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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Relation Material
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Theodore Roszak papers
    Dates: 1926-1994
    Dates: 1930-1980
    Collection Number: 960023
    Creator: Roszak, Theodore, 1907-1981
    Extent: 137 linear ft. (68 boxes, 4 rolls, 9 flat file folders, 1 portfolio)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: Papers of sculptor, painter, and designer Theodore Roszak include the artist's photographs of his work and installations, correspondence and documents relating to public and private commissions, lectures and teaching notes, 55 sketchbooks, working and presentation drawings, and newspaper and journal clippings, some collected in scrapbooks.
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    Language: Collection material is in English

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers. Audio visual material not available until reformatting is complete.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Theodore Roszak papers, 1926-1994, bulk 1930-1980. Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 960023

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1996.

    Separated Material

    Ten monographs, most of them exhibition catalogs, were transferred to the Library's general collections.

    Relation Material

    Theodore Roszak papers, 1928-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian. Some of the materials microfilmed by the Archives were returned to Roszak and, consequently, form part of the papers acquired by Getty Research Institute.
    Theodore Roszak interview, 1963. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Theodore Roszak was born May 1, 1907 in Poznan, Poland. Roszak's mother was an accomplished fashion designer and his father was a organist and prolific composer. The Roszak family emigrated to the United States in 1909 and settled in Chicago. Roszak began drawing at the age of seven; by the age of fifteen he was attending evening sessions at the Art Institute of Chicago Professional School. In 1925 he entered the Art Institute as a full-time student.
    In 1929 Roszak received the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship for European Study. He discovered the avant-garde movement abroad and was especially attracted to surrealism, particularly the work of Giorgio de Chirico. He returned to America and settled in New York in 1931 and was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship. Throughout the 1930s to the mid 1940s, Roszak produced mostly drawings, yet he was also experimenting with the extension of those drawings as manifested in paintings and sculpture. At this time he was influenced by constructivism and the machine aesthetic. His interests shifted subsequently and from 1946 onward he primarily produced sculpture in the abstract expressionist style. Roszak returned to drawing in the 1970s when illness prevented him from welding. Throughout his life, Roszak maintained an interest in photography. He created photograms until 1947. He also meticulously photographed his projects: his works in progress and the finished pieces.
    Roszak is well known for his collaborations with Eero Saarinen, which include the spire and bell tower at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956, and the Eagle for the United States Embassy in London, 1960. In 1956 a major traveling retrospective of his work was organized at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He also had several important exhibitions at the Pierre Matisse Gallery and Hirschl and Adler Galleries, both in New York City. He held teaching positions at the Laboratory School of Industrial Design, New York, and Sarah Lawrence College. Roszak served on several government-sponsored committees, including the Advisory Committee on Cultural Presentations Program, Advisory Board of National Committee of Arts and Government, and the Fine Arts Commission, Washington D.C. and New York.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Theodore Roszak papers document Theodore Roszak's artistic career, based predominantly in New York, from 1926 to 1981. The material was generated and collected by Theodore Roszak, with additional materials added by his wife Florence and his daughter Sarah Jane Roszak, some of which date to 1994. The collection contains about 137 linear feet of personal papers, photographs, business correspondence, press clippings, drawings, architectural and engineering plans and audio recordings. Media in the collection include drawings (pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, etc.), photographs, printed matter, painting, audio tapes, teaching notes, and small number of transparencies and 35 mm slides.
    The collection documents Roszak's artistic processes from the sketching of an idea to the construction of the object, to its packaging and exhibition. The Roszak papers also document preservation, and logistical and financial details regarding the sale and exhibition of his artwork.


    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Roszak, Theodore, 1907-1981
    Roszak, Theodore, 1933-
    Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961
    Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946

    Subjects - Topics

    Abstract expressionism—United States
    Constructivism (Art)—United States
    Public art—Designs and plans
    Public art—United States
    Sculptors—United States
    Sculpture, Abstract
    Sculpture, American

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints