Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner papers, 1860-1974

Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, b. 1880 d. 1958
Art historian, Museum director, Author
Active in N.C.

Collection size: 6.3 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Biographical material; correspondence; manuscripts and published writings; notebooks and notes; diaries; printed material; photographs and an etching.

Microfilm reels 272-276: Primarily correspondence. Correspondents include family, E. Colin Agnew, Chester Holmes Aldrich, William von Bode, Duveen Brothers, Max J. Friedlander, Walter Gropius, John Johnson, John McIlhenny, Erich Mendelsohn, M. Perzynski, Edi Redslob, the Rockefeller family, Maria Sarre, Albert Souvier, and C.F. Williams. Correspondence prior to 1920 concerns World War I and life in Germany; also included are essays and research notes on modern European artists; photographs of Valentiner and his family; and printed material.

Microfilm reels 3963-3967: Biographical material including a resume, a family history and family tree; correspondence with family, Kurt Bauch, Guy DeLauney, Walter Friedlaender, Henry Goldman, Liselotte Moser, Maria Sarre, Wolfgang von Eckardt, and Helen Wills; manuscripts of an autobiography, writings on art, and articles by Valentiner; notebooks and notes; diaries, 1884-1939; exhibition catalogs and clippings; scrapbooks; photographs, 1875-1965, of Valentiner, his family, Walter Friedlaender, Giacometti, Maria Sarre, Helen Wills, William von Bode, Diego Rivera, Harry Bertoia, and other artists and art work; and an etching of Heidelberg.

Biographical/Historical Note: Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner (1880-1958) was a museum director, writer, and art historian. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany. Director, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1924-1946, Director-Consultant, Los Angeles Museum of Art, 1946-1954, Director, Getty Museum, Santa Monica, California, 1954, Director, North Carolina Museum of Art, 1955-1958. Editor, Art in America, 1913-1931, and author of books on Dutch painting and modern sculpture.

Papers on reels 272-276 & 3963-3967, and portion of material on reel D31, were donated in 1959. Papers on reels 2140-2144 lent for microfilming by the North Carolina Museum of Art, 1974.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels D31, 272-276, 2140-2144, and 3963-3967 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • 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.

Related Materials

Also in the Archives are papers lent for microfilming (reels D31 and 2140-2144). Reel D31 includes diary entries, 1914-1957, describing his service in the German army, 1914-1918, with the War Information Office in Berlin, the overthrow of the monarchy and German politics, relations between Germany and Russia and communist activity in Germany, the administration of Berlin museums and radical artists' activities, his work with the L.A. County Museum, Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and private collectors, impressions of friends, including Henry Ford, Carl Hamilton, the Hohenzollerns, Franz Marc, Rainer Maria Rilke, Walter Rathenau, Helen Wills, Benjamin Altman, J. Pierpont Morgan, and recollections of women art collectors, including Mrs. August Belmont, Rita Lydig, and Mrs. Leonard Thomas. Papers on reels 2140-2144 includes 26 diaries, 1904-1958; autobiographical writings; manuscripts and lectures by Valentiner; correspondence with family, friends, authors, museums, galleries, and dealers, including Harry Berotia, Charles Culver, Lyonel and Julia Feininger, Walter Gropius, Paul and Mary Weschler, and Morris Graves; and a scrapbook containing clippings, drafts of speeches, and invitations.