Paul Bodin papers, 1932-1981

A Finding Aid to the Paul Bodin Papers, 1932-1981, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Paul Bodin was born in New York City on October 30, 1910. He studied first at the National Academy of Design, but transferred to the Art Students League in 1928, briefly studying under Boardman Robinson.

During the 1930s and early 1940s, Bodin was part of a circle of artists that included Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, and Adolph Gottlieb, who worked in New York City, and Gloucester and Provincetown, Massachusetts. During the Depression, Bodin worked with the WPA Federal Arts Project, completing many paintings of tenement interiors, portraits of family members, and self-portraits. His first solo exhibition was in 1936.

He made his first abstract paintings in 1945 and exhibited regularly in Manhattan until the early 1960s.

Paul Bodin died on February 15, 1994.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of painter Paul Bodin measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1932-1981 (bulk dates 1932-1963). Found within the papers are letters from Bodin's mentor, abstract expressionist Adolph Gottlieb. These letters document Bodin's long friendship with Gottlieb and provide details about Gottlieb's activities and interests. There is one letter from Gottlieb's wife, Esther. Also found with the papers are a clipping, exhibition announcements for Bodin, and photographs of Bodin's art work.

Arrangement and Series Description

Subjects and Names

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

  • Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974
  • Gottlieb, Esther Dick
  • Abstract expressionism
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Photographs


The Paul Bodin papers were donated in 1993 by Paul Bodin and Aaron Bodin, the artist's son.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed in November 2005 by Jean Fitzgerald.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Paul Bodin 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.

How to Cite this Collection

Paul Bodin papers, 1932-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Paul Bodin Papers, 1932-1981, undated
23 Folders; Box 1

Box Folder
1 1-20 Letters from Adolph and Esther Gottlieb, 1932-1981, undated
1 21 Clipping about Bodin, 1949
1 22 Exhibition Announcements for Bodin, 1958-1961
1 23 Photographs of Artwork by Bodin, 1952-1955, undated