Marguerite Wildenhain papers, 1930-1982

A Finding Aid to the Marguerite Wildenhain Papers, 1930-1982, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald and Erin Kinhart

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Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Marguerite Wildenhain (1896-1985) was a ceramicist and educator in Guerneville, California. Born Marguerite Friedlaender in Lyon, France, Wildenhain received training in sculpture at the Berlin School of Applied Arts. She later worked as a designer for the Royal Berlin Porcelain Factory, leaving in 1919 to apprentice in pottery at the Bauhaus, under Max Krehan and Gerhard Marcks. After receiving her degree as master-potter, she was employed at the Municipal School for Arts and Crafts in Halle Saale, Germany. Fleeing the Nazis in 1933, she and her husband, potter Frans Wildenhain, operated a workshop in Holland before immigrating to the United States in 1940. In 1942 she settled near Guerneville, California, and established an artist colony known as Pond Farm. Following her divorce, she remained at Pond Farm and operated a summer school which lasted until 1980, training approximately 25 students each summer.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of California ceramicist and educator Marguerite Wildenhain measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1930 to 1982. Found within the papers are biographical sketches; correspondence with patrons, students, and colleagues, including Eugene Anderson, T. S. Eliot, and Gerhard Marcks; writings by Wildenhain and others; designs for pottery and other artwork; one scrapbook; news clippings, exhibition catalogs, and scattered printed material. Also found are photographs of Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain, Pond Farm, workshops, exhibitions,and artwork, as well as two film reels depicting Wildenhain lecturing and in her studio.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 8 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:

Subjects:

  • Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-

Subjects-Topical:

  • Art--Study and teaching--California
  • Artists' studios--California--Photographs
  • Ceramicists--California
  • Women artists

Types of Materials:

  • Designs
  • Motion pictures (visual works)
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Video recordings

Names:

  • Anderson, Eugene Newton
  • Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
  • Marcks, Gerhard

Provenance

The collection was donated by Marguerite Wildenhain in 1973-1981.

Separated and Related Materials

Also found at the Archives of American Art are the Marguerite Wildenhain exhibition records, 1977-1981, donated by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; an oral history interview of Marguerite Wildenhain conducted 1982 Mar. 14, by Hazel Bray; and the Frans Wildenhain papers, 1890-1986. Additional Marguerite Wildenhain letters to Gerhard Marcks are located at the Archiv fur Buldende Kunst of the Germanisches Museum, Nurnberg, Germany.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was fully processed in 1995 by Jean Fitzgerald. The finding aid was written in 2011 by Erin Kinhart.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Marguerite Wildenhain 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.

Available Formats

The collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5045-5048 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Use of video requires an appointment.

How to Cite this Collection

Marguerite Wildenhain papers, 1930-1982. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1943
(Box 1; 1 folder)

A folder of biographical material from 1943 consists of four biographical sketches.

Box Folder
1 1 Biographical Material, 1943

Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1981
(Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

Correspondence is with patrons, students, and colleagues including Eugene Anderson, T. S. Eliot, and Gerhard Marcks. One letter, Mar. 3, 1980, from Marcks contains a photograph of Wildenhain and other German potters. Sixty-six letters are in German.

Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 2 Correspondence, undated
1 3 Correspondence, 1940-1959
1 4 Correspondence, 1960-1961
1 5 Correspondence, 1962
1 6 Correspondence, 1963
1 7 Correspondence, 1964
1 8-9 Correspondence, 1965
(2 folders)
1 10-11 Correspondence, 1966
(2 folders)
1 12-16 Correspondence, 1967
(5 folders)
1 17 Correspondence, 1968
1 18 Correspondence, 1970-1971
1 19 Correspondence, 1972-1973
1 20-21 Correspondence, 1974
(2 folders)
1 22-23 Correspondence, 1975
(2 folders)
1 24-26 Correspondence, 1976
(3 folders)
1 27 Correspondence, 1977
1 28-29 Correspondence, 1978
(2 folders)
1 30 Correspondence, 1979
1 31 Correspondence, 1980
1 32 Correspondence, 1981

Series 3: Writings, circa 1940-1980
(Box 1-2; 1.0 linear foot)

Writings includes notes and lists of museum exhibition and lecture sites, collectors, and students. Also found are essays and lectures by Wildenhain as well as typescripts for her books Pottery: Form and Expression, The Invisible Core, and ...That We Look and See: An Admirer Looks at the Indian. There are also two short essays by others about Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain.

Box Folder
1 33 Miscellaneous Lists, undated, 1952-1980
1 34 Miscellaneous Notes, undated
1 35 "Development of the Pond Farm Pottery and School," undated
1 36 "Pond Farm Pottery in Guerneville, California," undated
1 37 "Introduction to Movie on Pond Farm," undated
1 38 Lecture, "Design and its Relation to Techniques," undated
1 39 "First Report of the Educational Committee of the Designer-Craftmen of California on Education in the Arts and Crafts," undated
1 40 Lecture, "The Pursuit of Excellence in Art Education," undated
1 41 "Elements of Design," undated
1 42 "?For it is a Continuous Process," undated
1 43 "To Leonora," undated
1 44 Lecture, "Philosophy of a Potter," undated
1 45 "Pottery," undated
1 46 "Thoughts on Pricing and Selling Pottery," undated
1 47 Lecture, "History of Pottery-Making," 1940
1 48 [A School of Art Teaching Ceramics], 1940
1 49 "Pottery as a Craft in the Machine Age," 1947
1 50 [To Learn a Craft], 1949
1 51 Lecture, "Ceramic Design or the Relation of Craftsman to Industry," 1950
1 52 Lecture, "Craft and Industry," 1950
1 53 "Pottery as a Creative Craft," 1950
1 54 Lecture, "Hand Made Pottery in the Machine Age," 1951
1 55 Lecture, "The Potter in the New World," 1952
1 56 Lecture, "Open Letter to Bernhard Leach," 1953
1 57 Lecture, "what Makes a Potter Good," 1953
1 58 "Color in Ceramics," 1954
1 59 Lecture, "Form and Technique," 1955
1 60 Lecture, [Interaction between Client and Craftsman], 1956
1 61 "Design and its Relation to Techniques," 1957
1 62 Lecture, "Socio-economic Outlook for the Craftsman Today," 1957
1 63 Lecture, "Art Education in Our Time," 1958
1 64 Lecture, "External Pressures on Creativity," 1958
1 65 Lecture, "Nature as a Source of Inspiration," 1960
1 66 "Production and Integrity," 1960
1 67 Lecture, "Shaping the Clay," 1962
1 68 Lecture: "Vision in Art," 1963
1 69 "Creative Freedom and Integrity," 1965
1 70-76 Drafts of Book Pottery: Form and Expression, 1957
(7 folders)
1 77-79 Drafts of Book The Invisible Core, 1965-1972
(3 folders)
Box Folder
2 1-8 Drafts of Book The Invisible Core, 1965-1972
(8 folders)
2 9-12 Drafts of Book ?That We Look and See: An Admirer Looks at the Indian, 1975-1979
(4 folders)
2 13 Writings by Others regarding Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain, undated

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1961-1969, 1975
(Box 2, OV 5; 4 folders)

Artwork consists of designs for pottery, a floorplan, and a diagram of a kick wheel. Also found are a folder of drawings which include a 1975 note by Marguerite Wildenhain which reads, "25 drawings that have, more or less, inspired me for pots, tiles or sculptures."

Box Folder
2 14 Designs for Pottery, undated
2 15 Drawings of Floorplan and Kickwheel, undated
(Oversized material housed in OV 5)
2 16 Drawings, 1961-1969, 1975
Box
OV 5 Oversize Drawings of Floorplan and Kickwheel, undated
(Oversized material from Box 2, folder 15)

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1934-1963
(Box 2; 3 folders)

One scrapbook contains clippings, exhibition announcements, and a photograph of art work.

Box Folder
2 17-19 Scrapbooks , 1934-1963
(3 folders; disbound)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1932-1982
(Box 2, OV 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Printed material includes numerous clippings documenting Wildenhain's career, exhibition announcements and catalogs, a press release, brochures concerning Wildenhain and pottery classes, and books, including ...That We Look and See: An Admirer Looks at the Indians by Wildenhain.

Box Folder
2 20 Clippings, undated
2 21 Clippings, 1932
2 22 Clippings, 1940-1949
2 23 Clippings, 1953-1959
2 24 Clippings, 1960-1968
2 25 Clippings, 1971-1977
2 26 Clippings, 1981
2 27 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, undated
2 28 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1968-1982
2 29 Press Release, 1955
2 30 Brochures regarding Marguerite Wildenhain, 1951-1971
2 31 Brochures regarding Pottery Classes and Seminars, 1953-1965
2 32 Miscellaneous Brochures, 1952-1978
2 33 Book, Kleine Bauhaus-Fibel by Hans Wingler, 1974
2 34 Book, ?That We Look and See: An Admirer Looks at the Indian by Wildenhhain, 1979
2 35 Miscellaneous, undated

Series 7: Photographs, 1930-1976
(Box 2-4; 1.2 linear feet)

Photographs are of Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain, Marguerite Wildenhain in her home and studio at Pond Farm, art works, and exhibition installations. Also found is a family photograph album which includes photographs from France, Germany, and Holland.

Box Folder
2 36 Marguerite Wildenhain, 1940-1973
(Oversized material housed in Box 4)
2 37 Family Album, 1933-1935
2 38 Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain, 1930-1938
2 39 Slides, Marguerite and Frans Wildenhain, undated
Box Folder
3 1 Marguerite Wildenhain conducting her Pond Farm Workshop, 1980
3 2 Pond Farm, undated
3 3 Slides, Pond Farm and Workshop, 1942-1960
3 4 Slides, Wildenhain Demonstrating Pot-throwing, undated
3 5 Art Work Produced in Germany 1926-1933, undated
3 6-8 Album, Art Works (Disbound), undated
(3 folders)
3 9-18 Art Works Executed 1952-1972 [photos by David Stone], undated
(10 folders)
3 19 Art Works Marked with Plate Numbers, undated
3 20-26 Art Works, undated
(7 folders)
3 27-29 Slides of Art Works, 1965-1969
(3 folders)
3 30 Art Work, T.S. Eliot Vase "Murder in the Cathedral", 1951
3 31 Art Works, 1962
3 32 Slides, Miscellaneous Art Work, 1965-1969
3 33 Slides, Works in the Smithsonian Collection, undated, 1976
3 34 Slides, Works from Collection of Carol McFarlan, Petaluma, Cal., 1976
3 35 Exhibition Installation, College of Education, Great Falls, Montana, 1948
3 36 Exhibition Installation, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1954
3 37 Exhibition Installation, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1962
3 38 Miscellaneous Exhibition Installations, undated
Box
4 Oversize Photographs of Marguerite Wildenhain, 1940-1973
(Oversized material from Box 2, Folder 36)

Series 8: Audio-Visual Recordings, 1954, circa 1965
(Box 3, 4; 0.3 linear feet)

The audio-visual material consists of two 16 mm film reels entitled "From a Lump of Clay" (called "Pond Farm" on the duplicate VHS videocassette), recording Wildenhain at work, and "Scripps College," recording a lecture by Wildenhain. Both films have been transferred onto one VHS videocassette.

Box Folder
3 39 "Scripps College" and "Pond Farm [From a Lump of Clay]" 1954, circa 1965
(1 videocassette: VHS)
Box
4 "Scripps College," 1954
(1 film reel)
4 "From a Lump of Clay," circa 1965
(1 film reel)