A Finding Aid to the Irving and Hela Norman Papers, circa 1920-2010, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.normirvi
Creators:
Norman, Irving, 1906-1989
Norman, Hela
Dates:
circa 1920-2010
Languages:
Multiple languages
English; German
The collection is in English and German.
The collection is in English and German.
Physical Description:
10 Linear feet
142.32 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of Irving and Hela Norman measure 10.0 linear feet and 142.32 GB and date from circa 1920 to 2010. The papers document the career of painter Irving Norman through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, curators, art galleries, and museums; writings, exhibition records, personal business records, printed material, personal photographs, and photographs of his artwork. Also found are numerous audio and video interviews of Irving and Hela Norman. Some of the materials, interviews and photographs are digital.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Irving and Hela Norman measure 10.0 linear feet and 142.32 GB and date from circa 1920 to 2010. The papers document the career of painter Irving Norman through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, curators, art galleries, and museums; writings, exhibition records, personal business records, printed material, personal photographs, and photographs of his artwork. Also found are numerous audio and video interviews of Irving and Hela Norman. Some of the materials, interviews and photographs are digital.
Researchers should note that the collection primarily documents Irving Norman's late career and Hela Norman's work to manage the exhibition and sale of Irving's work after his death. Almost all of the Norman's drawings and personal records were lost in a house and studio fire in December 1988.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1929-2010 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1951-2010 (3 linear feet; Box 1-4)
  • Series 3: Interviews, circa 1974-2008 (3 linear feet; Box 4-7, 45.17 GB; ER01-ER18)
  • Series 4: Writings, circa 1974-2010 (5 folders; Box 7, 0.002 GB; ER19)
  • Series 5: Exhibition Records, 1980-2008 (1 linear foot; Box 7-8)
  • Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1974-2010 (0.8 linear feet; Box 8-9, 2.52 GB; ER20-21)
  • Series 7: Printed Material, 1940s-2000s (0.3 linear feet; Box 9)
  • Series 8: Photographs, circa 1920-2010 (1.4 linear feet; Box 9-10, 94.63 GB; ER22-ER34)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Irving Norman (1906-1989) was a social surrealist painter in San Francisco, Calif. He married Hela Bohlen (1927-2010) in 1955.
Norman was born Irving Noachowitz in Vilna, Russia in 1906. He emigrated to the United States in 1923 and worked in a barber shop in Monticello, New York. In 1934 he moved to Los Angeles and opened his own barber shop in Laguna Beach. A few years later he volunteered for service in the Abraham Lincoln battalion in Spain, and upon returning to California , he joined a life drawing group. He attended the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1940, studying with William Gaw and Spencer Macky, and in 1945 had his first major solo exhibition. At this time he also won the San Francisco Art Association's Albert Bender Memorial Prize. In 1946 he studied at the Art Students' League in New York and traveled to Mexico. He received much press when one of his paintings was removed from an exhibition at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum for obscenity in 1950. Despite this setback, he continued to regularly exhibition his work over the next decade.
A renewed interest in Irving Norman's work occurred in the mid-1970s, at which time he exhibited many new paintings. During the 1980s he continued to exhibit his work and participated in several video interviews. In 1988 a storm caused a fire which destroyed his house and studio, including drawings and most personal papers. Irving Norman passed away at home in July 1989 and a memorial retrospective of his work was held at San Jose State University the following year. Hela Norman continued to manage the sale and exhibition of Irving's artwork until her death in 2010.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart in 2013. The collection has been minimally rearranged and retains the existing/original folder titles when possible. All materials have been rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but often staples and other fasteners have not been removed. Materials within folders have not been rearranged. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Separated Materials
Also in the Archives of American Art is material lent for microfilming (reel 4705) including slides, photographs of artwork, and letters. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels 4705, 4910, and 4911 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Erin Kinhart
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Irving and Hela Norman first donated a small amount of papers in 1988-1989. Hela Norman loaned additional material for microfilming in 1990. The rest of the collection was gifted in 2011 by Hela Norman via Tom Von Tersch, Trustee.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Irving and Hela Norman papers, circa 1920-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Irving and Hela Norman 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.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Related Materials
Also in the Archives of American Art is a videorecording of an interview with Irving Norman, produced by Bay Area Video Coalition, Zeke Richardson and Larry Andrews, in cooperation with the Archives of American Art. The interview was conducted by Michael S. Bell, March 5, 1988.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings 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/