Scope and Contents
The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records measure 35.42 linear feet and date from 1945 to 2013. The paper records of the school document the period from circa 1945 to 1977 and consist of administrative records, financial records, visiting artist files, faculty files, student files, and photographic material. Also included are motion picture films by Jack Eastman and Karl Fortess, dating from circa 1950 to 1968, showing the school's campus and faculty, staff, and students at work and leisure., artists, and students. A large portion of the collection consists of the Skowhegan Lecture Archives, a sound recording archive of lectures given by artists speaking at the school between 1952 and 2013.
Administrative records include files for the school's board, exhibitions and benefits, fundraising, government agencies, publicity, and other office files. Financial records consist of accounting procedure documents, bills paid, budgets, student drawing accounts, payroll, real estate expenses, and reports.
Files for visiting artists such as Philip Pearlstein, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and William Zorach contain correspondence, lecture notes and transcripts, and records regarding the broadcast of artists' lectures. Faculty files consist of correspondence, faculty lists, and other material for Isabel Bishop, Xavier Gonzalez, Sidney Simon, and other faculty members. Student files include alumni records, correspondence, recommendations and rejections, and scholarship material.
Photographs and negatives are of Janet Fish, Paul Rasika, Alice Neel, Bette Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, faculty and visiting artists, and students at events, lectures, social gatherings, and in class.
Motion picture films include silent, color footage of the school's campus, working faculty and students, and social activities. Footage includes both edited footage and outtakes (footage shot but not used in the edited piece), that form three distinct sets of films from three different periods: 16 mm films from the 1950s, 8 mm films from 1964-1965, and super 8 mm films from 1966-1968. Based on handwritten notes on the original film containers, Karl Fortess was the creator of the 16 mm films, and Jack Eastman was the creator of the 8 mm film. It is unclear who created the super 8 mm films, but some of the footage appears to have been shot by Willard Cummings.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records were lent to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1968. The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture via Willard Cummings and Jack Eastman donated portions of the lent material from 1968 to 1977. The lecture archive was donated between 2002 to 2014 via the Executive Director.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reels N68-27-N68-30, N68-78-N68-80, and N68-96-N68-97. Loaned materials were returned to the donor and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Funding for the processing of this collection and digitization of the motion picture film was provided by the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
The papers were processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2019, and the motion picture films were processed and described by Megan McShea in 2019. During the processing of the film, 28 short clips of film were arranged by date onto compilation reels, identified in this finding aid. The films were also digitized in 2019 with funds provided by the Skowhegan School. The Skowhegan Lecture Archive has not been processed.