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Joseph Kaplan papers, 1915-1977

Kaplan, Joseph, 1900-1980

Painter, Designer

Collection Information

Size: 4.5 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of the painter, photographer, printmaker, and teacher Joseph Kaplan measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1915-1977. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material, specifically exhibition catalogs. Also found are a large number of photographs taken of and by Kaplan. The papers also include biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, and artwork.
Biographical material contains a few of Kaplan's personal documents, a number of certificates and medals he recieved during his lifetime, a travel itinerary notebook, and a few hand-written notes.
Kaplan's correspondence is primarily from colleagues, art organizations, galleries, museums, and colleges and universities such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Academy of Design, and Audubon Artists, inc. Also found are letters from friends and colleagues such as Chaim Gross, Adolph Gottlieb, Raphael Soyer, Louis Lozowick, Milton Avery, and Sol Wilson, as well as a large number of letters to his wife Virginia written during his travels.
Personal business records concern Kaplan's art sales, loans, exhibition notifications, and his involvment in the WPA. His artwork is documented in price lists and inventory lists. Some of the material consists of routine transactions not necessarily related to Kaplan's work, including bank records, an address list, and income and expense reports.
Printed Material includes news clippings, exhibition catalogs, exhibition annoucenments, and invitations for Kaplan shows. There are a few published copies and page proofs of Kaplan's commerical artwork.
Artwork includes four Kaplan etchings, three of which are metal plates and one linoleum block. Also included are a few unidentified pen and pencil sketches.
Photographs depict Kaplan, mainly later in his life, and his family. Also found are four of Virginia Kaplan's photograph albums containing images of her and friends from early adulthood. Photographs of Kaplan's friends and colleagues include images of Aya and Eitaro Ishigaki, Chaim Gross, Raphael Soyer, William Gropper, and Joseph De Martini. Also included are photographs taken by Kaplan of New York City, his travels, and artist demonstrations. There are also a large number of photographs of Kaplan's artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Kaplan (1900-1980) was a painter, printmaker, photographer, and teacher who worked primarly in New York and Provincetown. He was most active in the 1940s through the 1950s. Earlier in his career he worked on several WPA Federal Art Projects and Treasury Relief Art Projects.


The Joseph Kaplan papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Marilyn Kearney in 1981.

Related Materials

Language Note

The records are in English.