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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Fracassini Artists' Letters Collection

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1951
Creator: Fracassini, S. Carl
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0549
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Letters from artists and critics responding to S. Carl Fracassini queries made in the course of writing a Masters Thesis in 1951.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Carol Fracassini in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Fracassini Artists' Letters Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

S. Carl Fracassini received his B.F.A from Denver in 1936 and his M.F.A. at University of Iowa in 1951. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Iowa in 1954.

As then head of the Art Department of Iowa Wesleyan College, in 1951 Fracassini wrote to artists as follows:

"During my associations with other painters for the past twenty years, I have seen repeated evidences of frustrations and uncertainties concerning the functions and goals of artists in our societty. Consequently, I have chosen for the subject of my dissertation, "The Dilemma of the Twentieth Century Artist."

"I would therefore appeciate your personal opinion on such questions as these: Do you believe that the so-called glorification of shapelessness and formlessness in compemporary art is an inevitable reflection of our age? It has been said that in order to create a new art form the works of the past must be denied. Do you share this opinion? Why does elimination of subject matter seem to be indigenous to the period in which we live? Do you consider this approach valid? What do you think the artists as exemplified by some of the members of the Betty Parsons Gallery and Kottz, are contributing toward the development of a lasting art? What in your opinion is the basic common denominator of art throughout the ages? Can art be propagandistic and still be a valid art? What are your personal goals as an artist?"

This collection contains the responses he received. Not every correspondent chose to answer his questions. Many of the letters are handwritten and nearly all are signed. Contributing artists include Joseph Albers, Lyonel Feiniger, George Grosz, Rockwell Kent, and Norman Rockwell.
S. Carl Fracassini. "The Dilemma of the Twentieth Century American Artist." T1951 F798

Browse by Series:
Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE

  • Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Adams, Kenneth M., May 14 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Albers, Josef, April 26 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Arms, John Taylor, May 8 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Atherton, John, April 13 - 1951
    ALS 7 pages
  • Austin, Darrel, April 12 - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini
  • Avery, Milton, April 21 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Barnet, Will, May 1 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Ben-Zion
    No date on return letter, 4 pages
  • Biddle, George, April 17 - 1951
    ALS 6 pages
  • Blume, Peter
  • 12-Apr - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini
  • No date on return letter
    ALS 1 page
  • Bohrod, Aaron, April 23 - 1951
    ALS 3 pages
  • Booth, Cameron, April 15 - 1951
    ALS 6 pages, brochure
  • Burchfield, Charles
  • 17-Apr - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini
  • 22-Apr - 1951
    ALS 1 page
  • Conway, Fred
    No date on return letter, 6 pages
  • Cowles, Russell, May 17 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Crawford, Ralston, April 25 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Dasburg, Andrew, April 24 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • de Diego, Julio, May 26 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Di Gioia, Frank, April 24 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Dike, Phil
    No date on return letter, ALS 2 pages
  • Dodd, Lamar
  • 12-Apr - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • 9-Jul - 1951
    1 page: correspondence from Mrs. Betty C. Cabin, Mr. Dodd's secretary
  • Emmet, April 28 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Feiniger, Lyonel, April 21 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Fiene, Ernest, April 19 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Fossum, Syd, April 21 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Gottlieb, Adolph, April 17 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Grant, Jordan, May 29 - 1951
    ALS 1 page
  • Graves, Maitland, July 9 - 1951
    TLS 1 page: slightly damaged
  • Greene, Balcomb, May 19 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Gropper, William, April 25 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Grosz, George, May 20 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Gughelm, Louis, April 21 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Gwathmey, Robert, May 18 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Hand, Peter, October 6 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Hofman, Hans, May 3 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Hopper, Edward, April 24 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Kaplan, Joseph, April 22 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Kent, Rockwell, April 18 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Kirsch, Dwight, May 1 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Kroll, Leon, April 28 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Lockwood, Ward, May 1 - 1951
    1 page
  • Lucioni, Luigi, April 26 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Margo, Boris, April 23 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Marsh, Reginald, April 10 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Mattern, Karl, May 17 - 1951
    ALS 3 pages
  • Mommer, Paul, April 25 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Osver, Arthur, May 16 - 1951
    ALS 4 pages
  • Ozenfant, Amdee, May - 1951
    ALS 1 page
  • Pach, Malter, May 17 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages and envelope
  • Palmer, William, April 18 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Pearson, Ralph M., May 1 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Peirce, Waldo
  • 13-Apr - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini
  • 23-Apr - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Quanchi, Leo, April 23 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Quirt, Walter, May 10 - 1951
    ALS 5 pages
  • Rockwell, Norman, June 19 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Roszak, Theodore, May 4 - 1951
    ALS 1 page: written by Mrs. Theodore J. Roszak
  • Ruvolo, Felix, June 11 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Schwartz, William S., April 25 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Shahn, Ben, May 3 - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Sheeler, Charles, April 26 - 1951
    ALS 2 pages
  • Smythe, Bill, April 22 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Stamos, [Theodore], April 18 - 1951
    ALS 4 pages
  • Sternberg, Harry
  • 17-Apr - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini
  • No date on return letter
    4 pages: TLS 3 pages, ALS 1 page
  • Tschacbasov, Nahum, May 12 - 1951
    TLS 3 pages
  • Unidentified: Soyer Raphael (?), ns, nd, 2 pages
  • Weber, Hugo
  • 8-Apr - 1951
    1 page: letter from Fracassini originally addressed to Mr. Serge Chermayeff and referred to Mr. Hugo Weber
  • 20-Apr - 1951
    TLS 1 page
  • Wilson, Sol, May 11 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages
  • Xceron, Jean, May 3 - 1951
    TLS 2 pages

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.