Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008, measure 5.3 linear feet and 4.32 GB. Biographical material, correspondence, subject files, writings, audio/visual recordings, printed material, and photographs document the professional career and personal life of the educator and New York School painter and sculptor best known for his Abstract Expressionist paintings.
Biographical material includes educational records from high school through his studies at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts using G.I. benefits. Birth, marriage,and death certificates are also found, along with Richenburg family memorabilia. There is a digital video recording of Robert Richenburg's memorial service.
Correspondence consists mostly of family letters, including some illustrated letters and many handmade cards featuring original artwork. Condolence letters addressed to Marggy Kerr are from friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances.
Subject files contain various combinations of correspondence, printed material, photographs, writings and notes relating to Richenburg's professional career and personal life. They document exhibitions, gallery representation, gifts of art work to museums and individuals, memberships, teaching activities, former students, friendships, and other aspects of his life. Files of significant interest are: The Club, Tina Dicky and Madeline Amgott, Former Students (particularly Raphael Montanez Ortiz), Bonnie L. Grad and Lynne Moulton, Hans Hofmann, Ibram Lassaw, Philip Pavia, Pratt Institute, Hilla Rebay and the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Tibor De Nagy Gallery, and Veterans Administration.
Writings by Richenburg consist of notes, reviews, artist's statements, and the text of a speech. Also included are quotations compiled over the years by Marggy Kerr of Richenburg's comments on art and life. Among the writings by others are student papers, reviews, and poems.
Sound and visual recordings include interviews with Robert Richenburg, often conducted as research for exhibitions. Videocassettes document events such as panel discussions, and artist gatherings; a few were produced in conjunction with museum exhibitions. Also found are videotapes by video artist Raphael Montanez Ortiz, Richenburg's friend and former student.
Printed material includes items that are specifically about Robert Richenburg as well as items that incidentally mention him. The majority consist of exhibition catalogs and announcements.
Photographs show art work by Richenburg, exhibition openings and other events, and a variety of people and places. Among the events recorded is the "Artists Roundtable on Art of the '50s." Moderated by Dore Ashton, the panel included Herman Cherry, Sidney Geist, Ibram Lassaw, Mercedes Matter, and David Slivka. There are photographs of Richenburg's boyhood home in Roslindale, MA, and his house in Ithaca, NY. He is pictured with others including family members, dealers, and curators. Of particular interest are photographs of Richenburg in Provincetown, MA, 1952-1953, with friends, including: Giorgio Cavallon, Franz Kline, Ibram and Ernestine Lassaw, and Philip and Marcia Pavia. World War II photographs consist of images of art work (not by Richenburg), Richenburg and other individuals taken in France and England; a number include views of Shrivenham American University.
Donated in 2008 by Margaret Kerr, widow of Robert Richenburg, on behalf of herself and his son Ronald Richenburg.
An oral history interview of Robert Richenburg was conducted by Dorothy Seckler for the Archives of American Art, circa 1968.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines in 2009. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.