Rayna Andrews and Rihoko Ueno
Scope and Contents
The papers of artist Roy De Forest measure 11.2 linear feet and 111.86 gigabytes and date from 1916 to 2015, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1948 to 2007. The collection includes documents De Forest's painting career and involvement in the funk art movement through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional records, printed material, photographic material, artwork, digital audio and video recordings, and artifacts.
Biographical material includes early school materials, resumes, a recording of an interview, membership materials, identification documents, certificates and awards, and family history and genealogy material. Also included in this series are obituaries, letters of condolence, and materials, including born-digital photographs and recordings, related to memorial services celebrating De Forest's life and work.
Correspondence includes letters and postcards to and from family, friends, colleagues, and arts institutions. This series also includes a few folders of greeting cards.
The writings series contains essays, lectures, exhibition texts, notes, and other materials written by Roy De Forest, including an essay, The Vision of Paolo Uccello, and his famous "dog lecture." Also included are writings by others, such as a student dissertations on Roy De Forest, essays by Bruce Nixon, and poetry and an essay by David Zack.
Professional records include materials related to a book of memories (never published) organized by Dilexi Gallery and the Loujon Press, exhibition planning documents, an exhibition recording, materials related to the James Talcott Inc. Computer Arts program, and materials related to print documentation.
Financial records contain inventory and stock files; sales and consignment records; receipts and invoices; tax, estate, and insurance paperwork; and account books and ledgers.
Printed material includes exhibition announcements, catalogs, and posters; material related to other projects; blank cards with Roy De Forest art; clippings; press releases; newsletters and journals; books; and source material.
Photographic material includes digital and print photographs, negatives, transparencies, and slides of Roy De Forest and other individuals, as well as travel photos, images of his pets (primarily dogs), and images of his studio and works of art.
Artwork includes drawings by De Forest and others, as well as four sketchbooks.
The artifacts series contains a tote bag, t-shirt, and a puzzle, all featuring Roy De Forest artwork. Also included in the series is a patterned shirt and an "art critic" baseball cap.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Roy De Forest papers were donated in several installments from 1974 to 2019. Some materials were loaned for microfilming in 1974 and subsequently donated in 1977 and 1979 by Roy De Forest. Additional materials were donated in 2009, 2016 and 2019 by Gloria Marchant, Roy De Forest's widow.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Roy De Forest conducted by Lynn Robert Matteson, April 7-June 30, 2004.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by Gerald and Bente Buck. Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by Gloria Marchant.
The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid prepared by Rayna Andrews in 2018. A small addition, donated in 2019, was merged with the rest of the materials and the collection was fully processed, prepared for digitization, and described in a finding aid by Rihoko Ueno in 2019 with funding provided by Gloria Marchant. Born-digital materials were processed by Jessica Purkis in 2019.