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Whitney Halstead papers, 1920-1982

Halstead, Whitney, 1926-1979

Assemblage artist, Sculptor

Collection Information

Size: 7.1 Linear feet

Summary: 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 of primitive art, including American Indian art by Southwest tribes.

Biographical/Historical 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.

Provenance

The Whitney Halstead papers were donated by Theodore Halkin, the executor of Halstead's estate in 1986.

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