Aaron Bohrod papers, 1831-1995, bulk 1904-1995

Bohrod, Aaron, b. 1907 d. 1992
Painter, Educator, Ceramicist
Active in Madison, Wis.

Collection size: 17.8 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks make up the bulk of the collection, with biographical material, notes, writings, files on galleries, sales and business records, an interview, various art work, and printed material also included. The papers reflect Bohrod's artistic career, from his student days, his work as an artist-correspondent during WWII, his tenure as artist-in residence at the University of Wisconsin, his publications on art, his sales and exhibitions, and his many friendships and business associates.

Biographical sketches; correspondence, 1942-1974, primarily letters from colleagues including David Breger, Adolf Dehn, and the Milch Galleries, with one letter each from Thomas Hart Benton, Henri Cadiou, and Noel Coward; and letters from children and letters of recommendation by Bohrod; a file on the F. Carlton Ball/Aaron Bohrod pottery collaboration, 1952-1956, containing correspondence, writings, photographs of pottery sketchbooks and of art work, printed and financial material; writings, 1954-1973, including articles and lectures by and about Bohrod, a typescript, "Proposals to License Artists" by Jack Berland; a file for Bohrod's book, "A Decade of Still Life," 1966, containing notes and manuscript drafts, and book reviews; photographs, undated, of art work and artists, among them Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; and 13 drawings by Bohrod. Also on microfilm are miscellaneous legal documents, financial papers, such as price lists, and receipts; exhibition catalogs and announcements, 1939-1972 and other printed material such as clippings, magazine articles, press releases, and reproductions.

Audiovisual material, 1972-1973, including a 1973 sound recording of an interview with Bohrod by Robert Cromie of WGW Chicago, and a 1973 interview with Bohrod for the program "Full Circle" on 16 mm motion picture film produced at the University of Wisconsin Extension Program. Biographical material, 1942-1980, includes biographical sketches, medical records concerning heart surgery, 2 drivers licenses, membership cards, award certificates, and War Art Unit employment records. Correspondence, 1933-1994, ca. 5 linear ft., is with artists and others, including Ivan Albright, Leonard Bocour, Henri Cadiou, Adolf and Virginia Dehn, Lily Harmon, Fred Shane, and Claude Yvel. (Three letters, 1849-1866, concern the business interests of O.S. Chafee and Mr. Bushnell.) Files on galleries, 1961-1993, contain letters, financial and printed material, and photographs; among the galleries are ACA Galleries, American Artists Group, Grace Chosy Gallery, Harmon-Meek Gallery, Milch Galleries, and the Everett Oehlschlaeger Galleries.

The miscellaneous business records series, 1940-1994, consists of price lists, 4 ledgers listing sales and expenses, a trust accounts ledger, 2 check registers, a publication contract, records of royalty payments, real estate records, insurance records, records of investments, tax records, and miscellaneous receipts. The notes series includes a card file of addresses, mailing lists, lists of art work, guest register for an unidentified exhibition, notes concerning ceramics, and other various lists.

Writings, 1949-1990, include lecture manuscripts, Bohrod's reminiscences of John Sloan from the 1930s at the Art Students League, and other manuscripts, as well as student compositions and typescripts about Bohrod by others.

Art work by Bohrod, 1954-1989, includes 7 small sketchbooks, 36 drawings, 8 prints, and designs for fabric and a pin. Art work by others, undated and 1951, includes a sixteenth century woodcut torn from a book, an etching by Philip Evergood, and a lithograph by Philip Pearlstein.

Scrapbooks, 1929-1992, 7 v., contain award certificates, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, book dust jackets designed by Bohrod, and photographs of art work. Found is documentation on Bohrod's Life magazine assignments as an artist-correspondent during WWII.

Printed material, 1831-1995, includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, press releases, programs, calendars of events, brochures, booklets, books, reproductions of art work, blueprints for Bohrod's studio, and philatelic material. There is also a catalog for Byron Thomas contains a photograph of Thomas.

Photographs, 1930-1990, (ca. 3,000 totalling 4 linear ft.), are of Bohrod (ca. 300), his family, studio (ca. 50), exhibition installations, and colleagues, including Carlton Ball and 2 group photographs of the Associated American Artists. Over 1,200 are of Bohrod's art work, and include his early and War Art Unit works (ca. 450), still life (trompe l'oeil) paintings (ca. 880), and ceramics. Travel photographs, 1935-1945, are of miscellaneous towns, farms, and industrial sites primarily in midwestern America, and include behind-the-scenes views of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. There are also photographs of miscellaneous Pacific Islands and various bomb-damaged towns in Europe taken during World War II.

Biographical/Historical Note: Aaron Bohrod (1907-1992) was a painter, ceramist, and educator from Madison, Wisconsin. Born in Chicago, Bohrod studied from the late 1920s to the early 1930s at the Art Institute of Chicago, and under John Sloan at the Art Students League. He married Ruth Bush in 1929, and received 2 Guggenheim fellowships from 1935-1938. During World War II, he was an artist/correspondent in both the Pacific and in Europe. Bohrod followed John Stuart Curry as artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1948 until his retirement in 1973. In 1950, he began work in pottery with F. Carlton Ball with whom he published A Pottery Sketch Book in 1959. Bohrod's book, A Decade of Still Life,was published in 1966. His trompe l'oeil paintings also appeared in many magazines, including Life, Fortune, Holiday, and on several covers of Time.

Donated 1974 by Aaron Bohrod and in 1996 by his son Neil Bohrod.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 1794-1797 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Unmicrofilmed portion: Authorization to publish requires written permission until January 1, 2020 from: Neil Bohrod, 1301 Sherman Ave., Madison, Wis. 53703.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Aaron Bohrod papers also at Syracuse University.