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Samuel Wagstaff papers; 1796-1987: (bulk 1952-1986).

Wagstaff, Samuel J., Jr., 1921-1987.

Available at Special Collections  SPECIAL COLLECTIONS - CONTACT REFERENCE  (2005.M.46 ) and other locations()

  • Title:
    Samuel Wagstaff papers; 1796-1987: (bulk 1952-1986).
  • Author/Creator: Wagstaff, Samuel J., Jr., 1921-1987.
  • Creation Date: 1796-1987: (bulk 1952-1986).
  • Biographical/Historical Note: American curator and collector Samuel Wagstaff Jr. was born 1921, in New York City. Following a career as a curator of contemporary art at the Wadsworth Atheneum and Detroit Institute of Arts, Wagstaff returned to New York City and concentrated on collecting. The focus of Wagstaff's photography collection was originally nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French, British and American photography, and later shifted toward more daring and contemporary work. Wagstaff also collected postcards, prints, cat images, and 19th-century American silver.
  • Arrangement: Organized in seven series: Series I. Snapshots, 1969-1983, undated; Series II. Collections, 1819-1987; Series III. Personal papers, 1796-1986; Series IV. Correspondence, 1909-1986; Series V. Projects, 1914-1986; Series VI. Ephemera and assorted papers, 1941-1986; Series VII. Film reels, undated.
  • Physical Desc.: 96 linear ft. (126 boxes, 5 rolls, 19 flatfiles).
    15 film reels; original..
  • Summary: The papers document Sam Wagstaff's activities as curator and collector, with a focus on his collections and collecting processes. The papers are rich in correspondence, original photographs and non-photographic original artworks, as well as slides, negatives, postcards, film reels, prints and drawings. Original photographs in the archive include a range of 19th- and 20th-century photographic processes.
    Among many snapshots by Wagstaff in Series I are portraits of his long-term partner, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Patti Smith, among others. In Series II, the development of Wagstaff's collections is traced through receipts and other documentation, including letters from cultural institutions, photographers and artists such as Agnes Martin, H.C. Westermann, Michael Heizer and Tony Smith. This series also includes original artworks by Dan Basen, Robert Morris and Gordon Newton. The personal papers in Series III range from family photographs to financial documents. Series IV contains the correspondence that Wagstaff did not file in other series, dating primarily to the 1970s and 1980s. In Series V are photographs and other documents relating to specific exhibitions, publications and research by Wagstaff. Series VI contains posters, exhibition announcements and other ephemera, as well as clippings of articles profiling Wagstaff and his collections. Among the 12 film reels in Series VII are seven unidentified and four undeveloped reels, and one labeled "Potatoes on a Studio Floor."
  • Language: English
  • Notes: Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
  • Form/Genre: Art objects
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original
    Albumen prints
    Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
    Color negatives
    Color photographs
    Color slides
    Gelatin silver prints
    Stereoscopic photographs
  • Subjects: Heizer, Michael, 1944- Mapplethorpe, Robert Martin, Agnes, 1912-2004 Smith, Patti Smith, Tony, 1912-1980 Westermann, H.C. (Horace Clifford), 1922- Detroit Institute of Arts Wadsworth Atheneum Art -- Private collections -- United States Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Collectors and collecting -- United States Artists -- Correspondence Photographs -- Collectors and collecting -- United States Silver -- Private collections -- United States
  • Contributors: Basen, Dan. Morris, Robert, 1931-2018. Newton, Gordon, 1948-
  • ID/Accession Number: 2659-783
  • Access/Rights: Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions. Film reels are unavailable until reformatting is complete. Box 83, containing documents pertaining to the J. Paul Getty Museum's acquisition of the Wagstaff photography collection, is sealed until 2019.
  • OCLC Record Number: 84545661
  • Source: GRI Library Catalog

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