A Finding Aid to the Brents Carlton Papers,
1921-1987, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Brents Carlton was born October 31, 1903, in Roswell, New Mexico. After a few years, his family moved to Arkansas. In 1923, Carlton moved to San Francisco to attend the California School of Fine Arts for four years. From 1928 to 1929, he studied under a scholarship at the Art Students' League in New York, after which he returned to San Francisco and established his own studio. In order to support his family, Carlton was also employed as a pharmacist for 30 years.
In 1938, Carlton created several of his most notable works, two large cast concrete figures for the Fountain of Western Waters Polynesian Group at the Golden Gate international Exposition and two eighteen-foot figures for the façade of the California State Building. His works have been exhibited in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Art Gallery, and the San Francisco Museum. Due to failing health in the late 1950s, Carlton switched from sculpture to painting.
Brents Carlton died September 6, 1962 in San Francisco.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Brents Carlton papers span the years 1921 to 1987 and measure 2.0 linear feet. They consist of biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, notes, a scrapbook, exhibition files, art work, photographs, and printed material that document his career as a sculptor.
Biographical materials include several autobiographical accounts, school-related materials, a student card from the Art Students' League, and other identification cards. Correspondence consists primarily of letters from family members and colleagues, including letters from Victor Arnautoff, H. Mallette Dean, Margaret De Patta, Eugen Neuhaus, Dale Nichols, and Judson T. Smith.
Personal business records include bank passbooks, pharmacy licensing records, receipts, income tax records, and ledgers of income, expenses, and art work sold. The papers also contain notes, an address book, notebooks, meeting minutes, exhibition files, a scrapbook, sketches and prints by Carlton, and numerous photographs of Carlton's works of art.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged into nine series according to material type. Material within each series is arranged chronologically.
- Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-1944 (Box 1; 4 folders; reel 5873)
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1987, undated (Box 1, 3; 23 folders; reel 5873)
- Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1924-1959, undated (Box 1;18 folders; reel 5873)
- Series 4: Notes, 1931, undated (Box 1, 3; 5 folders; reel 5873)
- Series 5: Scrapbook, 1928-1962 (Box 3; 0.1 linear feet; reel 5873)
- Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1927-1983, undated (Box 1, OV 5; 16 folder; reel 5873)
- Series 7: Art Work, 1924-1941, undated (Box 1, 3, OV 5; 7 folders; reel 5873)
- Series 8: Photographs, 1923-1952, undated (Boxes 1-4; 36 folders; reel 5873-5874)
- Series 9: Printed Material, 1923-1979, undated (Box 2; 17 folders; reel 5874)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms. People, families and organizations are listed under "Names" when they are creators or contributors and under "Subjects" when they are the topic of collection contents.
- Sculptors -- California
- Types of Materials:
- Smith, Judson, 1880-1962
- De Patta, Margaret, 1903-1964
- Arnautoff, Victor Michail, 1896-1979
- Neuhaus, Eugen, 1879-1963
- Nichols, Dale, 1904-
- Dean, Mallette, 1907-
The Brents Carlton papers were donated by the artist's daughter Carrie Carlton Helser to the Archives of American Art in 1991.
How the Collection was Processed
Processing of the Brents Carlton papers was completed by Jean Fitzgerald in 2004.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Brents Carlton 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.
The collection is microfilmed on reels 5873-5874 and is available for interlibrary loan.
How to Cite this Collection
Brents Carlton papers, 1921-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-1944 (Box 1; 4 folders; reel 5873)
Biographical material consists of several autobiographical accounts, school-related material and miscellaneous identification cards.
|1||5873||Autobiographical Accounts, 1939-1942|
|1||5873||School-Related Material, 1921-1938 (2 folders)|
|1||5873||Driver's License; Selective Service Cards, 1924-1944|
Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1987, undated (Box 1, 3; 23 folders; reel 5873)
Correspondence consists primarily of letters and greeting cards from family members and at least one letter each from colleagues including Victor Arnautoff, Margaret De Patta, Eugen Neuhaus, and Judson T. Smith. Letters are also found in the scrapbook filed in Series 5.
|1||5873||Correspondence, Jan-Sep 1926|
|1||5873||Correspondence, Oct 1926|
|1||5873||Correspondence, Nov-Dec 1926|
|1||5873||Correspondence, Jan-Aug 1927|
|1||5873||Correspondence, Sep-Dec 1927|
|1||5873||Correspondence (See Also Box 3), 1928-1929|
|3||5873||Oversize Christmas card, 1929|
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1924-1959, undated (Box 1;18 folders; reel 5873)
Personal business records consist of bank passbooks, pharmacy licensing records, ledgers of income and expenses, a ledger of art work sold, receipts for school, art sales, shipping, rent, utilities, and supplies, and income tax records.
|1||5873||Savings Account Passbooks, 1924-1930 (2 folders)|
|1||5873||Pharmacy Licensing Records, 1926-1939|
|1||5873||Ledgers of Income and Expenses, 1925-1937 (3 folders)|
|1||5873||Ledger of Art Work Sold and Prices, 1942-1943|
|1||5873||Receipts for California School of Fine Arts, 1924-1954|
|1||5873||Receipts for Art Sales, 1936-1944, undated|
|1||5873||Receipts for the Shipping of Sculpture, 1937-1940|
|1||5873||Receipts for Photography, 1936-1959|
|1||5873||Receipts for Room Rent (domicile), 1924|
|1||5873||Receipts for Studio Rent, 1931-1940 (2 folders)|
|1||5873||Receipts for Studio Telephone, 1937-1940|
|1||5873||Receipts for Art Supplies, 1931-1951|
|1||5873||Miscellaneous Receipts, 1928-1943|
|1||5873||Income Tax Records, 1934-1940|
Series 4: Notes, 1931, undated (Box 1, 3; 5 folders; reel 5873)
Notes consist of an address book, notebooks recording friends' names and art media, minutes of meetings, and miscellaneous notes.
|1||5873||Address Book, undated|
|1||5873||Notebook Listing Names of Friends, undated|
|1||5873||Notebook Concerning Art Media, undated|
|1||5873||Minutes of Meetings, 1931, undated|
|1||5873||Miscellaneous Notes, undated|
|3 (sol)||5873||Oversize Miscellaneous Note, undated|
Series 5: Scrapbook, 1928-1962 (Box 3; 0.1 linear feet; reel 5873)
The scrapbook contains clippings, including Carlton's obituary, an exhibition catalog, and 14 letters from colleagues including Eugen Neuhaus and Dale Nichols.
|3 (sol)||5873||Scrapbook containing Clippings, an Exhibition Catalog, and Letters, 1928-1962|
Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1927-1983, undated (Box 1, OV 5; 16 folders; reel 5873)
Letters, notes, receipts, photographs, and printed material relating to Carlton's participation in exhibitions at art organizations and galleries.
|1||5873||San Francisco Art Association, 1927-1955|
|1||5873||California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1929-1983|
|1||5873||The Art Center Gallery, 1930-1950, undated|
|1||5873||Foundation of Western Art, 1935-1938|
|1||5873||San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935-1983|
|1||5873||Amberg-Hirth Gallery, 1936-1954|
|1||5873||Oakland Art Gallery, 1936-1973|
|1||5873||Sacramento Junior College Solo Exhibition, 1937-1938|
|1||5873||Golden Gate International Exposition (See Also OV 5), 1937-1940 (5 folders)|
|1||5873||Architectural League of New York, 1938|
|1||5873||First California Ceramic Exhibition, 1938-1940|
|1||5873||National Sculpture Society Festival, 1940-1983|
|OV 5||5873||Oversize Blueprint for Sculpture on California State Building, circa 1938|
Series 7: Art Work, 1924-1941, undated (Box 1, 3, OV 5; 7 folders; reel 5873)
Art work by Carlton consists of 2 sketchbooks, drawings, prints, a tempera sketch, and Christmas cards. Art work by others includes woodcuts by H. Mallette Dean and a portrait drawing of Carlton by Victor Arnautoff.
|1||5873||Annotated Sketchbook, undated|
|1||5873||Drawings (See Also Box 3), undated|
|1||5873||Tempera Sketch, undated|
|1||5873||Christmas Cards Created by Carlton, undated|
|1||5873||Art work by Others (See Also OV 5), 1928-1941, undated|
|3 (sol)||5873||Oversize Drawings, undated|
|OV 5||5873||Oversize Portrait Drawing of Carlton by Victor Arnautoff, 1931|
Series 8: Photographs, 1923-1952, undated (Box 1-4; 36 folders; reels 5873-5874)
Photographs are of Carlton, his family, friends, colleagues, studios, classrooms, and art work. There are also photographs of art work by others including Victor Arnautoff and Margaret De Patta.
|1||5873||Photographs of Carlton and Family Members, 1923-1952, undated (5 folders)|
|1||5873||Photographs of Carlton with Friends and Colleagues including Victor Arnautoff, 1927-1941, undated (3 folders)|
|1||5873||Photographs of Ney Street home, undated|
|1||5873||Photographs of Montgomery Street Studio, undated|
|1||5873||Photographs of Polk Street Studio, 1931-1935|
|1||5873||Photographs of Liberty Street Apartment, 1945-1948|
|1||5873||Photographs of Art Classroom, 1927 (3 folders)|
|2 (hol)||5873||Photographs of Sculpture (See Also Box 4), 1927-1944, undated (14 folders)|
|2 (hol)||5873||Photographs of Drawings and Paintings (See Also Box 4), 1932, undated (3 folders)|
|2 (hol)||5873||Photographs of Designs by Margaret De Patta, 1932, undated|
|2 (hol)||5874||Photographs of Art work by Others including Victor Arnautoff, 1927, undated|
|2 (hol)||5874||Miscellaneous Photographs, undated|
|3 (sol)||5874||Photograph Album of Carlton's Art Work, undated|
|4 (sol)||5874||Oversize Photographs of Sculpture, 1927-1944, undated|
|4 (sol)||5874||Oversize Photographs of a Painting, undated|
Series 9: Printed Material, 1923-1979, undated (Box 2; 17 folders; reel 5874)
Printed material consists of clippings, exhibition catalogs, brochures, and miscellaneous printed items.
|2||5874||Clippings, 1926-1979, undated (9 folders)|
|2||5874||Exhibition Catalogs for Carlton, 1930-1951 (3 folders)|
|2||5874||Exhibition Catalogs for Others, 1949, undated|
|2||5874||Brochures for the California School of Fine Arts, 1923-1942 (2 folders)|
|2||5874||Brochure for the Art Students' League, 1928-1929|
|2||5874||Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1964, undated|