Gordon Kelly papers, 1942-1988

Kelly, Gordon, b. 1924
Art teacher, Portrait painter
Active in New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 0.4 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Correspondence (1947-1985), contracts (1949-1951), writings, 2 sketches, printed material (1942-1988) and 4 photographs documenting Kelly's collaboration with Kenneth Hayes Miller, involvement with the Art Students League and theories on Christian art. Correspondence (1947-1985) consisting of letters from Kelly's wife Helen, a letter from Isabel Bishop and 21 letters from Kenneth Hayes Miller concerning Miller's manuscript, 39 letters (1948-1968) concerning the activities of the Art Students League and 50 letters (1953-1985) concerning Christian art. The three contracts concern teaching at the Art Students League (1949-1951). Writings include an unpublished manuscript by Kelly about Miller's theories; an edited typescript of Miller's lecture "The Third Dimension in Painting" and five typescripts explicating Kelly's theories about Christian art: "Aesthetics: A Christocentric View," "Art Renewed: A Vision of Christian Art," "Art and Conscience in Pluralism," "The Artist with Theological Presuppositions," and "Art, Christianity and Culture." Printed material consists of clippings (1948-1966), eight exhibition announcements and catalogs (1942-1953) including three from Miller's memorial exhibitions, a 1967 program for "I Am the Way," miscellaneous printed material (1988) concerning Nancy Boas' book THE SOCIETY OF SIX: CALIFORNIA COLORISTS, a 1950 brochure for the Art Students League and a picture postcard of St. Michael Church, Brookville, Indiana. In addition to two ink figure sketches, the collection includes a group photograph of Art Students League instructors, among them Kelly, Robert Ward Johnson, Louis Bouche, and John Carroll, and three photographs of works of art.

Biographical/Historical Note: Gordon Kelly was born in Wells County, Indiana in 1924. At the Art Students League of New York, Kelly was a promising portrait painter and a protege of Kenneth Hayes Miller. Kelly also studied with Reginald Marsh. Kelly helped Miller develop his (unpublished) manuscript "The Third Dimension in Painting" and Miller consistently encouraged Kelly and supported Kelly's teaching appointment at the League. Kelly returned to Indiana upon Miller's death in 1952, where he was "born again" and produced only "Christian art."

The donor, Mark Kelly, is the son of Gordon Kelly.

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