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With (Karl) Papers
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Karl With papers
    Date (inclusive): 1907-1984, bulk 1945-1966
    Number: 920096
    Creator/Collector: With, Karl
    Physical Description: 17 Linear Feet (33 boxes, 1 flat file folder)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Personal and professional papers of the German-born art historian and professor (1891-1980). The manuscripts, correspondence, lecture notes, clippings, photographs, glass negatives, and audio recordings in this collection document With's lifelong study of Asian and modern art and his teaching, most notably at the University of California, Los Angeles.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in French

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The art historian Karl With (1891-1980) was a professor, curator and museum director. He spent his early years in Bremerhaven, Germany, where his father was a renowned physician who had an interest in art. With entered university at Freiburg in 1910 to study literature, but he was uninspired by the learning atmosphere and the dominance of the fraternity system.
    In 1911, With met the Russian-born sculptor Moisey Kogan (1879-1942). This stimulated With's interest in studying art, and he spent a wanderjahre in Europe. With attended lectures by Wölfflin in Berlin, 1911-12 and saw Leonardo's "Last Supper" in Milan. With admired Wölfflin's analysis of style but not his emphasis on western art, and he remembers being "disillusioned" by the "Last Supper." Throughout his career, With remained opposed to what he called "glorified western art of the renaissance."
    More inspiring to With than either Wölfflin or Leonardo was the opening of the Yi Yuan collection of Asian art, owned by the Baron Eduard von der Heydt. This led With to study art history at Vienna, where he earned a doctorate under Joseph Strzygowsky. In 1913, With traveled with his classmate Oskar Vonwiller to China and Japan, eventually visiting Indonesia, Bali and Egypt. With took many photographs of art at this time, some of which were published in Buddischiste Plastik in Japan, 1919. Between 1919 and 1926, With published several books on Asian art.
    In the 1910s, With worked for Karl Ernst Osthaus, the founder of the Folkwang Museum, Hagen and the Museum für Kunst in Handel und Gewerbe. With made many purchases for Osthaus' museums during his travels. Upon his return in 1914, With enlisted in the army, and he left a decorated lieutenant in 1918. After the war, With became a guest curator at the Folkwang Museum. With learned much about industrial and craft arts, and began curating exhibits. At this time, With married his first wife Irene, with whom he had two sons.
    In 1921, With moved to Cologne to catalogue the collection of the Baron von der Heydt (catalogue published in 1924). In 1925, he became head lecturer at the Kolner Werkschule. In 1928 then lord-mayor Konrad Adenauer selected With to direct the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Cologne, and the Cologne Werkshulen in 1931. With was dismissed from his positions by the Nazis, who labeled his interest in Asian and modern art "degenerate." Much of his research material, papers, and books were destroyed upon his dismissal. With moved to Berlin, where he worked for Ullstein Publications, and he published two books. From 1936 to 1939 With worked for the Baron von der Heydt in Ascona, Switzerland.
    In 1939 With emigrated to the United States, and soon after he married his German fiancée Gerda Becker. His first positions were as lecturer at the Graduate School of Design in Pasadena and the University of San Francisco. From 1941 to 1948, With taught and served as head of the newly-formed art department at Hamilton College in New York. He moved to Los Angeles in 1948 and was involved with the short-lived Modern Art Institute in Beverly Hills until 1950.
    From 1948 to 1966 With taught at UCLA, where his lectures focused on prehistoric, Asian and modern art, and he developed two popular lecture courses: "Integrated Arts" and "Man and Art." Outside of UCLA, With guest curated exhibits and was on the panel to select the sculptor for the central fountain of the Music Center, Los Angeles. He won many awards for his teaching, including the distinguished teacher award in 1951 and Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa in 1962. With died in 1980.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation note

    Karl With Papers, 1907-1984, bulk 1945-1966. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 920096.

    Processing History

    The Karl With papers were acquired by the Getty in 1992. The archive had been organized before purchase by Gerda or Karl With. The archive was processed in 1996 by Hillary Brown, who wrote this finding aid in June, 1997. The original folder labeling, perhaps by With, has been retained as much as possible.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This archive contains professional and personal papers of Karl With. The papers document With's career from his student days in Germany and Vienna, to his early career as a curator and museum director in Germany, and finally his many years as a distinguished lecturer in the United States. These papers may have been organized by With in preparation of writing his autobiography, which exists in manuscript form in this archive. Roughly a third of the archive consists of lecture notes and research files of clippings prepared during his years at UCLA. Comments With wrote on the original folder labels are often indicated in parentheses and quote marks.
    With emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1932. Under pressure from the Nazis, he was unable to bring with him much of his scholarly material, including manuscripts, books, and research material. There are three boxes of material from With's years in Germany.
    Media in the archive include manuscripts, press clippings, correspondence, photographs, audio discs, and glass negatives.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is organized into three series: Series I. Papers; Series II. Glass negatives; Series III. Oversize material

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    With, Karl

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    University of California, Los Angeles
    Hamilton College (Clinton, N.Y.)

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Asian
    Art, Modern

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Glass negatives
    Black-and-white slides 1891-1920
    Sound recordings
    Photographic prints
    Sound recordings -- 20th century
    Photographs, Original
    Slides (photographs)


    With, Karl
    Heydt, Eduard von der
    Adenauer, Konrad


    Buddhistische Plastik in Japan bis in den Beginn. des 8 Jahrhunderts n. chr. Hrsg. Vienna: Anton Schroll & Co., 1919.
    Java; brahmanische, buddhistische und eigenlebige Architektur und Plastik auf Java. Hagen in Westfalen: Folkwang Verlag, 1920.
    [forward by Karl With]. Asiatische monumentalplastik. Berlin: E. Wasmuth, 1921.
    Japanische Baukunst. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1921.
    [with Gregor Krause]. Bali. Hagen in Westfalen: Folkwang-Verlan, 1922.
    Java, buddhistische und brahmanische Architektur un Plastilk auf Java. Hagen in Westfalen: Folkwang Verlag, 1922.
    Chinesische Steinschnitte. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1922.
    Die japanische Plastik. Berlin: Verlag fur Kunstwissenschaft, 1923.
    Marc Chagall. Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1923.
    Bildwerk Ost- und Sudasiens aus der Sammlung Yi Yuan, mit begleitendem text von Karl With. Basel: Schwabe & Co., 1924.
    Fuhrer zur Ausstellung indonesicher Textielien. Oldenburg I. O.: G. Stalling, 1925.
    Chinesische kleinbildnerei in Steatit. Oldenburg I. O.: G. Stalling, 1926.
    Clemens Klotz, Josef Fieth mit einer Einleitung von Karl With, Berlin: Friedrich Ernest Hübsch, 1930.
    Das hohelied der Sonne; ein buch vom quell des leben. Berlin: Propylaen-Verlag, 1934.
    Pasadena Art Institute presents Timeless art from the Netherlands Indies, arranged by Karl With. Pasadena, CA. February 1941 [exhibition catalogue].