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Harald Szeemann papers, 1800-2011, bulk 1949-2005

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Descriptive Summary
Biographical / Historical Note
Scope and Content of Collection
Restrictions
Indexing Terms
Related Material
Administrative Information
Container List
Series I. Project files, 1836-2007, bulk 1949-2005
Series II. Artist files 1888-2009, bulk 1969-2005
Series III. Curator and museum professional files, 1903, 1942, 1955-2007
Series III.A. Curator files, 1903, 1942, 1955-2007
Series III.B. Correspondence binders, 1973-1998
Series III.C. Unfiled materials, 1958-2007
Series IV. Photographs, 1800, 1836-2011, bulk 1957-2005
Series IV.A. Projects, 1895-2007
Series IV.B. Artists, 1892-2007, bulk 1960-1999
Series IV.C. Margarethe Fellerer photographs of Monte Verità, 1904-1979, undated
Series IV.D. Topical, 1900-2004
Series IV.E. Slide carousels, 1997, undated
Series IV.F. Personal, approximately 1880-2004
Series V. Audiovisual files, 1926-2005, undated, bulk 1983-2005
Series V.A. Project files, 1969-2005, undated, bulk 1983-2005
Series V.B. Artist files, 1926, 1950-1956, 1965-2005, undated
Series V.C. Curator and museum professional files, 1989-2005, undated
Series V.D. Topical files, 1956, 1960, 1965-1972, 1984-2004, undated
Series V.E. Gallery and museum ephemera, 1995-2005, undated
Series V.F. Personal files, 1996-2005
Series V.G. Unidentified, undated
Series VI. Topical files, 1806-2005, bulk 1967-2005
Series VI.A. Arts and letters, 1905-2005, bulk 1956-2005
Series VI.B. Clippings and assorted research materials, approximately 1969-2005
Series VI.C. People and organizations, 1967-2004, undated
Series VI.D. Places, 1851-2004, undated
Series VI.E. Politics, environment, and society, 1905-2004, undated
Series VI.F. Professional associations, 1961-2005, undated
Series VI.G. Themes, 1912-2004, undated
Series VI.H. Unfiled materials, 1806, 1924-1929, 1948-1958, 1967-2004, undated
Series VII. Gallery and museum ephemera, 1915, 1937, 1953-2007, undated
Series VII.A. Galleries, 1953-2007, undated
Series VII.B. Museums, 1915, 1937, 1954, 1960-2007, undated
Series VII.C. General, 2004-2005
Series VIII. Personal files, 1800, 1933-2007, undated
Series VIII.A. Individuals, 1800, 1933-2007, undated
Series VIII.B. Objects, 1997, 2000, undated
Series IX. Business files, 1923-2011, bulk 1974-2004
Series IX.A. Receipts and bank documents, 1968-2006
Series IX.B. Taxes and balances, 1969-2004
Series IX.C. Miscellaneous business, 1923-2004, 2011, bulk 1974-2004
Series X. Digital files, approximately 2001-approximately 2006
Szeemann (Harald) Papers
Series II. Artist files 1888-2009, bulk 1969-2005 642.92 Linear Feet (1217 boxes, 235 flatfiles)
Due to its size, the Artist files in Series II. are described in a separate finding aid. Click here to view the finding aid for Series II.
Series II contains artist files on more than 24,000 artists. In addition to fine arts artists, Harald Szeemann created artist files for architects, composers, musicians, film directors, authors and philosphers. There is also some overlap with the files in Series III when a person had more than one profession. For example, Dieter Bogner is mainly a curator and museum planner, but is also listed as an author and was found among the artist files. Without knowing if this was misfiling or intentional, these files have been left as found. All correspondence from Szeemann to his wife Ingeborg Lüscher found in the unfiled materials has been put into her artist file regardless of content. Because of Lüscher's profession, a large number of exhibition announcements and some correspondence in this collection were addressed to her instead of to Szeemann, or to both of them.
The contents of the artist files vary widely from artist to artist, but may include artist statements; artist proposals; biographies; correspondence; exhibition announcements; news clippings; notes; photographs of works of art, exhibitions of the artist; posters; resumes; and original works of art. Szeemann made a folder for every artist, even if it was just one exhibition announcement. Many of the artist files contain only a few items. When present, artist correspondence, works of art and other significant items are noted, as are any records relating to exhibitions curated by Szeemann. Any photographic material housed with the papers of this series have been retained in this series although the majority of photographic materials from the collection were separated out by Szeemann and are located in Series IV. Photographs. Szeemann also kept complete copies of books and periodicals with his artist files. These have been moved to the General Collections and can be found by searching the Library Catalog for the "Harald Szeemann Collection."
The artist files organized by Szeemann were originally housed in large envelopes inside boxes in the Groundwork, Monograph, and Work in Progress rooms of the Fabbrica. One small box was titled "Anonym." These have been kept together at the end under Anonymous to preserve the original order, but the materials are identified when possible. Additional files for artists Szeemann worked with extensively or was interested in were found in the Knights, Monograph, and Work in Progress rooms and identified as Artist files by the curator. These include artists such as Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Johann Michael Bossard, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Francesco Clemente, François Clavel, Marcel Duchamp, Jörg Immendorf, Alfred Jarry, Sigmar Polke, Mario Merz, Paul Thek and Adolf Wolfli.
Artist files found outside of the boxes organized by Szeemann are designated as [loose] or [unfiled.] Loose means the envelope was sitting out on a desk or that materials were found in what looked like intentional stacks of papers about that artist on shelves, desk tops or the floor or near the boxes of artist files. The majority of Byars material was found this way. Some of the materials were found in hanging folders similar to the project files original housing. These materials frequently related to exhibitions by Szeemann that the artist was in and were perhaps moved out of the project files by Szeemann during his rearrangement of the archive. Unfiled contains materials found in boxes titled "New mail," "Single artists," or were in stacks of unrelated papers on desk tops or the floor. These materials have been sorted and designated by the archivist. Mail addressed to Szeemann continued arriving after his death, and some of this mail was received as part of the archive and is found in the [unfiled] folders. Some large envelopes with artists' names were found empty and are indicated as such. Unpublished materials such as exhibition proposals or gallery press packets were removed from the library collection and integrated into the artist files. These items are indicated as such on the folders.
Arrangement note
Arranged alphabetically by last name.


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