A Finding Aid to the Richard Lippold Papers, 1940s-1977, in the Archives of American Art

Collection ID:
Lippold, Richard, 1915-2002
Physical Description:
1.3 Linear feet
The papers of sculptor and educator Richard Lippold measure 1.3 linear feet and date from 1940s to 1977. The collection provides documentation on Lippold's career through correspondence, writing files, project files, printed materials, and several motion picture films.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor and educator Richard Lippold measure 1.3 linear feet and date from 1940s to 1977. The collection documents Lippold's career through correspondence, writing files, project files, printed materials, and several motion picture films.
Correspondence includes letters to and from museums and galleries, architects, clients, friends, teaching colleagues, and other artists discussing various professional and non-professional topics. Writing files include drafts and transcripts of speeches on art, society, and sculpture given by Lippold; personal writings and notes; statements on his own art and the art of other artists; and teaching materials such as drafts of syllabi, course schedules, and lectures. Project files mostly relate to public commissions and contain correspondence, status reports, work schedules, financial information, sketches and preliminary drawings, agreements, as well as some writings. Printed materials include newspaper clippings; seven issues of the publication, "Dance Observer," for which Lippold served among its editors and contributors; and some exhibition material. Film footage includes the dedication of Lippold's "Orpheus and Apollo" at the Lincoln Center in 1962; a documentary made about Lippold's sculpture, "The Sun," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and scenes of Lippold's "World Tree" at Harvard University.

This collection is arranged as five series.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1945-1977 (Box 1; .5 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Writing Files, 1940s-1970s (Box 1; 10 folders)
  • Series 3: Project Files, 1950-1972 (Box 1-2; .5 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1943-1973 (Box 1; 6 folders)
  • Series 5: Motion Picture Film, circa 1960s (FC 2-4; .3 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Richard Lippold (1915-2002) was a sculptor and educator in New York, NY. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he studied at the University of Chicago and received training in industrial design at the Art Institute of Chicago. He also studied dance and piano. After graduating, Lippold started his own industrial design studio, but soon ended this endeavor to teach design and engineer drawing and mechanics at the University of Michigan in 1941. After moving to New York in 1944, Lippold began his career as a professional artist, exhibiting his work and creating public art installations. His art was known for metal, gold, and silver wire, rods, and bars used to create geometric sculptures that often incorporated a component of suspension. His installations can be found in museums, building lobbies, and universities across America including Flight found in the Pan Am (now the Met Life) Building, The Sun in the Museum of Modern Art, Baldacchino in St. Mary's Cathedral, California, and Ad Astra in front of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Notable group exhibitions featuring Lippold's work include Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America (1951) and Fifteen Americans(1952) both at the Museum of Modern Art, Venice Biennale (1988), and Sculpture: American Directions, 1945-75 (1975) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Marquette University's Haggerty Museum of Art held a retrospective exhibition for Lippold in 1990. His work is found in collections at the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more. In addition to the University of Michigan, Lippold also taught at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, Trenton Junior College in New Jersey, and Hunter College in New York where he taught for over a decade.

Christopher DeMairo
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in several installments by Richard Lippold between 1968-1977. Materials found on reel N69-24 were lent for microfilming 1968-1969.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reel D342 and N69-24 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2021.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm (reel N69-24) of material loaned for microfilming including correspondence; catalogs; clippings; writings; and papers relating to the Conference on Government Participation in the Arts and Humanities. Loaned materials were returned to the donor after microfilming and are not described in the collection container inventory.

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
Richard Lippold papers, 1940s-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Public art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001