5 Reels (ca. 1200 items (on 5 partial microfilm reels))
Scope and Contents:
Papers relate mainly to the Blue Four and contain primarily correspondence; also business materials, photographs, essays, and printed materials.
REEL 1644: Correspondence with Lyonel Feininger and his wife Julia, mainly concerning personal matters, contemporary events in Europe and America, and Scheyer's efforts to establish the Blue Four's reputation on the west coast. Many letters are illustrated with Feininger block cuts.
REEL 1854: Letters from Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee; typescripts of letters to members of the Blue Four; import declarations; a shipping invoice; a consular certificate for paintings; and price lists of works of art.
REEL 1905: Correpsondence documenting Scheyer's friendship with various artists associated with the Blue Four and her efforts to exhibit and sell their work. Important correpsondents include: Alexander Archipenko, Hans Arp, Giorgio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Le Corbusier, Fernand Leger, Carlos Merida, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Diego Rivera, Arthur Segal, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Arnold Schoenberg, Kurt Schwitters, Rufino Tamayo, Mies van der Rohe, Edgar Varese, Max Weber, and Edward Weston. Also included are miscellaneous photographs, essays, notes, and financial and printed materials.
REEL 2031-2032: Correspondence with Alexei Jawlensky and Wassily Kandinsky, including several illustrated letters; two photographs of interiors; a published article by Kandindsky, "Abstrakte Kunst," ca. 1925-1926; and price lists for works of art by Kandkinsky. Some letters are typescripts.
Biographical / Historical:
Art collector, dealer; b. 1889; d. 1945; Los Angeles, Calif. Scheyer worked to introduce the art of the Blue Four (Blaue Vier), Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, and Alexei Jawlensky, to American collectors.
Galka Scheyer Blue Four Archive.
Lent for microfilming by Norton Simon Museum of Art, 1979-1980.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
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.
The scattered papers of French Dada painter Jean Crotti measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1913-1973, with the bulk of the material dated 1913-1961. Found within the papers are autobiographical notes and essays; correspondence with family and colleagues, among them Jean Cocteau, Andre Crotti, Suzanne Duchamp, Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Christian a.k.a. Georges Herbiet, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, and Jacques Villon; notes and writings by Crotti and others; art work by Crotti and Paul Guillaume; a scrapbook; and additional printed material. Photographs are of Crotti, Suzanne Duchamp, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and other family and friends; and of Crotti's art work. There are audio recordings on phonograph records of three interviews with Crotti and one with Mr. and Mrs. Paul Blancpain.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of French Dada painter Jean Crotti measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1913 to 1973, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1913-1961. Among the papers are autobiographical essays, correspondence with friends and family, including many letters from Marcel Duchamp, notes and writings by and about Crotti, printed materials, one scrapbook, drawings by Crotti and others, photographs of Crotti and his family and friends, photographs of artwork, and three audio recordings of interviews with Crotti.
Biographical material consists of autobiographical notes and an autobiographical manuscript Ma Vie.
Art work includes seven folders of drawings and an etching plate by Crotti, 83 drawings by Paul Guillaume, and portrait drawings of Crotti by Henri Coudour and Francis Picabia.
A scrapbook contains clippings, a letter from Paul Guillaume and a letter to Elizabeth Crotti from a friend describing a 1932 Jean Crotti exhibition in the Balzac Galleries in New York City, and a typescript "Una Collezione a Parigi" by Gino Severini.
Photographs are of Crotti, his family, friends, colleagues, and art work by Crotti and by Suzanne Duchamp. Of particular interest are photographs of composer Edgard Var?¨se and his wife Louise with Suzanne Duchamp, Jean Crotti, and art advocate Mary Reynolds in 1924, photographs of Crotti and Georges Braque examining a gemmail art work, and photographs of Crotti and Suzanne Duchamp talking with Pablo Picasso at Cannes and at the home of Bertrande Blancpain in 1957.
Sound recordings include two phonograph records of interviews with Jean Crotti, including topics "Assignment Switzerland" and "Assignment World." A third phonograph record contains an instantatneous disk recording of correspondence between Mr. and Mrs. Paul Blancpain as well as an additional interview with Crotti.
The collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1954-1955 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1916-1961 (Box 1; 43 folders)
Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1924-1958 (Box 1; 27 folders)
Series 4: Art Work, 1913-1925 (Box 1, 3; 12 folders)
Series 5: Scrapbook, 1931-1935 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1921-1973 (Box 1, 2, 3; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, 1920-1957 (Box 2; 25 folders)
Series 8: Sound Recordings, 1955 (Box 3; 1 folder)
Jean Crotti (1870-1958) was a Dadist painter who worked primarily in Paris, France and New York. He was married to Suzanne Duchamp, Marcel Duchamp's sister, and friends with notable avant-garde and Dada European and American painters of the period. He is also known for creating the "Gemmail" technique of layering colored glass that produced unique color combinations when illuminated.
Jean Crotti was born April 24, 1878 in Bulle, near Fribourg, Switzerland, the son of a painting contractor. The family moved to Fribourg in 1887.
To escape from wartime Paris in 1914, Crotti and his first wife, Yvonne Chastel, moved to New York City where Crotti had his first solo exhibition at the Bourgeois Gallery. In 1915, Crotti met Francis Picabia and also shared a studio with Marcel Duchamp who was a major influence. Crotti began his Dada period and was included in an exhibition of French paintings at the Montross Gallery in New York, with Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, and Jean Metzinger.
Crotti separated from his first wife, Yvonne Chastel, in 1916 and returned to Paris alone. By 1917, Crotti's marriage had dissolved and he married Suzanne Duchamp in 1919. Crotti met Suzanne Duchamp, also a painter, through his friendship with her brother Marcel Duchamp. During this time, Crotti completed and exhibited paintings associated with the Dada movement. One of his more notable works was entitled Explacatif, bearing the word "Tabu" that expressed Crotti's concepts of mystery and infinity with spiritual overtones.
In 1935 Crotti began to research a new technique using layers of colored glass, referred to as "gemmail." The term is a contraction of "gem" referring to the colored glass and "enamel" referring to the method of affixing the pieces of glass to each other. After much experimentation, an "enamel" fixative was found that would permanently hold the glass pieces in place while still allowing light to shine through all the layers. Several prominent artists including Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso became interested in using this medium. Crotti had the process patented, but in 1955 ceded the rights to Roger Malherbe who adapted it to commercial uses.
Jean Crotti died on January 30, 1958 in Paris, France.
The Jean Crotti papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.