Joseph W. Groell (b. 1928) is known as a teacher of figure drawing and painting in the academic tradition. He has lived and worked in New York City since 1950.
A native of Pittsburgh, Groell earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in 1950 and promptly moved to New York City. In 1952 he became one of the original members of Tanager Gallery, the earliest of the Tenth Street co-operative galleries.
Groell taught life drawing at Pratt Institute of Technology during the academic year 1960-1961. He then served on faculty of Brooklyn College art department until retiring in 1990. In the early 1990s Groell became affiliated with the New York Academy of Art, a graduate school of figurative art with a strong emphasis drawing, traditional methods and techniques.
The Joseph W. Groell papers, 1925-3007, bulk 1950-2007, measure 2.2 linear feet, and primarily document his career as an art instructor. The papers include biographical material, letters, writings, subject files, printed material, artwork, and photographs. Teaching files constitute the majority of the collection. Ten volumes of lecture notes with visual examples from sources including his own sketchbook, and student project instructions survive for courses Groell taught at Brooklyn College, 1970s-1990; and three volumes of notes and illustrations relate to figure drawing courses he taught at the New York Academy of Art, 1990-1991.
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
New York Academy of Art
Art--Study and teaching
Painters--New York (State)--New York--Faculty
Types of Materials:
Joseph W. Groell donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 2011.
Separated and Related Materials
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2011.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Joseph W. Groell 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.
Location of Originals
How to Cite this Collection
Joseph W. Groell papers, 1925-2007, bulk 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Theophil Groell (1932-2004), who sometimes used the name Theophil Repke, is represented by an audio recording of a talk delivered to the Union of Maine Visual Artists at the Ellsworth Public Library, Ellsworth, Maine. Like his brother, Joe, he studied painting at Carnegie Institute of Technology and then taught in New York City. After retirement, Theophil lived and painted in Maine.
Biographical notes; Application for Museum of Modern Art annual artist's
pass; Driver's licenses, undated, 1952-1956
Retirement party, Brooklyn College, 1990
Theophil Groell, Talk at Union of Maine Visual Artists, Ellsworth Public Library, Ellsworth, Maine, 1996
(Box 1; 1 folder)
Most letters date from the 1950s and convey news of family and friends. Among the friends were classmates from Carnegie Institute of Technology who wrote about art and congratulated Groell on his shows at Tanager Gallery. Of particular note are two postcards from The Club. The first, undated, invites Groell to join the group; the second announces "What is Your Subject?" a panel discussion featuring Joe Groell, Red Grooms, Alex Katz, and Fairfield Porter, moderated by Murray Israel, to be held on February 23, 1962. A letter from Groell to the Editor of The New York Times expresses opposition to the defense of Quemoy and voices concern that it could lead to war with Red China.
Additional letters are found among the subject files (Series 5).
Letters, undated, 1925-1971
(Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
Journal entries contain sporadic musings on artistic problems and philosophical issues, with a few accounts of daily activities. Some are handwritten, others are typed; many contain revisions.
A small number of additional writings can be found among the subject files (Series 5) and Groell's sketchbook (Series 7).
Journal Entries, 1951-1955
Notes and Lists, undated, 1951-1955
Poems, undated, 1951-1955
Teaching Files, 1970s-1991
(Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear ft.)
Thirteen volumes contain lecture notes, visual examples (original artwork and photocopies from sketchbooks and other sources), and student project instructions for Groell's courses at Brooklyn College and New York Academy of Art. These are supplemented by three videotapes of Brooklyn College M.F.A. shows at Westbeth Gallery that include interviews with some of his students. Another videotape, "The New York Academy of Art," is a short overview of the school's program with a brief section featuring Groell and students discussing figure drawing.
A subject file titled "Brooklyn College - Administrative Records and Correspondence" (Series 5) contains information about Groell's teaching career at that institution.
"The New York Academy of Art" produced by Stephanie de Montvalon, New York University Department of Journalism, 1990
(1 VHS videocassette)
Subject Files, 1952-2005
(Box 2; 0.4 linear ft.)
Subject files, created and maintained by Groell, contain varying combinations of correspondence, writings, printed material and photographs.
"Stable Annuals - Marika Herskovic" concerns New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists by Choice; A Complete Documentation of the New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals; 1951-1957 (Marika Herskovic, editor, New York School Press, 2000). Included are copies of selected 1950s diary entries Groell shared with Herskovic for her for research.
"Biological Evolution: Thought and Art," undated, 1987-1989
Administrative Records and Correspondence, 1967-1984
"Lessons from the Past: An Exhibition of Art Projects by Undergraduate and Graduate Students in the Classes of Paul Gianfagna, Joseph Groell and Susan Koslow," 1982
Additional printed material is found in many subject files (Series 5).
About/Mentioning Groell, undated, 1953-1957
Art-related, undated, 1953-1955
Miscellaneous Subjects, undated, 1955-1972
Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, undated 1971-1983
Artwork, circa 1925-1953
(Box 3; 0.1 linear ft.)
Groell's sketchbook, "Summer - 1952 (Pgh.)," also includes a few pages of notes and miscellaneous writings, and two published reproductions of Minoan art. Photographs are of miscellaneous subjects: African-American women, a theater sign, and a building demolition site.
Albert Swinden (1901-1961), English by birth, came to the United States by way of Canada. By the mid-1920s he was living in New York City and studying at the Art Students League with Hans Hofmann. Swinden was among the group that founded American Abstract Artists in1937. Much of Swinden's work was destroyed in 1940 when the studio he shared with Balcomb Greene caught fire.
By Joseph Groell
Drawings and Sketches, undated
Sketchbook, "Summer - 1952 (Pgh.),"
(removed from 3-ring binder)
Drawings by Mary (or possibly Marj [Groell]?) and M. Sheridan,
Sketchbook of Albert Swinden, circa 1925-1940
(Box 3; 0.1 linear ft.)
Additional photographs are found in subject files (Series 5), and artwork (Series 7) includes photographs by Groell.
Artwork by Joseph Groell
Paintings, circa 1950s-1960s
Drawing, circa 1950s-1960s
Groell, Students, and Friends (Sue Foster, Dave Keck, and unidentified),
undated, 1948; 1989-2007