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José de Creeft papers, 1871-2004, bulk 1910s-1980s

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Jayna M. Josefson
Scope and Contents
The papers of Spanish-born sculptor and educator José de Creeft measure 28.1 linear feet and date from 1871 to 2004 with the bulk of the material dating from the 1910s to the 1980s. Found are biographical materials, correspondence, fifty diaries, writings, subject files, personal business records, printed materials, twenty-seven photo albums and other photographs, scrapbooks, and scattered sketches.
Biographical materials include address books, awards, recorded interviews with and about de Creeft, membership materials, naturalization records, resumes, and travel documents.
Correspondence is primarily professional in nature and concerns exhibitions, de Creeft's involvement in arts organizations, and awards. There are also scattered personal letters from family and friends. Correspondents include Alexander Calder, Nina, Alice, Barbara and William de Creeft, Hunt Diederich, Joseph Escudar, and Gil Gomez, Jacques Lipchitz, Edwin Dickinson, James Johnson Sweeney, Costantino Nivola, Abraham Rattner, and Lamar Dodd, among others.
De Creeft's fifty diaries are nearly complete for the period dating from 1926 to 1981. Some are bound volumes and others are loose pages. The bulk of the diaries are in Spanish and many include sketches. Additional writings, called "escritos varios" by José de Creeft, are mostly in Spanish and consist of typed manuscripts and essays, including "Roosty Was My Friend, 1957, notebooks, an artist's statement, and writings by others, including drafts for The Sculpture of de Creeft by Jules Campos, and a video recording entitled José de Creeft by Bob Hanson. There is one sound recording of Lorrie Goulet reading poetry.
Subject files are varied and include files on de Creeft's teaching positions at the New School for Social Research, Black Mountain College, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Art Students League. There are files for some of his sculpture projects, inlcuding Alice in Wonderland, Poet, and a proposed model for the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Georgia, as well as compiled information about various art related topics of interest.
De Creeft's business records include appraisals, contracts, leases, price lists, and scattered receipts. Also found are art inventories in the form of three sets of index cards, some of which include photographs.
Printed materials include books, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, exhibition labels, postcards, and posters.
There are loose photographs and twenty-seven photograph albums depicting de Creeft, his family, friends, and works of art. There are photos of Alexander Calder; de Creeft and Goulet with Raphael Soyer, posing with Soyer's portrait of them; Gertrude Lawrence; art juries, which also include images of Chaim Gross, Jacques Lipchitz, Theodore Roszak, and William Zorach; students, friends, and faculties of Black Mountain College, the Art Students League, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Norton School of Art, which also includes images of Joseph Albers, Alexander Calder, Julio De Diego, Walter Gropius, J. B. Neumann, and Abraham Rattner.
Seven mixed media scrapbooks document de Creeft's career from 1929 to 1982. Also found are scattered pen and pencil sketches and one sketchbook dating from the 1920s.
Multiple languages
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The José de Creeft papers were first lent for microfilming by the artist in 1963 and 1972. Lorrie Goulet, José de Creeft's widow, donated most of this material along with additional items in 1985 and 2009.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels D150 and 375-378). While most of the items were included in subsequent gifts, material not donated to the Archives remain with the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Related Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds an interview of José De Creeft conducted October 1-8, 1968 by Forrest Selvig and the papers of de Creeft's wife Lorrie Goulet.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were milcrofilmed onto reels D150, 375-378 upon receipt of a loan and returned to the donor. Most of the collection was later donated in multiple accessions. The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.