A Finding Aid to the Frans Wildenhain Papers, circa 1890-1991, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.wildfran
Creators:
Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-1980
Dates:
circa 1890-1991
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English, German, and Dutch.
Physical Description:
8.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of ceramicist, sculptor, and educator Frans Wildenhain measure 8.2 linear feet and date from circa 1890 to 1991. The papers document his career in Europe and the United States through biographical material, correspondence, diaries and notebooks, writings and notes, subject files, project files, printed material, three mixed media scrapbooks, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic materials.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of ceramicist, sculptor, and educator Frans Wildenhain measure 8.2 linear feet and date from circa 1890 to 1991. The papers document his career in Europe and the United States through biographical material, correspondence, diaries and notebooks, writings and notes, subject files, project files, printed material, three mixed media scrapbooks, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic materials.
The bulk of Wildenhain's correspondence is from family and friends including Walter Herzger and Marguerite Wildenhain. Twelve diaries and notebooks include general diary entries but may include notes on art, sketches, kiln logs, and designs. Of note is a diary kepy by Wildenhain during his drive from New York City to Guerneville, California upon his arrival in the United States in 1937. Project files contain records relating to four murals completed by Wildenhain on the east coast. Three scrapbooks contain clippings, exhibition materials, and photographs concerning his teaching career at the School for American Craftsmen and exhibitions. Eleven sketchbooks date from the 1930s to 1979 and mostly contain pencil sketches. Photographs depict Wildenhain, family, his wives Marguerite, Marjorie, and Lili, homes, studios, exhibitions, and works of art by Wildenhain and others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 10 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1930-circa 1980 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1895-1981 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Diaries and Notebooks, 1930-1978 (Box 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1940-1980 (Box 2-3; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Subject Files, 1951-1985 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Project Files, 1950-1975 (Box 3, 10; 0.7 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Printed Material, 1930-1991 (Box 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1934-1965 (Box 4; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 9: Artwork and Sketchbooks, 1930-1979 (Box 4-5, 11; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 10: Photographs, circa 1890-1979 (Box 5-11; 3.1 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Frans Wildenhain (1905-1980) was a German-born ceramicist, sculptor, and educator active in Rochester, New York.
Wildenhain was born in Leipzig, Germany to a family of craftsmen. He began his study of art with drawing and design. For formal training, he enrolled at the Bauhaus where he studied in the pottery studio with Gerhard Marcks, Max Krehan, and his future wife, Marguerite Friedlaender Wildenhain. The Wildenhains moved to Burg Giebichenstein, Halle, Germany to teach at the State School of Applied Art.
In 1933, due to Marguerite's Jewish ancestry, they moved to the Netherlands and set up a studio called Het Kruikje (Little Jug). Marguerite later emigrated to the United States however Frans was unable to follow. He moved to Amsterdam but was drafted into the German Army which he deserted. He followed Marguerite to the United States in 1947 after a seven year separation.
Upon his arrival in the United States, Frans drove from New York City to Geurneville, California where Marguerite had settled at an artist colony, Pond Farm. Their marriage did not last and Frans Wildenhain accepted a position at the School for American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. He stayed in that position for over twenty years. He co-founded a cooperative gallery called Shop One, in Rochester, New York.
In 1952, he married Marjorie McIlroy and after her death, married Elisabeth (Lili) Brockkardt.
Franz Wildenhain was a Guggenheim Fellow and exhibited his works around Europe and the United States. His pottery is included in the collections of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Smithsonian Institution, Luther College, and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed with a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2019.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Elisabeth Wildenhain donated her husband's papers in 1989 and 1998.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Frans Wildenhain papers, circa 1890-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Frans Wildenhain conducted 1978 April 10-1979 July 28, by Robert Brown for the Archives of American Art; the Marguerite Wildenhain papers, 1930-1982; a Frans Wildenhain grant application, 1974 for the National Endowment for the Arts; Letters from Frans Wildenhain to Virginia Cartwright Katz, 1968-1979; Robert Johnson slides of works by Frans Wildenhain, circa 1978; the Kitty C. L. Fischer papers relating to Frans Wildenhain, 1940-1981; and an interview with Elisabeth (Lili) Wildenhain conducted 1995 August 22, by Robert F. Brown. Also found are the Ron Meyers papers relating to Frans Wildenhain, circa 1967-1979; the Roy Cartwright letters from Frans Wildenhain, 1966-1979; and the Gerhard Marcks letters from Frans Wildenhain, 1950-1979 on reel 2435.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Rochester Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- Rochester Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- Rochester Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
School for American Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wildenhain, Marguerite Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Herzger, Walter, 1901-1985 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/