Michael Loew papers, 1930-1997

Loew, Michael, b. 1907 d. 1985
Painter, Art teacher
Active in New York, N.Y.; Berkeley, Calif.

Collection size: 1.8 linear feet (partially microfilmed on 2 reels)

Collection Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, notes, writings, photographs, business and financial records, works of art, and printed material document the career of painter and educator Michael Loew.

REEL N68-94: Biographical material, 1957-1967, includes 5 biographical sketches, a bibliography of Loew's publications, and an artist's statement. Correspondence, 1935-1968, is with colleagues, galleries, and educational institutions. There are one or two letters each from colleagues Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Johnson, Richard Lahey, George L.K. Morris, and Clifford Odets. Nine letters relate to Loew's work for the U.S. Works Progress Administration and the New York World's Fair. Writings, 1966, consist of several drafts for essay "Is It the Function of the Artist to Communicate with his Audience." A contract, 1938, is between Loew and Willem de Kooning and the New York World's Fair 1939 Inc. Printed material, 1944-1968, consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs. Photographs, 1960-1964, are of Loew and his art works. Notes consist of 2 undated notebooks and a typescript concerning Josef Albers. A scrapbook, 1938-1965, contains 4 photographs of art works, clippings, and exhibition announcements and catalogs.

REEL 5053: Correspondence, 1944-1990, is with galleries, including the Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, educational institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues including Dorothy Dehner, Burt Hasen, and Aaron Siskind. Correspondence, 1956-1957, with Rockwell Kent concerns the rental of Kent's Monhegan Island cabin. One letter, 1959, includes 3 photographs of Loew, Louis Kahn, Allan Kaprow, and George McNeil. Lecture notes are for an Artists Equity symposium, 1956, and a panel discussion on painting, 1968. Writings, 1968-1979, consist of 3 essays by Loew and tributes written to Sarah Freedman McPherson by Loew and others. Printed material, 1932-1992, consists of clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and a book "The Artist's World" by Fred W. McDarrah. Photographs, 1930-1979, are of Loew, his friends, and his art works. One photograph is of Alfred Jensen, Theodore Schempp, Max Schnitzler, and Loew in Tunis, 1930.

UNMICROFILMED Biographical material incudes curriculum vita, obituaries, and birth announcements of Jonathan Loew, Michael Loew's son. Correspondence is with Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Writings include notes and a transcription of Loews 1966 MoMA talk Must the Artist Communicate with his Audience, drafts of an article by Loew regarding Joseph Albers NEA and Guggenheim grant applications. Photographs are of Loew, his artwork, and his travels in Mexico as well as a color photograph of Loew and Willem de Kooning in de Kooning's studio taken by Rose Slivka. Artwork includes original off-prints for book covers. Business files relate to the 1939 Worlds Fair mural commission and include information about gifts of artwork to museums. Financial material includes a sales record book and records of sales with the Marilyn Pearl and Landmark galleries. Also included are literature and directories from the Federation of Modern Painters & Sculptors, exhibition announcements,and newspaper clippings.

Biographical/Historical Note: Born in New York City, Michael Loew (1907-1985) studied at the Art Students League from 1926-1929, Academie Scandinave in Paris from 1929-1930, the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art from 1947-1949, and at the Atelier Fernand Leger from 1949-1950. Loew worked as a stained glass artist from 1926 to 1929, and painted murals with Willem de Kooning for the New York World's Fair of 1939. Between 1956 and 1966, he taught painting at the Portland (Oregon) Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, and at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Material on reel N68-94 lent for microfilming 1968 by Michael Loew; approximately 50 letters and an artists' statement were later received in subsequent donations. Additional papers were donated in 1981-1982 by Loew, and in 1994 and 2008 by his widow, Mildred C. Loew, a portion of which was microfilmed on reel 5053. The photograph of Loew and de Kooning taken by Rose Slivka was donated by Loew's niece, Jackie Cohen, in 2007.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels N68-94 and 5053 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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