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Otto Wittmann papers, 1932-1996

Wittmann, Otto, 1911-2001

Museum director

Collection Information

Size: 10.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of museum director, art consultant and curator Otto Wittmann (1911-2001) date from 1932 to 1996 and measure 10.1 linear feet. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and other files concerning Wittmann's career as Director of the Toledo Museum of Art and as trustee and acting chief curator of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Eleven scrapbooks contain materials primarily relating to the activities of the Toledo Museum of Art, but also contain documentation of Wittmann's World War II service in the Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU) of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the present day CIA. Also found within the papers are files relating to his work with the National Endownment of the Arts, Arts and Artifacts Indemnification Committee, scattered biographical information, and personal correspondence.

Biographical/Historical Note

Otto Wittmann (1911-2001) was director of the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo Ohio from 1959-1976. Wittmann received his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Harvard in 1933. He served in the Air Force as a counterintelligence officer working on restitution of art works stolen by the Nazis, working in both Paris and Munich. He began work at the Toldedo Musem of Art in 1946 as associate director, and became director in 1959 and retired in 1977. In 1978, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles hired Wittmann as an acquisitions consultant Within a year, he was appointed to trustee and, shortly thereafter, as acting chief curator until 1983. The Getty named Wittmann a trustee emeritus in 1989.


Otto Wittmann donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1991 and 1995.

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Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.