A Finding Aid to the Photographs of Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and Gustave Gerlach, circa 1892-circa 1915, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.gerlmarg
Creators:
Gerlach, Margarett
Dates:
circa 1892-circa 1915
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.8 Linear feet
Repository:
The photographs and papers of sculptor Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and his pupil and colleague Gustave Gerlach measure 0.8 linear feet and date from circa 1892-circa 1915. The collection documents the work and studio practice of Bitter and Gerlach primarily through photographs and a photograph album, in addition to paper records including a proposal and lists of work completed for two international expositions, news clippings, and two drawings by Bitter on his personal stationary.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The photographs and papers of sculptor Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and his pupil and colleague Gustave Gerlach measure 0.8 linear feet and date from circa 1892-circa 1915. The collection documents the work and studio practice of Bitter and Gerlach primarily through photographs and a photograph album, in addition to paper records including a proposal and lists of work completed for two international expositions, news clippings, and two drawings by Bitter on his personal stationary.
Papers include lists of artwork for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Photographs number approximately 250 and document the studio practice and work of Karl Bitter and Gustave Gerlach during Gerlach's tenure in Bitter's studio. Photos include images of Bitter, Gerlach, Isidore Konti, Joseph Sibbel, and other sculptors and studio assistants, and depict important works in progress such as Bitter's Alexander Hamilton and monumental sculpture for the 1901, 1904, and 1915 expositions, including Bitter's Standard Bearer (1901) and Adolph Weinman's Destiny of the Red Man (1904).
As a child Gerlach's daughter, Margarett, evidently spent time watching her father at work. She compiled this collection of photographs and papers and provided historical context in notes on the versos of some of the items.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as two series.
  • Series 1: Papers, circa 1892-circa 1915 (7 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Photographs, circa 1895-circa 1915 (0.7 linear feet Boxes 1-2, OVs 3-4)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Austrian born sculptor Karl Bitter (1867-1915) was active in New York City, New York. He exhibited his works at worldwide expositions and examples of his sculpture and memorials can be found throughout the United States. Sculptor Gustave Gerlach (b. 1866) was a pupil and colleague of Bitter's and was also active in New York City.
Karl Theodore Francis Bitter was born in Vienna, Austria, where he trained as a sculptor. While serving in the Austrian military in 1889, Bitter immigrated to the United States and applied for citizenship. Ultimately, Bitter settled in New York City and worked as an assistant in a home decorating firm while establishing his reputation as a sculptor. After working as a sculptor at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and as director at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901, Bitter was named head of the sculpture programs at both the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California. Bitter was awarded the silver medal of the Paris Exposition, 1900; the gold medal of the Pan-American Exposition, 1901; and the gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904.
Bitter offered work to sculptor Gustave Gerlach after seeing some of his sculpture. Gerlach subsequently assisted Bitter at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition as superintendent of sculpture, and at the 1904 and 1915 expositions. Following Bitter's sudden death in 1915, Gerlach proposed the execution of a memorial fountain for him in Weehawken, New Jersey, based on an original design by Bitter. However, due to anti-German sentiment in the United States at that time, Gerlach was unable to proceed with the memorial and ultimately returned the money he had raised for the fountain.
Bitter and Gerlach worked with many prominent sculptors of the day, including Isidore Konti, Adolph Weinman, and Alexander Stirling Calder who was named acting-chief of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Bitter and Calder both employed the services of renowned model Audrey Munson.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2019. The collection was digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection was digitized in 2019 and is available on the Archives of American Art website.
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 2019 by Mary K. McGuigan and John F. McGuigan Jr., art historians and collectors in Milford, Pennsylvania, who purchased the collection at auction. The collection was originally complied by Gustave's daughter, Margarett.

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
Photographs of Karl Francis Theodore Bitter and Gustave Gerlach, circa 1892-circa 1915. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds the Karl Theodore Francis Bitter Papers, 1887-circa 1977.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Bitter, Karl Theodore Francis, 1867-1915 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gerlach, Gustave, b. 1866 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Konti, Isidore, 1862-1938 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weinman, Adolph A. (Adolph Alexander), 1870-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calder, Alexander Stirling, 1870-1945 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pan-American Exposition (1901: Buffalo, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904: Saint Louis, Mo.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McGuigan, Mary K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McGuigan, John F., Jr. (John Fuller) 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/