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Collection Guide
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INVENTORY OF THE SAMUEL WAGSTAFF PAPERS, 1796-1987 (bulk 1952-1986)
2005.M.46  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
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 and include letters from artists, photographers and cultural institutions. Original photographs and non-photographic original artworks are included, as well as slides, negatives, postcards, film reels, prints and drawings.
Background
Curator and visionary photography collector Samuel Wagstaff Jr. was born 1921, in New York City. The son of a lawyer from an old New York family and fashion designer Olga Piorkowska, Wagstaff graduated from Yale University and served in the Navy during World War II. After the war and a short career in advertising he studied Renaissance art at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts under the mentorship of Richard Offner. In 1959 he received a David E. Finley art history fellowship at the National Gallery of Art. He assumed a curatorial position in contemporary art at the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1961 to 1968 and then at the Detroit Institute of Arts from 1968 to 1971. At both institutions Wagstaff pursued his interest in the avant garde and helped promote the careers of artists such as Michael Heizer, Tony Smith, Gordon Newton and Richard Tuttle.
Extent
96.0 linear feet (126 boxes, 5 rolls, 19 flatfiles)
Restrictions
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Availability
Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions. Film reels are unavailable until reformatting is complete. Documents pertaining to the J. Paul Getty Museum's acquisition of the Wagstaff photography collection (Box 83) is sealed until 2019.