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Helen DeMott papers

Creator:
DeMott, Helen, 1920-1997  Search this
Names:
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs  Search this
Bland, Celia  Search this
Burkhardt, Rudy  Search this
Chester, Alfred, 1928-1971  Search this
Eastman, Max, 1883-1969  Search this
Finkelstein, Miriam  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Ponsot, Marie  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-  Search this
Schloss, Edith, 1919-  Search this
Wright, Clifford, 1919-  Search this
Extent:
7.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notes
Sketches
Photographs
Poems
Sound recordings
Watercolors
Video recordings
Scrapbooks
Manuscripts
Drawings
Travel diaries
Date:
1896-1997
Summary:
The papers of painter Helen DeMott measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1896-1997. DeMott's painting career from 1940-1996 is documented through her numerous sketchbooks and original artwork. Also found is biographical material, correspondence, writings and poems, scrapbooks, printed material, photographic material, audio and video recordings, and scattered material from collagist Ray Johnson.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter Helen DeMott measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1896-1997. DeMott's painting career from 1940-1996 is documented through her numerous sketchbooks and original artwork. Also found is biographical material, correspondence, writings and poems, scrapbooks, printed material, photographic material, audio and video recordings, and scattered material from collagist Ray Johnson.

The scattered biographical material contains official documents, DeMott's resume, circulars and receipts from the Art School of the National Academy of Design, and two obituaries. Correspondence includes letters from publishers regarding DeMott's book proposal "Geography into Landscape," correspondence with universities and scientific institutions regarding her Wave series, and personal correspondence including letters from photographer, filmmaker, and painter Rudy Burckhardt, writer Alfred Chester, painter Clifford Wright, and collagist Edith Schloss.

The bulk of the writings is DeMott's poetry, as well as some artist's statements, loose notes, a speech, travel diaries, and handwritten, typed, and edited manuscripts, including a typed manuscript of "Geography into Landscape." Writings by others include poetry by Celia Bland, Miriam Finkelstein, and Marie Ponsot. Scrapbooks document DeMott's research and artwork related to waves and includes clippings, photographs of artwork, sketches and notations, and typed notes on painting waves. Printed material includes magazine and newspaper articles about Helen DeMott and various other artists, and many articles related to water waves.

Photographic material includes black and white photographs of DeMott's artwork and personal photographs. Of interest is a 1943 photograph of a group at the Art Students League which includes Ester Rolick, Edith Schloss, Max Eastman, and Helen DeMott. Also found are slides and transparencies of artwork and slides for lectures on waves. Audiovisual Recordings include one reel-to-reel tape and five videotapes, some related to DeMott's study of waves.

There is one folder of material from collagist Ray Johnson containing scattered letters and mail art, exhibition fliers, and collages. Measuring 4.2 linear feet, the bulk of DeMott's papers are sketchbooks and original artwork spanning her artistic career. There are numerous loose sketches, notes, sketchbooks, holiday cards, watercolors, and oversized drawings in pencil, ink, and oil pastels, much of which is related to waves. Original artwork by others includes Esther Rolick and Edith Schloss.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1911-1997 (Boxes 1, 9; 7 folders)

Series 2: Letters and Correspondence, 1896, 1930-1995 (Boxes 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1950-circa 1996 (Boxes 2-3; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1967-1989 (Box 3; 2 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1961-1996 (Boxes 3, 9; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1920s-1996 (Boxes 3-4, 9; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Audiovisual Recordings, 1975, 1978, undated (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 8: Ray Johnson, 1947, 1963, undated (Box 4; 1 folder)

Series 9: Artwork, 1941-1996 (Boxes 4-9, OV 10-13; 4.2 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Helen DeMott (1920-1997) was a New York City based painter and poet and well-known East Village community activist.

In the 1940s, DeMott attended the National Academy of Design and Art Students League. In the late 1960s, DeMott began focusing her work on the scientific study of waves, specifically the structure of water wave surfaces, a theme that remained in her work for the rest of her career. In 1974-1975, DeMott completed two building murals of water wave structures in New York City: Wave Spill, located at 155 First Avenue and 10th Street; and River Wave, at 509 Amsterdam Avenue. She had a solo exhibition at the Green Mountain Gallery in 1969, and exhibited at the ground-breaking alternative space, 112 Workshop/112 Greene Street in 1979. DeMott was received a number of grants and awards throughout her career including National Community Arts Competition winner in 1974, a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (CAPS) in 1976, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1978, and a Gottleib Foundation grant in 1983. She passed away in 1997.
Provenance:
The Helen DeMott papers were a bequest to the Archives of American Art in 2003 by James Goldiner, executive for the estate of Helen DeMott.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Notes
Sketches
Photographs
Poems
Sound recordings
Watercolors
Video recordings
Scrapbooks
Manuscripts
Drawings
Travel diaries
Citation:
Helen DeMott papers, 1896-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.demohele
See more items in:
Helen DeMott papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-demohele
Online Media:

Interview with W. Joseph Black

Creator:
Black, W. Joseph (William Joseph), 1934-1977  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Black, W. Joseph (William Joseph)  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Place:
Harlem, N.Y.
Date:
1971
Topic:
Architecture  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11743
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11743

Interview with Romare Bearden

Creator:
Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Bearden, Romare  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11744
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11744

Interview with John Rhoden

Creator:
Rhoden, John (John W.), 1918-2001  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Rhoden, John (John W.)  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1970
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11745
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11745

Interview with W. Joseph Black

Creator:
Black, W. Joseph (William Joseph), 1934-1977  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Black, W. Joseph (William Joseph)  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1970
Topic:
Architecture  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11746
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11746

Interview with Valerie Capers

Creator:
Capers, Valerie  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Capers, Valerie  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971
Topic:
Jazz  Search this
Jazz musicians  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11747
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11747

Interview with Jean Hutson

Creator:
Hutson, Jean, 1914-1998  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11748
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11748

Interview with artists of the Weusi Artist Collective

Creator:
Weusi Artists Collective  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Aziz, Abdullah  Search this
Beazer, G. Falcon  Search this
Brown, Kay  Search this
Shabaz, Taiwo  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11749
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11749

Interviews regarding the Cinque Gallery (New York, NY)

Creator:
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Reyes, Rolando  Search this
Sharp, Frank  Search this
Cinque Gallery  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11750
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11750

Interview with Roy de Carava

Creator:
DeCarava, Roy, 1919-2009  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971 January 14
Topic:
African American photographers  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)12364
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_12364

Interview with Benny Andrews

Creator:
Andrews, Benny, 1930-2006  Search this
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1971 January 15
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)12461
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_12461

Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985

Creator:
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-2008  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Works of art
Topic:
Artists -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9209
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211404
AAA_collcode_roliesth
Theme:
African American
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211404

Self-Portrait, (painting)

Painter:
Rolick, Esther G. 1922-2008  Search this
Subject:
Rolick, Esther G  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery 500 University Avenue Rochester New York 14607 Accession Number: 2003.26
Topic:
Portrait female--Self Portrait  Search this
Portrait female--Bust  Search this
Occupation--Art--Painter  Search this
Control number:
IAP 37390687
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_471909

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