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Dore Ashton papers, 1849, circa 1928-2014

Dore Ashton papers, 1849, circa 1928-2014

Ashton, Dore, 1928-

Educator, Author, Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 35.6 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. A minimally processed addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dore Ashton (1928-) is an art critic, author, and educator living in New York, New York.

Provenance

The Dore Ashton papers were donated 1982, 1997, 2011 by Dore Ashton and in 2016 by Ashton and her daughter Paris Devereaux.

Related Materials

Dore Ashton papers are also located at Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

A Finding Aid to the Dore Ashton Papers, 1849, 1931-2014 in the Archives of American Art
AAA.ashtdore
Author
Finding aid prepared by Valerie Vanden Bossche
Biographical/Historical note
Dore Ashton (1928-) is an art critic, author, and educator living in New York City. She wrote, contributed , and edited more than 30 books. Ashton was born in Newark New Jersey in 1928 and received an MA from Harvard University in 1950. Her many books and articles focus on late 19th and 20th century art and artists. Ashton was associate editor at
Art Digest
from 1952-1954, and critic for
Arts and Architecture
at the
New York Times
, 1955-1960. Starting in 1962 she held several lecturing posts at various institutions including the School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union, and the New School for Social Research. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1964 and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1980. Among Ashton's books are
Abstract Art Before Columbus
, 1956;
Poets and the Past
, 1959;
A Joseph Cornell Album
, 1974;
Yes, But…A Critical Study of Philip Guston
, 1976,
About Rothko
, 1983;
The New York School: a Cultural Reckoning
, 1973;
Noguchi East and West
, 1992; and
David Rankin: The New York Years
, 2013. Dore Ashton was the first critic to develop a comprehensive and eye-witness account of the history of the Abstract Expressions.
Ashton married artist Adja Yunkers (1900-1983) in 1953, and they had two daughters Alexandra (known as Sasha) and Marina. In 1985 she married writer Matti Megged (1923-2003).
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1962-1978
Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-2010, undated
Series 3: Writings, 1952-1976, undated
Series 4: Research files, 1849, 1950-1984, 2009, undated
Series 5: Printed Materials, 1931-1981, undated
Series 6: Artwork, 1949, 1952, 1983, undated
Series 7: Photographs of Artwork, circa 1950-2010
Series 8: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1960-2014 (Box 17-46; 28.7 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of Dore Ashton measure 41.5 linear feet and date from 1931-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, over 4.5 linear feet of correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with many artists, writers and others, including Pat Adams, James Adley, Rudolf Arnheim, Jake Berthot, Dennis Congdon, George Herbert, Remo Guidieri, Barbara Howes, Fred Licht, Joan Punyet Miro, Carl Fredrik Reutersward, and Hedda Sterne, among others. Smaller amounts of letters are from Joseph Albers, Edward Albee, Richard Avedon, Richard Diebenkorn, David Driskell, Alberto Gicometti, Philip Guston, Lillian Hellman, Alger Hiss, Bernard Malamud, Joan Miro, Robert Motherwell, Lewis Mumford, Claes Oldenburg, Oliver Sachs, and Vassilis Vassilikos.
Among the papers are an unprocessed addition of 28.7 linear feet dating from circa 1960-2014, which includes biographical information; personal correspondence with artists such as Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, and Mark Rothko; journals and essays by Ashton; subject files pertaining to Ashton's writing and research; and photographs of Ashton's family and friends.
Writings consist of transcripts of miscellaneous articles or those written for various publications. Research files include reference or research materials for books, exhibitions, individuals and various topics. Individuals and topics include Jacopo Luis Borges, Allan Kaprow, Richard Lindner, Seong Moy, Jean Tinguely, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Adja Yunkers; and Dadaism, poetry and symbolism.
Provenance
The Dore Ashton papers were donated 1982, 1997, 2011 by Dore Ashton and in 2016 by Ashton and her daughter Paris Devereaux.
Related Archival Materials note
Among the holdings of the Archives is an oral history interview with Dore Ashton conducted November 21, 2010 by George W. Sampson, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project.
Dore Ashton papers are also located at Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Processing Information note
The collection was partially processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 1997. The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid created by Valerie Vanden Bossche in 2013 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund. Series 8 is an unprocessed addition.

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

Dore Ashton papers, 1849, circa 1928-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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