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Rico Lebrun papers, 1935-1975

Rico Lebrun papers, 1935-1975

Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964

Art teacher, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 5.3 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter, muralist, and educator Rico Lebrun measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1935 to 1975. Found within the papers are biographical materials; personal and business correspondence, including extensive correspondence between Lebrun and his gallery, Jacques Seligmann and Co.; writings, including illustrated notebooks; personal business records; printed material; 3 sketchbooks; and photographs of Lebrun, travels in Mexico, and his work.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, muralist, and educator Rico (Frederico) Lebrun (1900-1964) lived and worked in New York City and Los Angeles, California and his modernist works were primarily influenced by traditional religious iconography and human suffering. Born in Naples, Italy, Lebrun studied at the Beaux-Arts Academy and the Academy of Arts and National Technical Institute in Naples, assisting fresco painters between 1918 and 1922. After moving to the United States in 1924, he became a commercial artist in New York City and taught at the Art Student League. He also taught at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Mexico and at the Americn Academy in Rome. He settled in California in 1938.

Provenance

The papers were donated in 1974 by Lebrun's wife, Constance Lebrun Crown. Additional materials were donated by Crown in 1976.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Rico Lebrun Papers, 1935-1975, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.lebrrico
Author
Finding aid prepared by Judy Ng
Biographical/Historical note
Painter, muralist, and educator Rico (Frederico) Lebrun (1900-1964) lived and worked in New York City and Los Angeles, California and his modernist works were primarily influenced by traditional religious iconography and human suffering.
Born in Naples, Italy, Lebrun attended the Naples Academy of Beaux Arts after his military service in the Italian Army during WWI. He began his career as a stained glass designer and was offered a one year contract to work in Springfield, Illinois for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in 1924. At the end of the contract, Lebrun moved to New York City where he found work as a commercial illustrator for magazines such as
Vogue
,
Fortune
, and
The New Yorker
. After a return to Italy in the early 1930s to continue his art studies, Lebrun moved to New York City in 1936 where he taught at the Art Students League, painted his first mural commission for the Fogg Art Museum with Lewis Rubenstein, and found work as an artist for the WPA.
In 1938, Lebrun moved to Southern California and accepted a position at the Chouinard Art Institute, where his students would include Disney studio animators for
Bambi
. Lebrun continued to produce paintings while teaching, and his first solo exhibition was organized by Donald Bear, then director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Beginning in 1947, Lebrun spent three years working on over 200 drawings and paintings for the Crucifixion series, which culminated in an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, he continued to teach at the Jepson Institute in Los Angeles and at other institutions, including the Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico from 1952 to 1954. In 1958, while teaching at Yale, Lebrun was invited by professor and art critic Peter Selz to create a mural for Pomona College. He completed his plans for the mural during his year-long teaching residency at the American Academy of Rome in 1959, and completed
Genesis
in 1960. Lebrun died from cancer in 1964.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1948-1962 (4 folders; Box 1, OV 10)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1935-1973 (1.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 10)
Series 3: Writings, 1938-1964 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1940-1964 (0.3 linear feet; Box 3, BV 7)
Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1940-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, BV 8-9)
Series 6: Artwork, circa 1950-1965 (3 folders; Box 3)
Series 7: Photographic Materials, 1950-1965 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 4-6)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter, muralist, and educator Rico Lebrun measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1935 to 1975. Found within the papers are biographical materials; personal and business correspondence, including extensive correspondence between Lebrun and his gallery, Jacques Seligmann and Co.; writings, including illustrated notebooks; personal business records; printed material; 3 sketchbooks; and photographs of Lebrun, travels in Mexico, and his work.
Provenance
The papers were donated in 1974 by Lebrun's wife, Constance Lebrun Crown. Additional materials were donated by Crown in 1976.
Related Archival Materials note
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Constance Lebrun Crown and David Lebrun conducted by Paul Karlstrom, November 23, 1974. Syracuse University also holds papers of Rico Lebrun.
Processing Information note
A portion of the papers received a preliminary level of arrangement after donation and were microfilmed onto reels 2709-2714. The collection was re-processed and a finding aid prepared by Judy Ng in 2015, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

Portions of this collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 2709-2714 at the Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

How to Cite This Collection

Rico Lebrun papers, 1935-1975. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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