Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Karl With papers
Date (inclusive): 1907-1984, bulk 1945-1966
17 Linear Feet
(33 boxes, 1 flat file folder)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
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.
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Language: Collection material is in
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
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Preferred Citation note
Karl With Papers, 1907-1984, bulk 1945-1966. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles,
Accession no. 920096.
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.
The collection is organized into three series:
Series I. Papers;
Series II. Glass negatives;
Series III. Oversize material
Subjects - Names
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
University of California, Los Angeles
Hamilton College (Clinton, N.Y.)
Subjects - Topics
Genres and Forms of Material
Black-and-white slides 1891-1920
Sound recordings -- 20th century
Heydt, Eduard von der
Buddhistische Plastik in Japan bis in den Beginn. des 8 Jahrhunderts n. chr.
Vienna: Anton Schroll & Co., 1919.
Java; brahmanische, buddhistische und eigenlebige Architektur und Plastik auf
Hagen in Westfalen: Folkwang Verlag, 1920.
[forward by Karl With].
Asiatische monumentalplastik. Berlin: E.
Japanische Baukunst. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1921.
[with Gregor Krause].
Bali. Hagen in Westfalen: Folkwang-Verlan,
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,
Marc Chagall. Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1923.
Bildwerk Ost- und Sudasiens aus der Sammlung Yi Yuan, mit begleitendem text von
Basel: Schwabe & Co., 1924.
Fuhrer zur Ausstellung indonesicher Textielien. Oldenburg I. O.: G.
Chinesische kleinbildnerei in Steatit. Oldenburg I. O.: G. Stalling,
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:
Pasadena Art Institute presents Timeless art from the Netherlands Indies,
arranged by Karl With.
Pasadena, CA. February 1941 [exhibition