A Finding Aid to the Peter Blume Papers, 1870-2001, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.blumpete
Creators:
Blume, Peter, 1906-1992
Dates:
1870-2001
Languages:
English
The collection is in English
Physical Description:
7.6 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York and Connecticut painter Peter Blume date from 1870 to 2001 and measure 7.6 linear feet. Found are biographical materials; correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, galleries and institutions, and writers; writings on art by Blume and others; subject files regarding organizations, works of art, exhibitions, and reference files; personal business records; printed material; two scrapbooks; photographs of Blume, family, friends, and works of art; extensive artwork; and material relating to Blume's wife's family, the Cratons.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York and Connecticut painter Peter Blume date from 1870 to 2001 and measure 7.6 linear feet. Found are biographical materials; correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, galleries and institutions, and writers; writings on art by Blume and others; subject files regarding organizations, works of art, exhibitions, and reference files; personal business records; printed material; two scrapbooks; photographs of Blume, family, friends, and works of art; extensive artwork; and material relating to Blume's wife's family, the Cratons.
Biographical materials include an award, obituaries, a travel itinerary, and sound recordings and transcripts of interviews of Peter Blume by Alfred H. Barr, Boston College, Harry Boursa, and Visionary Company Magazine.
Correspondence is professional and personal. Letters are from friends, family, artists, writers, galleries, and institutions. Notable correspondents include Kirk Askew, Malcolm Cowley, Peter DeVries, Joseph Hirsch, and Frank A. Trapp, among others. Also found is Grace Blume's correspondence which includes letters to and from Peter Blume and letters from Grace to her family members and friends. The bulk of Grace Blume's correspondence concerns her travels with Blume.
Writings and notes by Blume include a travel journal, lists of works of art, lectures, talks and other writings on art, artists, and friends. Writings by others include theses and scholarly papers about Blume, and include writings by Heber Blankenhorn, Kenneth Burke, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Ulrich Godsoe, Frank Getlein, Michael A. Kelly, and Frank A. Trapp. Also found is criticism on The Rock by school children.
Blume's subject files cover the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Artists Congress, Heber Blankenhorn, works of art by Blume, exhibitions, and the Connecticut Council on the Arts. Also found are reference files consisting of photographs of artwork by others and clippings.
Personal business and financial records consist of business correspondence with galleries and museums; sales and consignment records; scattered price lists; and receipts and invoices relating to the building and running of Blume's house in Connecticut.
Printed materials include clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs for solo and group shows, magazines featuring articles about Blume, posters, and reproductions of works of art.
Scrapbooks include a fragment of a scrapbook from 1942-1944 and a clippings scrapbook from 1934-1939.
Photographs include portraits and snapshots of Peter Blume, Grace Blume, family, friends, travel, parties, pets, homes, landscapes, exhibitions, and works of art. There are also photos of the Askews, the Blankenhorns, the Cowleys, Alfred Eisenstaedt, the Holstens, the Josephsons, Arthur Miller, Georgia O'Keeffe, the Sobys, and Raphael Soyer.
Artwork by Peter Blume includes completed drawings, sketches, doodles, prints, and preliminary drawings for many of his works. Of note are extensive sketches of heads, and preliminary drawings for Recollection of the Flood.
Craton family papers consist of geneological material relating to Grace Blume's brother, James Craton and his wife Catherine Sears Craton. Found are vital records; military records for James and Marshall Craton; correspondence; scattered financial records; clippings; and family photographs.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 10 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1950-1992 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1926-1992 (1.8 linear feet; Box 1-3)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1929-1986 (0.5 linear feet; Box 3, 9)
  • Series 4: Subject Files, circa 1930-1988 (0.5 linear feet; Box 3-4)
  • Series 5: Personal Business and Financial Records, 1934-1983 (0.6 linear feet; Box 4, 9)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1930-1990 (0.7 linear feet; Box 4-5, 9, OV 15-16)
  • Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1934-1944 (3 folders; Box 5)
  • Series 8: Photographs, 1917-circa 1980 (1.1 linear feet; Box 5-6, 9)
  • Series 9: Artwork, 1932-1984 (2.0 linear feet; Box 6-9, OV 10-14)
  • Series 10: Craton Family Papers, 1870-2001 (0.2 linear feet; Box 6)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Russian-born painter and sculptor Peter Blume (1906-1992) was active in New York and Connecticut. His style combined American and European traditions with folk art and surrealism.
Peter Blume was born Piotr Sorek-Sabel in 1906 in Smorgon, Russia. With his family, he emigrated to the United States in 1911 and settled in New York City. Blume studied at the Educational Alliance and the Art Students League in New York. Influenced by folk art, Precisionism, Cubism, and Surrealism, Blume combined European and American painting tradition to create his own style. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1932 and travelled to Italy.
In 1934, Blume's South of Scranton (1931) won the first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition. Later, he exhibited The Eternal City (1937) at the Julian Levy Galleries in Manhattan. With the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the Treasury Department, Blume completed two post office murals in New York and Pennsylvania. Blume was a member of the National Academy of Design and was active with the American Academy in Rome.
Peter Blume married Grace "Ebie" Douglas Craton in 1931. The couple built their home in Sherman, Connecticut. The Blumes travelled the world and kept close relationships with family and friends, such as Ann and Heber Blankenhorn, Malcolm Cowley, and Ned and Nancy Holsten.
Peter Blume died in Connecticut in 1992.

Administration
Processing Information
The Peter Blume papers were arranged upon receipt and fully merged, arranged, and described by Jayna Josefson in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection was digitized in 2014 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Peter Blume papers were donated by in 1993 by Grace Blume, Peter Blume's widow. Additional papers were donated by Catherine Weiss, Jamie Vance, and Leigh Butler in 2010.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Peter Blume papers, 1870-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Peter Blume papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Related Materials
Also in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Peter Blume conducted on August 16th, 1983 to May 23rd, 1984 by Robert F. Brown.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Travel diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcriptions Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lectures Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Askew, R. Kirk (Ralph Kirk), 1903-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cowley, Malcolm, 1898- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Artists' Congress Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Vries, Peter, 1910-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boston College Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boursa, Harry Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trapp, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blume, Grace Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blankenhorn, Heber, 1884-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burke, Kenneth, 1897- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Connecticut Council of the Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eisenstaedt, Alfred Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Godsoe, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Getlein, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kelly, Michael A. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Academy of Arts and Letters 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/