A Finding Aid to the Jean Crotti Papers,
1913-1973
,
bulk 1913-1961,
in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.crotjean
Creators:
Crotti, Jean, 1878-1958
Dates:
1913-1973
bulk 1913-1961
Languages:
Multiple languages
English and French
English; French
Physical Description:
1.7 Linear Feet
Repository:
The scattered papers of French Dada painter Jean Crotti measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1913-1973, with the bulk of the material dated 1913-1961. Found within the papers are autobiographical notes and essays; correspondence with family and colleagues, among them Jean Cocteau, Andre Crotti, Suzanne Duchamp, Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Christian a.k.a. Georges Herbiet, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, and Jacques Villon; notes and writings by Crotti and others; art work by Crotti and Paul Guillaume; a scrapbook; and additional printed material. Photographs are of Crotti, Suzanne Duchamp, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and other family and friends; and of Crotti's art work. There are audio recordings on phonograph records of three interviews with Crotti and one with Mr. and Mrs. Paul Blancpain.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of French Dada painter Jean Crotti measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1913 to 1973, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1913-1961. Among the papers are autobiographical essays, correspondence with friends and family, including many letters from Marcel Duchamp, notes and writings by and about Crotti, printed materials, one scrapbook, drawings by Crotti and others, photographs of Crotti and his family and friends, photographs of artwork, and three audio recordings of interviews with Crotti.
Biographical material consists of autobiographical notes and an autobiographical manuscript Ma Vie.
Correspondence is with family members and colleagues. Correspondents include his brother Andr?©, wife Suzanne Duchamp, and other family members. There are eleven folders of correspondence between Suzanne's brother Marcel Duchamp and the Crotti family. A 1918 letter from Duchamp to Crotti is illustrated by Duchamp. Additional letters to Jean Crotti are from Jean Cocteau, Albert Gleizes, Georges Herbiet a.k.a. "Christian", Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, and Jacques Villon. Three folders of letters from Georges Herbiet a.k.a. "Christian" include references to Francis Picabia and Germaine Everling and discussions of art criticism and Picabia's role in avant-garde art movements. Herbiet also describes a new painting procedure that he claims to have invented using a product that is impervious to acids, water, oil, or alcohol. There is a single letter from Jean Crotti to Pablo Picasso following their meeting in Cannes in which Crotti discusses a design with spheres and includes a sketch of his idea. There are also single letters to Crotti from Raoul Dufy, Walter Pach, and actor Pierre Renoir.
Notes and writings include poems, a script, and miscellaneous writings by Crotti concerning his art theories including "Tabu" and gemmail. Writings about Crotti are by miscellaneous authors including writers Waldemar George, Andr?© Salmon, and artists Armand Nakache, Am?©d?© Ozenfant, and Michel Seuphor.
Art work includes seven folders of drawings and an etching plate by Crotti, 83 drawings by Paul Guillaume, and portrait drawings of Crotti by Henri Coudour and Francis Picabia.
A scrapbook contains clippings, a letter from Paul Guillaume and a letter to Elizabeth Crotti from a friend describing a 1932 Jean Crotti exhibition in the Balzac Galleries in New York City, and a typescript "Una Collezione a Parigi" by Gino Severini.
Additional printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs for Crotti and others, reproductions of art work, and books Jean Crotti (1930) and Jean Crotti et la Primaut?© du Spirituel (1959) by Waldemar George.
Photographs are of Crotti, his family, friends, colleagues, and art work by Crotti and by Suzanne Duchamp. Of particular interest are photographs of composer Edgard Var?¨se and his wife Louise with Suzanne Duchamp, Jean Crotti, and art advocate Mary Reynolds in 1924, photographs of Crotti and Georges Braque examining a gemmail art work, and photographs of Crotti and Suzanne Duchamp talking with Pablo Picasso at Cannes and at the home of Bertrande Blancpain in 1957.
Sound recordings include two phonograph records of interviews with Jean Crotti, including topics "Assignment Switzerland" and "Assignment World." A third phonograph record contains an instantatneous disk recording of correspondence between Mr. and Mrs. Paul Blancpain as well as an additional interview with Crotti.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1954-1955 (Box 1; 3 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1916-1961 (Box 1; 43 folders)
  • Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1924-1958 (Box 1; 27 folders)
  • Series 4: Art Work, 1913-1925 (Box 1, 3; 12 folders)
  • Series 5: Scrapbook, 1931-1935 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1921-1973 (Box 1, 2, 3; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Photographs, 1920-1957 (Box 2; 25 folders)
  • Series 8: Sound Recordings, 1955 (Box 3; 1 folder)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Jean Crotti (1870-1958) was a Dadist painter who worked primarily in Paris, France and New York. He was married to Suzanne Duchamp, Marcel Duchamp's sister, and friends with notable avant-garde and Dada European and American painters of the period. He is also known for creating the "Gemmail" technique of layering colored glass that produced unique color combinations when illuminated.
Jean Crotti was born April 24, 1878 in Bulle, near Fribourg, Switzerland, the son of a painting contractor. The family moved to Fribourg in 1887.
Beginning in 1898, Crotti struggled with questions of a religious and spiritual nature while at the School of Decorative Arts in Munich. Dissatisfied there, he moved to Paris in 1901, where he spent a year studying at the Acad?©mie Julian under Tony-Robert Fleury and Jules Lefebvre. Still dissatisfied in 1902, he established a small independent studio in the Rue Fontaine.
Crotti exhibited a canvas at the Salon des Ind?©pendants in 1907, and was accepted as a member of the Salon d'Automne in 1909. From 1910 to 1912, he was influenced by Cubism and its offshoot, Orphism.
To escape from wartime Paris in 1914, Crotti and his first wife, Yvonne Chastel, moved to New York City where Crotti had his first solo exhibition at the Bourgeois Gallery. In 1915, Crotti met Francis Picabia and also shared a studio with Marcel Duchamp who was a major influence. Crotti began his Dada period and was included in an exhibition of French paintings at the Montross Gallery in New York, with Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, and Jean Metzinger.
Crotti separated from his first wife, Yvonne Chastel, in 1916 and returned to Paris alone. By 1917, Crotti's marriage had dissolved and he married Suzanne Duchamp in 1919. Crotti met Suzanne Duchamp, also a painter, through his friendship with her brother Marcel Duchamp. During this time, Crotti completed and exhibited paintings associated with the Dada movement. One of his more notable works was entitled Explacatif, bearing the word "Tabu" that expressed Crotti's concepts of mystery and infinity with spiritual overtones.
In 1935 Crotti began to research a new technique using layers of colored glass, referred to as "gemmail." The term is a contraction of "gem" referring to the colored glass and "enamel" referring to the method of affixing the pieces of glass to each other. After much experimentation, an "enamel" fixative was found that would permanently hold the glass pieces in place while still allowing light to shine through all the layers. Several prominent artists including Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso became interested in using this medium. Crotti had the process patented, but in 1955 ceded the rights to Roger Malherbe who adapted it to commercial uses.
Jean Crotti died on January 30, 1958 in Paris, France.

Administration
Separated Material
Two sketches and a print were also lent by Andr?© Buckles in 1981 for microfilming on reels 2394-2395 and returned. This material is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Alternative Forms Available
This site provides access to the papers of Jean Crotti in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in
2010
, and total
1551
images. Sound recordings have been digitized and are available in the Archives of American Art offices.
Materials not digitized include an etching plate by Crotti and photographs of artwork. Only the covers and title pages of most published books and exhibition catalogs were scanned.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were microfilmed on reels 2394-2395 shortly after donation. Previously microfilmed and unmicrofilmed portions were merged, arranged, and described by Jean Fitzgerald in April 2009, and the collection was digitized in 2010 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jean Fitzgerald
Sponsor
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Provenance
The Jean Crotti papers were donated in two installments in 1981 by Andr?© Buckles and Alice Buckles Brown, Crotti's great-nephew and great-niece.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Jean Crotti papers, 1913-1973, bulk 1913-1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Jean Crotti 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
Painting -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poems Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Essays Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art criticism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dadaism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Avant-garde (Aesthetics) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France -- Paris -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Villon, Jacques, 1875-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Varese, Louise Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ozenfant, Amédée, 1886-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Varèse, Edgard, 1883-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Severini, Gino, 1883-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Seuphor, Michel, 1901-1999 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Salmon, André, 1881-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reynolds, Mary, 1891-1950 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Renoir, Pierre, 1885-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picabia, Francis, 1879-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nokache, Armand Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gleizes, Albert, 1881-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Waldemar George, 1893- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christian, 1895-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Braque, Georges, 1882-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blancpain, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crotti, Andre Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coudour, Henri Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cocteau, Jean, 1889-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Everling, Germaine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dufy, Raoul, 1877-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Duchamp, Suzanne, 1889-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guillaume, Paul, 1891-1934 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 -- 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/