Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the Karl Benjamin Papers in the Archives of American Art, 1958-1980.

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.benjkarl
Creators:
Benjamin, Karl
Dates:
1958-1980
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
13 Items
Repository:
The papers of painter and educator Karl Benjamin consist of thirteen items dating from 1958-1980 and include correspondence and clippings relating to Benjamin's career as a painter and teacher, and one photograph.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and educator Karl Benjamin consist of thirteen items dating from 1958-1980 and include correspondence and clippings relating to Benjamin's career as a painter and teacher, and one photograph.
Nine letters, seven of which are written by Benjamin and four of which are photocopies, are to a variety of people and relate to the beginning of Benjamin's career as a painter, his feelings about teaching, and his exhibitions, including the origins of the 1959 show Four Abstract Classicists. Included are a resignation letter to the Chino school district in 1977, and an exchange with a former student who recalls Benjamin as an art teacher.
Three clippings include a newspaper article from the Chino Champion regarding a beautification project Benjamin was involved in at Gird Elementary in Chino, California and a printed letter written and submitted by Benjamin to the Los Angeles Times in August, 1978 regarding Proposition 13. Also found is a 1977 photograph of Benjamin's baby granddaughter.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of the collection, the papers are arranged as one series.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Karl Benjamin (1925- 2012) was a painter and educator in Claremont, California, known for his Hard Edge geometric and vibrantly colored abstract paintings.
After serving in the United States Navy in World War II, Benjamin graduated from Southern California's University of Redlands in 1949 with a BA degree in English literature, history and philosophy. He relocated to Claremont, where he taught in public schools and subsequently at Pomona College, and began painting and exhibiting his work. Following the 1959 exhibition Four Abstract Classicists: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Benjamin became known as one of the region's leading Hard Edge painters.
Benjamin received the National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Visual Arts in 1983 and 1989. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, Israel, Oakland Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Administration
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 1980 by Karl Benjamin.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection was digitized in 2021 and is available on the Archives of American Art website.
Processing Information
The papers, with the exception of one letter from Benjamin to Paul Karlstrom dated 1975 Feb. 28, were microfilmed upon receipt on reel 2786. The collection was processed, prepared for digitization, and described in a finding aid by Stephanie Ashley in 2021 with funding provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Karl Benjamin papers, 1958-1980.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Hard-edge Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- California -- Claremont Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- California -- Claremont Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hammersley, Frederick, 1919-2009 Personal 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