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Isabel Bishop papers, 1914-1983

Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988


The papers of Isabel Bishop in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008 . The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 2,150 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 2.6 linear ft.

Summary: The collection documents Bishop's painting career, her friendship with other artists, and her participation in several arts organizations. There are scattered biographical documents, correspondence with fellow artists such as Peggy Bacon, Warren Chappell, Edward Laning, and R. B. Kitaj, and with writers, curators, museums, galleries, arts organizations, and others. Also found are arts organization files, Bishop's writings about Warren Chappell and friend Reginald Marsh, notes, exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material, photographs of Bishop and her artwork, and photographs of Reginald and Felicia Marsh. Original artwork includes 8 sketchbooks, loose sketches, prints, and watercolor figure studies.
Bishop was friends with many artists and cultural figures and her correspondence includes letters to and from artists such as John Taylor Arms, Peggy Bacon, Peter Blume, Warren Chappell (many letters from Chappell are illustrated), Sidney Delevante, Edwin Dickinson, Philip Evergood, John Folinsbee, Malvina Hoffman, Jo Hopper, James Kearns, Leon Kroll, Clare Leighton, Jack Levine, Alice Neel, Hobson Pittman, Fairfield Porter, Abraham Rattner, Katherine Schmidt, Henry Schnakenberg, Raphael Soyer, George Tooker, Stuyvesant Van Veen, Franklin Watkins, Mahonri Young, and William Zorach. Bishop not only corresponded with artists but also many poets, authors, historians, and dancers, such as Van Wyck Brooks, John Canaday, John Ciardi, Merce Cunningham, Babette Deutsch, Edna Ferber, Richmond Lattimore, Marianne Moore, Lewis Mumford, Kurt Vonnegut, and Glenway Westcott. Also found are letters from many galleries, museums, and schools which exhibited or purchased her work, including curators Juliana Force and Una Johnson.
Bishop kept files from her affiliations with the American Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers and the New Society of Artists, containing mostly membership and financial records, and a file on a UNESCO conference. Unfortunately, files documenting her membership and vice presidency of the National Institute of Arts & Letters are not found here.
A small amount of Bishop's writings and notes include essays about friends and artists Reginald Marsh and Warren Chappell. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, news clippings, magazines, and a design by G. Alan Chidsey for a book about Bishop. Photographs depict Bishop with her husband and in her studio, her artwork, and also include three photographs of her friend, Reginald Marsh.
Original artwork includes eight small sketchbooks, loose pen and ink sketches, intaglio prints, watercolor figure studies, and a drawing of Bishop by Aaron Bohrod.

Biographical/Historical Note

Isabel Bishop (1902-1988) was a painter from New York, N.Y.


Donated by Isabel Bishop, 1959-1983. Material was microfilmed as it was received during the period 1959-1971. Material received after 1971 was processed and microfilmed, with funds provided by the Bay Foundation. Portions of material on reels NY59-4 & 5 were lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art and Midtown Galleries.

Related Materials

The Whitney Museum of American Art and Midtown Galleries loaned additional Bishop papers to the Archives for microfilming on reels NY59-4 and NY59-5. These items were returned to the lenders after microfilming and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.