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Carlo Alberto Ciampaglia papers, 1909-1978

Carlo Alberto Ciampaglia papers, 1909-1978

Ciampaglia, Carlo Alberto, 1891-1975

Interior designer, Muralist

Collection Information

Size: 5.6 linear ft.

Summary: Found within the papers are biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes and writings, art work, interior decorating and mural project files, printed material, and photographs. Correspondence consists of letters exchanged with family and colleagues, primarily with Harry Sternfeld referring to various projects, including a report and 13 photographs of the deteriorating cyclorama mural at Gettysburg. Correspondence concerning the George Washington Bicentennial Exhibition consists primarily of letters and scattered notes documenting Ciampaglia's role as Acting Chairman during the planning of this exhibition.

Business records include estate documents for various Ciampaglia family members, and miscellaneous financial records including receipts from financial transactions with E. Richard Panzironi. Miscellaneous notes concern a variety of topics including the Stations of the Cross, decorative encaustic painting, and an illustrated recipe for wine. Writings include a typescript about James Whistler, descriptions of decorations on screens, and a typescript "A Lesson in Socialism" by Thomas J. Shelly. Art work consists of sketchbooks and loose sketches unconnected with specific mural or interior decoration projects.

Project files contain correspondence primarily with architects, contracts, invoices, receipts, art work, printed material, and photographs concerning Ciampaglia's most important mural and interior decoration commissions. There are glass plate slides of Ciampaglia's work for the Texas Centennial Exposition, New York World's Fair, Isaly Dairy, and the U.S. Military Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. Sketches for the U.S. Military Cemetery at Nettuno include two paintings on board and cartoons pierced with pin holes for transfer of the various images onto the mural.

Printed material includes clippings, a prospectus, exhibition announcements and catalogs, annual reports from the American Academy in Rome and the Architectural League of New York, reproductions of art work, and miscellaneous printed material concerning various topics including the Mural Painters, and the National Academy of Design. Photographs are of Ciampaglia, family members, colleagues, his home and studio, travel scenes, and art work.

Biographical/Historical Note

Mural painter, interior designer; New York, N.Y.


Donated 1978 by Mrs. Carlo Ciampaglia, widow of Carlo Ciampaglia.

A Finding Aid to the Carlo Ciampaglia Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Carlo Ciampaglia was born March 8, 1891 in Roccaraso, Italy, the son of Natale and Benelde Delmonico Ciampaglia. He came to the United States with his family before his first birthday and became a naturalized citizen in 1919. After attending public schools in Hoboken, New Jersey, Ciampaglia began studying drawing at Cooper Union in 1909, and painting at the National Academy of Design, receiving his diploma in 1917.
In 1920, Ciampaglia married Annette Paltrinieri, and in the same year, he was awarded the Prix de Rome. This prize entitled him to study at the American Academy in Rome, Italy, for the next three years. During this time, he also traveled to other European countries.
Shortly after returning to New York in 1923, Ciampaglia executed a commission for Philadelphia architect Harry Sternfeld to decorate the house of Mr. Frank Potter of Rome, New York. Other commissions included designs for the ceilings of the Chicago Tribune Building, decorations in the chapel of the Fairmount Mausoleum, Newark, and decoration for the niches and ceilings at the First Slovak Girls' Academy, Danville, Pennsylvania.
In 1936, Ciampaglia was commissioned to undertake a major mural project for the Texas Centennial Exposition, for which he completed murals for the transportation, foods, agriculture, and livestock buildings. Three years later, he completed murals for the foods building at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Ciampaglia lived on his estate, "Woodpeckers' Point," in Middle Valley, New Jersey and maintained a studio on Broadway in New York City. He was also an instructor at Cooper Union and at the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York. He was a member of the Mural Painters Society of America, the Architectural League, and the Allied Artists of America, and was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design.
Carlo Alberto Ciampaglia died in 1975.
All series are arranged chronologically. Glass plate negatives have been housed separately in Boxes 6 and 7, and are closed to researchers. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Boxes 8, 9, 10, and OV 11, and is noted in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references. The collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1912-1969, undated (Box 1; 8 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1912-1978, undated (Box 1; 45 folders)
Series 3: Business Records, 1923-1961, undated (Box 1; 11 folders)
Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1927, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 5: Art Work, 1920, undated (Boxes 1, 8; 6 folders)
Series 6: Project Files, 1924-1961, undated (Boxes 1-2, 6-8, OV 11; 2.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1913-1975, undated (Boxes 3, 8; 32 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, 1909-1960, undated (Boxes 3-5, 7, 9-10; 1.4 linear feet)
Donated 1978 by Mrs. Carlo Ciampaglia, widow of Carlo Ciampaglia.
Processing Information
The papers were processed in 2006 by Jean Fitzgerald. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2014 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

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

Carlo Alberto Ciampaglia papers, 1909-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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