A Finding Aid to the Rudy Burckhardt Papers, 1934-2015, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.burcrudy
Creators:
Burckhardt, Rudy, 1914-1999
Dates:
1934-2015
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
5.6 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of photographer, filmmaker, and painter Rudy Burckhardt measure 5.6 linear feet and date from 1934 to 2015. A bulk of the collection consists of black and white negatives which document over 260 mid-to-late twentieth century modern artists, their work, studios, and/or exhibitions. Notable artists include Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Joseph Cornell, Helen Frankenthaler, Donald Judd, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Stella, and many others. Burckhardt was hired to photograph for a number of New York art galleries such as the Leo Castelli Gallery and Green Gallery; art collectors including Chaim Gross and David Rockefeller; and art magazines such as ARTnews. Personal papers include announcements and an exhibition catalog; clippings; photographs on postcards; and a book, entitled Conversations with Rudy Burckhardt About Everything, by Simon Pettet, 1987. A small but rich addition to the collection dates from 1941-2015 and contains a curriculum vitae; letters from Joe Brainard, Harold Schimmel, and others; writings; one scrapbook dating from World War II containing letters Burckhardt wrote to Edwin Denby; printed announcements and clippings; and one photograph of Burckhardt taken by Yvonne Jacquette.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of photographer, filmmaker, and painter Rudy Burckhardt measure 5.6 linear feet and date from 1934 to 2015. A bulk of the collection consists of black and white negatives which document over 260 mid-to-late twentieth century modern artists, their work, studios, and/or exhibitions. Notable artists include Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Joseph Cornell, Helen Frankenthaler, Donald Judd, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Stella, and many others. Burckhardt was hired to photograph for a number of New York art galleries such as the Leo Castelli Gallery and Green Gallery; art collectors including Chaim Gross and David Rockefeller; and art magazines such as ARTnews. Personal papers include announcements and an exhibition catalog; clippings; photographs on postcards; and a book, entitled Conversations with Rudy Burckhardt About Everything, by Simon Pettet, 1987. A small but rich addition to the collection dates from 1941-2015 and contains a curriculum vitae; letters from Joe Brainard, Harold Schimmel, and others; writings; one scrapbook dating from World War II containing letters Burckhardt wrote to Edwin Denby; printed announcements and clippings; and one photograph of Burckhardt taken by Yvonne Jacquette.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 3 series:
  • Series 1: Personal Papers, 1934-1990 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Photographic Materials, circa 1950-1975 (Boxes 2-13; 4.8 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Addition to the Rudy Burckhardt Papers, 1941-2015 (Box 14-15; 0.6 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Rudy Burckhardt (1914-1999) was a Swiss-American photographer, filmmaker, and painter based in New York, N.Y. during the post-World War II era. Originally from Basel, Switzerland, Burckhardt relocated to New York in 1935 at the age of 21. Burckhardt shared a loft in Chelsea with American dance critic and poet, Edwin Denby, next-door to Willem and Elaine de Kooning.
After completing his service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1944, Burckhardt pursued an education in painting. He studied with French painter and writer, Amédéé Ozenfant in New York, circa 1948-1949; Italian painter and professor Giuseppe (Beppe) Guzzi in Rome; and the Academy of Naples, circa 1950-1951.
Burckhardt married painter and collagist, Edith Schloss in 1947 and in 1949 their son Jacob, a filmmaker, was born. The two separated and in 1964, Burckhardt married American painter, Yvonne Jacquette and the same year the couple's son Thomas (Tom), a painter, was born.
Throughout his career, Burckhardt collaborated with a number of notable post-war visual artists such as Joseph Cornell, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Alex Katz, Nell Blaine, Lois Dodd, and Red Grooms as well as writers and poets including Edwin Denby, John Ashbery, Phillip Lopate, and Kenneth Kock.
Burckhardt was hired to photograph New York-based visual artists, their work, studios, and exhibitions. A bulk of the black and white negatives that make up the collection were produced circa 1950 to 1975. Burckhardt photographed for the Leo Castelli Gallery for approximately 20 years. He also frequently photographed for Thomas B. Hess, editor of ARTnews.
Early exhibitions of Burckhardt's street photography include Photo League, 1948; Limelight Gallery, 1954; and Gotham Bookmart, 1972 and 1980. Painting exhibitions include the Tanager Gallery, 1959; Green Mountain Gallery, 1971, 1974, and 1978; and Blue Mountain Gallery, 1981; Brooke Alexander Gallery 1976 and 1978. A number of his films have been collected by and shown at the Museum of Modern Art, 1987 and circa 1993.

Administration
Processing Information
The Rudy Burckhardt papers were arranged and described by intern, Elissa L. Jerome in 2016. The addition was processed and the finding aid updated by Hilary Price in 2017.
Author
Elissa L. Jerome and Hilary Price
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The first accession of biographical material was donated to the Archives of American Art by Rudy Burckhardt in 1993. A second installment of photographic material was donated by Yvonne Jacquette Burckhardt, Burckhardt's widow, in 2011. A third addition was donated by Yvonne Jacquette Burckhardt in 2016.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that she may own in the following material: photographs taken by Rudy Burckhardt.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Available in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Rudy Burckhardt conducted by Martica Sawin on January 14, 1993.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Negatives Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Filmmakers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richard Green Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Leo Castelli Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gross, Chaim, 1904-1991 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-2011 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Judd, Donald, 1928- -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stella, Frank -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rockefeller, David, 1915- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pettet, Simon Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cornell, Joseph -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904- -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flavin, Dan, 1933- -- Photographs 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
https://www.aaa.si.edu/