A Finding Aid to the Ilse Getz Papers, 1928-1999, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.getzilse
Creators:
Getz, Ilse, 1917-
Dates:
1928-1999
Languages:
Multiple languages
This collection is in English, French, German, and Italian.
Physical Description:
3.4 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of collage artist Ilse Getz measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1928 through 1999, with the bulk of the papers dating from circa 1947-circa 1990. Her personal life is reflected through biographical material including a genealogy of the Bechhold family; marriage and death certificates; and writings that include journals, artist statement, poems and notes. The collection contains letters from friends, artists, collectors, and museum and art gallery representatives; exhibition files; and printed material relating to Getz's exhibitions. Also found are photographs, slides and transparencies of artwork.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of collage artist Ilse Getz measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1928 through 1999, with the bulk of the papers dating from circa 1947-circa 1990. Her personal life is reflected through biographical material including a genealogy of the Bechhold family; marriage and death certificates; and writings that include journals, artist statement, poems and notes. The collection contains letters from friends, artists, collectors, and museum and art gallery representatives; exhibition files; and printed material relating to Getz's exhibitions. Also found are photographs, slides and transparencies of artwork.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is organized into 6 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1934-1996 (Box 1, OV 5; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Letters, circa 1950-1999 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Exhibition Files, circa 1944-1990 (Box 1, 2, 4; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Writings, circa 1928-1987 (Box 2, 4; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1956-1990 (Box 2, 3, 4, OV 5; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Photographs, circa 1940-1985 (Box 3; 0.5 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ilse Getz (1917-1992) was born in Nuremberg, Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 1933. She studied at the Art Students League with George Grosz and Morris Kantor and at the Ozenfant School. Getz was a collage and construction artist active from the 1950s through the 1980. She exhibited at several galleries in New York City including the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and Rosenberg Gallery.
During her childhood, Ilse Getz (nee Bechhold) had been uprooted both from home and country. She was first displaced in 1929, when she was sent to Hamburg to live with her sister after her father committed suicide. In 1933, Ilse and her sister left Nazi Germany, and traveled to Italy, Spain, Cuba, and Mexico. Ilse joined immediate family in New York. In 1937, Ilse married lawyer David Getz and settled in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Three years later she had a child and became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
In 1942, while visiting her sister in Mexico, Getz created her first oil painting. Upon returning to New York, Ilse continued her artistic exploration and studied with George Grosz and Morris Kantor at the Art Students League. By 1945, Getz had already held her first solo exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery in New York.
Getz traveled extensively throughout her life, incorporating the experiences in her work. During 1947-1948, she traveled and worked in Europe, visiting Switzerland, France, Spain and Portugal among other countries before retiring for four months in Guaruja, Brazil. She destroyed most of the artwork created during that period and returned to New York City.
During the summer of 1956, Getz taught and exhibited at the Positano Art Workshop in Italy along with Piero Dorazio. She repeated the experience two years later. In 1958, Getz married her second husband, artist Manoucher Yektai. The following year, Getz and Yektai went to Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York after having received fellowships to the artists' community.
In 1960, Getz was commissioned by Richard Barr to create the set for Eugene Ionesco's play, The Killer. The venue was the Seven Arts Theater in New York City and she completed the set in five days. Getz spent the next two years in Paris where she was represented by the Iris Clert Gallery; she exhibited in France, Germany and England. In 1962, Getz returned to New York City and maintained a studio on the Upper East Side. Getz married for the third time in 1964 to Gibson Danes who was then the Dean of Yale School of Art and Architecture. The couple lived in New York and Connecticut, and eventually settled in Newtown, Connecticut.
Getz participated in national and international exhibitions and in solo and group shows. Her collages and constructions incorporate items such as dolls, toys, birds, eggs, playing cards, and game boards. In 1978, retrospective exhibitions of Getz's work were held at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York and in her native city at the Kunsthalle Nürnberg. Retrospective exhibitions were also held in 1980 at the Goethe House and Alex Rosenberg Gallery.
Later in life, Getz suffered from advanced Alzheimer's disease. In 1992, Gibson Danes, fearful that he would no longer be able to properly care for his wife, took both his life and that of Ilse Getz. They were found dead in their garage from acute carbon monoxide toxicity after breathing the fumes of their idling car.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Carla De Luise in 2006.
Author
Carla De Luise
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 2001 by Patricia Getz-Gentle, the daughter of Ilse Getz.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Ilse Getz Papers, 1928-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Collagists -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type 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/