Ronald A. Kleemann papers, 1942-2008, bulk, 1961-2006

A Finding Aid to the Ronald A. Kleemann Papers, circa 1942-2008 bulk 1961-2006, in the Archives of American Art, by Rachel Salzmann

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

The Photorealist painter Ronald A. Kleemann (b. 1937), who is well known for his renderings of automobiles, currently works and resides in Valatie, New York. Born in Bay City, Michigan, he moved to New York City to pursue art after graduating from the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Design in 1961. Kleemann is represented by the Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, NY.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of photorealist painter Ronald A. Kleemann papers date from circa 1942-2008 and measure 2.0 linear feet. The papers include chronological files that contain a wide variety of documents, projects files relating to his race car paintings, biographical materials, writings and lectures, printed material, original drawings, and photographs.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Subjects and Names

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


  • Painters--New York (State)
  • Photo-realism

Types of Materials:

  • Drawings
  • Photographs


Donated by Ronald Kleemann, November 11, 2009.

Separated and Related Materials

The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview with Ronald A. Kleemann, 2009 Oct. 11-12, conducted by Judith Richards.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed by Rachel Salzmann in 2011.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Ronald A. Kleemann 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

Ronald A. Kleemann papers, circa 1942-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1971-2008
(Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)

This series include resumes, press and racing pit passes, and an embroidered CART (Conceptual Art Racing Team) badge.

Materials are arranged chronologically within each folder.

Box Folder
1 1 Resumes, 1971-2005
1 2 Miscellaneous, 1972-2002
1 3 Entrance Documentation to Car Races and the Super Bowl, 1971-2008

Series 2: Chronological Files, 1950s-2008
(Boxes 1-2; 0.8 linear ft.)

Each annual file includes a variety of documentation such as drawings, sketches, school report cards, handwritten letters, correspondence, flyers, photographs, press releases, periodical clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs. The content varies from year to year.

Of particular interest are photos of the artist at exhibitions, 1968 and 1971; a description of Kleemann's art van (Conceptual Art Racing Team "CART") at the 1977 Indianapolis 500; draft of a profile about the artist, 1979-1980; dissertation on photorealism, 1988; interview questions and dissertation on photorealism, 2000-2001; clipping and minutes from a project meeting to raise funds for COARC (Columbia County Association for Retarded Children) and art donations for auction, 2001-2002.

Original order has been maintained. The years 1960, 1965 and 1995 are lacking.

Box Folder
1 4 Chronological Files, 1950s
1 5-6 Chronological Files, 1961
(2 folders)
1 7-9 Chronological Files, 1962-1964
(3 folders)
1 10-20 Chronological Files, 1966-1976
(11 folders)
1 21-22 Chronological Files, 1977
(2 folders)
1 23-39 Chronological Files, 1978-1994
(17 folders)
1 40-43 Chronological Files, 1996-1999
(4 folders)
Box Folder
2 1-7 Chronological Files, 2000-2006
(7 folders)
2 8 Chronological Files, 2007-2008

Series 3: Writings and Lectures, 2006
(Box 2; 0.1 linear ft.)

Among the lectures and addresses is the text of Kleemann's 2006 presentation to the Hudson Fortnightly Club.

Box Folder
2 9 Writings, undated
2 10 Lectures and Addresses, 2006
(Box 2; 0.1 linear ft.)
2 11 Random Artist's Notes, undated

Series 4: Project Files, 1985-2007
(Box 2; 0.4 linear ft.)

Project files relate mostly to paintings of cars.

This series is arranged alphabetically by project title.

Box Folder
2 12 Corvette Painting Studies, 1985
2 13 Jack Gordon Car Studies, 2002 or later
2 14 Kodak Car Studies, 2002 or later
2 15 M and M Car Studies, 2002
2 16 Navy Painting Studies, undated
2 17 Target Car Studies, undated
2 18 Tony the Tiger Car Studies, 2002 or later
2 19 Viagra Painting Studies, 2002 or later
2 20-21 Zurich Painting Studies, 2007
(2 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1971-2004
(Box 2; 0.2 linear ft.)

Printed materials include exhibition catalogs, NASCAR programs, and clippings.

This series is organized by record type and material within each folder is filed chronologically.

Box Folder
2 22 Group Exhibition Catalogs, 1971-1973
2 23 NASCAR Official Program Guides, 1977-1979
2 24-25 Periodical Clippings, 1972-1992
(2 folders)
2 26 Advertisements, 1971-2004

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1942, 1960s and 1970s
(Box 2; 0.3 linear ft.)

All artwork is by Kleemann. The earliest drawings were made around the age of five.

Original order has been maintained.

Box Folder
2 27 Earliest Drawings, circa 1942
2 28 Random Studies, 1960s and 1970s
2 29-30 Abstract Studies,1960s and 1970s
(2 folders)
2 31 Miscellaneous Drawings, 1960s and 1970s

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1980s-2002
(Box 2; 0.1 linear ft.)

These photographs most likely served as source materials for paintings.

Box Folder
2 32 Photographs, circa 1980s-2002