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Jack Stewart papers, 1926-2010

More Information

Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The Jack Stewart papers are dated 1926-2010 and measure 9.9 linear feet and 7.31 GB. A significant portion of the collection concerns Stewart's dissertation, "Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway" (New York University, 1989), related research, writings, and exhibitions on the subject. Biographical materials, correspondence, writings, printed and digital material, artwork, sketchbooks, and photographic materials document his career as a painter, muralist, designer, educator and administrator.
Biographical materials include a "Video Archive" in digital format, consisting mainly of Jack Stewart being interviewed on several occasions by Nancy Gold for her television show, "What It Takes." In addition to discussions about Stewart's career, the shows include examples of his paintings and murals along with views of him at work.
Correspondence mostly documents Stewart's artistic career and work as an educator and administrator; there is some personal correspondence, as well. Of particular note are letters to Rodman Townsend who commissioned a mural about the human brain; they discuss the details of the project and its evolution, brain research, and subsequent exhibitions of related paintings. Illustrated letters and greeting cards with original artwork are from Violet Baxter, Lorrie Goulet, Wolf Kahn, Clare Romano, Anthony Toney, and Sam Weiner. Herbert Brooks Walker sent several pieces of mail art and, while in Italy, collected graffiti information for Stewart. Letters Stewart wrote to his mother span decades; the best represented periods are the years he served in the U.S. Army and studied at Yale University.
Writings and notes consist of Stewart's dissertation ("Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway"), miscellaneous writings and notes, and art and architecture notebooks. Dissertation documentation includes the manuscript, drafts, and related records. Among the miscellaneous writings and notes - published and unpublished - are shorter pieces, articles, student papers, and teaching notes. Of particular interest are notes/instructions for a performance piece titled "Endless Subway," "Memories of Steffan Thomas" and "My Recollection of Charles Egan." Also found are minutes of Cooper Union adjunct faculty meetings (1965-1966), and reports written when provost of the Rhode Island School of Design. Art and architecture notebooks (5 volumes) were compiled while at Yale University.
Research files on graffiti contain many sound recordings and some transcripts of interviews with graffiti writers, voluminous lists of graffiti writers' names/tags, correspondence, notes, photographs, and a wide variety of printed material. Some of the material is in digital format. Stewart began collecting these materials as his interest in graffiti developed. They were used for his dissertation and material continued to be added after the dissertation was completed.
Printed material mentioning Stewart or containing reproductions of his work includes exhibition catalogs, posters, and newsletters.
Artwork by Jack Stewart consists of drawings, paintings, and one etching; also found are designs and plans for tables, murals, and other projects. Drawings include figure studies, heads, and landscapes; most are in pencil and some in ink. The small number of paintings are oil on canvas (removed from stretchers), and gouache on paper and board. Sketchbooks (44 volumes) contain mostly pencil drawings and sketches, and a few studies for paintings and murals. Two volumes include writings about travels and events; of particular interest are "Notes on Kline's funeral May 1962," "Visit to Roman Bronze Art Foundry," and "Notes on My Development."
Photographic materials consist mainly photographs, but also include digital images and 35-mm color slides. Images of Stewart include views of him with paintings and working in his studio. Identified individuals with whom he appears are: Regina Stewart (wife), Brandon Stewart (son), Lil Stewart (mother), Ninalee Craig, Irving Sandler, and students in Urbino, Italy. Photographs of artwork document murals such as Raw Material (composed of shirt labels), and Versailles Hotel in Miami Beach; among the paintings documented are State of the Union, Icons of Western Art and Revelation XVI-16 (both with keys to individuals portrayed). Exhibition openings and installations are shown in photographs, color slides, and video recordings. Also found are photographs of the World Trade Center site taken by Stewart in December 2001.
Language
English
Provenance
Donated in 2010 by Regina Stewart, widow of Jack Stewart.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level by Catherine S. Gaines in 2012.
The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics, when possible, in order to increase access to more of our collections. Minimal processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder tiles and dates, but not arranged further. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders. Staples and other fasteners were not removed, but materials were removed from binders or damaged bindings.
Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.