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Albert Christ-Janer papers, 1915-circa 1993, bulk 1930-1981

Albert Christ-Janer papers, 1915-circa 1993, bulk 1930-1981

Christ-Janer, Albert, 1910-1973

Painter, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 56.3 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian, educator, painter, and printmaker Albert Christ-Janer measure 56.3 linear feet and date from 1915 to circa 1993, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1930 to 1981. The papers include biographical materials, personal and professional correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, teaching files, exhibition files, financial and estate records, printed material, scrapbooks and scrapbook material, photographs, artwork, and artifacts.

Biographical/Historical Note

Albert Christ-Janer (1910-1973) was a painter, printmaker, art historian, writer, and educator active at colleges and universities across the U.S.

Provenance

The Albert Christ-Janer papers were donated by Virginia Christ-Janer in 1980-1981 and 1994.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

A Finding Aid to the Albert Christ-Janer Papers, 1915-circa 1993, bulk 1930-1981, in the Archives of American Art
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Finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel
Scope and Contents note
The papers of art historian, educator, painter, and printmaker Albert Christ-Janer measure 56.3 linear feet and date from 1915 to circa 1993, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1930 to 1981. The papers include biographical materials, personal and professional correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, teaching files, exhibition files, financial and estate records, printed material, scrapbooks and scrapbook material, photographs, artwork, and artifacts.
Biographical material includes address books; awards, certificates and diplomas; chronologies, biographies, and resumes; material relating to Albert Christ-Janer’s death, including memorial services and a sound tape reel memorial; and information and blueprints for residences, among other materials.
Correspondence includes Christmas cards from other artists and professional correspondence, much of it relating to his work at various institutions, including Michigan State University, New York University, Pennsylvania State University, Pratt Institution, and foundations. Also included is Virginia Christ-Janer's correspondence regarding Christ-Janer’s artwork and career, his death in Italy, as well as general correspondence and letters between Virginia and Albert. Additional correspondence is found within the Professional Files, Project Files, and Teaching Files.
Writings by Christ-Janer include articles, book reviews, essays, notes, and eleven notebooks. There are also a few miscellaneous articles and writings about Christ-Janer written by others. There are 38 annotated appointment notebooks and five of Virginia Christ-Janer's annotated appointment books. Annotations are about meetings, travel, and general thoughts.
Albert Christ-Janer's book projects are documented in the Project Files series. There are drafts, manuscripts, research, and correspondence relating to the research, writing, and publication of five of his books, including
George Caleb Bingham of Missouri
(Dodd, Mead and Company, 1940),
Boardman Robinson
(Unversity of Chicago Press, 1946),
Eliel Saarinen
(University of Chicago Press, 1948), and
Modern Church Architecture
, with Mary Mix Foley (McGraw-Hill, 1962), and Modern Hymns (1980). Project files also include files regarding proposed projects.
Professional files document Christ-Janer's work at various institutions, as a consultant, on juried art exhibitions, memberships in arts associations, activities at conferences and committees, and the development of art centers in cities and educational institutions. There is significant documentation of his work planning and developing an arts center in New York City and at New York University, as well as his positions at Pennsylvania State University, Pratt Institute, University of Chicago, and University of Georgia. Also found are materials relating to professional trips taken to El Paso, Italy, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe.
Teaching files consist of syllabi, lecture notes and course materials, class record books, and other documents for positions at New York University, Pennsylvania State University, Stephens College, University of Georgia, and other institutions. Exhibition files are comprised of lists, prizes and awards, and other scattered documentation of Christ-Janer's solo and group exhibitions.
Financial and estate records include five account books, miscellaneous bills and receipts, a will and estate taxes and financial papers, and files for gallery transactions, lists of galleries representing Christ-Janer, lists of museum and private collectors of Christ-Janer’s artwork. Printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, published versions of Christ-Janer's books, books written by others and annotated by Christ-Janer, clippings, magazines, reviews, and printed material relating to Pratt Institute. There is one bound scrapbook and several files of loose scrapbook materials.
The scrapbooks series consists of one completed scrapbook concerning Christ-Janer's book on George Caleb Bingham, as well as several folders of general scrapbook files.
Photographs and slides depict Albert Christ-Janer, family, friends, artists, colleagues, exhibitions, and also include photographs compiled for published books.
Artwork includes numerous drawings, sketches, one sketchbook, and 111 lithographs by Albert Christ-Janer. There are also sketches and drawings by Charles Massey, John D. Whiting, Edwin Zoller, and others. Miscellaneous artifacts include a business card die, exhibition medals and trophy, handmade paperweight, a block-printed piece of fabric, and three graduation hoods.
Biographical/Historical note
Albert Christ-Janer (1910-1973) was a painter, printmaker, art historian, writer, and educator active at colleges and universities across the U.S.
Albert Christ-Janer was born in Appleton, Minnesota in 1910 and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University. Christ-Janer wrote about American artists Boardman Robinson and John Caleb Bingham, and taught at a variety of institutions, including Stephens College, Cranbrook Academy, Pratt Institute Art School, and the University of Georgia. He was also an artist-in-residence at Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1972.
Christ-Janer began his teaching career at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri in 1934, and soon became head of the art department. He moved to Michigan to accept the position of head of the art department and professor of art at Michigan State University in 1942. In 1945, he began working for the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, serving as director of the educational program, director of the museum and library, and professor of art history.
In 1947, Christ-Janer moved to Chicago and worked at the University of Chicago and the Arts Center Association, Inc. In the 1950s, he served as director of Arts Center Development at New York University, director of the School of Arts at Pennsylvania State University, and on the Lake Erie College Board of Trustees. In 1958, he moved to New York and become dean of the School of Art and Design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, later becoming director. He left Pratt in 1970 to accept the position of Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Art at the University of Georgia, where he remained until his tragic death in 1973.
Christ-Janer was the author of several books:
Art in Child Life
(University of Iowa Press, 1938),
George Caleb Bingham of Missouri
(Dodd, Mead and Company, 1940),
Boardman Robinson
(Unversity of Chicago Press, 1946),
Eliel Saarinen
(University of Chicago Press, 1948), and
Modern Church Architecture
, with Mary Mix Foley (McGraw-Hill, 1962).
Albert Christ-Janer was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1950, awarded the Rockefeller Award in 1954, and the Guggenheim Award in 1960. He was also awarded multiple grants from the American Philosophical Society and the J. M. Kaplan Fund for research and work in lithography, as well as multiple Arthur Judson grants. In 1972 Christ-Janer was the Tamarind artist-in-residence at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Christ-Janer traveled often. In 1962 he was a guest of the Bonn government for two months to visit museums and schools of design in Germany. And in 1964, he was a guest of the governments of Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden for two months to study schools, museums, and cultural centers. In July of 1973, Christ-Janer was the official NASA artist for the Skylab III launch, and in October of 1973, he was the studio guest of the Norway-America Association and the Norwegian government in Oslo. From November to December of 1973, Christ-Janer was the scholar-in-residence at the Study and Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation (Centro Culturale delle Fondazione Rockefeller), at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio (Como), Italy.
Albert Christ-Janer was killed in an automobile accident in Bellagio (Como), Italy on December 12, 1973.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 14 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1930-circa 1986 (Boxes 1-2, 51, 53, 67, OV 54, OV 57; 2.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1937-1990 (Boxes 2-16, 51, 67, OV 55; 15.1 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1930s-1972 (Boxes 16-18, 51; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Appointment Books, 1939-1973 (Boxes 18-21; 2.9 linear feet)
Series 5: Professional Files, circa 1933-circa 1986 (Boxes 21-28, 51-52, 67-69; 10 linear feet)
Series 6: Project Files, 1937-circa 1981 (Boxes 28-34, 51, 69; 6.1 linear feet)
Series 7: Teaching Files, circa 1939-circa 1973 (Boxes 34-35; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 8: Exhibition Files, circa 1938-circa 1992 (Boxes 35-38; 2.7 linear feet)
Series 9: Financial and Estate Records, circa 1947-1992 (Boxes 38-40; 2.4 linear feet)
Series 10: Printed Material, 1915-circa 1993 (Boxes 40-49, 51-52, 69; 8.7 linear feet)
Series 11: Scrapbooks, circa 1936-circa 1952 (Boxes 49, 51; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 12: Photographs, circa 1937-circa 1986 (Boxes 49-51, OV 56; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 13: Artwork, circa 1933-circa 1970s (Boxes 50-52, 69, OV 58-66; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 14: Artifacts, 1923-circa 1986 (Boxes 50, 53; 0.9 linear feet)
Provenance
The Albert Christ-Janer papers were donated by Virginia Christ-Janer in 1980-1981 and 1994.
Processing Information note
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2015 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing when possible to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator’s original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed. Boxes found after processing have been integrated into the finding aid.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Albert Christ-Janer papers, 1915-circa 1993, bulk 1930-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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