A Finding Aid to the Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores Papers, 1946-1996, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.almacarl
Creators:
Almaraz, Carlos
Flores, Elsa
Dates:
1946-1996
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and Spanish.
Physical Description:
7.9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painters and muralists Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1946 to 1996. The collection documents the careers of both artists through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, personal business records, printed material and artwork.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painters and muralists Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1946 to 1996. The collection documents the careers of both artists through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, personal business records, printed material and artwork.
Biographical material includes documents regarding Almaraz's death, identification documents, and a few photographs and slides. Correspondence is with family, friends, galleries, museums, and arts organizations. Writings include nine journals belonging to Almaraz and Flores containing travel notes, daily activities and personal thoughts, as well as writings on other topics and writings by others. Professional files document the Los Four group, projects, events, exhibitions, and memberships with arts organizations. Personal business records include legal and financial material along with records relating to Almaraz and Flores's house in Kauai, Almaraz's scholarship fund, and for Almaraz Studio. Printed materials include publications featuring artwork and articles by or about Almaraz and Flores. Original artwork includes sketchbooks, drawings, cutouts, and a watercolor.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as seven series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1946-1994 (Boxes 1, 8-9; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1974-1996 (Boxes 1-4, OV 10; 3.0 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1972-1994 (Boxes 4, 8-9, OV 10; 0.8 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Professional Files, 1973-1994 (Boxes 4-5, 9, OV 11; 0.8 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1974-1995 (Box 5; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1972-1995 (Boxes 6-7. 9, OV 10; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Artwork, circa 1975-1996 (Boxes 7-9; 1.4 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Carlos Almaraz (1941-1989) was a painter and muralist in Los Angeles, California. His wife Elsa Flores (1955- ) is also a painter and muralist. Almaraz and Flores collaborated on the mural California Dreamscape as part of the Chicano street arts movement.
Almaraz was born in Mexico City, moving to Chicago in 1942, and settling in Los Angeles in 1949. He studied at California State College, the Otis Art Institute, and the University of California in Los Angeles. He moved to New York City in 1965, where he studied at the Art Students League and New School of Social Research. In 1970, Almaraz returned to Los Angeles. He became active with mural painting within the Mexican American community in Los Angeles. Along with Gilbert Lujan, Beto de la Rocha, and Frank Romero, Almaraz founded the artist collective Los Four.
Elsa Flores was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She studied at the Art Center College, California State University, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. Almaraz and Flores married in 1981 and their daughter Maya was born in 1983. They collaborated on California Dreamscape, a mural commissioned by the California Arts Council and is located in the Reagan State Building in Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, Almaraz was diagnosed with AIDS and died in 1989.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2018.
Existence and Location of Copies
Sketchbooks and journals, including those lent for microfilming, are available on 35mm microfilm reels 4578-4587 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of sketchbooks and notebooks (volumes 1-78) lent for microfilming (reels 4578-4587). Loaned materials were returned to the donor and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Sketchbook and journal volumes 1-78 were lent for microfilming by Elsa Flores in 1991. Sketchbook and journal volumes 79-84 were donated, some by Carlos Almaraz in 1986 and the remainder in 1991 by Flores and microfilmed onto reel 4587, fr. 93-456. In 1997, additional papers were donated by Flores.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Carlos Almaraz and Elsa Flores papers, 1946-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is access restricted, except for Box 8; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Conditions Governing Use
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce six journals and sketchbooks (volumes 79-84) requires written permission from Elsa Flores.

Related Materials
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history with Carlos Almaraz conducted by Margarita Nieto from February 6, 1986 to January 29, 1987 and an oral history with Elsa Flores conducted by Jeffrey Rangel from February 18, 1997 to April 30, 1997.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Muralists -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hispanic American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Los Four (Art group) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/