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Rudi Blesh papers, 1909-1983

Blesh, Rudi, 1899-1985

Writer, Art critic


Collection Information

Size: 2.4 linear feet

Summary: Correspondence, notes, manuscripts, printed material, subject files, and photographs, relate chiefly to Blesh's research and writings on Abstract Expressionists.

Correspondence, 1946-1969, primarily letters to Harriet Janis regarding her and Blesh's book Collage: Personalities, Concepts, Techniques (1967), from artists Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Sonia Delaunay, Aaron Siskind, Man Ray and others; 5 notebooks of research notes, including one "Motherwell Book"; manuscripts for Collage and Cubism; clippings; exhibition announcements and catalogues, 1941-1960; a book, De Kooning, by Janis and Blesh; galleys for Collage; reproductions of unidentified works of art; subject files on Albert Burri, Stuart Davis, Man Ray, Hans Richter, Kurt Schwitters, and other art subjects; and annotated photographs of artists and works of art. Included in the photos are Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko by Henry Elkan, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg by W. Silver, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock by Hans Namuth.

Correspondence, 1909-1979; photographs of Blesh, (including a portrait by Hans Namuth), of family, travel pictures, views of Blesh's home, furniture designs, friends William and Ethel Baziotes, and Harriet Janis, Blesh's co-author for They All Played Ragtime (1950); an article on Scott Joplin by Blesh (American Heritage, 1975); clippings, 1975-1976; and First Day Cover for Scott Joplin stamp issued in 1983.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rudi Blesh (1899-1985) was a writer, critic, and architectural designer in New York, N.Y.


Microfilmed material donated by Rudi Blesh, 1981. The unmicrofilmed material donated 1993 by longtime friend Ethel Baziotes, who received them from Blesh before his death.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels 3991 through 3994 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Rudi Blesh papers, 1909-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.