John Saccaro papers, 1935-1975

Saccaro, John M., b. 1913 d. 1981
Painter, Muralist, Printmaker, Etcher, Lithographer
Active in San Francisco, Calif.

Collection size: 1.6 linear ft. (on 3 microfilm reels)

Collection Summary: Letters, notes and writings (1935-1972), financial material (1937-1966), printed material (1946-1970), photographs, sketchbooks and audio tapes document Saccaro's painting and writing careers.

REEL 723 (frames 72-645): Nine sketchbooks contain ink, crayon, and pencil sketches by Saccaro. Subjects include figure and animal studies as well as calculations for his later x-ray works. Eleven illustrated notebooks (1940-1969) contain Saccaro's ideas and thoughts about art; opinions on artists such as Karl Baumann, Dong Kingman, Robert McChesney, and Jose Ramos; and ideas and sketches for stories.

REEL 723 (frames 646-858): Four pages of notes concern "alpha," "omega," and "x-ray" painting and "squirt pieces". Thirteen letters (1947-1964) concern exhibitions, teaching at UCLA, a story Saccaro wrote, and a drawing for ARTFORUM. Photographs show Saccaro, his family, his works of art, Elaine Mayes (a photographer who shared Saccaro's studio, 1960-1963), exhibitions (1956-1961), and groups of artists. Other materials include a drawing of Saccaro by Nathan Oliveira, a drawing of an idea for a soft sculpture, exhibition announcements, an artist's statement, a guest book, an interview transcript (1962), excerpts from an essay by critic Alfred Frankenstein, Saccaro's resume, and 11 clippings (1956-1973).

REELS 4211-4212: Correspondence (1935-1966) includes several letters from Saccaro to Marie and an illustrated letter from George Tomlin (1948). Writings include 6 notebooks and 13 drafts of short stories and essays (ca. 1954-1959). Two logbooks (1935-1951) list manuscripts sent to publishers. One logbook contains an essay about Marie Lynch, Saccaro's wife, painting his portrait in 1938. Other materials include consignment receipts from the Hollis Gallery (1959-1964), clippings (1946-1970), exhibition announcements and catalogs (1956-1960), a design for a soft sculpture, audio tapes of Paul Karlstrom's interview of Saccaro (1974) and a camping trip (1972), and a resume and school records of Marie Lynch. Photographs (1945-1975) show Saccaro, his family, friends, and art works.

Biographical/Historical Note: Draftsman, collage artist, painter, and writer; San Francisco, California. Studied at the California School of Fine Arts (1951-1954). Until recently, Saccaro's paintings were in the abstract expressionist style (his more recent paintings are characterized by a different approach, which Saccaro calls "x-ray"). Saccaro pursued a writing career before becoming a painter.

Materials on reels 723 (frames 72-645) and 4211-4212 were donated by his niece, Patricia Barrett, on behalf of John Saccaro's estate.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 723 and 4211-4212 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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