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Ibram Lassaw papers, 1928-2004

Lassaw, Ibram, 1913-2003



Collection Information

Size: 3.1 linear feet

Summary: The Ibram Lassaw papers measure 3.1 linear feet and date from 1928-2004. Included are biographical material, correspondence, writings, slides, a scrapbook and additional printed material and audio visual material documenting the career of sculptor Ibram Lassaw. Some of the material has been compiled by Lassaw's daughter, Denise Lassaw, by photocopying original documents and in some cases, compiling them into booklets for her "Lassaw Archives Project." There is a 1.0 linear foot addition to this collection donated 2019 that includes 29 VHS tapes, circa 1984-2004, lectures, television appearances, interviews and other events regarding Ibram Lassaw and other artists.
Biographical information includes resumes and interview certificates; childhood drawings including three volumes of Lassaw's childhood handmade encyclopedia of art; a portfolio containing poems, reminiscences, art work, and photographs prepared for the memorial service of Lassaw's friend, Denise Brown Hare. Correspondence includes letters from the Public Works of Art Project, the Whitney Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. A notebook labeled Alice Mason contains approximately 50 letters and postcards from Lassaw's friend and colleague Alice Trumbull Mason to Lassaw, 1932-1944, and a few letters from Lassaw to Mason. Writings include teaching notes and a reprint of an article by Lassaw, "Perspectives and Reflections of a Sculptor: A Memoir," 1968. Slides are of works of art. Printed material, loose and in a scrapbook, contains clippings, articles, exhibition catalogs, and announcements. Two booklets compiled by Denise Lassaw contain a variety of photocopied documentation such as clippings, photographs, and images of Lassaw's projection paintings digitized from slides. Also found are notebooks and records from Lassaw's involvement with the Springs Annual Art Exhibition; and mimeographed recipes from various artists, labeled "draft for artists' cookbook."

Biographical/Historical Note

Ibram Lassaw (1913-2003) was a sculptor in East Hampton, N.Y.


Donated 2001 and 2003 by Denise Lassaw, Ibram Lassaw's daughter and Ernestine Lassaw, Lassaw's widow, and in 2015 and 2019 by Denise Lassaw. Denise Lassaw has been organizing, arranging, and preserving her father's artwork and papers since 1996. Material on reels NY65-1, N69-129, N69-130, and 1810 was lent for microfilming 1965-1980 by Ibram Lassaw; material on reel N69-129 was subsequently donated with the 2015 accession.

Related Materials

Also available in the Archives on microfilm only are Lassaw's papers lent for microfilming. Microfilm reel NY65-1 includes approximately 200 photographs of Lassaw and his work, 1929-1964. Reel N69-121 includes letters received; writings on diverse subjects, such as art, religion and philosophy; drafts of articles and lectures; biographical sketches; typescript of interview with Lassaw and transcript of TV program in which he appeared along with Theodore Roszak discussing their sculptures commissioned by Yale & Towne; jottings of ideas and techniques for sculpture, and personal reflections. Reels N69-129-N69-130 and reel 1810 contain and notebooks recording daily activities, sculpture ideas, philosophical reflections, quotes from the writings of artists, philosophers and religious figures and some sketches of ideas for sculpture. Those mentioned include Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Bill King, Herman Cherry, Jim Brooks, Adolph Gottlieb and Peter Selz. Microfilm reel 2129 contains a photocopy of a notebook containing an inventory of Lassaw's work, 1929-1958, with a description of each work including the title, date, medium and size and records of the owners, selling prices, where and when each work was exhibited and reproduced, and some sketches of the works of art.

Location of Originals

  • Photographs, notebooks and other papers on reels NY65-1, N69-129, N69-130, & 1810: Originals returned to Ibram Lassaw after microfilming; material on reel N69-129 was subsequently donated.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Photographs, notebooks, and various papers: microfilm reels NY65-1, N69-129, N69-130, 1810 & 2129 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

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

Ibram Lassaw papers, 1928-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.