Skip to main content

Arnold Geissbuhler papers, 1915-1977

Geissbuhler, Arnold, 1897-1993

Art teacher, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 0.3 Linear feet, (partially microfilmed on 6 reels)

Summary: Biographical material, correspondence (1920-1977), diaries, notes and writings, art works, subject files (1939-1968), printed material (1919-1971), and photographs (1919-1929) document Geissbuhler's artistic activities in Paris and New England.
Reels 1267-1268: Many letters (1920-1971), written by Geissbuhler to his wife Elisabeth Chase Geissbuhler, are illustrated. Other correspondents include Adelyn Breeskin, Margaret Browne, Edward W. Forbes, and A. Conger Goodyear. Art works consist of 26 sketchbooks (1915-1962), annotated in French and English, and over 600 figure studies (1922-1970). Printed material includes a Sculptors' Guild brochure, art course announcements (1958), and clippings (1924-1971). Other materials consist of 2 autobiographical accounts, an award from the Cambridge Centennial Exhibition (1946), an address book and calling cards.
Reel 1271: Printed material includes reproductions of Geissbuhler's work, an advertisement for the Academie Julian (1919), an exhibition announcement (1921), and a clipping (1925). Photographs (1919-1922) and a photograph album (1921-1929) contain images of Geissbuhler in his studio, his works, his family, and friends including Otto Banninger, Antoine Bourdelle, Alberto Giacometti, his father Giovanni Giacometti, and Germaine Richier. Sixteen photographs show art classes, primarily Bourdelle's classes (1919-1922), and Charles Graffley's studio (1921). Other materials consist of biographical notes, an award certificate and 4 sketches (1918).
Reel 1331: Correspondence consists of letters received from Antoine and Rhoda Bourdelle (1921-1977) and general correspondence concerning art business matters (1927-1971). A diary in 8 volumes (1921-1922) contains some illustrated entries. Printed material (1934-1971) consists of 40 exhibition catalogs, 8 clippings, and a school brochure. Four loose sketches are undated. Seven subject files concerning Geissbuhler's sculpture projects contain letters, business records, notes, and clippings.
Reel 1813: Photographs of Geissbuhler's work and one of his house, ca. 1924-1933.
Unfilmed: Letters (1937-1941) concern Geissbuhler's work for the WPA, Treasury Department, and the Federal Works Agency, primarily the Medford project and the Foxboro, Massachusetts, post office project. Other material consists of 3 forms, 2 exhibition catalogs, a press release concerning government projects, 2 rolled charcoal drawings and 2 photographs of the sculptural relief "Straw Cutting and Weaving" from the Foxboro, Massachusetts post office project, and notes.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sculptor; Dennis, Mass. Born in Delemont, Switzerland. In 1914, Geissbuhler traveled to Zurich to become a sculptor's apprentice in the studio of Otto Munch. He attended the Kunst Gewerbe School and worked as Munch's assistant until 1919. In that year, Geissbuhler went to Paris to study with Antoine Bourdelle at the Academie Julian. He maintained a studio in Paris until 1927, when he travelled to the United States and married Elisabeth Chase, a Boston sculptor whom he met in Bourdelle's class. They moved to New England in 1933, and in 1937 he became an art instructor at Wellesley College.


Material on reels 1267-1268, 1271, 1331 and 1813 lent for microfilming 1977-1978; unmicrofilmed material donated 1984 all by Arnold Geissbuhler.

Language Note

Seventy-five percent of the material is in French.

Location of Originals

  • Reels 1267-1268, 1271, 1331, and 1813: Originals returned to the lender, Arnold Geissbuhler, after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 1267-1268, 1271, 1331, and 1813 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Arnold Geissbuhler papers, 1915-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.