Peter Howard Selz papers, 1954-2003

Selz, Peter Howard, b. 1919
Curator, Art historian, Writer
Active in Berkeley, Calif.; Germany

Collection size: 3.4 linear ft. (microfilmed on 6 reels)
Addition: 17.2 linear ft..
Addition: 0.4 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Correspondence; subject files containing letters, notes, writings, business recods, printed material and sound recordings; and photographs pertaining to Selz's various exhibition and publication projects.

REELS 2343-2345: Exhibition and artist files containing correspondence, writings, printed material and some photographs. Exhibitions include "American Modern Art Between the Two World Wars," "The American Presidency in Political Cartoons," "Bay Area Rapid Transit Art Council," "Funk," and "Seven Decades of Modern Art." Artists' files include Leonard Baskin, Max Beckmann, Fletcher Benton, Christo, Bruce Conner, Sam Francis, mostly regarding Selz's book on Francis, and Rico Lebrun.

REELS 4383-4385: Correspondence with dealers and museum professionals concerning articles and exhibition projects; 24 subject files, containing correspondence, notes, printed material, and photographs; project files relating to curatorial activities at the Museum of Modern Art, articles on artists, fabric art, consultation for Disney World, a testimony, "Recent Trends in the Arts behind the Iron Curtain" before the House Subcommittee on Europe, grant applications, an art nouveau book, and art organizations; and files on artists Rupert Garcia, Michael Dvortsak, Alain Gerbault, Christopher Lane, Richard Lindner, Hans Namuth, and Edward Steichen. Also included is a file "Matter of Mark Rothko," relating to Kate Rothko's case against Marlborough Gallery, Inc.

UNMICROFILMED: Two (7") tapes on a panel discussion moderated by Peter Selz. Participants are Mowry Baden, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Manuel Neri, James Frederick Melchert, and Peter Voulkos. The panel discussion was presented in conjunction with "Funk," an exhibition at U.C. Berkeley, University Art Museum.

ADDITION: Research, project, and correspondence files, 1959-2003. Among the subjects and/or correspondents are John Altoon, Jean Arp, Francis Bacon, Andre Breton, Pol Bury, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Richard Diebenkorn, Jean Dubuffet, Lyonel Feininger, Alberto Giacometti, Herbert Gentry, Leon Golub, Morris Graves, Philip Guston, Dmitri Hadzi, Ferdinand Hodler, Allan Kaprow, Richard Lindner, Jacques Lipschitz, Len Lye, Reginald Marsh, Isamu Noguchi, Georgia O'Keeffe, Claes Oldenberg, Nathan Oliveira, Harold Paris, Ad Reinhardt, George Rickey, James Rosen, Mark Rothko, and Varlin and other artists, publishers, galleries and museums. Among the files are those compiled for Selz's books Beyond the Mainstream and Theories of Modern Art.

Biographical/Historical Note: Art historian and writer; Germany and Berkeley, Calif. Born in Munich, Germany, Selz studied at the University of Chicago. He was curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1958-1965, and founding director of University Art Museum at the University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1973. He taught at the Chicago Institute of Design, 1953-1954, Pomona College, 1955-1958, and at Berkeley. Author of German Expressionist Painting (1957), Art in a Turbulent Era (1965), Art in Our Times (1981), Harold Paris (1972), Ferdinand Hodler (1972), Sam Francis (1975), and numerous exhibition catalogs, including Funk (1967), German and Austrian Expressionism (1978), and Two Decades of American Painting, 1920-1940 (1979).

Donated 1976-2004 by Peter Selz. Additions are expected.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reel 2343-2345 and 4383-4385 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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