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Richard Artschwager papers, 1959-2013

Richard Artschwager papers, 1959-2013

Artschwager, Richard Ernst, 1923-2013

Sculptor, Painter, Illustrator

Representative image for Richard Artschwager papers, 1959-2013

This site provides access to the papers of Richard Ernst Artschwager in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 8,296 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Collection Information

Size: 5.6 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York painter and sculptor Richard Artschwager measure 5.6 linear feet and date from 1959-2013. The papers include extensive correspondence, recorded talks and a lecture, exhibition files, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Richard Artschwager (1923-2013) lived and worked in New York City and Hudson, New York and was known primarily for his paintings and sculptures.

Provenance

The collection was donated by Richard Artschwager and his wife Ann Artschwager in 2013.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

A Finding Aid to the Richard Artschwager Papers, 1959-2013, in the Archives of American Art
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Author
Finding aid prepared by Joy Goodwin and Rihoko Ueno
Biographical/Historical note
Richard Artschwager (1923-2013) lived and worked in New York City and Hudson, New York and was known primarily for his paintings and sculptures. Artschwager was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in New Mexico. As a youth, Artschwager showed a talent for drawing. He studied chemistry and mathematics at Cornell University. In 1944, Artschwager interrupted his studies to enlist in the U.S. Army. After the war, he returned to Cornell to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. Encouraged by his first wife, Elfriede Wejmelka to develop his interest in art, Artschwager moved to New York to study at the Studio School of Amédée Ozenfant. His paintings and drawings from this period were featured in two group shows at the Terrain Gallery in 1957 and at the Art Directions Gallery on Madison Avenue in 1959, where they were recognized by Donald Judd.
In the 1950s, in order to support his family, Artschwager turned to designing and manufacturing modern furniture. His woodworking skills inspired him to create sculptures from utilitarian objects such as tables, chairs, and mirrors. He is best known for the use of building materials Celotex and Formica in his work and for inventing an abstract form he called "blps" reliefs, stencils or decals that were installed randomly in museum, gallery and public spaces. From the mid-1980s to late 1990s, Artschwager designed large scale projects, though he continued to incorporate everyday domestic objects in his sculptures and paintings.
In 1965, Artschwager was given his first one-man exhibition at the Castelli Gallery and he remained with the Gallery for thirty years. He was also represented by Mary Boone, David Nolan, and the Gagosian Gallery. In the 1980s, Artschwager served on the Visual Arts Policy Committee at the National Endowment of the Arts. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts in 1992. He was a visiting artist at New Mexico State University, Soka University, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the University of Arizona. Artschwager's work was the subject of a major surveys, including the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Neues Museum, and Serpentine Gallery. He participated in numerous international group shows including the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel, Germany. The Whitney Museum of American Art honored Artschwager with two travelling retrospective exhibitions in 1988 and 2012. In late 2012, Artschwager had one-man shows at the Gagosian Gallery and David Nolan Gallery.
Richard Artschwager died at the age of 89 years in 2013. He is survived by his wife, Ann Sebring Artschwager and three children from previous marriages.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1970-2013 (Boxes 1-3; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 2: Talks and Lecture, 1985-2009 (Box 4; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1973-2007 (Boxes 4-5; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1959-2012 (Boxes 5-6, OV 7; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1973, 2007 (Box 6, OV 8; 0.1 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York painter and sculptor Richard Artschwager measure 5.6 linear feet and date from 1959-2013. The papers include extensive correspondence, recorded talks and a lecture, exhibition files, printed material, and photographs.
Artschwager's correspondence is with museums, galleries, artists, art historians, academic institutions, and publishers and concerns exhibitions, speaking engagements, and teaching. Frequent correspondents include Lawrence Alloway, Leo Castelli Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Franck + Schulte, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ivan Karp, Museum Ludwig, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Ingrid Schaffner, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Also found are letters from fellow artists, including William Copley, Eric Fischl, Ray Johnson, Louise Lawler, Sol Lewitt, Ed Ruscha, John Waters, and Betty Woodman. Some letters are annotated or illustrated with sketches by Artschwager.
The collection includes a lecture and recorded talks by Richard Artschwager held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and the Carpenter Center of the Visual Arts, Harvard University, and other venues. One of the recordings is from the "Conversations with Contemporary Artists" series of the Museum of Modern Art. Also included in this series is a recorded discussion with artists Alex Katz and Elizabeth Murray and art critics Michael Kimmelman and Peter Schjeldahl.
Exhibition files are found for exhibitions held at Adair Margo Gallery, Lorence Monk Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Cornell University, and numerous others, including many in Europe. Files typically contain correspondence, price lists, announcements, printed material, photographs, and a few sound and video recordings.
Printed material includes invitations and announcements as well as posters, reproductions, and brochures, mostly related to Richard Artschwager's exhibitions. Newspaper and magazine clippings document exhibition openings and the critical reception of his work.
There are also a few photographs including images of Leo Castelli by Hans Namuth used by Artschwager in preparing for his portrait of Castelli.
Provenance
The collection was donated by Richard Artschwager and his wife Ann Artschwager in 2013.
Related Archival Materials note
Also found among the resources at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Artschwager, March 3-28, 1972, conducted by Paul Cummings.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared in 2014 by Joy Goodwin. The collection was more fully processed and prepared for digitization by Rihoko Ueno in 2017 with funding provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2017 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Materials which have not been scanned include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original material requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Richard Artschwager papers, 1959-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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