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Jules Langsner papers, circa 1910-1998, bulk, 1950-1967

Jules Langsner papers, circa 1910-1998, bulk, 1950-1967

Langsner, Jules, 1911-1967

Art historian, Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 4.4 linear feet

Biographical/Historical Note

Jules Langsner (1911-1967) was an art critic and art historian from Los Angeles, California.


Donated 1973-1996 and 2004 by June Harwood Langsner, widow of Jules Langsner, except material on reel 3090 which was donated 1982 by the Art Library of the University of California, Los Angeles, via librarian Virginia Steele.

Scope and Contents

The papers of southern California contemporary art curator, critic, and historian Jules Langsner measure 4.6 linear feet and date from circa 1910s-1998, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1950-1967.

Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings by Langsner; exhibition files; printed materials; photographs of Langsner, others, travel, and works of art; and audio recordings of Langsner's lectures and eulogies given at his funeral.

Biographical materials consist of an address book and file, committee files, scattered financial statements, and documents related to the Ford Foundation and other foundations, teaching, and traveling.

The 0.9 linear feet of correspondence is of both a personal and professional nature. A significant portion of the correspondence is between Langsner and publications for which he wrote such as Art News, the New York Times, Meridian Books, Craft Horizons, Art International, and Art in America; galleries and museums where he lectured or curated exhibitions including the Art Institute of Chicago, California Water Color Society, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pasadena Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, and the Fine Arts Patrons of Newport Harbor; colleges and organizations where he taught or was involved with such as the Graham Foundation, University of Southern California, International Association of Art Critics, and Ford Foundation; and artists that he worked with or knew personally including Rico Lebrun, William Turnbull, Man & Julie Ray, Lorser Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg, Adelaide Fogg, and Clinton Adams.

Letters to June Harwood were written while Langsner was traveling in 1964 and 1965 and discuss his travels and their relationship which culminated in marriage in Italy in 1965.

Among the 2.8 linear feet of the writings of Jules Langsner are articles for Art News, Art in America, Art International, Arts & Architecture, Aware, Beverly Hills Times, Craft Horizons, Creative Crafts, Goya Revista De Arte, Los Angeles Times, Yomiuri, and Zodiac. There are also essays, lectures, poems, drafts, notes, jottings of ideas, proposals and published and unpublished manuscripts. There are drafts and unpublished versions of "Painting in the Modern World", and numerous other essays on contemporary art. There are also extensive handwritten notes on his travels, Asian art, European art, and other subjects.

Exhibition files concern "Black and White" (1958), "California Hard-Edge Painting" (1964), the Man Ray Exhibition (1966), and the William Turnbull Exhibition (1966).

Printed materials include miscellaneous flyers, brochures, and news bulletins, and press releases.

Photographs are of people, places, works of art, and exhibitions. There are photographs of Jules Langsner, June Harwood, Philip Guston, Musa Guston, William Brice, Eddy Feldman, Rube Kadish, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Frank Perls, and unidentified individual people and groups. Photographs of Langsner's travels are of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other locations. Photographs of exhibitions include California Art Club, "Black and White," "California Painters & Sculptors, 35 & Under," and unidentified exhibitions. Photographs of works of art are by William Turnbull, Jack Zajac, Walter Mix, Marion Aldrich, Roger Majorowicz, and Jasper Johns.

Audio recordings include two untranscribed 7" reel-to-reel audio recordings and one cassette tape. The reel-to-reel tapes are labeled "You & Art/Berlin Party," and "Eulogies to Jules Langsner" with speakers Clement Greenberg, Henry Seldis, Peter Selz, Richard Brown, Donald Brewer, Tom Leavitt, Lorser Feitelson, Sam Francis, June Wayne, Gifford Phillips, and others. The cassette tape is a copy of eulogies.

Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 974-980 and 3090 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid may not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm.

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

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