Hilaire Hiler papers, 1925-1966

Hiler, Hilaire, b. 1898 d. 1966
Muralist, Author, Designer, Interior designer
Active in Paris, France; New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 3.4 linear feet (on 6 microfilm reels).

Collection Summary: Correspondence; printed materials; art works and miscellaneous papers.

REELS D302-D302a: Correspondence, some dating from Hiler's years in Paris in the 1920s; autobiographical and biographical material; published articles by Hiler, "Costumes and Ideologies," "Some Associative Aspects of Color," "Structuralism," "The Search for a Method of Graphic Expression," and "The Origin and Development of Structural Design;" the book Why Abstract, co-authored by him; exhibition catalogs; magazine articles on and about him; and miscellaneous papers. Some material on D302 has been duplicated on reel D302a.

Correspondents include: Faber Birren, Kay Boyle, Marc Connelly, Caresse Crosby, Nancy Cunard (11 items), Ben Cunningham (to Hiler's daughter), John Ferren, Al Hirschfeld, Carl Holty (5 items, up to 14 p. each), Robert Bruce Inverarity, Gyorgy Kepes, Katharine Kuh, Rico Lebrun, Fernand Leger, Albert W. Levi, Paul Mathews, Henry Miller, Abraham Rattner, Man Ray, Ad Reinhardt, Meyer Schapiro, Charles P. Snow, Edgar Varese, Herbert G. Wells, and William Carlos Williams.

In the 5 Holty letters, up to 14 p. each, Holty comments on aesthetics, color theory, the work of Abraham Rattner, Holty's painting, the history of modern art after WWII, and his trip across America with Henry Miller and Rattner.

REELS 611-614: Personal and business correspondence, bills and receipts, certificates, licenses, membership cards; 2 sketchbooks, and 17 loose sketches, many with notes and instructions; 3 notebooks, containing miscellaneous writings, clippings and sketches; 37 illustrations and diagrams, possibly for a book; 119 miscellaneous items relating to color and design; articles and short stories; writings on structuralism, including a copy of the typescript for COLOR AND DESIGN: A STRUCTURALIST APPROACH; a typed draft of Hiler's autobiography (292 p.); 14 exhibition catalogs and announcements; 20 clippings, and printed material; and miscellaneous papers.

Correspondents include America's Artists in Particular (organization), O'Brien Boldt, Kay Boyle, Ben Cunningham, Jerome Flax, the Foundation for Intergrated Education, Jay H. Herz, Gyorgy Kepes, Charles Lavell, Jim Moran, Henry Schnakenberg, and George Wittenborn.

Biographical/Historical Note: Mural painter, designer, decorator, writer; New York, N.Y. and Paris.

Most of Hiler's personal correspondence with artists was lost during a move, when it was discarded by movers.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 611-614 & D302-D302a available 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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