A Finding Aid to the John Wilde Papers, 1935-2011, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.wildjohn
Creators:
Wilde, John, 1919-2006
Dates:
1935-2011
Languages:
English
The collection is in English
Physical Description:
22.2 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of Wisconsin painter, educator, and draftsman John Wilde measure 22.2 linear feet and date from 1935 to 2011. The papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, 27 journals, personal business records, exhibition files, two scrapbooks, photographic materials, six sketchbooks, artwork, and nearly 90 limited edition, letterpress artist collaboration books – many that include artwork contributed by Wilde.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Wisconsin painter, educator, and draftsman John Wilde measure 22.2 linear feet and date from 1935 to 2011. The papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, 27 journals, personal business records, exhibition files, two scrapbooks, photographic materials, six sketchbooks, artwork, and nearly 90 limited edition, letterpress artist collaboration books – many that include artwork contributed by Wilde.
Biographical materials include certificates and awards, a diploma from the University of Wisconsin, curriculum vitae, memorials, and membership files. Correspondence is with family and friends, and colleagues Karl Priebe, Gertrude Abercrombie, Sylvia Fein, Dudley Huppler, Marshall Glasier, Robert Cozzolino, Theodore Wolff, Peter and Helga Gardetto, Andrew Balkin Editions, Warrington Colescott, Tandem Press, Harvey Littleton, and others. Letters from Walter Hamady are access restricted and housed separately.
There are interviews with Wilde from Harry Bouras' radio show Critics Choice, as well as an interview with Gertrude Abercrombie by Studs Terkel's for Terkel's WFMT radio show broadcast in Chicago.
Wilde discusses his artwork and other topics in 27 journals spanning seven decades. Additional writings by Wilde include term papers, his thesis titled "A Survey of the Development of Surrealism in Painting and Its Chief Innovations with Special Emphasis on the Life and Work of Max Ernst," transcriptions for gallery talks and speeches, notes, and various other writings. Writings about Wilde are by Theodore Wolff, Michael Seefeldt, and other authors. Wilde's personal business records include account books, appraisals, donation papers, inventory books and lists, and a draft of Wilde's last will and testament.
There are exhibition files for Leaders in Wisconsin Art (1982), John Wilde: Drawings 1940-1984 (1984), Wildeworld: The Art of John Wilde (1999), John Wilde: Recent Work (2003), With Friends: Six Magical Realists (2005), and others.
Printed materials include art auction catalogs, calendars, clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, invitations, magazines and journals, poetry booklets, press releases, programs, and an annual report. There are also two scrapbooks containing clippings and other printed materials compiled by Wilde. There are photographs of Wilde, his studio and estate, his close friends and fellow artists, and of works of art by Wilde and others.
A series of nearly 90 artists collaboration books, many illustrated by Wilde, include Five Poems by Khatchik Minasian, Poems for Self Therepy by George Economou, Six Poems by J.D. Whitney, John's Apples by Reeve Lindbergh and 44 Wilde 1944, What His Mother's Son Hath Wrought (WHMSHW), The Story of Jane and Joan, and A Hamady Wilde Sampler/Salutations 1995. Other books are by Walter Hamady, Mary Laird Hamady, and others.
Six sketchbooks contain drawings and studies, as well as sketches of himself, his friends, and of his first wife Helen. Interspersed througout the sketchbooks are lists of artworks, accounting notes, and other notes and writings. Additional artwork includes files marked as preparatory drawings by Wilde, a large collage by Jerome Karidis titled Homage to the Queen Gertrude Abercrombie, and a few drawings by others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 13 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1939-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1935-2011 (9.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-9, 21, 25-27)
  • Series 3: Interviews, circa 1959-circa 1975 (0.2 linear feet; Box 9)
  • Series 4: Journals, 1935-2006 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 9-11)
  • Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1936-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 11)
  • Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1940-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 12)
  • Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 12-13)
  • Series 8: Printed Materials, 1940-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 13-14, 21)
  • Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1948-1963 (0.4 linear feet; Box 21)
  • Series 10: Photographic Materials, circa 1940-2000s (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 14-17, 21)
  • Series 11: Artists Collaboration Books, circa 1970-circa 2000 (4.0 linear feet; Box 17-20, 22)
  • Series 12: Sketchbooks, 1940-1985 (0.2 linear feet; Box 20, 22)
  • Series 13: Artwork, circa 1943-circa 2000 (0.3 linear feet; Box 20, OVs 23-24)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
John Wilde (1919-2006) was a painter, educator, and draftsman who specialized in silver point and was associated with Magic Realism. He lived and worked in Wisconsin.
Wilde was born near Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 12, 1919. He lived his whole life in Wisconsin except when he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison for his bachelor and master degrees in art and art history. While at university, Wilde, along with Marshall Glasier, Sylvia Fein, Karl Priebe, Dudley Huppler, and Gertrude Abercrombie, formed a close-knit circle of friends who shared similar ideas on art and painted in the style of Magic Realism. They often met at Priebe's studio in Milwaukee or Abercrombie's house in Chicago. Wilde also met his first wife and fellow art student, Helen Ashman, during this time. Wilde later married Shirley Grilley after Helen's death in 1966.
Wilde completed artwork for several books published by Perishable Press, a publishing company owned by Walter Hamady. He contributed illustrations to John's Apples by Reeve Lindbergh, 1985- The Twelve Months by Hamady, and Five Poems by Khatchik Minasian. Wilde also wrote and illustrated 44 Wilde 1944, What His Mother's Son Hath Wrought (WHMSHW), The Story of Jane and Joan, and co-authored A Hamady Sampler, Salutations 1995 with Hamady. In addition to his collaborations with Perishable Press, Wilde worked with Warrington Colescott, Harvey Littleton, Tandem Press, and Andrew Balkin Editions on various projects.
The Elvehjem Museum of Art, now the Chazen Museum of Art, located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where Wilde taught art for 35 years, held several exhibitions of Wilde's work including John Wilde: Drawings 1940-1984 (1984), Wildeworld: The Art of John Wilde (1999), and With Friends: Six Magical Realists (2005).
The Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin began representing Wilde in 1993 and continued to represent Wilde's work after his death in Cooksville, Wisconsin on March 9, 2006.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on legacy 35mm microfilm reels 1154-1157, 2539-2540, and 4710 and are available for use at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2017 with funding from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care Fund, using accelerated processing strategies implemented by the Archives to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The John Wilde papers were donated incrementally between 1975 and 2015 by John Wilde and his estate. Portions were previously lent for microfilming. Additional letters from Walter Hamady were lent in December 1999.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The John Wilde 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 Washington, D.C. Research Center. One box of letters from Walter Hamady is ACCESS RESTRICTED; use requires written permission. The Walter Hamady letters microfilmed on 2539a, 4710a, and 5661 are also ACCESS RESTRICTED.
Preferred Citation
John Wilde Papers, 1935-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
An interview with John Wilde conducted in 1979 by Michael Danoff for the Archives of American Art and the collection, Maurice W. Berger correspondence with John Wilde, 1952-1959, are also found in the Archives of American Art.
Portions of the material donated by Wilde are available on microfilm reels 1154-1157 and 2539. Donated and loaned material are available on reels 2540 and 4710. Portions of the loaned material on reel 4710 were subsequently donated, but a comparison of the film and papers was not completed.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Draftsmen (artists) -- Wisconsin Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Wisconsin Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Surrealism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collages Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Magic realism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Wisconsin Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- Wisconsin Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrated letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tandem Press Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Seefeldt, Michael Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney, J. D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Karidis, Jerome Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laird, Mary Louise, 1948- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hamady, Walter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glasier, Marshall, 1902- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ernst, Max, 1891-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minasian, Khatchik Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fein, Sylvia Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gardetto, Peter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Littleton, Harvey K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gardetto, Helga Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bouras, Harry Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Colescott, Warrington, 1921- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wolff, Theodore F. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cozzolino, Robert, 1970- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Priebe, Karl J., 1914-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Economou, George Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Huppler, Dudley, 1917-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andrew Balkin Editions Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lindbergh, Reeve 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/