A Finding Aid to the Karl Zerbe Papers, 1928-1996, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.zerbkarl
Creators:
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972
Dates:
1928-1996
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
6.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of German American painter and educator Karl Zerbe measure 5.1 linear feet and date from 1928 to 1996. The papers document Zerbe's career through biographical material, writings and journals, art gallery records, financial records, printed material, photographs, documentary film materials, and home movies.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of German American painter and educator Karl Zerbe measure 5.1 linear feet and date from 1928 to 1996. The papers document Zerbe's career through biographical material, writings and journals, art gallery records, financial records, printed material, photographs, documentary film materials, and home movies.
The collection consists of papers related to Zerbe's estate, exhibitions, and associations, along with ephemera such as address books and awards; daily journals used by both Zerbe and his wife, Marion; biographical essays written about Zerbe, and some painting descriptions. Also included are papers related to the various galleries Zerbe dealt with such as the Downtown Gallery, Foster Harmon Gallery, Nordness Gallery, and Robert C. Vose Gallery. Financial records include cash books, receipts, invoices, and papers related to loans of art work. Printed material consists of mostly exhibition-related documentation, but also includes articles and clippings that cover a variety of art topics, a leaflet on modern art distributed by the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1948, artist cards, and auction lists. Images depict Zerbe's personal life, studio, artwork, and encaustic painting technique.
This collection also contains 2.4 linear feet of moving image material. Included are home movies and travel films, as well as videocassettes containing raw footage, rough cuts, and the final version of "Expressions of Life," a one hour documentary for television on the life and work of Karl Zerbe. Documentation on this project also includes interview transcripts with Zerbe and others, a production script, and production notes. The documentary was written by Ernest Kolowrat, 1986, Peter J. Barton Productions.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 8 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1944-1991 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1994 (7 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1938-1974 (9 folders; Box 1-2)
  • Series 4: Gallery Files, 1939-1996 (0.8 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 5: Financial Records, 1942-1979 (7 folders; Box 2-3)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1941-1986 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 7: Photographs, 1928-1972 (1 linear foot; Box 3-4, OV 6)
  • Series 8: Moving Images, 1954-2002 (2.4 linear feet; Box 4-5, FC 7-20)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Karl Zerbe (1903-1972) was a German American expressionist painter and art educator in Boston, Massachusetts and Tallahassee, Florida.
Born in Berlin, Zerbe split his childhood between France and Germany until 1920 when he began working in an architect's office. At that time, Zerbe began studying at the Debschitz Art School in Munich, and then at the Munich Academy of Art. In 1922, Zerbe had his first one-man show at the Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin. With assistance from the city of Munich, he then studied in Italy for three years. During this time, he consistently displayed his work in group and solo exhibitions throughout Europe. His art was first shown in the United States at the Golz Gallery in New York in 1933, and Zerbe moved to Boston not long after. He worked for seventeen years in Boston including time as head of the Department of Painting in the Boston Museum School. After Boston, Zerbe, along with his wife, Marion, and daughter, Maria, moved to Florida where he took the position of head of the Department of Painting at Florida State University at Tallahassee.
Zerbe received honors for his life-long dedication and contribution to art by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Carnegie Institute, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce, and the state of Florida.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid was written by Christopher DeMairo in 2019.
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
This collection was donated by Karl Zerbe's daughter, Maria Zerbe Norton, in 2010.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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.
Preferred Citation
Karl Zerbe papers, 1928-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Massachusetts -- Boston Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moving images Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Florida -- Tallahassee Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Florida -- Tallahassee Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Expressionism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kolowrat, Ernest 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/