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Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-1999

Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-1999

Burckhardt, Rudy, 1914-1999

Painter, Photographer, Filmmaker

Collection Information

Size: 6.0 linear feet

Summary: The papers of photographer, filmmaker, and painter Rudy Burckhardt measure 5.0 linear feet and date from 1934 to 1990. The bulk of the collection consists of black and white negatives which document over 260 mid-to-late twentieth century modern artists, their work, studios, and/or exhibitions. Notable artists include Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Joseph Cornell, Helen Frankenthaler, Donald Judd, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Stella, and many others. Burckhardt was hired to photograph for a number of New York art galleries such as the Leo Castelli Gallery and Green Gallery; art collectors including Chaim Gross and David Rockefeller; and art magazines such as ARTnews. Personal papers include announcements and an exhibition catalog; clippings; photographs on postcards; and a book, entitled, "Conversations with Rudy Burckhardt About Everything," by Simon Pettet, 1987.

An addition of 1.0 linear feet donated 2016 includes letters from Burckhardt to Edwin Denby, writings by Burckhardt and others, and printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rudy Burckhardt (1914-1999) was a Swiss-American photographer, filmmaker, and painter based in New York, New York, during the post-World War II era.

Provenance

The first accession of biographical material was donated to the Archives of American Art by Rudy Burckhardt in 1993. A second installment of photographic material was donated by Yvonne Jacquette Burckhardt, Burckhardt's widow, in 2011. She donated additional papers in 2016.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Rudy Burckhardt Papers, 1934-1990, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.burcrudy
Biographical/Historical note
Rudy Burckhardt (1914-1999) was a Swiss-American photographer, filmmaker, and painter based in New York, N.Y. during the post-World War II era. Originally from Basel, Switzerland, Burckhardt relocated to New York in 1935 at the age of 21. Burckhardt shared a loft in Chelsea with American dance critic and poet, Edwin Denby, next-door to Willem and Elaine de Kooning.
After completing his service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1944, Burckhardt pursued an education in painting. He studied with French painter and writer, Amédéé Ozenfant in New York, circa 1948-1949; Italian painter and professor Giuseppe (Beppe) Guzzi in Rome; and the Academy of Naples, circa 1950-1951.
Burckhardt married painter and collagist, Edith Schloss in 1947 and in 1949 their son Jacob, a filmmaker, was born. The two separated and in 1964, Burckhardt married American painter, Yvonne Jacquette and the same year the couple’s son Thomas (Tom), a painter, was born.
Throughout his career, Burckhardt collaborated with a number of notable post-war visual artists such as Joseph Cornell, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Alex Katz, Nell Blaine, Lois Dodd, and Red Grooms as well as writers and poets including Edwin Denby, John Ashbery, Phillip Lopate, and Kenneth Kock.
Burckhardt was hired to photograph New York-based visual artists, their work, studios, and exhibitions. A bulk of the black and white negatives that make up the collection were produced circa 1950 to 1975. Burckhardt photographed for the Leo Castelli Gallery for approximately 20 years. He also frequently photographed for Thomas B. Hess, editor of ARTnews.
Early exhibitions of Burckhardt’s street photography include Photo League, 1948; Limelight Gallery, 1954; and Gotham Bookmart, 1972 and 1980. Painting exhibitions include the Tanager Gallery, 1959; Green Mountain Gallery, 1971, 1974, and 1978; and Blue Mountain Gallery, 1981; Brooke Alexander Gallery 1976 and 1978. A number of his films have been collected by and shown at the Museum of Modern Art, 1987 and circa 1993.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 2 series:
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1934-1990 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Photographic Materials, circa 1950-1975 (Boxes 2-13; 4.8 linear feet)
Provenance
The first accession of biographical material was donated to the Archives of American Art by Rudy Burckhardt in 1993. A second installment of photographic material was donated by Yvonne Jacquette Burckhardt, Burckhardt's widow, in 2011. She donated additional papers in 2016.
Processing Information note
The Rudy Burckhardt papers were arranged and described by intern, Elissa L. Jerome in 2016.

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.

Restrictions on Use

The donor, Yvonne Jacquette Burckhardt, has retained copyright where applicable to negatives of photographs taken by Burckhardt. AAA has been given a non-exclusive license to reproduce and display.

How to Cite This Collection

Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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