Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Franz Roh papers
Collection number: 850120
Roh, Franz, 1890-1965
3.5 linear feet
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA
Abstract: 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 in German
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Franz Roh papers, 1911-1965, Getty Research
Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850120.
Acquired in 1985.
Franz Roh (1890-1965) was a noted art historian, photographer, and
critic of the early twentieth-century avant-garde. He began his career working
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
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.
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 from 1911-1965.
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.