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Richard Haas papers, 1937-2012

Richard Haas papers, 1937-2012

Haas, Richard, 1936-


Collection Information

Size: 6.0 linear feet

Summary: Papers relating to the personal life and professional career of painter, muralist and educator Richard Haas. Included are biographical material, professional correspondence, student writings and lecture files, subject files on commissions, lectures, grants and art societies, teaching files, exhibition files, photographs of Haas and family members, and works of art by Haas including sketches and sketchbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note

Richard Haas (1936- ) is a painter, muralist and educator working in New York, N.Y. Haas was an instructor at the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University and at Bennington College, Vermont.


Donated 2012 by Richard Haas.

A Finding Aid to the Richard Haas Papers,
bulk 1970-2012
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines
Biographical Note
Richard Haas (b. 1936) is a mural painter of "architecture of illusion," his term describing the trompe l'oeil architectural subjects for which he is best known. His work as a printmaker also focuses on architecture, with iconic buildings of New York and other cities serving as subject matter. Hass is also an educator who has taught painting and printmaking at University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, Bennington College in Vermont, and School of Visual Arts in New York City.
During World War II, the Haas family moved from Spring Green, Wisconsin to Milwaukee. As a teenager, Richard spent two summers working with his great uncle, a master stone mason employed by Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. He proved to be less interested in stonework than in exploring Wright's library and watching the young architects draw. He considered becoming an architect, but eventually concluded the artistic side of architecture was more attractive than the day to day work of an architect.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (B.S., 1959), Hass worked as an art teacher in a Milwaukee high school. He attended graduate classes at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee where visiting artist Jack Tworkov was his teacher. At the University of Minnesota (M.F.A., 1964), Haas studied with Peter Busa and Malcolm Myers. As an assistant professor at Michigan State University from 1964 to 1968, Haas's colleagues included Angelo Ippolito and Charles Pollock, and he met a number of important artists and critics who visited the campus. Haas moved to New York City in 1968 and soon accepted a part-time position teaching printmaking at Bennington College. He commuted weekly between New York and Vermont for the next decade.
During the 1960s Haas was a Color-field painter. He also continued making etchings and lithographs, and by 1970 several galleries were selling his architectural prints. His first outdoor mural, painted in the So Ho section of New York City in 1975, attracted attention and commissions followed. Mural commissions include: Boston Architectural Center (1977); Edison Bothers Store, Inc., St. Louis (1984); Home Savings of America, multiple locations in Florida and California (1990-1991); City of Huntsville, Texas (1991); Federal Building and Courthouse, Kansas City, Kansas (1994); and Yorkville Mural, New York City (2004.)
Haas, who began exhibiting while still a student, has participated in a large number of group shows and enjoyed many solo exhibitions. He was elected a National Academician, National Academy of Design, was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been a MacDowell Fellow. Among other honors, Haas has received the American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor, New York City Municipal Art Society Award, Doris C. Freedman Award for Public Art, and the Jimmy Ernst Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Mr. Haas, who works in New York City, is represented by David Findlay, Jr. Gallery. His wife, Katherine Sokolnikoff, is a sculptor and arts administrator; they live in Yonkers, New York.
The collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1990, 2009 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2008 (Box 1; 1 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1954-2012 (Box 2; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1970-2011 (Boxes 2-4; 2.2 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1956-2012 (Boxes 5-6; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 6: Artwork, 1954-2005 (Box 6; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 7: Sketchbooks, 1976-2009 (Box 6; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1937-2006 (Box 6; 0.1 linear feet)
Scope and Content Note
The Richard Haas papers measure 6 linear feet and are dated 1937 to 2012, bulk 1970-2012. His work and career as a muralist, printmaker, and educator are documented by correspondence, writings, printed material, sketchbooks, and photographs.
Haas's correspondence relates to commissions, exhibitions, lectures, publications, teaching, and other professional activities. Correspondents include clients, galleries, professional organizations, critics, artists, architects and others. Also found is small amount of personal correspondence. Writings and notes by Haas include artist's statements, notes, lectures, a travel diary, papers and class notes from his undergraduate and graduate student days. Writings about him are a New Museum exhibition catalog text and a student paper. Subject files relate to Haas's professional activities and interests. They document exhibitions and projects, relationships with galleries, membership and participation in various organizations, and routine business matters. Sketchbooks (17 volumes) contain drawings, sketches, and a few watercolors, along with scattered writings and notes.
Donated 2012 by Richard Haas.
Related Material
An interview of Richard Haas conducted January 13 and March 16, 2009, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's U.S. General Services Administration, Design Excellence and the Arts oral history project, at Haas' studio, in New York, N.Y.
Processing Information
This collection was processed to a minimum level and a finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines in 2012. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections. Minimal processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders within boxes were not numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is currently unavailable for research. Contact the Archives reference staff for information.

How to Cite This Collection

Richard Haas papers, 1937-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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