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Pietro Lazzari papers, 1878-1998

Pietro Lazzari papers, 1878-1998

Lazzari, Pietro, 1898-1979

Muralist, Sculptor, Painter, Educator

Collection Information

Size: 12.4 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of muralist and sculptor, Pietro Lazzari, measure 12.4 linear feet and date from 1878 to 1998. The collection documents Lazzari's life and career through biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, artwork, photographs, and printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Pietro Lazzari (1898-1979) was a muralist, sculptor, and educator from Washington, D.C. Born in Rome, Italy, Pietro Lazzari studied at the Ornamental School of Rome after serving in World War I. He moved permanently to the United States in 1929 and worked on two murals for the U.S. Section of Fine Arts. He also experimented with a method of painting in polychrome concrete. In 1942, Lazzari moved from New York City to Washington, D.C., where he taught painting and sculpture at The American University, and from 1948 to 1950, he headed the Art Department at Dumbarton College. Lazzari executed several bronze busts of humanitarians including Pope Paul VI, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Adlai Stevenson. He was represented by the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York.

Provenance

Donated 1989 by Lazzari's widow, Evelyn C. Lazzari, and in 1998 by her estate.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Pietro Lazzari Papers,
1878-1998
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.lazzpiet
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Scope and Content Note
The papers of muralist and sculptor, Pietro Lazzari, measure 12.4 linear feet and date from 1878 to 1998. The collection documents Lazzari's life and career through biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, artwork, photographs, and printed material.
Biographical material includes biographical sketches and various identification documents. Correspondence comprises letters exchanged between Lazzari, family members, and colleagues and includes about a hundred letters concerning post office murals in several states.
Notebooks contain drawings and annotated diagrams in addition to notes on artwork and designs for inventions. Writings are both by and about Lazzari and include autobiographical material. Artwork includes sketchbooks, loose sketches, prints, and paintings.
Almost a quarter of the collection consists of photographs which include images of Lazzari, his family and colleagues, and gallery installations. Also found are photographs of several notable individuals.
Biographical Note
Pietro Lazzari was born in Rome, on May 15, 1898. At the age of 15, he was apprenticed to Roman sculptor, Jerace. Four years on the Italian front in World War I interrupted his studies, until he could return to the Ornamental School of Rome, where he received a Master Artist degree in 1922. Lazzari's first solo exhibition was at the Theatre of the Independents in Rome. He was also employed by newspaper
Il Messaggero
to illustrate articles with athletes' portraits.
Lazzari visited the United States in 1925, exhibiting in a group show at the New Gallery in the New York the following year. He also married American social worker Elizabeth Paine in 1926. After four more trips between the United States and Italy, he permanently settled in New York City in 1929. In addition to participating in major art exhibitions, he was hired by a New York newspaper to make courtroom sketches at the Lindbergh kidnapping trial. Divorcing his first wife in 1932, Lazzari married Evelyn Cohen in 1934, and became a U.S. citizen in 1936. Between 1936 and 1942, he worked on four post office murals for the U.S. Section of Fine Arts and began experimentation that led to his own method of painting in polychrome concrete.
In 1942, Lazzari moved to Washington, D.C. and participated in the war effort. He also taught painting and sculpture at The American University, and from 1948 to 1950, he headed the Art Department at Dumbarton College. In 1950, he received a Fulbright Fellowship for research in techniques of Etruscan Art.
Lazzari is known for his bronze busts of humanitarians, most notably Pope Paul VI, Adlai Stevenson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Represented by the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, he was also very active in the Washngton, D.C. art community, where he was represented by the Caresse Crosby Gallery.
Pietro Lazzari died on May 1, 1979 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as ten series according to material type. For each series, material within folders is arranged chronologically. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1880-1980 (box 1; 4 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1895-1998, undated (boxes 1-2; 1.7 linear ft.)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1925-1993, undated (box 2; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 4: Notes, 1915-1979, undated (boxes 3, 13, OV 14; 1 linear ft.)
Series 5: Writings, 1910-1979, undated (box 4, 13; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 6: Artwork, 1918-1979, undated (boxes 4-5, 13, OV 14; 0.9 linear ft.)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1905-1994, undated (boxes 5-8, 13, OV 14; 3.8 linear ft.)
Series 8: Photographs, 1878-1980, undated (boxes 8-13, MGP 1, MGP 4; 3.8 linear ft.)
Series 9: Motion Picture Film, undated (box 12; 1 folder)
Series 10: Artifact, undated (box 12; 1 folder)
Provenance
Donated 1989 by Lazzari's widow, Evelyn C. Lazzari, and in 1998 by her estate.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 1999. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2015 with a grant provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

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

Pietro Lazzari papers, 1878-1998. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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