A Finding Aid to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009, in the Archives of American Art, by Margot Chandler and Rachel Salzmann
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Raymond Saroff (b. 1922), a resident of New York City, is a filmmaker and collector of both modern and folk art. Saroff pursued his interest in American folk art with his partner, Howard Rose, a scholar and art collector. In 1960, Saroff purchased Leg, a paper mach� sculpture by Claes Oldenburg. Around the same time, he became interested in "Happenings." Using borrowed equipment, Saroff filmed a series of 1962 "Happenings" known as "Ray Gun Theater" that Oldenburg presented to small audiences in a storefront on East Second Street, New York City.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Raymond Saroff papers are dated 1953-2009 and comprise 1.2 linear feet. Letters, printed material and photographs compiled by Saroff document his interest in Claes Oldenburg and ?Happenings.? Also included are a videotape of Saroff?s film Claes Oldenburg?s ?Ray Gun Theater ? 1962? and receipts for artwork purchased for his modern art collection. The 2014 addition includes a catalog essay by curator and collector Howard Rose, Saroff?s partner, for an exhibition of their folk art collection at Bard College (1991). Also found are financial records regarding his collections, related printed material, and photographs of artwork.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged in 2 series:
- Series 1: Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg, 1953-2009 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
- Series 2: Addition to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1960-2009 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms:
- Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
- Collectors and collecting--New York (State)--New York
- Video recordings
Gift of Raymond Saroff, 2011 and 2014.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Margot Chandler in 2011. The 2014 addition was processed to a minimal level and the finding aid updated by Rachel Salzmann in 2015.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of original material requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Raymond Saroff 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
Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg, 1953-2009
0.5 Linear feet; Box 1
This series documents Saroff's interest in Claes Oldenburg. Of note is Saroff's film Claes Oldenburg's Ray Gun Theater - 1962" . In 1962, ten "Happenings" conceived by Oldenburg known as "Ray Gun Theater" were presented in New York City at a store on East Second Street. Each evening-long event was filmed by Saroff, who then edited the film to approximately two hours before releasing it commercially. Correspondence concerns gifts and loans from Saroff's art collection. Financial records consist of sales receipts including one for his purchase of Leg. Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, clippings, and miscellaneous items. Photographs and a transparency are of Oldenburg's work in several media.
|1||2||Financial Records - Sales Receipts (A-Z by Gallery), 1953-1985|
Claes Oldenburg's "Ray Gun Theater - 1962" by Raymond Saroff (1962), 1995
|1||4-7||Exhibition Catalogs, circa 1960-1995|
|1||9||Press Kit, 1995|
|1||10||Miscellaneous Items, 1964-1995|
Photographs of Artwork by Oldenburg, 1960s-1970s
includes 1 color transparency
Addition to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1960-2009
0.7 Linear feet; Boxes 1-2
Correspondence pertains to sales and loans from Saroff's Oldenburg art collection as well as from the folk art collection developed and owned by Saroff and Howard Rose. Among the writings are Rose's published and unpublished manuscripts on American folk art. Financial records include a collection inventory with provenance, attribution, and price information. Also found are receipts from galleries and auction houses documenting loans and sales. Printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs. Photographs are of artwork.
|1||12||Correspondence about Claes Oldenburg Collection, 1962, 1983-1985|
|1||13||Correspondence about Sales and Loans, 1962, 1989-1995|
|1||14||Writings by Howard Rose on American Folk Art, 1982-1990|
|1||15||Inventories of the Saroff and Rose Folk Art Collection, 1983-1995|
|1||16||Financial Records - Receipts for Sales, Deliveries, Consignments, 1984-1995|
|1||18||Announcements, Invitations and Press Releases, 1963-1999|
|1||19||Exhibition Catalogs, 1965-1995|
|1||20||Film Catalogs, 1963-1988|
|2||1||Film Catalogs, 1963-1988|
|2||2||Periodical, 1967, 1967|
Photographs of Artwork, circa 1960-2000
includes slides and color transparencies