Size: 1.3 Linear feet
Summary: The papers of abstract artist Alice Trumbull Mason date from 1921 to 1977 and measure 1.3 linear feet. The collection documents her career as a painter, particularly her role as one of the founders of the American Abstract Artists group, through biographical materials; correspondence with family, friends, fellow artists, art galleries, museums, and organizations; writings and notes, including notebooks of poetry and other creative writings; a small amount of printed material; photographs of Mason, friends, and her artwork; and original artwork, including five sketchbooks.
Alice Trumbull Mason was born in 1904 in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her mother, Anne Leavenworth Train, was an accomplished artist before she met Alice's father, William Trumbull, a descendent of the Revolutionary War era painter, John Trumbull. Alice spent much of her childhood in Europe with her family. From 1921 to 1922 they lived in Florence and Rome where she studied at the British Academy. In 1923 she continued her studies with painter Charles W. Hawthorne at the National Academy of Design in New York and from 1927 to 1928 attended courses at the Grand Central Art Galleries taught by Arshile Gorky. Gorky inspired her interest in abstract painting, and Mason painted her first non-objective works in 1929. In 1928 she returned to Italy and Greece and was greatly influenced by ancient art, Byzantium, and Italian primitives. She married Warwood Mason, a merchant seaman, in 1930 and her daughter Emily was born in 1932 and her son Jonathan in 1933. During this period she stopped painting and devoted her creative energy to writing poetry inspired by American avant-garde writers.
A portion of this collection was donated by Alice Trumbull Mason in 1969. Additional material was donated from 1972 to 1977 by Mason's daughter, Emily Mason Kahn.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is a collection of interviews by Ruth Bowman of members of the American Abstract Artists group conducted between 1963-1965, that includes an interview with Alice Trumbull Mason. The Archives of American Art also houses 2.3 linear feet of the records of the American Abstract Artists group. A portion of the material donated by Alice Trumbull Mason in 1969 relating to her involvement with the American Abstract Artists was separated and filed with the American Abstract Artists records at the Archives of American Art. Files of news clippings and exhibition catalogs were transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library after microfilming.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art