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William Chapin Seitz papers, circa 1930-1995

Seitz, William Chapin, 1914-1974

Painter, Art historian

Collection Information

Size: 32.5 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of educator, painter, and art historian William Chapin Seitz measure 32.5 linear feet and date from circa 1930-1995. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, notebooks, subject and people files, thesis research files, interviews and lecture recordings, teaching files, personal business records, scattered printed materials, photographs, and artwork. The bulk of the papers focus on Seitz's research and teaching career.
Biographical materials consist of resumes and CV's, identification cards including one from the WPA, documents from the memorial held at the University of Virginia for Seitz, poetry written by Irma for William on their wedding anniversaries, and x-rays.
The majority of Seitz's correspondence is professional and concerns job offers and opportunities, lectures requests, recommendation letters for Seitz and for others by Seitz, the Kress Fellowship, exhibitions, awards, and organizations. Also found are posthumus materials to Irma Seitz concerning book royalites. Personal correspondence is scattered and includes condolence letters sent to Irma.
Personal business records focus on Seitz's personal art collection, copyright information, publishing records including royalty statements, reports, scholarship and fellowship information, and professional organization membership records.
The bulk of the collection consists of research and writing files which include notebooks, subject and people files, thesis research files and drafts, general research which include writings by Seitz, card files, and recordings of lectures and interviews. Subject and people files may include correspondence, printed materials, research notes, photographs, works of art, and writings concerning and by artists, art historians, curators, subjects, and art movements. Research files are found for Dore Ashton, Alfred H. Barr Jr., William Baziotes, Bruce Conner, Rene D'Harnoncourt, Marcel Duchamp, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Rockne Krebs, George Segal, James Rosati, and Frank Stella among many others. Also found are research materials on Claude Monet, some of which are written in French.
Teaching files contains extensive reference material likely used by Seitz during his career as well as correspondence, exams, and lecture materials used in specific classes.
Printed material is scattered and includes clippings, exhibition announcements, and articles. Exhibition announcements and catalogs are for Seitz's personal works and for exhibitions he curated.
The bulk of the photographs are of works of art by William Seitz, Irma Seitz, and others which were likely owned by Seitz. Also found are phtographs of exhibition installations at the Univeristy of Virginia and scattered photographs of Seitz with others.
Artwork include several pencil sketches by Seitz, two works by Ellen Banks-Woodson, and a sketch by Phil Elliott.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Chapin Seitz (1914-1974) was an art historian and scholar, painter, educator, and museum curator who worked primarily in New York and Virginia. He completed the first dissertation on Abstract Expressionism while a student at Princeton University in 1955.

Provenance

The William Chapin Seitz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Seitz's widow, Irma Seitz, in 1975 and 2003. A transcript of an interview with Mark Tobey by Seitz was donated by Rebecca Massie Lane in 1988. Seitz gave these transcripts to Lane for her graduate work and they remined in her possession after his death.

Related Materials

Language Note

Some records are in French. English; French

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art