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Peter Howard Selz papers, 1929-2018, bulk 1950-2005

Selz, Peter Howard, 1919-2019

Curator, Writer, Art historian

Collection Information

Size: 31.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian and writer Peter Howard Selz measure 31.5 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2018, with the bulk of the materials from 1950 to 2005. The papers document Selz's long career via correspondence, writings, professional files, project files, membership and association records, artists' research files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed materials, and scrapbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note

Peter Howard Selz (1919-2019) was a pioneering historian of modern art, professor, and writer who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-1988 and founded and directed the Berkeley Art Museum from 1965-1973. Born in Munich, Germany, Selz studied at the University of Chicago. He was curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1958-1965, and founding director of University Art Museum at the University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1973. He taught at the Chicago Institute of Design, 1953-1954, Pomona College, 1955-1958, and at Berkeley. Author of "German Expressionist Painting" (1957), "Art in a Turbulent Era" (1965), "Art in Our Times" (1981), "Harold Paris" (1972), "Ferdinand Hodler" (1972), "Sam Francis" (1975), and numerous exhibition catalogs, including "Funk" (1967), "German and Austrian Expressionism" (1978), and "Two Decades of American Painting, 1920-1940" (1979).


The Peter Howard Selz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Peter Selz in multiple installments from 1976 through 2014 and by Gabrielle Selz, Selz's daughter in 2018.

Related Materials

Language Note

Collection is in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.