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Elmer Bischoff papers, 1914-1990

Elmer Bischoff papers, 1914-1990

Bischoff, Elmer Nelson, 1916-1991

Painter, Educator

Collection Information

Size: 3.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of San Francisco painter and arts instructor Elmer Bischoff measure 3.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 1990, with the bulk of the material dating from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. Found within the papers are biographical materials, scattered correspondence, notes and notebooks, teaching and student files, printed materials, artwork and two sketchbooks, and photographs and negatives of Bischoff, his family, post World War II Europe, and artwork studies.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elmer Bischoff (1916-1991) was an influential painter and arts instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area figurative art movement that emerged in the early 1950s.

Provenance

The two items on reel 2787 were donated 1974 by Bischoff. His papers were donated in 1991, by his widow, Adelie Bischoff.

A Finding Aid to the Elmer Bischoff papers, 1914-1990, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.biscelme
Author
Finding aid prepared by Alexandra Krensky
Biographical/Historical note
Elmer Bischoff (1916-1991) was an influential painter and arts instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area figurative art movement that emerged in the early 1950s.
Bischoff grew up in Berkeley, California and attended the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, receiving his Master of Arts in 1939. During the Great Depression, he became involved with the Federal Art Project and taught ceramics at an arts center in Sacramento, California. During World War II, he served in the US Air Force and was stationed in England as an intelligence officer. When he returned to California in 1945, he taught at the California School of Fine Arts (now known as San Francisco Art Institute) with Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Ad Reinhardt. He resigned from the school in the early 1950s when he took up figurative painting, but returned in 1956 to head the graduate program. In 1963 he became an associate professor at UC Berkeley, and was promoted to full professor in 1965, where he stayed until he retired in 1985.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1930-1990 (Box 1, 0.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-1990 (Box 1, 0.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Notes and Notebooks, 1976-1989 (Box 1, 0.3 linear feet)
Series 4: University Files, 1954-1990 (Box 2, 0.4 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1941-1990 (Box 3-6, 1.6 linear feet)
Series 6: Artwork and Sketchbooks, 1958, undated (Box 7-8, 0.6 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographic Materials, 1914-1990 (Box 9, 0.2 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of San Francisco painter and arts instructor Elmer Bischoff measure 3.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 1990, with the bulk of the material dating from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. Found within the papers are biographical materials, scattered correspondence, notes and notebooks, teaching and student files, printed materials, artwork and two sketchbooks, and photographs and negatives of Bischoff, his family, post World War II Europe, and artwork studies.
Biographical materials document jurying on art prize committees, interviews with others, lists of names and addresses, and biographical materials. Scattered correspondence is with Staempfli Gallery, organizations, and artists. Notes and notebooks document people Bischoff kept in touch with, as well as day-to-day occurrences in his life, including health and travel. University files document Bischoff's years as a professor at UC Berkeley, as well as papers written about him and notes from his days as a student at UC Berkeley. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material documenting exhibitions, magazines and newspapers where Bischoff's work was profiled, and materials that document his personal interests. Artwork and two sketchbooks contain drawings, watercolors, and collages by Bischoff. Photographs are of Bischoff, his family, travel, and art resource photographs.
Provenance
The two items on reel 2787 were donated 1974 by Bischoff. His papers were donated in 1991, by his widow, Adelie Bischoff.
Related Archival Materials note
Among other resources relating to the Elmer Bischoff papers are two oral histories with Bischoff; one conducted in 1965 by Mary McChesney and the other conducted in 1977 by Paul J. Karlstrom.
Processing Information note
The collection was minimally processed, arranged, and described by Alexandra Krensky in 2013 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
The goal for minimal-level processing at the Archives of American Art is to provide access to collections as quickly as possible while maintaining our high standards for arrangement, description and preservation. Generally, materials are minimally rearranged, existing folder titles are retained, and all materials are rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Staples and other fasteners are not removed, but materials are removed from binders or damaged binding when necessary.

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. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Elmer Bischoff papers, 1914-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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