A Finding Aid to the King W. Vidor Papers, 1936-1982, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.vidoking
Creators:
Vidor, King, 1894-1982
Dates:
1936-1982
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
2.1 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of King Vidor measure 2.1 linear feet and include correspondence, printed material, and a variety of materials related to the documentary
Metaphor: King Vidor Meets Andrew Wyeth
(1980) written and directed by Vidor, including production notes, photographs, and motion picture film.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of King Vidor measure 2.1 linear feet and include correspondence, printed material, and a variety of materials related to the documentary
Metaphor: King Vidor Meets Andrew Wyeth
(1980) written and directed by Vidor, including production notes, photographs, and motion picture film.
Correspondence is mainly between Vidor and multiple galleries and artists whose artworks Vidor collected, and includes single letters from artists Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and Andrew Wyeth. Lengthy correspondence with Associated American Artists is found among other correspondence with galleries. Loan requests from museums borrowing from Vidor's painting collection, and image requests for reproduction rights for paintings owned by Vidor from various publishers are also found, as well as a few sheets of notes related to valuation of paintings.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs for Millard Sheets and Diego Rivera, clippings on a variety of subjects, including a long article about his film project
Metaphor
published in the
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
, and periodicals with articles about the artist Grant Wood.
Scattered slides are mostly of unidentified artwork.
Material related to
Metaphor
, Vidor's film project with Andrew Wyeth include photographs of Wyeth and Vidor in Pennsylvania, stills from Vidor's 1925 film
The Big Parade
, and a still from
Metaphor
. Production notes include detailed footage and edit notes as well as typescripts of draft narration. Some production notes are arranged as a group, and others are arranged with documentation of the original film containers in which they were found. Motion picture film found in the collection includes a print of the final version of the film, edit master film material (A and B rolls), outtakes, and trims.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 4 series. Digital photographs of original film containers are filed in Series 4.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1941-1982 (Box 1, 1 folder)
  • Series 2: Printed Material, 1936-1980 (Box 1, 3 folders)
  • Series 3: Slides, 1964 (1 folder; Box 1)
  • Series 4:
    Metaphor: King Vidor Meets Andrew Wyeth
    (1980), 1976-1980 (1.9 linear feet; Box 1, FC 1-17)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
King Vidor was an American film director whose prolific career began in 1913, during the silent era, and continued through 1959 when he stopped directing large scale film projects. In addition to his prolific film career, Vidor was an avid collector of American Art who owned works by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, among others.
Vidor's final film,
Metaphor: King Vidor Meets Andrew Wyeth
(1980), is a documentary in which he and Wyeth discuss the impact of Vidor's most celebrated film of the silent era,
The Big Parade
, on Wyeth's painting. The project began when Wyeth wrote a lengthy letter to Vidor crediting his film, which Wyeth claimed to have watched over a hundred times, with having had a direct impact on the compositions of his paintings, which he only noticed after the fact when his wife, Betsy, pointed it out to him.
When Wyeth contacted Vidor for permission to use clips from
The Big Parade
in a documentary project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to accompany a 1976 exhibition of these works,
Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: Kuerners and Olsons
, instead of lending his film to that effort, Vidor went to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania to film Wyeth himself. Together, the two set out to make a documentary telling the story of the aesthetic relationship between their work, with Vidor directing. The film was completed in 1980 but was never commercially released.
Vidor died in 1982.

Administration
Processing Information
Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. Motion picture film was processed by Jennifer Graves, and the entire collection was arranged and described by Megan McShea in 2017. Digital photographs of original film containers were created when the collection was processed showing all original labeling and arrangement of outtakes and trims and are filed in Series 4. Original containers have been discarded.
Existence and Location of Copies
A video copy of a selection of outtakes from Vidor's film
Metaphor
is available for reference use.
Author
Megan McShea
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 1985 by the King Vidor Trust.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
King W. Vidor papers, 1936-1982. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The King W. Vidor 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 and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Related Materials
There is an oral history interview with King Vidor held by Columbia University.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Filmmakers -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Pennsylvania Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures (visual works) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Typescripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheets, Millard, 1907-1989 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood, Grant, 1891-1942 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Associated American Artists Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Big parade (Motion picture) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metaphor: King Vidor meets with Andrew Wyeth (motion picture) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957 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/