Jayna M. Josefson
Scope and Contents
The papers of Portland, Oregon painter, printmaker, and educator Louis Bunce (1907-1983) measure 9.1 linear feet and date from the 1890s to 1983. Found are biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, interviews and interview transcripts, organizational records, personal business records, printed materials, nine scrapbooks, eighteen sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs. A few audiovisual recordings are scattered throughout series.
Biographical materials include address and appointment books, awards, life documents, resumes, and Bunce family genealogical records. There is a video recording of Bunce's retirement party from the Portland Museum School and of Bunce hanging his artwork for a show at the Fountain Gallery.
Bunce's correspondence is with his wives, Eda and Gloria, family, friends, fellow artists, and galleries and institutions. Notable correspondents include Jackson Pollock, Pee Wee Russell, and Max Weber. Writings and notes by Bunce include a notebook containing sales information, lists of works of art, sketches, and artist's statements. There are also autobiographical sketches and a video recording of a 1961 television show hosted by Bunce entitled "The Jazz Arts" depicting Bunce painting while jazz musicians perform. There are a few writings about Bunce by others.
There are two recorded interviews and three transcripts of interviews with Bunce conducted by Rachel Griffin, Wendy Wells of the Fountain Gallery, the Oregon Historical Society, KOIN TV, and an art student.
Organizational records document Louis Bunce's association with the Portland Center for the Visual Arts and the Portland Building Public Art Selection Committee of the Metropolitan Arts Commission. Personal business records include agreements and contracts, including an agreement with Sally Judd to form a gallery, consignment records, income and sales records, price lists and inventories (see also series 3 for a notebook containing lists of artwork and sales information), and personal legal documents. Printed materials consist of bulletins, clippings, and exhibition catalogs and announcements. There is also a video recording of a broadcast of KGW-TV depicting Bunce painting an outdoor mural.
Nine mixed media scrapbooks contain sketches, notes, printed material, photographs, correspondence, project proposals, writings, notes, addresses, receipts and sales records. Many of the scrapbooks contain artwork drawn directly onto the paper while some have artwork pasted into the pages. Eighteen sketchbooks of Bunce depict abstract drawings, figures, portraits, landscapes, and street scenes in pencil, pen and watercolor. Also found is a Valentine's Day-themed flipbook by Bunce and unidentified sketches likely by John Hammack and others.
Photographs are of Bunce, Bunce's family, Bunce at events, Bunce with his art, and Bunce at work in his studio. Also found are photographs of travel, stills of footage used on KOIN-TV, works of art, and exhibitions.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Louis Bunce papers were donated by the artist's son, Jon Bunce in 1984.
Also in the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Bunce, one conducted on October 29, 1965 by Dorothy Bestor and a second conducted on December 3-13, 1982 by Rachel Rosenfield, for the Archives of American Art's Northwest Oral History Project
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
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 minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal 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.