A Finding Aid to the George Constant Papers, 1912-2007, bulk 1932-1978, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.consgeor
Creators:
Constant, George
Dates:
1912-2007
bulk 1932-1978
Languages:
Multiple languages
English and Greek
English; Greek
Physical Description:
4.6 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work. A small portion of the correspondence and printed materials are written in Greek.
Biographical material includes artist statements written and recorded by Constant, two audio interview recordings discussing his philosophies on art and his work, inventories of artwork, personal property deeds and legal correspondence, and other miscellaneous material.
Correspondence is predominantly in the form of business and personal letters, postcards, and holiday cards received from family and friends. These include correspondence from Constant's daughter, Georgette Preston, and extended family members. Other frequent personal correspondents include Milton and Sally Avery, Lewis Balamuth, Margaret Brunning, David Burliuk, Nathaniel Burwash, Rhys Caparn, Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell, Phillip Cavanaugh, Morris Davidson, Charles Eaton, Vilko Gecan, Marchal Landgren, Roy Neuberger, Walter Pach, Nell Perret, Constantine Pougialis, Wallace Putnam and Consuelo Kanaga, Hi Simons, and Helen Slosberg. Business related correspondents include Audubon Artists, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute, Dayton Art Institute, Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Ferargil Galleries, Guild Hall, Heckscher Museum, Lyman Allyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Spanish Refugee Appeal, and the Whitney Museum. Other business correspondence related to Constant's work with the WPA are also included in the series.
Printed material includes books and booklets on American and Greek art, including a limited print edition of George Constant by George Constant, clippings and articles reviewing Constant's work, exhibition announcements and catalogs of Constant's shows, periodicals profiling his artwork, and dance and theater related programs that Constant consulted on.
Photographs include black and white prints of Constant and his family and friends in St. Louis, Missouri, Dayton, Ohio, and in and around his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York. The collection also includes photo stills from his 1965 exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum and a comprehensive set of black and white prints, a handful of color prints, and several color slide sheets of Constant's artwork from the 1920s to 1978.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged into 4 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-2007 (Box 1; 17 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1930-1979 (Box 1-2; 1.4 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, 1927-2005 (Box 2-3; 2 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Photographic Material, 1912-1978 (Box 4-6; 1 linear foot)

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Greek American George Zachary Constant (1892-1978) worked from his studios in Shinnecock Hills, and New York City, New York as a painter and printmaker. A founder and lifelong member of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Constant worked for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) during the Depression and early years of World War II, and exhibited regularly at major galleries and museums from the 1920s to 1970s.
Born in Arahova, Greece, Constant was raised by his two uncles after the death of his parents in 1896. In school and at the monestary one of his uncles led, Constant showed an early interest in classical Greek aesthetics. At the age of eighteen, he immigrated to the United States and continued his art studies at Washington University before transferring to the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1918 to 1922, Constant taught at the Dayton Art Institute and continued to produce and exhibit his work locally. In 1922, he moved to New York, joined the Society of Independent Painters, and became close friends with Society founder and art critic Walter Pach. During the 1920s, his etchings were shown at the Valentine and Downtown Galleries, and at the New Art Circle of J.B. Neumann, where he presented his first one man gallery show in 1929.
From the 1930s to 1940s, Constant produced prints, watercolors, and oil paintings for the WPA, many of which were purchased by museums and public institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum. During this same period, Constant exhibited his work at the Boyer Gallery in the late 1930s, and at the Ferargil Gallery from the 1940s to early 1950s. In the decade between 1955 and 1965, Constant also worked on color and set design for seventeen dance productions created by the choreographer Alwin Nikolais. In the last two decades of his career, Constant produced works from his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York and continued to exhibit at numerous galleries, including Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Guild Hall, Mari Galleries, Tirca Karlis Gallery, and Artium Gallery.

Administration
Processing Information note
George Constant's donations from 1969 were originally microfilmed on reels N69-77 and N69-125; these reels are no longer in circulation. The 2007 final addition was merged with earlier accessions and the entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Judy Ng in February 2011 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Existence and Location of Copies
All of the sound and video recordings in this collection were digitized for research access in 2011 and are available at the Archives of American Art offices. Researchers may view the original cassettes for the archival notations on them, but original cassettes are not available for playback due to fragility.
Author
Judy Ng
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The papers of George Constant were donated by the artist in 1969 and 1978. Additional materials were donated in 2001 and 2007 by his daughter Georgette Preston.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
George Constant papers, 1912-2007, bulk 1932-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use note
The George Constant 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Christmas cards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Philosophy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney Museum of American Art Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brooklyn Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eaton, Charles Warren, 1857-1937 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Works Progress Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Spanish Refugee Aid (Organization) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Preston, Georgette Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Perret, Nell, 1916- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parrish Art Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Neuberger, Roy R. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lyman Allyn Art Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kanaga, Consuelo, 1894- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Landgren, Marchal E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ferargil Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gecan, Vilko, 1894-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davidson, Morris, 1898-1979 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dayton Art Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Caparn, Rhys, 1909-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burliuk, David, 1882-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carnell, Julia Shaw Patterson, 1863-1944 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carnegie Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Avery, Milton, 1885-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heckscher Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audubon Artists (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Avery, Sally Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Institute of Chicago Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Putnam, Wallace, 1899-1989 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/