A Finding Aid to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Records, 1945-2013, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.skowscho
Creators:
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Dates:
1945-2013
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
35.42 Linear feet
Repository:
The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records measure 35.42 linear feet and date from 1945 to 2013. The paper records of the school document the period from circa 1945 to 1977 and consist of administrative records, financial records, visiting artist files, faculty files, student files, and photographic material. Also included are motion picture films by Jack Eastman and Karl Fortess, dating from circa 1950 to 1968, showing the school's campus and faculty, staff, and students at work and leisure. A large portion of the collection consists of the Skowhegan Lecture Archives, a sound recording archive of lectures given by artists speaking at the school between 1952 and 2013.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records measure 35.42 linear feet and date from 1945 to 2013. The paper records of the school document the period from circa 1945 to 1977 and consist of administrative records, financial records, visiting artist files, faculty files, student files, and photographic material. Also included are motion picture films by Jack Eastman and Karl Fortess, dating from circa 1950 to 1968, showing the school's campus and faculty, staff, and students at work and leisure., artists, and students. A large portion of the collection consists of the Skowhegan Lecture Archives, a sound recording archive of lectures given by artists speaking at the school between 1952 and 2013.
Administrative records include files for the school's board, exhibitions and benefits, fundraising, government agencies, publicity, and other office files. Financial records consist of accounting procedure documents, bills paid, budgets, student drawing accounts, payroll, real estate expenses, and reports.
Files for visiting artists such as Philip Pearlstein, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and William Zorach contain correspondence, lecture notes and transcripts, and records regarding the broadcast of artists' lectures. Faculty files consist of correspondence, faculty lists, and other material for Isabel Bishop, Xavier Gonzalez, Sidney Simon, and other faculty members. Student files include alumni records, correspondence, recommendations and rejections, and scholarship material.
Photographs and negatives are of Janet Fish, Paul Rasika, Alice Neel, Bette Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, faculty and visiting artists, and students at events, lectures, social gatherings, and in class.
Motion picture films include silent, color footage of the school's campus, working faculty and students, and social activities. Footage includes both edited footage and outtakes (footage shot but not used in the edited piece), that form three distinct sets of films from three different periods: 16 mm films from the 1950s, 8 mm films from 1964-1965, and super 8 mm films from 1966-1968. Based on handwritten notes on the original film containers, Karl Fortess was the creator of the 16 mm films, and Jack Eastman was the creator of the 8 mm film. It is unclear who created the super 8 mm films, but some of the footage appears to have been shot by Willard Cummings.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
  • Series 1: Administrative Records, 1945-1977 (Boxes 1-5, 12, OV 13; 5.0 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Financial Records, 1945-1967 (Boxes 5-8, 12, OV 13; 3.0 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Visiting Artists Files, 1948-1965 (Boxes 8; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Faculty Files, 1946-1965 (Boxes 8-9; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Student Files, 1946-1964 (Boxes 9-12; 2.0 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Photographic Materials, 1955-1977 (Boxes 11-12; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Motion Picture Films, circa 1955-1970 (Box 11, film cans FC 13-30; 1.9 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Skowhegan Lecture Archives, 1952-2013

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (est. 1946) is an art school and artist residency in Skowhegan, Maine. Since the school's beginnings, it has attracted prominent visiting artists and faculty members such as Jacob Lawrence, Philip Pearlstein, Ben Shahn, Isabel Bishop, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.
The school was founded by Willard W. Cummings, Henry Varnum Poor, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cutler. While serving in Europe during World War II on The War Art Unit project, a project that sent artists to battle zones in order to record their impressions, they noticed that the European system of studying art allowed students intimate access to artists, their studios, and creative life. The Skowhegan School founders wanted to create a similar intimacy between students and artists in the U.S. After returning to the U.S., Cummings, Poor, Simon, and Cutler built an art program that included visiting artists and an artist lecture series that enabled students to interact with professional, well-established artists. In 1960, the school's administration was reorganized due to a fire that burned down the barn, which served as a fresco painting studio, and other nearby buildings. The reorganization introduced trustees and other facets of the administration that were needed to sustain the school's funding and operations.

Administration
Processing Information
The papers were processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2019, and the motion picture films were processed and described by Megan McShea in 2019. During the processing of the film, 28 short clips of film were arranged by date onto compilation reels, identified in this finding aid. The films were also digitized in 2019 with funds provided by the Skowhegan School. The Skowhegan Lecture Archive has not been processed.
Existence and Location of Copies
Material lent for microfilming is available on 35mm microfilm reels N68-27-N68-30, N68-78-N68-80, and N68-96-N68-97 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Duplicate audio CDs of the Skowhegan Lecture Archives are also available at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Califorina; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Califorina; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.; Tate Library and Archive, London; Arts Library, Robert A. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
All of the motion picture films in the collection were digitized for research access in 2019 and are available at the Archives of American Art offices.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reels N68-27-N68-30, N68-78-N68-80, and N68-96-N68-97. Loaned materials were returned to the donor and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection and digitization of the motion picture film was provided by the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records were lent to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1968. The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture via Willard Cummings and Jack Eastman donated portions of the lent material from 1968 to 1977. The lecture archive was donated between 2002 to 2014 via the Executive Director.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture records, 1945-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
Skowhegan Lecture Archives: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Skowhegan in addition to the copyright holders. A list of copyright holders is available at the Archives of American Art Washington, D.C. office. Transcripts may not be duplicated.
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
Art, American -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures (visual works) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Schools -- Maine -- Skowhegan Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fortess, Karl E. (Karl Eugene), 1907-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cummings, Willard Warren, 1915-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Simon, Sidney, 1917-1997 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
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/