A Finding Aid to the Bernard A. Pfriem Papers, 1932-1995, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.pfribern
Creators:
Pfriem, Bernard, 1914-1996
Dates:
1932-1995
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
8.4 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter and educator Bernard A. Pfriem measure 8.4 linear feet and date from 1932-1995. The material documents Pfriem's career through biographical material, general and business correspondence, writings, subject files, printed matter, photographic material, sound, film, and video recordings, and artwork. A large portion of the papers concern Pfriem's tenure as founder and director of the Lacoste School of the Arts in Provence, France.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and educator Bernard A. Pfriem measure 8.4 linear feet and date from 1932-1995. The material documents Pfriem's career through biographical material, general and business correspondence, writings, subject files, printed matter, photographic material, sound, film, and video recordings, and artwork. A large portion of the papers concern Pfriem's tenure as founder and director of the Lacoste School of the Arts in Provence, France.
Biographical material includes address cards, Pfriem's high school diploma, identification cards, resumes, and correspondence with colleagues, friends, family, and former students.
Writings consist of Pfriem's notes, lesson plans, speeches, and essays as well as writings about Pfriem by others. Subject files contain correspondence, photographs, financial information, legal documents, and printed material that shed light on Pfriem's involvement with various galleries, museums and institutions, and other art organizations.
Papers concerning Pfriem's tenure as founder and director of the Lacoste School of the Arts in Lacoste, in Provence, France, form a large part of the collection. These records include administrative files, photographs taken at the school between 1970 and the 1990s, and material related to "The Stones of Lacoste," a thirty-minute documentary film produced and written by Pfriem about the art school and its historic location.
Printed material includes news clippings about Pfriem and reviews of his work, books, and exhibition catalogs, posters, and announcements.
Photographs, negatives, slides, and transparencies, include snapshots taken of Pfriem while working in Mexico, and in the military during World War II. Photographic material also depicts his exhibitions, his travels in Ethiopia and Greece, and his artwork.
Artwork includes several small drawings and sketches by Pfriem, a collage made by a former student, and one unsigned silk screen print.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1932-1995 (Box 1, 9, OV 11; 0.6 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Writings, 1940s-1970s (Box 1; 7 folders)
  • Series 3: Subject Files, 1942-1993 (Box 1-2, .5 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Lacoste School of the Arts, 1960s-1995 (Box 2-5, 9, OV 11, FC 13-14; 4 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1939-1993 (Box 5-6, 9, OV 11; 1.3 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Photographs, circa 1936-1990s (Box 6-8, 10; 1.8 linear feet
  • Series 7: Artwork, circa 1940s-1990s (Box 8, OV 12; 4 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter and educator Bernard A. Pfriem taught at the Cooper Union School of Art and Sarah Lawrence College in the 1960s before helping to found the Lacoste School of the Arts in Provence, in southeastern France.
Pfriem was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1916. He was awarded a four-year scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1936, and received funding to work in Mexico after graduating in 1940. In Mexico, Pfriem assisted Jose Clemente Orozco with frescoes, collaborated with Julio Castellanos, and exhibited his own paintings and drawings. Pfriem joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. After his service, he settled in New York City and taught drawing at the Museum of Modern Art. Pfriem moved to France in the early 1950s where he established studios in Paris and Lacoste, was awarded the William and Noma Copley Foundation Grant for Painting in 1959, and worked as chief designer for the United States government, organizing exhibitions and pavilions around the world.
After returning from France in the early 1960s Pfriem focused his career on education. He taught drawing at the Cooper Union School of Art (1963-1973), resumed teaching at the Museum of Modern Art (1963-1965), and was an instructor at Silvermine College of Art (1965-1969) and Sarah Lawrence College (1969-1975). In 1970 Pfriem, along with Sarah Lawrence College, established the Lacoste School of the Arts in southeastern France. The Cleveland Institute of Art, Pfriem's alma matter, became the primary affiliate of the school in 1980.
Pfriem's artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Chase Manhattan Bank, the Art Institute of Chicago, Atlanta Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others. Pfriem has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Alexandre Iolas Gallery, and Richard Feigen Gallery, and has participated in many group exhibitions including Recent Acquisitions (1961) at the Museum of Modern Art, American Drawings (1965) sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, and exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2020.
Author
Christopher DeMairo
Sponsor
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 1997 by Pfriem's nephew, Bernard C. Pfriem.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual material in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Bernard A. Pfriem papers, 1932-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moving images Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- France Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lacoste School of the Arts Corporate 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/