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Benedict Tatti papers, 1936-2011, bulk 1945-1993

Benedict Tatti papers, 1936-2011, bulk 1945-1993

Tatti, Benedict Michael, 1917-1993

Sculptor, Teacher, Video artist

Collection Information

Size: 1.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York sculptor, painter, educator, and video artist, Benedict Tatti (1917-1993) measure 1.8 linear feet and date from 1936-2011, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1945-1993. Papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, project files, subject files, exhibition files, writings, notes, and lists, printed materials, and photographs. Exhibition files and printed material, such as catalogues and checklists, provide an overview of Tatti's activities as a sculptor and video artist. Also, photographs of artwork are a rich source of provenance-related information on Tatti's sculptures.

Biographical materials include curriculum vitae, Who's Who in American Art, memberships, and awards. Correspondence is primarily from colleagues, dealers, collectors, and representatives of museums, galleries, and arts organizations. There are a few outgoing letters from Benedict Tatti, including a handmade holiday card. Among the notable correspondents are Jane Canfield, Lloyd Goodrich, Louis Slobodkin, and William Zorach. Also found is a small portion of Adele Tatti's correspondence relating to her late husband's artwork.

Project files contain Tatti's commissions for Eutectic-Castolin Institute, Staten Island Community College, Statue of Liberty Restoration, and the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts; application proposals to Creative Artists Public Service program (CAPS); and the artist's invention of the rewind reel adapter. Subject files include Tatti's memberships and activities in professional associations, e.g., American Medallic Sculpture Association, American Numismatic Society, and Audubon Artists; Tatti's Artist-in-Residence proposals for the Television Lab, WNET 13; and his involvement in educational video presentations. Exhibition files consist of scattered materials on Tatti's shows at the Anthology Film Archives; Burr Galleries; Galerie Claude Bernard; The Kitchen, Mercer Arts Gallery; Northeast Harbor Gallery; and Roko Gallery.

Writings, notes, and lists include writings by Benedict Tatti; writings about Benedict Tatti, including a statement on the artist by Isamu Noguchi; and lists compiled by Adele Tatti relating to her late husband's work. Artwork contains Tatti's sketch of a sculpture for the Northeast Harbor Museum and sketches of medal designs. Printed material consists of announcements, brochures, invitations, exhibition catalogues and checklists, clippings, periodicals, newsletters, reproductions, other printed matter, and monographs. Photographs include black and white prints of portrait shots of Benedict Tatti, Tatti in his studio and with others, video equipment and Tatti's video art; also found are color photographs of Tatti's sculptures and design maquettes.

Biographical/Historical Note

Benedict Tatti (1917-1993) was a sculptor, video artist, and teacher in New York, N.Y.


Donated 2010 by Adele Tatti, Benedict Tatti's widow.

A Finding Aid to the Papers of Benedict Tatti, 1936-2011, bulk 1945-1993, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Benedict Tatti (1917-1993) worked in New York as a sculptor, painter, educator, and video artist.
Born in New York in 1917, Tatti began his art education at Haaren High School. He continued his studies at the Roerich Museum with Louis Slobodkin, the Art Students League with William Zorach and Ossip Zadkine, and the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art under Attillio Piccirelli. Later in his career, he attended the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. During World War II, Tatti served in the United States Army Air Force, where he spent three years assigned to variety of projects. In 1948, Benedict Tatti married Adele Rosenberg in New York City.
Throughout his career, Tatti continuously experimented with various media. From 1952-1963, Tatti executed sculptural models of architectural and consumer products for the industrial designers, Raymond Loewy Associates; later he became a color consultant for the firm. In the 1960s, influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, Tatti turned from carving directly in wood and stone to creating assemblage sculptures, using bronze metal and other industrial materials. During this period, Tatti spent summers on Monhegan Island in Maine, where he developed his water coloring techniques. In 1963, Tatti was hired to teach sculpture at the High School of Art and Design in New York, a position that he held for fifteen years.
In the 1970s, Tatti, with no previous background in video work developed technology for video imaging. He became an associate member of the Kitchen at the Mercer Arts Center exhibiting his video sculptures along with other early innovators of this new art form. In 1975, he invented a rewind reel adapter device. Despite health problems, Tatti continued to work and exhibit into the 1980s. He assisted his brother, Alexander Tatti and his nephew, Steven Tatti on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, which was completed in 1985.
Benedict Tatti received solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, including the Burr Gallery, Claude Bernard Galleries, Metropolitan Museum of Art, under the Artists for Victory Program, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Northeast Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Roko Gallery. Also, Tatti's work was regularly featured in annual exhibitions of several arts organizations: American Society of Contemporary Artists, Annual Avant Garde Festival, Audubon Artists, Brooklyn Society of Artists, and Painters and Sculptors Society of New Jersey. His awards included the National Soldier Art Competition at the National Gallery of Art (1945); Artist-in-Residence, National Center of Experiments TV, San Francisco, California, (1969); and the Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS), (1972). Tatti's artwork is in the permanent collections of the American Numismatic Society, Art Students League, Dumbarton Oaks, Monhegan Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.
Benedict Tatti died on July 30, 1993.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 9 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1936-1993 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-2008 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 3: Project Files, 1966-2005 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, circa 1950s-2008 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 6: Writings, Notes, and Lists, circa 1940s-2009 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Series 7: Artwork, 1970-circa 1990s (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1937-1976 (Boxes 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs (circa 1936-1970s), circa 1964-2010 (Box 3; 0.4 linear feet)
Donated 2010 by Adele Tatti, Benedict Tatti's widow.
Processing Information note
The papers were processed by Joy Weiner in June 2011.

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.

How to Cite This Collection

Benedict Tatti papers, 1936-2011, bulk 1945-1993. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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