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Stanley Twardowicz papers, 1942-2009, bulk, 1942-1981

Stanley Twardowicz papers, 1942-2009, bulk, 1942-1981

Twardowicz, Stanley, 1917-2008

Painter, Photographer

Collection Information

Size: 1.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and photographer Stanley Twardowicz measure 1.1 linear feet and date from 1942-2009, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1942-1981. The papers contain biographical material, scrapbooks, letters, writings, printed material, photographs, and audio and video recordings regarding the career of Stanley Twardowicz as a painter and photographer.

Biographical material consists of various curriculum vitae, a list of exhibitions and awards from 1942-1954, typed excerpts from reviews of Twardowicz's one-man shows at Contemporary Arts Gallery during 1951 and a 2008 writing by Gerald Nicosi which describes his relationship with Twardowicz.

Writings include an unpublished hand-written 70 page memoir by Twardowicz entitled "A Life with No Tears" covering the artist's early years through 1970, and a master's thesis "Stanley Twardowicz, Tracing the Roots of an American Modernist" by Kim Greer Verzyl written in 1978.

Scrapbooks are two disbound volumes organized by years. They contain the artist's collection of exhibition announcements, catalogues, and lists; press clippings; letters advising of awards and fellowships; and Ohio State Fair ribbons for excellence in fine art.

Chronological files existed in the artist's records and retain their original organization. Of particular interest is the 1956 letter advising Twardowicz that he has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Creative Painting and two photocopies of drawings of Twardowicz by an unidentified artist. The files include exhibition announcements, catalogues and lists, press clippings, and letters from associates and institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Exhibition catalogues are from galleries in Rome, Italy and San Paulo, Brazil as well as local galleries and institutions.

Photographs include pictures of the artist and ones taken by Twardowicz, whose photographs are part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. Twardowicz's photographs are of Roy Lichtenstein, David Smith, Jules Olitski, Roy Parker, Mike Kanemitsu, Betty Parsons, Lillian Dodson (the artist's wife), and Jack Kerouac. There also is a photograph by Dorothy Lichtenstein of Twardowicz, Parker, Dodson and Roy Lichtenstein. There also are casual snapshots of the artist and friends and family.

Biographical/Historical Note

Stanley Twardowicz (1917-2008) was a painter and photographer in Huntington, N.Y. Twardowicz associated with the Beat Generation writers and 1950s Abstract Expressionist movement. His widow, Lillian Dodson, is a ceramicist.


Donated 2010 by Lillian Dodson, Twardowicz's widow.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Stanley Twardowicz Papers,
bulk 1942-1981
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Stanley Twardowicz (1917-2008) was a painter, photographer and teacher. He is associated with the 1950's Abstract Expressionists of the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village, New York and with Beat Generation poet Jack Kerouac.
Twardowicz was born Stanley Jon Leginsky in July, 1917, but took his godfather's surname at age 20 when he married. After working at various jobs, in 1940 Twardowicz enrolled in Detroit's Meinzinger's Art School.
In 1946 Twardowicz was awarded a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, his first exposure to a creative arts community. There he met Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jack Levine and Philip Guston. Through his associations at Skowhegan, Twardowicz obtained a teaching position at Ohio State University. He taught there until 1951, becoming friends with fellow instructor, Roy Lichtenstein. Twardowicz married (Ruth) Ann Mandel in 1949 and they lived in an artists' community near Guadalajara, Mexico. Twardowicz then travelled in Europe, his work edging towards an expressionist technique and mood. By 1953 Twardowicz painted in a fully abstract manner.
Upon his return to the States, Twardowicz frequented the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village, New York, where he met and was deeply influenced by Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. During this time he had one-man shows and participated in group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was represented in the Museum of Modern Art's travelling exhibition "Young American Painters."
In 1956 Twardowicz received a Guggenheim Fellowship in creative painting and moved to Northport, Long Island, where he befriended area artists Jules Olitski and George Grosz. Between 1958 and 1970 the Peridot Gallery in New York presented annual one-man shows of Twardowicz's work. Twardowicz also participated in numerous major group shows at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Twardowicz began his long teaching career at Hofstra University in 1964, where he met his third wife, Lillian Dodson, a fellow artist. Twardowicz's career as a photographer also prospered. Edward Streichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, selected six of Twardowicz's photographs for the Museum's permanent collection. In June, 1967 Tardowicz took photographs of Jack Kerouac in his Lowell, Massachusetts home, which became the subject of an art book portfolio called
Stashou and Yasho
During the 1990's there was renewed interest in Twardowicz's work with a show at Mitchell Algus' Gallery in Soho, New York City. In 2001, the Phoenix Art Museum celebrated Twardowicz's contributions as a Color Field painter with a retrospective exhibition "Moving Color."
Twardowicz died on June 12, 2008 in Northport, Long Island.
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1951-2008 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Writings, 1951-2008 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1942-1951 (Box 1; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 4: Printed Material and Related Items, 1946-2009 (Box 1; 0V 2; 0.6 linear ft.)
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1960-1979 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Donated 2010 by Lillian Dodson, Twardowicz's widow.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Harriet E. Shapiro in 2011.

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, Lilian Dodson, has retained copyright to materials created by Twardowicz. AAA has been given a non-exclusive license to reproduce and display.

How to Cite This Collection

Stanley Twardowicz papers, 1942-2009, bulk, 1942-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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