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Costantino Nivola papers, circa 1938-2003

Nivola, Costantino, 1911-1988



Collection Information

Size: 2 Linear feet

Summary: Correspondence, project files, teaching files, loan agreements and shipping records, writings, photographs, works of art, and audio visual material documenting the career of Constantino Nivola as a sculptor and teacher.
Correspondence is with galleries, museums, universities, foundries, colleagues, and friends, and concerns exhibitions, sales, awards, teaching, speaking engagements, and Nivola's professional activities. Project files document commissions including archaeological salvage of the Abu Simbel Temple, Egypt; Family and Criminal Courthouse, Bronx, N.Y.; Morse and Stiles College, Yale University; Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, Division of Employment Security Building, Boston, Mass.; Vappi & Company, Inc., Boston, Mass., and a number of public schools, and contain contracts, proposals, drawings, invoices and receipts, and correspondence, mainly with architects Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki, among others. Documentation of Nivola's teaching career consists of course outlines and descriptions, and texts of talks given by Nivola at a symposium, and student essays.
Loan and shipping records relate mainly to exhibitions. Writings include Nivola's manuscripts about his own life and work, and about other artists; also included are manuscripts about Nivola by others. Printed matter includes: press releases, exhibition catalogs, invitations, announcements, dedication programs, newsclippings and magazine articles about or illustrated by Nivola.
Photographs are of Nivola and include views of him at work and demonstrating his sandcasting technique. The majority of photographs document commissions such as Olivetti Showroom, New York, N.Y.; McCormick Place Exposition Hall, Chicago, Ill.; and Sassi Monument, Poet's Plaza, Sardinia, Italy. Other photographs document small scale work and a 1958 solo exhibition held in Sardinia, Italy. Works of art include 28 black marker and 2 colored ink drawings by Nivola.
Audio visual material includes film, video and audio reformatted by the donor on to DVD and CD, including Nivola's recordings in Egypt, circa 1965, as adviser for the Abu Simbel project and East Hampton, N.Y (8 DVDs); interviews and programs with Nivola conducted by Elaine Benson, Fred Licht, and Thomas Herskovic, as well as posthumous exhibition footage (6 DVDs); and interviews with Nivola conducted by Jeffery Potter (including an interview regarding Jackson Pollock) and a recording of June 1995 inauguration of the Museo Novola in Orani, Sardinia (9 CDs).

Biographical/Historical Note

Constantino Nivola (1911-1988) was a sculptor and design teacher in Easthampton, N.Y. and Sardinia, Italy. Nivola was born in Sardinia, Italy, and trained at Instituto Superiore d Arte, Monza, Italy. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1939, and was employed as an art director, editor of architecture and design publications, and design instructor at the college level. Nivola developed a sandcasting technique which he used extensively for producing sculptural murals in concrete. His commissions include murals, fountains, sculptures, and monuments for public buildings and corporate headquarters.


Donated 1979 and 1980 by Costantino Nivola and in 2012 by Clair and Pietro Nivola, Nivola's childern.

Language Note

Some correspondence, newsclippings and audio visual material are in Italian.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

A portion of the collection is available on 35mm microfilm reels 4282-4283 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Reproductions of a portion of the collection are available at Costantino Nivola Museum, Sardinia, Italy.

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.

How to Cite This Collection

Costantino Nivola papers, circa 1938-2003. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.