Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
3 documents - page 1 of 1

Adolf Dehn papers

Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968  Search this
American Artists Group  Search this
Associated American Artists  Search this
Atelier Desjobert  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
University of Missouri Press  Search this
Bohrod, Aaron  Search this
Castellón, Federico, 1914-1971  Search this
Christ-Janer, Albert, 1910-1973  Search this
Dehn, Mura  Search this
Dehn, Virginia E. (Virginia Engleman), 1922-2005  Search this
Eastman, Max, 1883-1969  Search this
Freeman, Joseph  Search this
Gag, Wanda, 1893-1946  Search this
Goetsch, Gustav F. (Gustav Frederick), 1877-1969  Search this
Grosz, George, 1893-1959  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988  Search this
Kuh, Frederick, 1895-1978  Search this
Lake, Eileen Hall  Search this
Marsh, Reginald, 1898-1954  Search this
Mitchell, Olivia Dehn  Search this
Olds, Elizabeth, 1896-1991  Search this
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Robinson, Boardman, 1876-1952  Search this
Shane, Fred, 1906-  Search this
Smith, William Arthur, 1918-1989  Search this
Spruance, Benton, 1904-1967  Search this
Thayer, Scofield, b. 1889  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-  Search this
Kertész, André  Search this
6.6 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The papers of printmaker and painter Adolf Dehn measure 6.6 linear feet and date from 1912-1987. The collection contains extensive correspondence, as well as writings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, clippings, invoices, receipts, legal documents, scrapbooks, artwork, and photographs. There is also scattered correspondence of Virginia Dehn, mostly concerning her husband Adolf Dehn.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of printmaker and painter Adolf Dehn measure 6.6 linear feet and date from 1912-1987. The collection contains extensive correspondence, as well as writings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, clippings, invoices, receipts, legal documents, scrapbooks, artwork, and photographs. There is also scattered correspondence of Virginia Dehn, mostly concerning her husband Adolf Dehn.

Found within the biographical materials are several address books, official travel documents, exhibition price lists, and a biographical sketch.

Correspondence, both personal and business, makes up the bulk of this collection. Dehn maintained long friendships with many fellow artists and his correspondence includes letters from Aaron Bohrod, Federico Castellon, Albert Christ-Janer, Wanda Gág, Gustav Goetsch, George Grosz, Reginald Marsh, Elizabeth Olds, Abraham Rattner, Boardman Robinson, Frederick Shane, William Smith, and Benton Spruance. Additional notable correspondents include print dealer and curator Carl Zigrosser; journalists Max Eastman, Joseph Freeman, Frederick Kuh; editor Scofield Thayer, and his former wife, the Russian dancer Mura Dehn (neé Tsiperovitch). Business correspondence includes letters from art schools, associations, museums, and galleries affiliated with Dehn, including the Weyhe Gallery; Associated American Artists, a gallery that promoted American art to the middle classes; and the Kennedy Gallery, which represented the Dehn estate upon the artist's death. There is also correspondence from companies and organizations that commissioned commercial work from Dehn, such as greeting card publisher, American Artists Group . Finally the correspondence of Virginia Dehn includes letters to and from the University of Missouri Press related to the publication of Adolf Dehn Drawings and condolence cards and letters from friends and associates after the Adolf Dehn's death in May 1968.

Writings include manuscripts for Adolf Dehn's manual on painting technique, Watercolor, Gouache, and Casein Painting (Studio Publications, 1955), as well as his entries on technique and watercolor painting for Encyclopedia Britannica. Writings by others includes the catalog Adolf Dehn Drawings, prepared by his wife Virginia Dehn, and published in 1971 by the University of Missouri Press. There is also a journal with handwritten poems attributed to Eileen Hall Lake.

Printed materials consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs from galleries featuring Dehn's work including the Weyhe Gallery and Associated American Artists; art school brochures and newsletters from programs which Dehn attended or taught; and newspaper and magazine clippings including examples of his editorial cartoons, which appeared in The Liberator, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, among other publications as well as clippings of news items related to the artist. This series also includes examples of Dehn's commercial work, such as book covers, calendars, and Christmas cards. Additional similar printed materials can be found in the scrapbooks. Artwork consists of only a few sketches attributed to Dehn, others to Eileen Lake Hall, and an etching by S.W. Hayter.

Dehn is well documented through numerous photographs, both alone and with others, including a portrait by the renowned photographer André Kertész. Additional vintage photographs include Dehn with family members, friends, and a series of photographs taken with his wife, Virginia Dehn at Atelier Desjobert, where he had been making lithographs since the 1920s.
The collection is arranged into 8 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1920-1968 (Box 1; 10 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1919-1982 (Boxes 1-4; 3.75 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1920-1971 (Boxes 4-5; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 4: Financial Records, 1936-1965 (Box 5; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1915-1987 (Boxes 5-6; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1912-1968(Boxes 6-7; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1920-1945 (Box 6; 3 folders)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1912-1961 (Boxes 6 and 8; 7 folders)
Biographical Note:
Adolf Dehn (1895-1968) was well-known for his drawings, lithographs and watercolors which satirically chronicled the social and political milieu of his times, as well as poetic landscapes, many of which depicted the rolling hills and farmlands of his native Midwest. Although he worked mostly in New York, Dehn also spent substantial time traveling and working in Europe, the Middle East, South America, and the American mid-west.

Dehn was born on a farm in Waterville, Minnesota on November 22, 1895, he began his formal art education in 1914 at the Minneapolis School of Art (currently known as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design). As a student, his drawings were featured in the school's humor journal, The Minne-Ha-Ha and by 1917 he had published his first drawing in one of his favorite political journals, The Masses. Later that year he and fellow Minneapolis School of Art student Wanda Gág were among a select group of art students nationwide who won scholarships to the Art Students League of New York. After only eight months in New York, however, Dehn was drafted into the Army to serve in the final months of World War I, but he proclaimed himself as a conscientious objector and was sent to Camp Wadsworth in South Carolina for several months.

Dehn returned to New York, where his friend and mentor Boardman Robinson introduced him to lithography through the master printer George Miller and brought him to the Weyhe Gallery to meet Carl Zigrosser, an avid supporter of American printmakers. However, he soon left New York for Europe in September 1921 where he spent most of the following eight years. There he traveled with his sketchbooks to the cafes and opera houses of Berlin, Paris, and Vienna, as well as on hiking trips in the Alps. He became friends with the poet E.E. Cummings, Scofield Thayer, editor of The Dial, who published many of his drawings, and met the German artist, George Grosz, whose work he so admired. In addition to The Dial, his satirical drawings of jazz-age entertainments and European cafe life also appeared in , The Liberator, Jugend, Vanity Fair, and Simplicissimus. Finally during his stint in Europe, Dehn met and married the Russian dancer Mura Tsiperovitch. They were married in Vienna in 1926, but divorced sometime in the early 1930s.

Unfortunately Dehn's return to the United States coincided with the Great Depression of 1929 and sales of his work were slim. However in the 1930s, The New Yorker and Vogue began to publish his work. He continued to work in lithography and returned to Paris to work at the Atelier Desjobert, the print studio with whom he worked most closely throughout his life. In the late 1930s, Dehn began working in watercolors, mostly rural landscapes, and had a one man show of works in his new medium at Weyhe Gallery in 1938. In 1939 Dehn traveled through the Southwest and Mexico on his first Guggenheim Fellowship (he was awarded his second in 1951).

By the 1940s Dehn was an active member of both the American Artists Group and Associated American Artists; both organizations sought to popularize contemporary American Art, primarily through reproductions of fine art prints and commercial use of artists' designs on greeting card, calendars, and even wall paper. Appreciation for his lithographs and watercolors grew, and along with it his recognition. He also taught art classes a few summers; in the late 1930s at Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri where his friend Albert Janner-Christ was head of the art department and in the early 1940s at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, where friend and mentor Boardman Robinson was the director. In 1955 he published Watercolor, Gouache, and Casein Painting, a manual on technique. Throughout the rest of his life he continued to travel, not only returning to Europe, but also visiting Afganistan, Cuba, Haiti, and a trip to Venuzuala on assignment from Standard Oil to document the oil industry there. On many of his later trips, he was accompanied by his wife, fellow artist, Virginia Engleman Dehn, whom he had married in November 1947.

Near the end of his long career, Dehn was elected in 1961 to the National Academy of Design as a full academician. He was later elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters. After his death in 1968, his wife Virginia worked with the University of Missouri Press on the catalog Adolf Dehn Drawings (Columbia: University of Missouri, 1971).
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming. Reel 287 contains printed materials, including exhibition announcements, catalogs, magazines, and newspaper and magazine clippings. After filming, these materials were transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library. Reels 2938-2939 include 750 letters from Adolf Dehn to various family members. This material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
The Adolf Dehn papers were donated in several installments from 1966 to 1985 by Adolf Dehn and his wife Virginia. Dehn's sisters, Viola Dehn Tiala and Olivia Dehn Mitchell, separately donated additional materials in 1971 and 1972. Olivia Dehn Mitchell also loaned the Archives letters from Adolf in 1983 for microfilming. Finally in 1989, Lillian Morrison, a friend and editor, donated a published book of Mura Dehn's poetry and a four page draft of a letter signed by Adolf Dehn.
Use of originals requires an appointment.
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.
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Graphic arts -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Adolf Dehn papers, 1912-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Adolf Dehn papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art

Black laughter / by Llewelyn Powys

Powys, Llewelyn 1884-1939  Search this
Russell E. Train Africana Collection (Smithsonian Libraries) DSI  Search this
Powys, Llewelyn 1884-1939 DSI  Search this
Former owner:
Thayer, Scofield b. 1889 DSI  Search this
Physical description:
x, 216 p. ; 21 cm
Africa, East
Natural history  Search this
Indigenous peoples  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

The Dial; a monthly review and index of current literature

Browne, Francis F (Francis Fisher) 1843-1913  Search this
Browne, Waldo R (Waldo Ralph) 1876-1954  Search this
Moore, Marianne 1887-1972  Search this
Thayer, Scofield b. 1889  Search this
Physical description:
86 v. 26 cm
19th century
20th century
Literature, Modern  Search this
Call number:
AP2 .D48
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Modify Your Search


Narrow By