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William and Ethel Baziotes papers, circa 1900-1992, bulk 1935-1980

William and Ethel Baziotes papers, circa 1900-1992, bulk 1935-1980

Baziotes, William, 1912-1963



Collection Information

Size: 6.3 linear feet

Summary: Correspondence, financial material, writings and notes, sketchbook, photographs, slides, printed material, and an interview relating to William Baziotes' career as an abstract expressionist painter. The papers of Ethel Baziotes consist of correspondence and writings mostly dated after William's death regarding exhibitions of her husband's work.

Published and unpublished articles on Baziotes, including a literary portrait by Donald Paneth, undated; notes and writings by Baziotes, undated; teaching files from Hunter College, 1957, 1960-1962; letters to Baziotes, 1940-1969, from: Lawrence Alloway, Alfred Barr, Andre Breton, Clement Greenberg, Peggy Guggenheim, David Hare, Jean Helion, Matta, Maria and Robert Motherwell, Charles Peterson, an invitation from Jackson Pollock, WPA Easel Artists Division, 1940-1941; 3 letters (one illustrated) from William to Ethel, 1940-1941; photocopies of a questionnaire prepared for the Museum of Modern Art, regarding Baziotes' painting "Dwarf", circa 1951; letters to Ethel Baziotes, 1961-1969; photographs of Baziotes, Ethel, family and friends, including photographs of Baziotes by Francis P. Lee, Hans Namuth, and Peter A. Juley & Son; exhibition announcements and catalogs.

Letters from Baziotes to his brother Christos, 1936-1951. Baziotes encourages Christos and another brother Harry in their art, and discusses employment on the WPA Easel Project, the New York art scene, teaching at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and at New York University, his relationships with Paul Bodin, Clement Greenberg, Samuel Kootz, Francis Lee, Joan Miro, and Robert Motherwell.

Business correspondence, mainly with the Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, letters to Ethel Baziotes, 1962-1972, including letters of condolence; photographs of Ethel Baziotes, Rudi Blesh, Nathan Halper, Harriet Janis, Ethel Schwabacher, Maurice Sievan, Clyfford Still, and others; newspaper and magazine articles; and exhibition announcements and catalogs.

Letters to William, circa 1940-1990, including congratulatory notes upon being awarded a prize at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1947; letters to Ethel from John Canaday, John (Giovanni) Castano, Gerome Kamrowski, Gordon Onslow-Ford, Gertrud Schumm, Ethel Schwabacher, Byron Vazakas, and museums and galleries regarding exhibiting William's works of art including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's retrospective, 1964, and Newport Harbor Museum's retrospective exhibition, 1987; business letters and a record of sales from the Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, 1952-1957; writings by William, circa 1950, Ethel, 1972, 1992, and undated, and others, including Schwabacher, 1971, 1972; a sketchbook, 1960-1961; a portrait of William by Peter A. Juley & Son, circa 1953; photographs circa 1900-1978, of family and friends, including Meir Bernstein (Meir BernsÝhtin) and his studio, Paul Bodin, Michel Licht, Maria Motherwell, Pablo and Maya Picasso, Orlando Zulueta, and others; photos of works of art by William including the Crystal Restaurant murals in Reading, Pennsylvania, 1941-1942; exhibition announcements and catalogs 1944-1992; clippings, 1944-1991; and auction catalogs, 1965, 1981-1992.

An untranscribed interview of Harry and Constance Baziotes conducted by Francis Ricci for "Art in Review," 1982 (1 cassette); miscellaneous printed material not related to Baziotes; and slides of the Baziotes residences.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Baziotes (1912-1963) was an abstract expressionist painter in New York City. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baziotes moved to New York City in 1933, where he studied painting at the National Academy of Design, 1933-1936. He participated on the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project as a teacher, 1936-1938, and painted for the Easel Painting Project, 1938-1940. In 1941 he married Ethel Copstein. He had his first one-man show at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in 1944. Baziotes taught at Subjects of the Artist, 1948; the Brooklyn Museum Art School; New York University; 1949-1952; the People's Art Center at the Museum of Modern Art, 1950-1952; and Hunter College, 1952-1962.


Donated by Ethel Baziotes, widow of William Baziotes, 1969-1993.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels N70-21, N70-24, 347, and 4984-4985 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of orginal 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

William and Ethel Baziotes papers, circa 1900-1992, bulk 1935-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.