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Whitney B. Halstead papers, 1920-1982

Whitney B. Halstead papers, 1920-1982

Halstead, Whitney, 1926-1979

Sculptor, Assemblage artist

Collection Information

Size: 7.1 linear ft.

Summary: Found within the papers are scattered biographical material; a diary and travel journals; writings and notes (almost one-half of the collection); scattered correspondence; miscellaneous records and printed materials documenting Halstead's tenure at the Art Institute of Chicago; audio-cassette recordings of African and native music; artists files for Jim Nutt and Joseph E. Yoakum; exhibition files; art work by Halstead and others; and photographs of Halstead, friends and colleagues, and art projects. Also found are numerous photographs, slides, and negatives of primitive art, including American Indian art by Southwest tribes.

Biographical/Historical Note

Teacher, critic, scholar, artist; b. 1926; d. 1979. Halstead received his B.F.A and M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He taught art history at several Chicago-area schools, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he developed a series of courses on primitive art. Halstead wrote critical reviews for Artforum and the Chicago Daily News, as well as numerous articles about local and primitive art; curated several exhibitions, including Made in Chicago, and as an artist, worked in a variety of media.

Provenance

Donated in 1986 by the estate of Whitney Halstead via Theodore Halkin, executor.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Whitney Halstead Papers,
1920-1982
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.halswhit
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Biographical Note
Art historian, educator, critic, author, and artist Whitney Halstead was born in 1926. After receiving a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Halstead worked as an assistant in the Field Museum's anthropology department. He also taught art history at several Chicago-area universities, including the Art Institute, where he developed a series of courses on primitive art. Some historians have indicated that these courses were an important influence on the work of several artists of the "Chicago School" who studied with Halstead, including Roger Brown, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum, among others. Halstead also played a prominent role in the 1965 Art Institute's faculty strike that resulted in better working conditions for the instructors, and by 1967, he had become Chairman of the Division of Fine Arts. In 1970, he assumed the position of Graduate Advisor.
Halstead wrote critical reviews for
Artforum
, the
Chicago Daily News
, and numerous articles and essays promoting local and primitive art, including the work of Jim Nutt and naïve artist Joseph E. Yoakum. He also curated several exhibitions, including
Made In Chicago
and
Ulu/Inua: Form and Fantasy in Eskimo Art
. Halstead's own art work, exhibitied primarily during the 1950s and early 1960s, was in a variety of media and reflected his interest in Dadaism and Surrealism.
Whitney Halstead died in 1979.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 11 series by either type of material or subject file, and chronologically within each series. Oversized material from various series has been housed in OV folder 8 and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1966-1977 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Personal Correspondence, circa 1933-1978 (Box 1; 6 folders)
Series 3: Diary and Travel Journals, 1957-1975 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 4: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Files, circa 1920-1982 (Box 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1923-1978 (Box 2-5; 3.4 linear feet)
Series 6: Artist Files, 1967-1977 (Box 5-6, OV 8; 36 folders)
Series 7: Hyde Park Art Center File, circa 1960-1977 (Box 6; 4 folders)
Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1966-1975 (Box 6, OV 8; 17 folders)
Series 9: Art Work, circa 1932-1970 (Box 6, OV 8; 21 folders)
Series 10: Photographs, circa 1949-1976 (Box 7; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 11: Printed Material, 1966-1975 (Box 7; 5 folders)
Scope and Content Note
The Whitney Halstead papers measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1982. They document the career of art historian, educator, critic, author, and artist Whitney Halstead. Found within the papers are scattered biographical material; a diary and travel journals; writings and notes (almost one-half of the collection); scattered correspondence; miscellaneous records and printed materials documenting Halstead's tenure at the Art Institute of Chicago; audio-cassette recordings of African and native music; artists files for Jim Nutt and Joseph E. Yoakum; exhibition files; art work by Halstead and others; and photographs of Halstead, friends and colleagues, and art projects. Also found are numerous photographs, slides, and negatives depicting primitive art, mostly native American Indian art by Southwest tribes.
Provenance
Donated in 1986 by the estate of Whitney Halstead via Theodore Halkin, executor.
Related Material
Additional Whitney Halstead papers are held by the Art Institute of Chicago.
Processing Information
The papers were processed in May 2004 by Jean Fitzgerald.

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

Whitney B. Halstead papers, 1920-1982. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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