Emilio Sanchez papers, 1922-2012

A Finding Aid to the Emilio Sanchez Papers, 1922-1980, in the Archives of American Art, by Stephanie Ashley

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Emilio Sanchez was born in 1921 in Camaguey, Cuba. He left his native country in 1952 to settle in New York where he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. A prolific painter and printmaker, Sanchez received his formal education at the Art Students' League and Columbia University during the late 1930s, and had his first of many one-man shows in New York in 1949. Sanchez traveled throughout the world sketching his impressions of houses and other buildings and capturing the details of doorways, windows, light, and shadow in his paintings and prints. His paintings of residential architecture in Cuba and throughout the Caribbean are some of his best known works, but in the 1980s he turned much of his attention to the skyline of his adopted home, and was often drawn also to American cities and landscapes over the course of his career.

Sanchez's work is represented in major museums and private collections the world over, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Museum in Havana, and the Cintas Collection. He completed numerous commissions in both the United States and Mexico, has illustrated several books, including Arte del Peru Colonial by Felipe Coss�o del Pomar (published in 1958 by the Fondo de Cultura Econ�mica in Mexico), and has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions in locations such as Mexico City, Paris, Havana, Madrid, Puerto Rico, Chile, Colombia, and throughout the United States.

Sanchez died in July, 1999 at the age of 78.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Emilio Sanchez papers comprise 5 linear feet of material dating from 1922 to 1980. The papers contain biographical information about Sanchez; letters from galleries and museums recording business transactions; letters from friends; photographs of his artwork and places he visited for inspiration; personal photographs; sketches; exhibition catalogs, announcements, and reviews; clippings; and calendars.

A major portion of the collection consists of sketchbooks and sketches that provide rich documentation of Sanchez's artistic development and his working methods, particularly from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many of the sketches have detailed notations about aspects of an image that Sanchez wanted to recall and capture in his work. Photographs also provide insight into the architecture and landscapes that provided sources of inspiration for Sanchez.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as six series. Records are generally arranged by subject category, and then chronologically.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms:

  • Interviews
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Painting, Modern--20th century--New York (State)--New York
  • Photographs
  • Sketchbooks
  • Sketches


The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Emilio Sanchez in a series of gifts between 1975 and 1980.

Separated and Related Materials

Papers of Emilio Sanchez can also be found at the Dade County Public Library in Florida.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed by Stephanie Ashley in 2002.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Emilio Sanchez 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.

How to Cite this Collection

Emilio Sanchez papers, 1922-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1969-1977, undated
(box 1; 4 folders)

This series contains immunization records for travel, a passport, the transcript of an interview with Sanchez in which he discusses his work in detail, as well as several r�sum�s and biographical information about the artist, such as lists of his work in public institutions and lists of his exhibitions.

The series is arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically.

Box Folder
1 1 Immunization Records, 1969-1977
1 2 Interview Transcript, undated
1 3 Passport, 1973
1 4 R�sum�s and Biographical Notes, 1967-1974, undated

Series 2: Letters and Business Records, 1956-1979
(box 1; 23 folders)

The material in this series primarily documents business transactions in the form of letters to Sanchez from various art institutions and individuals regarding consignment, loan for exhibition, and purchase of his work. Receipts for some of these transactions and lists of works exhibited in various shows can also be found here, in addition to scattered personal letters written to Sanchez. There are no letters written by Sanchez himself. Letters to Sanchez from 1965-1969 contains plats for the school house property in Wanamaker, Pennsylvania, that Sanchez purchased for studio space but ultimately sold because the area became too industrialized.

The series is arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically. Letters with attachments are filed by the date of the most recent letter in the group, with attached material in reverse chronological order behind it.

Box Folder
1 5 Exhibition Lists, 1967-1974, undated
1 6-23 Letters to Sanchez, 1956-1964, 1970-1979
1 24-26 Receipts for Purchase and Consignment, 1959, 1970-1977, undated
1 27 Receipts, Miscellaneous, 1957, 1976-1978, undated

Series 3: Photographs, 1922-1979, undated
(boxes 1-3; 51 folders)

This series contains primarily color snapshots, in addition to some black and white photgraphs, several negatives and slides, and a series of contact sheets. There are family and personal photographs; photographs taken on travels intended to be used as sources for artwork; and photographs of works of art by Sanchez. Family and personal photographs include two photographs of Sanchez with his family, including his father; photographs of Sanchez at the Fortuny Exposition in Madrid in 1964 and at a 1966 exhibition in New York City; snapshots of him on his travels; and photographs of his "father, Pepino, and girlfriend" standing by Paris posters of Sanchez's 1953 exhibition at Bernheim-Jeune in Paris.

Photographs are arranged by general subject category and then chronologically. Negatives can be found at the end of the series.

Box Folder
1 28-29 Family and Personal Photographs, 1922-1960
Box Folder
2 1-4 Family and Personal Photographs, 1964-1978
2 5 Portraits of Sanchez, 1965, 1967
(contact sheets)
2 Sources for Artwork
2 6 Brazil, circa 1950s-1960s
2 7 Caribbean, circa 1950s-1970s
2 8 Cuba, circa 1950s
2 9-10 Mexico, circa 1960s
2 11 Miscellaneous and Unknown Locations, circa 1950s-1970s
2 12 Morocco, circa 1950s-1960s
2 13 New England, circa 1960s
2 14-15 New York, City, State, circa 1940s-1950s
2 16 New York, Long Island, E.F. Hutton House, circa 1960s
2 17 Pennsylvania, circa 1960s
2 18 Postcards, undated
2 19-24 Puerto Rico, circa 1850s-1960s
2 25 Rhode Island, circa 1960s
2 26 Texas, Galveston, circa 1960s
2 27 Texas, Houston, Blaffer Hudson House, 1975
2 28-29 U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, circa 1950s-1960s
2 30-33 U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, circa 1950s-1960s
2 34-37 Photographs of Artwork, 1946-1956, undated
Box Folder
3 1-6 Photographs of Artwork, 1958-1979
3 Negatives
3 7 Family, Personal, and Sources for Artwork, circa 1950s-1970s
3 8-10 Morocco, 1972
3 11 Photographs of Artwork, [1944], 1955
3 12 Sanchez Working, undated

Series 4: Printed Material, 1950-1980, undated
(boxes 3-4; 17 folders)

This series contains exhibition announcments, press releases, catalogs, publications, and news clippings containing information about Sanchez, and relating to one-man exhibitions of his artwork and group exhibitions in which he participated.

Box Folder
3 13-19 Announcements, Catalogs, and Reviews, 1950-1974, undated
Box Folder
4 1-4 Announcements, Catalogs, and Reviews, 1975-1980
4 5-10 Clippings, 1950s-1970s, undated

Series 5: Calendars, 1967-1976
(boxes 4-5; 7 folders)

This series contains eight day-book calendars with notations about appointments. There are no calendars for 1970 and 1971.

Box Folder
4 11-12 Calendars, 1967-1968
Box Folder
5 1-5 Calendars, 1969-1976

Series 6: Sketches, circa 1940-1979, undated
(boxes 5-6, sols 7-11, OV's 12-22, RD 23; 2.9 linear ft.)

This series contains hundreds of original sketches by Sanchez, both loose and in sketchbooks. The sketches are primarily in pencil, but some are in ink and some are colored and include layouts for posters, and several proofs for lithographs. In addition to basic sketches capturing Sanchez's impressions drawn in a variety of locations throughout the world, the development of Sanchez's work on certain subjects is documented more fully in large groups of sketches, such as those of Boston City Hall and of his illustrations for the book Arte del Peru Colonial.

The majority of the sketches are of buildings and of architectural and interior features of buildings, particularly windows and doorways. Additional subjects include landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, flowers and plants, sunsets, and figure drawings. Many of the sketches have notations by Sanchez indicating the location in which they were made or the project they were associated with, and some are dated. Notations may also indicate the medium of artwork, or the name of the individual work, that a sketch was used for.

The series is organized into three subseries:

6.1: Sketchbooks, 1948-1976, undated

Box Folder
5 6 Becqui Island, Bus Terminal in New York, Sunsets in New York, 1975, undated
(3 books)
5 7 Brazil, 1958
5 8 England, 1948
(2 books)
5 9 Europe, 1948
(4 books)
5 10 Morocco, 1972
(2 books)
Box Folder
6 1 Morocco, 1972
6 2 New York, Studio, 1953
6 3 Puerto Rico, 1963-1964
(6 books)
6 4 Puerto Rico, Saba, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, 1965-1967
(2 books)
6 5 Puerto Rico, San Juan, 1976, undated
(2 books)
6 6 Sunsets in New York, 1975
(2 books)
6 7 Sunsets in New York and Virgin Gorda, Ships, undated
6 8 Vermont, undated
6 9 Unidentified Sketchbooks, undated
(4 books)

6.2: Loose Sketches, circa 1940-1979, undated

Box Folder
7 1 Barbados, 1955
7 2 Boats, Ships, 1974, undated
7 3 Bogota, 1969, 1971, undated
7 4 Capri, 1948
7 5 Cartagena, 1970-1971, undated
7 6 Connecticut, circa 1940
7 7 Cuba, 1946-1959, undated
7 8 Cuba, Near Havana, 1948-1959
7 9 Cuba, Teatro Marti, Havana, 1950
7 10 Delaware, 1946, undated
7 11 England, 1948
7 12 Flowers and Plants, 1956-1962, undated
7 13 France, undated
7 14 Grenada, 1953
7 15 Haiti, undated
Box Folder
8 1-2 Human Figure, 1949, undated
8 3-8 Illustrations for Arte del Peru Colonial, circa 1951
8 9 La Rochelle, undated
8 10 Maine, undated
8 11 Massacusetts, undated
8 12 Morocco, 1972, 1978, undated
8 13 New Hampshire, undated
8 14 New Orleans, 1965, 1970, undated
8 15 New York, Brooklyn, 1974-1975
Box Folder
9 1-3 New York City, State, 1945-1950, 1978, undated
9 4 [New York], Fisher's Island, 1963, 1979, undated
9 5 New York, Glen Falls, John Rugge House, undated
9 6 New York, Long Island, undated
9 7-8 New York, Studio, 1960
9 9 New York, Sunsets, 1975
9 10 New York, World Trade Center, 1974-1976
9 11 Pennsylvania, 1950, 1974, undated
9 12 Pennsylvania, Schoolhouse Country Home Near Wanamaker, 1959
9 13-14 Puerto Rico, 1963-1971, undated
Box Folder
10 1 Rhode Island, Tiverton Flower Sketches, 1965
10 2 Rio De Janeiro, 1957
10 3 St. Barth�lemy (St. Barts), undated
10 4 St. Maarten, undated
10 5-6 San Andres, 1971, undated
10 7 San Luis, 1971
10 8 South Carolina, Charleston, 1946, undated
10 9 Spain, 1976
10 10 Sunsets, 1976
10 11 Tapestry Designs, 1944, undated
10 12 Texas, 1967, undated
10 13 Texas, Ranch Near Austin, 1959
10 14 U.S. Virgin Islands, undated
Box Folder
11 1 Vermont, undated
11 2 Washington, D.C., undated
11 3-10 Unidentified Architecture, 1940s-1979, undated
11 11 Unidentified Doorways, undated
11 12 Unidentified Interiors, undated
11 13-14 Unidentified Landscapes and Seascapes, 1955-1976, undated
11 15 Unidentified, Miscellaneous, undated

6.3: Oversized Loose Sketches, 1945-1979, undated

Some of the categories found in this subseries repeat, and overlap with, those found in 6.4 but the sketches are larger and are therefore stored in oversized folders. The final entry in the subseries is out of sequence but has been separated because it represents several sketches of architecture that were too large to store in oversized folders.

OV 12-14 Boston City Hall Project, Working Sketches, 1969
OV 15 Christmas Card Ideas, undated
OV 15 Circus, 1969-1970, undated
OV 15 Cuba, 1950, undated
OV 16 "El Zaguan,," 1968-1971, undated
OV 16 Fabric Design, undated
OV 16 Horizons, undated
OV 16 Illustrations for Arte del Per� Colonial, circa 1951
OV 17 New England, 1945
OV 17 New Orleans, 1968
OV 17 New York City, 1945-1950
OV 17 New York, Long Island, E. F. Hutton House, undated
OV 17 Phipps House, 1965
OV 18 Poster Designs, 1965, 1968, 1978, undated
(includes original working sketch and finished poster for 1978 Sanchez exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art; also #20 of 50 posters for 1968 Sanchez exhibition at Associated American Artists, signed)
OV 18 Puerto Rico, 1964-1965, undated
OV 18 Puerto Rico Landscape Project, circa 1964
OV 18 St. Maarten, 1970
OV 18 Tapestry Designs, 1974
OV 18 Texas, Galveston, 1967, undated
OV 18 Trinidad, 1961
OV 19-21 Unidentified Architecture, 1950-1977, undated
OV 22 Unidentified Doorways, 1965-1979, undated
OV 22 Unidentified, Miscellaneous, 1972, 1979, undated
23 (RD) Architecture, Various, circa 1960s-1970s, undated