Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Franz Roh papers
Date (inclusive): 1911-1965
Roh, Franz, 1890-1965
3.5 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
German art historian and pioneering critic of the 20th-century avant-garde who took an interest in the study and development
of photography as an art form. Collection consists primarily of letters received from more than 1,000 correspondents, ca.
1911-1965. The correspondence is of a personal, intellectual, and business nature, between Roh and colleagues and fellow students,
critics, editors, gallery owners, and curators throughout Germany, France, and the United States. Letters express thanks and
complaints concerning Roh's criticism, and contain requests for reviews, catalog statements, photographs, introductions, and
Language: Collection material is in
Franz Roh (1890-1965) was a noted art historian, photographer, and critic of the early twentieth-century avant-garde. He began
his career working for
Kunstblatt, and other journals publishing on art topics. In 1925, with the encouragement of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, he published
Nachexpressionismus-Magischer Realismus. Through this he gained prominence in the artistic circles of the avant-garde, which led to his co-publication of
Foto-Auge with Jan Tschichold in 1929. The progressivism of his work led to
Foto-Auge being sequestered and confiscated, and eventually led Roh to a brief imprisonment when he was forbidden to write by government
censors in 1933. He was, however, awarded a professorship in modern art at the University of Munich in 1946, a position he
held for the remainder of his life. He continued to promote contemporary art in the years after the war and became president
of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) in 1951. He died in Munich in 1965.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Franz Roh papers, 1911-1965, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850120.
Acquired in 1985.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Franz Roh Papers consist of letters, postcard, telegrams and other pieces of personal and professional correspondence
and a small collection of other writings and manuscripts from the estate of Franz Roh (1890-1965). Roh was an important critic
of the early twentieth-century avant-garde, as well as an artist and teacher.
Correspondence in the collection was written to and from Roh between 1911 and 1965. Correspondents primarily are artists,
art historians, writers, poets, art dealers and publishing houses. Included within the correspondence are exhibition opening
announcements, prints and other works on paper sent as gifts or seasonal greeting cards by artist friends, and occasional
personal photographs included with letters. There is a large number of photocopied letters from Roh to Wilhelm Flitner, dating
The archive also holds a collection of manuscript writings by Roh and others. These include a typed, partial transcript of
Roh's diary written while he was a field soldier during World War I, and a collection of ephemeral items from Roh's personal
papers. There are notable collections of letters and manuscripts by Raoul Hausmann and J.A. Baader. These include a seventy-four
page typed draft for part of Hausmann's
Hyle, an assortment of essays on art and philosophy and other personal papers, as well as a collection of letters written by him
to Roh dating from 1946-1965. There are also writings on art by Baader, letters from him to Roh, and a handwritten, manuscript
draft copy of Baader's
Der Stern Erde.
The archive is organized in the following series and sub-series:
Series I. Correspondence, 1911-1965;
Series II. Raoul Hausmann letters and writings, 1918-1961, undated;
Series III. J.A. Baader letters and writings, 1946;
Series IV. War diary and ephemera, 1915, undated.