Peter Howard Selz papers, 1929-2014, bulk 1950-2005

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

Collection size: 30.1 linear feet

Collection Summary: The papers of art historian and writer Peter Howard Selz (1919- ) measure 30.1 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2014, with the bulk of the materials from 1950 to 2005. The papers document Selz's long career via correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, membership and association records, artists' research files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed materials, and nine scrapbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note: Peter Howard Selz (1919-) is a pioneering historian of modern art, professor, and writer who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-1988 and founded and directed the Berkeley Art Museum from 1965-1973. 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).

The Peter Howard Selz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Peter Selz in multiple installments from 1976 through 2014.

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this collection
  • Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 2343-2345 and 4383-4385 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the microfilm is incomplete and does not represent the entire collection. The filmed order does not match the current arrangement of the papers as outlined in this finding aid.
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Related Materials

The Archives of American Art also holds oral history interviews of Peter Selz conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom on July 28, 1982, October 12, 1982 and November 3, 1999.