Scope and Contents
The photographs and papers of sculptor Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and his pupil and colleague Gustave Gerlach measure 0.8 linear feet and date from circa 1892-circa 1915. The collection documents the work and studio practice of Bitter and Gerlach primarily through photographs and a photograph album, in addition to paper records including a proposal and lists of work completed for two international expositions, news clippings, and two drawings by Bitter on his personal stationary.
Papers include lists of artwork for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Photographs number approximately 250 and document the studio practice and work of Karl Bitter and Gustave Gerlach during Gerlach's tenure in Bitter's studio. Photos include images of Bitter, Gerlach, Isidore Konti, Joseph Sibbel, and other sculptors and studio assistants, and depict important works in progress such as Bitter's Alexander Hamilton and monumental sculpture for the 1901, 1904, and 1915 expositions, including Bitter's Standard Bearer (1901) and Adolph Weinman's Destiny of the Red Man (1904).
As a child Gerlach's daughter, Margarett, evidently spent time watching her father at work. She compiled this collection of photographs and papers and provided historical context in notes on the versos of some of the items.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 2019 by Mary K. McGuigan and John F. McGuigan Jr., art historians and collectors in Milford, Pennsylvania, who purchased the collection at auction. The collection was originally complied by Gustave's daughter, Margarett.
The Archives of American Art also holds the Karl Theodore Francis Bitter Papers, 1887-circa 1977.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2019. The collection was digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.