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Jacques Lipchitz papers and Bruce Bassett papers concerning Jacques Lipchitz, circa 1910-2001, bulk bulk 1941-2001

Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973

Painter, Sculptor

This site provides access to the papers of Jacques Lipchitz and Bruce Bassett concerning Jacques Lipchitz in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 12,803 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by The Jacques and Yulla Lipchitz Foundation, Inc.

Collection Information

Size: 52.8 Linear feet

Summary: The Jacques Lipchitz papers and Bruce Bassett papers concerning Jacques Lipchitz measure 52.8 linear feet and are dated circa 1910-2001, with the bulk of the material from the period 1941-2001. Papers are comprised of sculptor Jacques Lipchitz's personal papers and filmmaker Bruce Bassett's papers relating to Jacques Lipchitz. Lipchitz's personal papers contain personal and professional correspondence, comprising nearly half of the series, along with biographical material, writings by and about Lipchitz, printed material, and photographs documenting Lipchitz's commissions, exhibitions, friendships, and interests. Also found are records relating to the compilation and production of The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz: A Catalogue Raisonné by Alan G. Wilkinson. The Bruce Bassett papers relating to Jacques Lipchitz consist mainly of Bassett's extensive audiovisual documentation of Lipchitz's life and art. Also found are paper records related to the audiovisual projects, including letters, business records, printed materials, and production records. A small quantity of material unrelated to Lipchitz is also found among the Bassett material, including video and sound recordings related to Sidney Lifchez, IBM, Isamu Noguchi, the Storm King Sculpture Center, and Auguste Rodin.
The Jacques Lipchitz biographical material includes an address book, biographical notes, membership cards, rent receipts and a lease, and a survey of Lipchitz's property in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.
Correspondence is both professional and personal in nature. Approximately 20 percent is in foreign languages. French predominates, followed by Russian; German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Latvian, Hebrew, and Yiddish are also represented.
Professional correspondence documents business transactions with architects, potential clients, museum officials, art dealers, and others concerning commissions, exhibition plans, loans of artwork, jury service, etc. Art groups, Jewish organizations and charities wrote to solicit donations of artwork for fundraising events and issued invitations to speak or be a guest of honor. Scholars contacted Lipchitz about their research and requested information about specific works by him, items in his collection, and his opinions on a variety of subjects. Also found are fan letters from aspiring artists seeking advice, and from the general public asking for the opportunity to meet Lipchitz and visit his studio. After the 1952 studio fire, many friends and strangers sent letters of condolence and encouragement.
Correspondence with wife Yulla, nephew Gyorgy Hay, and close friends recounts personal and family news, activities, and sometimes touches on future plans. Among these correspondents are: Jenny Courtois, Varian and Annette Fry, Leo Gaspard, R. Sturgis Ingersoll, Gregorio Landau, Juan and Marianne Larrea, Camille Soula, and Joel and Celeste Starrels.
Eleven small pocket diaries, 1940-1965, contain brief, often sporadic entries noting appointments, events, addresses and phone numbers, notes of expenses, and include some sketches. Among the other writings by Lipchitz are: a notebook containing random notes on sculpture; a list of sculptures destroyed in the 1952 studio fire; short pieces and fragments of writings about sculptors Mary Frank, Natan Rapoport, Auguste Rodin, and William Zorach; a memoir of Amedeo Modigliani; and articles and reflections on contemporary art and the church.
Catalogue raisonné records concern the compilation and production of The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz: A Catalogue Raisonné by Alan G. Wilkinson, sponsored by Marlborough Gallery, Inc.
Among the financial records are statements of the sculptor's accounts with Buchholz Gallery and Curt Valentin Gallery, and receipts for Lipchitz Collection purchases. Also found are insurance and tax records, as well as receipts for routine professional expenses and miscellaneous personal expenses.
Artwork consists of a few rough sketches by Lipchitz and several geometric designs by an unidentified artist. Two scrapbooks, 1945-1946, consist of newspaper clippings and a few items from other periodicals that mention Lipchitz or contain reproductions of his work. Volume 2 includes typescripts of an interview and remarks delivered by Lipchitz, both very brief.
Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, articles, press releases, books, programs, and reproductions concerning Lipchitz's exhibitions, sculpture, commissions, and events honoring him. Of particular interest are architectural prints showing sites and project details of several commissions. Also found are a variety of printed items about general art topics.
Photographs document people, artwork, project sites and models, exhibition installations, events, and places. People include Jacques Lipchitz, family members, and other individuals. Artwork represented is by Lipchitz and other artists. Views of Lipchitz exhibition installations mainly document solo shows. Photographs of events record a variety of occasions, among them: the opening of Lipchitz's studio in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY; a dedication ceremony for Philip Johnson's Roofless Church in New Harmony, IN, with ornamental gates and a sculpture by Lipchitz; and Lipchitz addressing an anatomy class at Albert Einstein Medical College. Among the pictures of places are Lipchitz's studios in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and Pietrasanta, Italy, and a view of Picasso's Paris studio.
The Bruce Bassett papers relating to Jacques Lipchitz contain mostly audiovisual materials from sound and film documentation projects conducted by Bassett with Lipchitz. Found are original sound recordings and photographs from Deborah Stott's 200 hour oral history with Jacques Lipchitz, as well as detailed, typewritten summaries of its content. Records from Bassett's film projects about Lipchitz include original film and sound recordings from Bassett's 40 hours of interviews with Lipchitz from 1971, and film documentation of the posthumous installations of Lipchitz's large-scale sculptures in Philadelphia, New York, and Israel in the late 1970s. In addition to the raw footage from these projects, which is incomplete, the collection contains workprint and final, edited works Bassett created in multiple versions and formats, and paper records documenting the film projects' creation, production, and later use.
Among the papers related to the film projects are scripts, an index to original footage, programming notes, film lab records, exhibition materials, an extensive collection of questions about Lipchitz gathered from the public for the interactive project, and other production records. Other papers include letters from Lipchitz and his wife, business correspondence, financial records, contracts, project files, and printed materials. Other projects by Bassett, unrelated to Lipchitz, are documented in video and sound recordings related to Sidney Lifchez, IBM, Isamu Noguchi, the Storm King Sculpture Center, and Auguste Rodin.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973), an internationally known and influential Cubist sculptor, studied in Paris and established his career there. He fled Paris just before the German occupation, arrived in New York City in 1941, and eventually settled in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.


Donated in 2010 by Hanno D. Mott, step-son of Jacques Lipchitz, and also on behalf of Loyla R. Lipchitz and Frank L. Mott.

Related Materials

Language Note

The bulk of papers are in English and French. Some papers are in Russian, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Latvian, Hebrew, and Yiddish. English; French; Russian; German; Dutch; Italian; Spanish; Latvian; Hebrew; Yiddish


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by The Jacques and Yulla Lipchitz Foundation, Inc.