; 4.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1941-1989 (Box 5; 19 folders)
Series 4: Artwork, 1931-1986 (Boxes 5, 13-14, OVs 15-23; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1914-1994 (Boxes 5-7; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1953 (Box 7; 8 folders)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992 (Boxes 7-10, 13, OV 22; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1875-1993 (Boxes 10-13; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Audio Recordings, 1977 (Box 12; 1 folder)
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.
After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.
In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.
After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.
In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review. In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.
A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.
Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.
The Katharine Kuh papers were donated in several installments from 1971 to 1989 by Katharine Kuh and in 1994 by her estate. Artwork was donated in 1995 by Kuh's former employer, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission until 2019. Contact the Archives of American Art Reference Services department for additional information.
Correspondence; printed materials; art works and miscellaneous papers.
REELS D302-D302a: Correspondence, some dating from Hiler's years in Paris in the 1920s; autobiographical and biographical material; published articles by Hiler, "Costumes and Ideologies," "Some Associative Aspects of Color," "Structuralism," "The Search for a Method of Graphic Expression," and "The Origin and Development of Structural Design;" the book Why Abstract, co-authored by him; exhibition catalogs; magazine articles on and about him; and miscellaneous papers. Some material on D302 has been duplicated on reel D302a.
Correspondents include: Faber Birren, Kay Boyle, Marc Connelly, Caresse Crosby, Nancy Cunard (11 items), Ben Cunningham (to Hiler's daughter), John Ferren, Al Hirschfeld, Carl Holty (5 items, up to 14 p. each), Robert Bruce Inverarity, Gyorgy Kepes, Katharine Kuh, Rico Lebrun, Fernand Leger, Albert W. Levi, Paul Mathews, Henry Miller, Abraham Rattner, Man Ray, Ad Reinhardt, Meyer Schapiro, Charles P. Snow, Edgar Varese, Herbert G. Wells, and William Carlos Williams.
In the 5 Holty letters, up to 14 p. each, Holty comments on aesthetics, color theory, the work of Abraham Rattner, Holty's painting, the history of modern art after WWII, and his trip across America with Henry Miller and Rattner.
REELS 611-614: Personal and business correspondence, bills and receipts, certificates, licenses, membership cards; 2 sketchbooks, and 17 loose sketches, many with notes and instructions; 3 notebooks, containing miscellaneous writings, clippings and sketches; 37 illustrations and diagrams, possibly for a book; 119 miscellaneous items relating to color and design; articles and short stories; writings on structuralism, including a copy of the typescript for COLOR AND DESIGN: A STRUCTURALIST APPROACH; a typed draft of Hiler's autobiography (292 p.); 14 exhibition catalogs and announcements; 20 clippings, and printed material; and miscellaneous papers.
Correspondents include America's Artists in Particular (organization), O'Brien Boldt, Kay Boyle, Ben Cunningham, Jerome Flax, the Foundation for Intergrated Education, Jay H. Herz, Gyorgy Kepes, Charles Lavell, Jim Moran, Henry Schnakenberg, and George Wittenborn.
Biographical / Historical:
Mural painter, designer, decorator, writer; New York, N.Y. and Paris.
Donated 1967-1968 by Hilaire Hiler.
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.