Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the Michael Mazur Papers, circa 1936-2016, in the Archives of American Art

Collection ID:
Mazur, Michael, 1935-2009
circa 1936-2016
Physical Description:
22.2 Linear feet
22.83 Gigabytes
The papers of artist Michael Mazur measure 22.2 linear feet and 22.83 gigabytes, and date from circa 1936 to 2016, documenting a studio and exhibition practice in addition to teaching and activism activities in both paper and digital formats in the following series: biographical materials, correspondence, studio records, gallery records, project records, affiliations, exhibition records, writings, printed materials, photographic materials, and artwork.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of artist Michael Mazur measure 22.2 linear feet and 22.83 gigabytes, and date from circa 1936 to 2016, documenting a studio and exhibition practice in addition to teaching and activism activities.
Biographical materials include documents related to Mazur's early education, trips to Europe, and development as an artist, as well as biographies, degrees and awards, with some materials in digital formats.
Correspondence is primarily professional in nature with institutions and fellow artists, including letters requesting Mazur's participation in exhibitions and other projects. Also included are extensive correspondence advocating for ecological preservation of the Massachusetts Cape Cod where Mazur had a home in Provincetown. Earlier correspondence includes letters with family members and friends. Some correspondence is digital.
Studio records include artwork inventories and documents regarding donations, appraisal and tax deduction information, as well as the artist's website. Gallery records contain correspondence and business documents with various commercial art galleries, including artwork images, mailing lists, price lists and guest books. Project records document various commissions and collaborations including perhaps Mazur's longest ongoing project, artwork, publications and exhibitions engaging with Dante's Inferno. Many of Mazur's professional records are in digital format.
The Affiliations series includes faculty appointments as well as ongoing board service for Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and other professional advising and project participation, including a Tamarind Lithography Workshop Fellowship in 1968. Many of the Fine Arts Work Center documents are digital.
Exhibition records document select exhibitions including Mazur's traveling print retrospective. In addition to correspondence and documents and agreements, select digital installation images and documents are also included.
The Writings series includes various essays, letters to the editor, and lectures by Mazur including student work, as well as essays and films discussing the artist's career and contributions, many in digital form. Also included are Mazur's journals kept for the entirety of his career.
Printed materials include exhibition announcements, catalogs and press, select published journals (some of which include contributions by Mazur), and publications for which Mazur has provided the cover artwork.
Photographic materials are both print and digital in nature and capture the breadth of Mazur's art production, organized by medium, genre, artwork series, subject and time period. The arrangement of digital photographs reflects the categories represented on the artist's website archive.
Artwork includes drawings, sketchbooks and watercolor pads, as well as artwork by others including a photographic portrait portfolio of Mazur by Brigitte Durer. Computer study images and source material in digital formats, are also included.

The collection is arranged as 11 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1953-2006 (0.5 Linear Feet: Boxes 1, 21; 0.014 Gigabytes: ER001-ER002)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1940-2011 (3.8 Linear Feet: Boxes 1-4, 21, OV23; 0.008 Gigabytes: ER003)
  • Series 3 : Studio Records, circa 1962-2009 (1 Linear Feet: Box 5; 0.082 Gigabytes: ER004-ER006)
  • Series 4: Gallery Records, circa 1967-2009 (2 Linear Feet: Boxes 6-7; 0.028 Gigabytes: ER007-ER009)
  • Series 5: Project Records, circa 1983-2008 (1.3 Linear Feet: Boxes 8-9; 0.3 Gigabytes: ER010-ER015)
  • Series 6: Affiliations, circa 1966-2008 (0.7 Linear Feet: Box 9; 0.101 Gigabytes: ER016-ER019)
  • Series 7: Exhibition Records, circa 1958-2008 (0.7 Linear Feet: Box 10; 1.07 Gigabytes: ER020-ER032)
  • Series 8: Writings, circa 1952-2009 (2.7 Linear Feet: Boxes 10-13; 4.75 Gigabytes: ER033-ER052)
  • Series 9: Printed Material, circa 1945-2016 (2.1 Linear Feet: Boxes 13-15; 0.114 Gigabytes: ER053-ER054)
  • Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1936-2016 (5.9 Linear Feet: Boxes 15-22, OV25-28; 14.26 Gigabytes: ER055-ER114)
  • Series 11: Artwork, circa 1941-2009 (0.4 Linear Feet: Boxes 20, 22; 2.1 Gigabytes: ER115-ER116)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Michael Mazur (1935-2009) was a prolific printmaker, painter, draughtsman, sculptor, and educator in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who beyond working across media, treated an equally diverse set of subjects in abstract and figurative traditions.
As a child in New York City's Upper East Side Mazur received an early art education at the Bronx's Horace Mann School. He received a bachelor's degree from Amherst College, as well as a bachelor's and master's degrees at the Yale School of Art. Mazur has held teaching positions at Rhode Island School of Design and Brandeis University, as well as a recurring visiting artist position at Harvard University's Carpenter Center. While attending Yale Mazur met his wife, poet Gail Mazur.
Mazur's work is held in museums and private collections throughout the world and has been exhibited widely at institutions including MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2000 the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston launched a retrospective of Michael Mazur's prints traveling to various institutions including the the Minneapolis Art Institute and Stanford's Cantor Center. On the occasion of the show Hudson Hills Press published The Prints of Michael Mazur including a catalogue raisonné. A notable collaboration in Mazur's career drew from his career-long fascination with Dante. In 1993, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published The Inferno of Dante, translated by Robert Pinsky and illustrated with reproductions of monotypes by Michael Mazur. Later Mazur published an editioned suite of forty-one etchings, which was shown in various locations in Italy and throughout the United States.
In addition to their home in Cambridge, Michael and Gail maintained a home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they were deeply involved in the artistic community including the Fine Arts Work Center, as well as environmental issues impacting the region of Cape Cod. He is survived by his wife and his two children Kathe and Dan.

Ryan Evans
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers were lent for microfilming 1977 and 1998 by Michael Mazur. Material on microfilm and additional papers donated 2018 by Gail Mazur, Michael Mazur's widow.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Ryan Evans in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on 35mm microfilm reels 1329, 1337-1338, and 5300-5302 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory may not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.

Using the Collection
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.
Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Terms of 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.
Preferred Citation
Michael Mazur Papers, circa 1936-2016. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Printmakers -- Massachusetts Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Massachusetts Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Massachusetts Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mazur, Gail 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