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Cleo (Cleo Dorman) papers, circa 1930s-1990

Cleo, 1908-1990

Artists' model


Collection Information

Size: 1.3 Linear feet

Summary: An autobiography (unpublished), "Cleo: A Naked Woman's Handbook," 1982; correspondence; writings and notes; lists of artwork in her collection (almost entirely of drawings and paintings of her given to her by the artists for whom she posed); photographs of Cleo and of works of art in which she posed; posing schedules; printed material relating to artists for whom she posed; and material relating to the scholarship fund she established to assist minority art students. There is an addition of 50 black and white and color photographs of Cleo and friends at an exhibit "Cleo: Fifty Years as an Artist's Model" at Otis/Parsons Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1990, and 3 photographs of Cleo modeling, circa 1980 donated 2020.

Biographical/Historical Note

Cleo (Cleo Dorman) (1908-1990) was an artist's model in Los Angeles, California. Born Essie Cleo Dorman, May 16, 1908, Cleo modeled at a number of art schools, among them the Cranbrook Academy, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Student's League, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Otis Art Institue in Los Angeles and at various university art schools.


Donated 1995 and 2020 by Jennifer Coile, trustee of Cleo's estate.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

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

Cleo (Cleo Dorman) papers, circa 1930s-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.