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George Sugarman papers, 1912-2001

Sugarman, George, 1912-1999

Painter, Sculptor

Collection Information

Size: 12.22 Linear feet 21.83 Gigabytes

Summary: The papers of painter and sculptor George Sugarman measure 12.22 linear feet and 21.83 GB and date from 1912 to 2001, with the bulk of the material dating from 1959 to 1999. The collection documents Sugarman's career as a sculptor primarily through correspondence, project files, exhibition files, writings, and photographs. The collection also includes address and appointment books, business and financial records, and printed material. A partially processed addition consisting of audio (3 sound cassettes) and video recordings (1 video reel, 1/2", 11 videocassettes, 7 U-matic and 4 VHS), and one Super 8 mm motion picture film, as well as digital copies of the film and video recordings, includes lectures by Sugarman, documentaries about Sugarman and his sculptures, and radio and television appearances by Sugarman.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with family members, friends, artists, and scholars, reflecting Sugarman's diverse influences and interests. The project files and exhibition files illustrate Sugarman's prolific career as an artist and document Sugarman's numerous projects and exhibitions abroad, particularly in Japan.
The writings by Sugarman are noteworthy as they reveal the integral relationship between Sugarman's philosophical theories about art and his actual works of art. The business and financial records mainly document expenses incurred while working on various projects and exhibitions and while traveling. Maps, clippings, and brochures from Sugarman's many travels are included as well as exhibition catalogs and announcements for Sugarman and others. The collection also contains photographs of George Sugarman and his artwork, dating mostly from the 1970s.

Biographical/Historical Note

George Sugarman was a painter and sculptor who disliked labels because he believed they oversimplified the complexity of art, and Sugarman's artwork, like the artist himself, resists classification and oversimplification. Although he was influenced by Surrealist imagery, Cubist ideas of space, Baroque sculpture, and Abstract Expressionism, Sugarman's sculptures also display a musical quality, reflecting his interest in jazz music and improvisation. Sugarman was a pioneer in the use of color in sculpture and is probably best known for his large, polychrome aluminum sculptures.


In 1970, George Sugarman lent material to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. In 1980 and 1983, George Sugarman donated portions of the material previously lent, along with additional materials. Additional materials were donated by Sugarman's niece, Arden Sugarman Eilopolous, in 1999 and 2000. In 2006, the Sugarman Foundation via Arden Sugarman donated the audio and video recordings.

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