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Marta Adams papers, circa 1914-circa 1991

Marta Adams papers, circa 1914-circa 1991

Adams, Marta, 1891 or 3-1978

Sculptor, Painter, Author

Collection Information

Size: 4.2 linear feet

Summary: The Marta Adams papers measure 4.2 linear feet, and date from circa 1914 to circa 1991. Found within are biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, legal and estate papers, printed materials, photographic material, one mixed-media scrapbook, and artwork, including three portfolios of lithographs, "30 Grabados de Galo Galecio," 1946, containing 30 engraving prints by Galecio and "Estampas de la Revolucion Mexicana," 1947, containing 85 engraving prints by 16 artists of the Taller de Grafica Popular, and "Drawings: Seymour Swetzoff," 1949.

Biographical/Historical Note

Marta Adams (1891 or 3-1978) was a painter, sculptor, and writer, active in Boston, Massachusetts and Mexico.

Provenance

The Marta Adams papers were donated to the Archives in 1992 by the estate of Katherine Adams Kulmala (Adams daughter) via Jonathan Strong, executor.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

A Finding Aid to the Marta Adams Papers, circa 1914-circa 1991, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.adammart
Author
Finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel
Biographical/Historical note
Marta Adams (1891 or 1893-1978) was a painter, sculptor, and writer, active in Boston, Massachusetts and Mexico.
Born in Germany in 1891 or 1893, Marta Arnstem immigrated to Massachusetts around 1915, and married Edward Brinley Adams in 1916 who died in 1922. She apprenticed with sculptor Hans Stangl in Munich during the winter of 1925. Before moving back to Cambridge in 1933, Adams showed drawings and sculpture at the Günther Galerie in Munich, and was part of a social circle that included cartoonist Otto Nückl, writer A. M. Frey, and painter Karl Zerbe, among others. Animals were her favorite subject used in most of her artwork, though she also included flowers, and had a series on open-heart surgery. In 1935, Adams made her first visit to Mexico, and began spending more time there than in the United States. There, she met Diego Rivera who stimulated her interest in oil painting. In 1952 she moved to Mexico permanently. She exhibited with the Boris Mirski Gallery in Boston, and had numerous exhibitions in Mexico.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1918-circa 1980 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, Box 6)
Series 2: Correpsondence, circa 1929-circa 1978 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1914-circa 1978 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 4: Legal and Estate Papers, circa 1963-circa 1991 (0.3 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1940s-circa 1988 (0.7 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1916-circa 1980s (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 3-6)
Series 7: Scrapbook, circa 1963-circa 1964 (1 folder; Box 5)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1920s-circa 1978 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 5-6, OV 7)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of sculptor, painter, and writer Marta Adams measure 4.2 linear feet, and date from circa 1914 to circa 1991. Found within are biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, legal and estate papers, printed materials, photographic material, one mixed-media scrapbook, and artwork, including three portfolios of lithographs,
30 Grabados de Galo Galecio,
1946, containing 30 engraving prints by Galecio and
Estampas de la Revolucion Mexicana
, 1947, containing 85 engraving prints by 16 artists of the Taller de Gracia Popular, and
Drawings: Seymour Swetzoff
, 1949. .
Biographical material includes address books, curriculum vitaes, a passport, awards and certificates, and immigration materials.
Correspondence comprises the bulk of the collection and is primarily personal in nature. Most of the correspondence is between Marta and her daughter Kay Kulmala, though there are several files of a blend of personal and professional correspondence to and from others. Additional correspondents include other family members and friends, as well as the Galerie Günther Franke and Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Notable correspondents include Charles L. and Hetty Kuhn, Raquel Jodorowsky, and Kojin Toneyama, among others.
Writings include drafts and manuscripts by Adams, of poetry and children’s stories, as well as notes for an unpublished autobiography. Also found are writings about Adams by others.
After Marta Adam’s death, her daughter, Kay Kulmala, dealt with her estate by conducting inventories, discussing exhibitions, and facilitating auctions of Adam’s artwork, documented via legal and estate papers found within the collection.
Printed materials include clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs,
Photographs are of the artist, friends and family, and artwork. Also included are two family photograph albums. One scrapbook contains letters, notes, drawings, and photographs, and appears to have been created by friends and peers for Adams.
Artwork includes Christmas card designs, sketches and illustrations, and mixed media collages by Marta Adams. Also included are works by others including a signed lithograph by Leopoldo Méndez, and prints by Xavier Guerrero, José Clemente Orozco, Jose Guadalupe Posada, and Alfredo Zalce. There are three limited editions of portfolios of lithographs,
30 Grabados de Galo Galecio,
1946, containing 30 engraving prints by Galecio,
Estampas de la Revolucion Mexicana
, 1947, containing 85 engraving prints by 16 artists of the Taller de Grafica Popular, and
Drawings: Seymour Swetzoff
, 1949.
Provenance
The Marta Adams papers were donated to the Archives in 1992 by the estate of Katherine Adams Kulmala (Adams daughter) via Jonathan Strong, executor.
Processing Information note
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2016 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing when possible to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator’s original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.

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

Marta Adams papers, circa 1914-circa 1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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