Educator, Arts administrator
Collection size: 0.4 linear ft.
Collection Summary: Biographical material, 1953-1981; 15 letters from Hans and Maria Hofmann, and two from Wessels to Hofmann, 1952-1964; correspondence with Ila Limerick and Peace and Pauline Alvarez regarding mostly their planned but uncompleted biography of Wessels, ca. 1959-1968; miscellaneous correspondence; typescripts of lectures by Wessels; photographs of Wessels, including one by Imogen Cunningham, 1956, Wessels with others, one of his work, and one by Wessels (?) of an outdoor scene; newspaper clippings and printed material, undated, 1959-1967 and 1982; and miscellany, 1932-1966. The Hans Hofmann letters, written from New York and Provincetown, discuss the importance of painting, his and Wessel's work, his plans to come to Berkeley to accept an honorary doctorate, and his feelings toward Wessels, Erle Loran, and others. Three of the letters are written by his wife Maria. Wessels' letters to Hofmann relate to the University's choice of Erle Loran to present Hofmann's honorary doctorate. The correspondence with Ila Limerick, and Peace and sometimes Pauline Alvarez, contain lengthy, detailed reminiscences by Wessels on personal and professional topics. The later correspondence with Peace Alvarez relates mainly to the deteriorating health of Wessels' wife, Kay. The miscellaneous correspondence includes a letter from Wessels to Worth Ryder, 1943, relating to Erle Loran and John Haley; a letter from Alfred Frankenstein thanking Wessels for sending his paper "The New Approach to Nature in Painting"; a letter from Worth Ryder congratulating Wessels on his exhibition, 1959; a letter from Ansel Adams praising Wessels' work done at a Polaroid Corp. Workshop, 1965; and letters regarding a controversy surrounding credit for bringing Hofmann to U.C. Berkeley, including a copy of a letter from John Haley to Paul Cummings; from Wessels to Haley, 1978; and from Wessel's brother-in-law Willis Foster to James Elliott, Director, University Art Museum, 1986. Included in the printed material are an issue of The Fortnightly (Feb. 26, 1932) which Wessels helped found and served as art editor, and The Argonaut (July 16, 1937), containing Wessels' weekly column on art.
Biographical/Historical Note: Painter, lecturer, critic, and teacher; Berkeley, Calif. Born Captown, South Africa. Studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich. Professor of Art at University of California at Berkeley.
Donated 1991 by Willis Foster, Wessels' brother-in-law.
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