Rudolf Bauer papers, 1918-1983

Bauer, Rudolf, b. 1889 d. 1953
Painter
Active in New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 1.1 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Drafts of letters and a few letters received; business records; legal documents; writings; printed material; and photographs primarily regarding Bauer's work as a non-objective painter, and his relationship with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and its first director Hilla Rebay.

Included are typescripts of two lengthy, rambling letters (24 p. and 45 p. single spaced) from Bauer to Rebay and two to Frank Lloyd Wright (11 p. and 40 p. single spaced) concerning his relationship with the Guggenheim Foundation and its design; a file on the Foundation, 1938-1945, containing internal reports of activities, memorandum, letters, and documents, some concerning the controversy surrounding efforts to remove Rebay as director; writings and notes by Bauer on his philosophies about contemporary art and museums; writings and lectures by Rebay on non-objective painting, 1941-1942; printed material, 1918-1969, including clippings, exhibition announcements, catalog entries, and reproductions of Bauer's work;

photographs of Bauer, his family, friends, home, car, works of art and exhibition installations; scattered business records, including shipping lists for paintings, and tax and immigration documents; a file on Bauer's antique Duesenberg Phaeton car; and a few letters to Bauer's widow, Louise Parry, including 2 from Otto Nebel, one enclosing a woodblock print, and one from Rebay's biographer, Joan Lukach, 1983.

Included in the Guggenheim Foundation file are a letter from Solomon Guggenheim to the U.S. Attorney, 1942, requesting that Bauer be allowed to visit New York without the required permit due to the frequency of Guggenheim's requests for Bauer's advice, and a letter from Frank Crowninshield, editor of Vogue, 1938, to the Foundation, requesting information on Bauer's arrival in the U.S.

Biographical/Historical Note: Abstract painter, New York, N.Y. Born in Germany, Bauer's work in non-objective painting was promoted by Solomon R. Guggenheim's art advisor, and later museum director, curator Hilla Rebay, and Bauer became a paid advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim and Rebay in the formation of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (1937), later the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (1939), and then after Guggenheim's death, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1949). Guggenheim and Rebay later dropped him due to Bauer's intense criticism of the Foundation and Rebay.

Gift of the Estate of Louise Bauer Parry (widow of artist), 1985; arranged by Franklin Riehlman of Phillips auctioneers.

How to Use this Collection

  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.