Please note, we are experiencing issues connecting to our Research Request System, Aeon. To request collection materials, please contact us through the Ask Us form

Karl Knaths papers, 1890-1973, bulk 1922-1971

Knaths, Karl, b. 1891 d. 1971
Painter, Educator, Printmaker
Active in Chicago, Ill.; Provincetown, Mass.; Cape Cod, Mass.

This site provides access to the papers of Karl Knaths in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 11,899 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Collection size: 8.9 linear feet

Collection Summary: The papers of cubist painter Karl Knaths measure 8.9 linear feet and date from 1890 to 1973, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1922 to 1971. The collection includes biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, four diaries, 22 notebooks and notes on theoretical color and compositional approaches to painting, published and draft copies of essays on art, miscellaneous printed material, and 132 sketchbooks and additional artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note: Karl Knaths (1891-1971), born Otto G. Knaths, lived and worked in Provincetown, Massachusetts and was known for his cubist style of painting.

In 1962, a selection of Karl Knaths's papers were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. Upon Knath's death in 1972, these papers, along with additional materials, were willed to the Archives. Additional material from Knaths's estate were donated by his executor, Kenneth Desmarais, in 1977 and 1980.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2012 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Blank pages in bound volumes, banking and tax records, and miscellaneous printed materials have not been scanned. In many cases, only the cover, title page, and individual relevant pages have been scanned from published materials.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art holds one oral history interview with Karl Knaths conducted by Dorothy Seckler in 1962; a transcript of a 1968 lecture delivered by Knaths at the Provincetown Art Association in Provincetown, Massachusetts; and a 1955 video recording documenting Knaths's Cape Cod influenced artwork, directed by Jack Calderwood.