Scope and Contents
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.
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.
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming. Reel N70-50 and N70-51 includes biographical material, an essay about George Sugarman, exhibition catalogs and announcements dating from 1954 to 1960, a certificate, writings by Sugarman, and correspondence dating 1953-1970. The originals of most of these materials were included in later donations. Reel N70-50 also contains a substantial number of photographs of Sugarman's natural wood sculptures from the late 1950s, his early works in wood, clay, and plaster dating from 1951 to 1958, his drawings and paintings from the late 1960s, installations and works in progress from 1960 to 1970, and photographs of Sugarman working in the studio in the 1960s. There are also twelve sketchbooks and loose pages dating from 1943 to 1958, which document Sugarman's travels to the South Pacific, New York City, France, Spain, and North Africa. Lent material not included in later gifts remain with the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
The transcript and audiotapes of an interview with George Sugarman conducted by Paul Cummings in 1974 for the Archives of American Art's Oral History Program is available at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection was processed by Rachel Edford with 2003 with funding provided by the Judith Rothschild Foundation. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.