Skip to main content

Sidney Simon papers, 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997

Sidney Simon papers, 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997

Simon, Sidney, 1917-1997

Sculptor, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 8.0 linear feet

Summary: The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 8.0 linear feet and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sidney Simon (1917-1997) was a sculptor, painter, and educator who worked primarily in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts.

Provenance

The Sidney Simon papers were donated in 2009 by Rene Simon, widow of Sidney Simon.

Related Materials

The Archives has two oral history interviews with Sidney Simon conducted by Paul Cummings in October 17-November 8, 1973 and the Karl E. Fortress taped interviews with artists, [1963-1985].

Location of Originals

  • Reel D210 Originals returned to lender, Sidney Simon, after microfilming.

A Finding Aid to the Sidney Simon Papers, circa 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.simosidn
Author
Finding aid prepared by Joy Goodwin
Biographical/Historical note
Sidney Simon (1917-1997) was a sculptor, painter, and educator who worked primarily in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he won a place as a special student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934 and from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1936. Simon also studied at the Barnes Foundation from 1937-1940. Simon received professional recognition early in his career; he was awarded the Prix de Rome Collaborative Prize in 1939 and the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship in mural painting in 1945.
In 1941, Simon enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Army Corps of Engineers. Assigned to MacArthur's headquarters as an official war artist for the Southwest Pacific Theater, Simon was chosen to paint the signing of the peace treaty between the U.S. and Japan aboard the
U.S.S. Missouri
. He was discharged from the army with a Bronze Star and five presidential citations. In 1945, along with Bill Cummings and Henry Varnum Poor, Simon co-founded the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he later served as a director and a member of the Board of Governors. By the mid-1950s, Simon's interest shifted from painting to sculpture, creating works in wood, clay, and other media. Over the years, Simon collaborated with architects on a number of public and private commissions, including the doorway for the Downstate Medical Center, the Jewish Chapel at West Point, a playground sculpture for Prospect Park, and the totemic column for the Temple Beth Abraham. In addition to serving on the faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Simon also taught at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Museum, and Parsons School of Design. An active champion of artists' rights, Simon established the New York Artists Equity Association. He participated in solo and group shows at the Graham Gallery, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Sculptors Guild, among other venues.
In 1997, Sidney Simon died at the age of 80 in Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was divorced from Joan Crowell in 1964. He is survived by his wife, Renee Adriance Simon and five children from his first and second marriages.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-1998 (Boxes 1, 9; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1936-2002 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1943, circa 1960-1997 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1940-1941, 1951-1997 (Boxes 2-4, 9; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Sketches, 1937-1942 (Box 4; 1 folder)
Series 6: Sketchbooks, 1939-1995 (Boxes 4-5, 9; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1933, 1942-1998 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1978-1995 (Box 5; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1917-1997 (Boxes 5-11; 3.0 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 8.0 linear feet and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material chronicles Simon's academic training and professional activities through curriculum vitae, biographical accounts, and awards. Included are letters and memoranda, many from Forbes Watson pertaining to Simon's service as a combat artist in World War II. Also found is a transcript of an interview with Simon recounting his experiences in the Southwest Pacific. Simon's personal correspondence with colleagues, friends, and family includes scattered letters from Jacqueline Helion, Penelope Jencks, William King, Burgess Meredith, among others. Many letters are illustrated by Sidney Simon and others. General correspondence includes letters from artists, galleries, museums, public and religious institutions primarily relating to Simon's exhibitions and commissioned projects. Among the correspondents are Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, Colby College, André Emmerich, Eric Makler Gallery, Xavier Gonzalez, Graham Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Interspersed among the files are letters of a personal nature. Other correspondence relates to Simon's faculty positions and his activities in professional organizations, e.g., Century Association, National Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Writings and notes include Simon's 1943 diary entries recording his activities in the Army Corps of Engineers, draft versions of writings and lectures, and notes. Included are Simon's lectures at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture recorded on five sound discs. Subject files provide documentation on Simon's commissioned projects, select exhibitions and competitions, as well as his faculty positions and memberships in several arts organizations. Printed material consists of clippings, invitations, announcements, newsletters, and programs. Exhibition catalogs are of Simon's solo and group shows at galleries, museums, and art organizations from 1959-1966. Photographs are of Simon by Budd Brothers, Richard Pousette-Dart, and Bernard Gotfryd. There are a number of photographs of the artist in his studio and outdoors as well as of Simon's family and friends, including group photographs with Ellsworth Kelly, André Emmerich, Robert Motherwell, and Louise Nevelson. Also found are three personal and family albums and twenty-one photograph albums of Simon's paintings and sculptures.
Provenance
The Sidney Simon papers were donated in 2009 by Rene Simon, widow of Sidney Simon.
Separated Materials note
Originals of loaned material, including biographical material, correspondence, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and photographs of Sidney Simon were returned to Simon after microfilming. Loaned material is available on reel D210, but is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Related Archival Materials note
The Archives has two oral history interviews with Sidney Simon conducted by Paul Cummings in October 17-November 8, 1973 and the Karl E. Fortress taped interviews with artists, [1963-1985].
Location of Originals
  • Reel D210 Originals returned to lender, Sidney Simon, after microfilming.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Joy Goodwin in 2012.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reel D210 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original material requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Sidney Simon papers, 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available