A Finding Aid to the Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg,
in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines
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 modern art and folk art.
In 1960, Saroff purchased Leg, a paper maché 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.
Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) a Swedish born sculptor, is a leading Pop Artist, best known for colossal public sculpture of everyday objects - lipstick, rubber stamp, scissors, clothespin, ashtray. In the early 1960s, he staged several "Happenings" in a store where he created a Pop Art environment filled with plaster objects.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg are dated 1953-2009 and comprise 0.8 linear feet. Letters, printed material, and photographs compiled by Saroff document his interest in 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 that contained a sculpture by Oldenburg.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged as # series:
- Series 1: Letters, 1965-2009 (Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
- Series 2: Sales Receipts, 1953-1985 (Box 1; 1 folder)
- Series 3: Printed Material, 1960-1995 (Boxes 1-2; 0.4 linear ft.)
- Series 4: Photographic Materials, circa 1960s-1970s (Box 2; 0.1 linear ft.)
- Series 5: Videotape, 1995 (Box 2; 0.1 linear ft.)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
- Collectors and collecting--New York (State)--New York
- Types of Materials:
- Video recordings
Gift of Raymond Saroff, 2011.
Separated and Related Materials
There is a Claes Oldenburg oral history interview conducted by Bruce Hooten for the Archives of American Art, February 19, 1965. Other interviews with Oldenburg available at AAA are found among the Alan R. Solomon papers (reels 3922) and Washington Gallery of Modern Art interviews of Artists, April-June, 1963. In addition, Oldenburg participated in the Waldorf Panel on Sculpture, February 17 and March 17, 1965.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed to a minimal level by Margot Chandler in 2011.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of original material requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg 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.