Emil J. Bisttram papers, 1902-1982

Bisttram, Emil, b. 1895 d. 1976
Painter, Muralist
Active in Taos, N.M.

Collection size: 2.3 linear ft. (on 6 microfilm reels)

Collection Summary: Papers relating to work done for the Federal Art Project; business and personal letters; printed material; biographical data; correspondence; and photographs.

REEL 79: Correspondence, memoranda, and other material relating to federal art programs in New Mexico and Arizona. Includes correspondence with Public Works of Art Project administrators about a mural in Taos County Court House done by Bisttram, Bert G. Phillips, and Victor Higgins; memoranda; press releases and reports; catalogs of Treasury Department art projects shown at the Corcoran Gallery; and Federal Art Project dismissals and a proposal for a Bureau of Fine Arts.

REEL 581: Business and personal letters to and from Bisttram, including a letter from Lily and Eero Saarinen, and letters from Raymond Jonson; clippings; 91 catalogs; 22 reproductions of Bisttram's work; newspaper and magazine articles describing the artist colony at Taos and Santa Fe.

REEL 2787: Baptismal and naturalization records; correspondence; a photograph of Bisttram; clippings and printed material.

REELS 2892-2894: Biographical material; one or more letters from Ray Jonson, Stanton Macdonald-Wright; Oscar Berninghaus, Mrs. Walter Ufer, and other artists; correspondence with Olin Dows and others involved in the Treasury Relief Art Project, with galleries, museums, art organizations, and students; writings and notes; the draft for a book about Dynamic Symmetry; drafts for a book The Creative Process in the New Age; sketches and drawings; business, financial, and legal records; exhibition catalogs and announcements; certificates and awards; transcripts of interviews of Bisttram; and photographs of Bisttram and his paintings.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painter; Taos, N.M. Was an exponent of Dynamic Symmetry, a painting technique.

Papers microfilmed on reel 581were lent for microfilming 1973, and some was subsequently donated with a gift in 1983 (and refilmed on reels 2892-2894).

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 79, 581, 2787, and 2892-2894 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • 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.
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