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Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009

Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009

Saroff, Raymond, 1922-

Collector, Filmmaker

Collection Information

Size: 2.0 linear feet

Summary: The Raymond Saroff papers are dated 1953-2009 and comprise 0.8 linear feet. Letters, printed material, and photographs compiled by Saroff document his interest in Oldenburg and "Happenings." Also included are a videotape of Saroff's film, Claes Oldenburg's "Ray Gun Theater - 1962" and receipts for artwork purchased for his modern art collection that contained a sculpture by Oldenburg.

Biographical/Historical Note

Raymond Saroff (1922- ) is a filmmaker and art collector in New York, N.Y. Saroff filmed Claes Oldenburg's performance "Ray Gun Theater" in 1962 (a series of ten 'Happenings' in a store on East Second Street in New York City).

Provenance

Donated 2010 and 2014 by Raymond Saroff.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009, in the Archives of American Art
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Author
Finding aid prepared by Margot Chandler and Rachel Salzmann
Biographical Note
Raymond Saroff (b. 1922), a resident of New York City, is a filmmaker and collector of both modern and folk art. Saroff pursued his interest in American folk art with his partner, Howard Rose, a scholar and art collector. In 1960, Saroff purchased
Leg
, a paper maché sculpture by Claes Oldenburg. Around the same time, he became interested in "Happenings." Using borrowed equipment, Saroff filmed a series of 1962 "Happenings" known as "Ray Gun Theater" that Oldenburg presented to small audiences in a storefront on East Second Street, New York City.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged in 2 series:
Series 1: Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg, 1953-2009 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Addition to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1960-2009 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)
Scope and Content Note
The Raymond Saroff papers are dated 1953-2009 and comprise 1.2 linear feet. Letters, printed material and photographs compiled by Saroff document his interest in Claes Oldenburg and “Happenings.” Also included are a videotape of Saroff’s film
Claes Oldenburg’s “Ray Gun Theater – 1962”
and receipts for artwork purchased for his modern art collection. The 2014 addition includes a catalog essay by curator and collector Howard Rose, Saroff’s partner, for an exhibition of their folk art collection at Bard College (1991). Also found are financial records regarding his collections, related printed material, and photographs of artwork.
Provenance
Donated 2010 and 2014 by Raymond Saroff.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Margot Chandler in 2011. The 2014 addition was processed to a minimal level and the finding aid updated by Rachel Salzmann in 2015.

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

Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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