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John Altoon art work and papers, [ca.1940-1969]

John Altoon art work and papers, [ca.1940-1969]

Altoon, John, 1925-1969


Collection Information

Size: 1.7 linear ft.

Summary: Over 300 pencil and pencil and ink drawings (ca. 1950s-1960s), mostly contained in sketchbooks and tablets, as well as numerous loose sketches and several mixed-media works on board. Also found are Altoon's letters and a ship's log dating from his years of WWII Navy service in the Pacific.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter; Los Angeles, Calif.; b. 1925, d. 1969 Altoon (born Altoonian), was a major figure in the Los Angeles art scene from the 1950s until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He began painting in the abstract-expressionist style, but by the mid-1960s his works turned to the figure, characterized by skillful draftsmanship and sexual imagery.


Donated 1998 by Roberta L. Thompson, John Altoon's widow.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

John Altoon art work and papers, [ca.1940-1969]. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.