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Guide to the Herbert Matter Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Index Terms Related to this Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Herbert Matter papers
    Dates: ca. 1937-1984
    Collection number: M1446
    Creator: Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984
    Collection Size: ca. 310 linear feet
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Abstract: Original artwork, photographs, letters, manuscripts, process materials, memorabilia, negatives, transparencies, film, printed material, and working equipment.
    Physical location: Special Collections Green Library Stanford University
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    Herbert Matter papers, M1446. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased, 2004: accession 2004-283. Gift of the Matter family, 2005: accession 2005-114 (Series nine, 300 photographic prints.)

    Biography / Administrative History

    Born in the resort village of Engelberg, Switzerland, Herbert Matter is best known for his international contributions in photography, photomontage, and graphic design work. Matter was also a filmmaker, exhibition designer, and professor. He photographed a wide range of subjects in art, advertising, and fashion. His constant experimenting lead to ongoing refinements in composition, typography, and a variety of printing techniques.
    Matter initially studied painting at the Ëcole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and then at the Académie Moderne in Paris as a student of Fernand Léger, and Amédée Ozenfant.
    He came to the United States in 1936 and began work as a freelance photographer for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and created displays for the Swiss and Corning Glass Pavilions for the 1939 World's Fair.
    Over the course of his career Matter worked with Charles Eames, did photography, photomontage, and covers for Arts and Architecture magazine, and served as the design and advertising consultant for Knoll creating the company's award winning graphics, layout, and photography.
    He also directed, filmed, and edited Works of Calder in 1950 for the Museum of Modern Art, the first color film to show Alexander Calder's sculptures. While maintaining countless assignments, he introduced the first photography classes offered at Yale University where he taught until 1976.
    Matter's most personal artistic endeavor was his extensive photography of the work of sculpture Alberto Giacometti. These photographs from the 1960s and 1970s were published in his book Alberto Giacometti. Matter worked on the book up to the time of his death; it was published posthumously in 1987.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection represents the photography and graphic design career of Herbert Matter, his commercial and personal work. This includes original artwork (collages, sketches), photographs (predominately black and white prints, contact prints, working prints), manuscripts, process materials (paste-ups, proof sheets), memorabilia, negatives, transparencies, slides, 16mm motion picture film, printed material, and working equipment. There is considerable correspondence with particularly noteworthy letters from Gregory Ain, John Cage, John Entenza, Walter Gropius, Gyorgy Kepes, Isamu Noguchi, Irving Penn, and Brett Weston among others. The core of the collection is contained in over 100 boxes of graphic art material. In addition, there are over 60 boxes containing photographs, negatives, and transparencies of his commercial and non-commercial photographic work.


    The Matter collection is arranged in nine Series, with Subseries and Subsubseries augmenting the organizational structure.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Aalto, Aino, 1894-1949.
    Aalto, Alvar, 1898-1976.
    Abramovitz, Max.
    Albers, Josef.
    Albini, Franco.
    Albinson, Don.
    Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964.
    Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971.
    Arp, Jean, 1887-1966.
    Austin, Warren.
    Bacon, Francis, 1909-
    Ballard, Shreve.
    Barnes, Edward Larrabee.
    Barnes, Mary, 1923-
    Baziotes, William, 1912-1963.
    Beckstrand, Mildred.
    Bennett, Glen.
    Berry, James.
    Bertoia, Harry.
    Boeri, Cini.
    Bontecou, Lee, 1931-
    Bossard, Klaus.
    Botticelli, Sandro, 1444 or 5-1510.
    Brancusi, Constantin, 1876-1957.
    Braque, Georges, 1882-1963.
    Burri, Alberto, 1915-
    Butler, Lewis.
    Cafiero, Vincent.
    Cajori, Charles, 1921-.
    Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976.
    Calder, Alexander Stirling, 1870-1945.
    Calder, Louisa.
    Callery, Mary, 1903-1977.
    Carles, Arthur B., 1882-1952.
    Cassandre, A. M., 1901-1968.
    Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906.
    Chagall, Marc, 1887-
    Chillida, Eduardo, 1924-
    Clayton, Buck, 1911-
    Cohen, I. David, (Isidore David), 1884-1953.
    Cohen, John.
    Cohen, Penny.
    Cordoba, Mathilde de.
    Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977.
    Dale, Chester, b.1883.
    De Chirico, Giorgio, 1888-
    de Cordoba, Mathilde.
    De Kooning, Elaine.
    De Kooning, Willem, 1904-
    de Souza-Gomez, H.
    Defucio, Robert.
    Dehn, Mura.
    Dorn, Marion V.
    Dragonette, Jessica.
    Duchamp-Villon, Raymond, 1876-1918.
    Dudley, George A.
    Dufay, Guillaume, 1474.
    Eames, Charles.
    Eames, Lucia.
    Eames, Ray.
    Eldon, Jim.
    Feldman, Irving, 1928-
    Feldman, Morton, 1926-1987.
    Ferrari-Hardoy, Jorge.
    Finkelstein, Louis.
    Forge, Andrew.
    Frank, Joseph, 1918-
    Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-
    Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-
    Gabo, Naum, 1890-1977.
    Geldzahler, Henry.
    Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966.
    Giacometti, Annette.
    Giacometti, Diego.
    Gleizes, Albert, 1881-1953.
    Goddard, Paulette.
    Goldstone, Harmon H. (Harmon Hendricks), 1911-
    Grosman, Tatvana, 1904-1982.
    Guston, Philip, 1913-
    Hannah, Bruce.
    Harrison, Wallace K. (Wallace Kirkman), 1895-
    Heifetz, Jascha, 1901-
    Hess, Trudi.
    Hirschorn, Joseph H.
    Hoffman, Armin.
    Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966.
    Jeanneret, Pierre, 1896-1965.
    Jeanneret, Charles Edouard.
    Johns, Jasper, 1930-
    Kaiser, Ray.
    Kelly, Richard.
    Kiesler, Frederick.
    Klein, Franz.
    Knoll, Florence.
    Knoll, Hans, 1890-.
    Knoll, Peter.
    Knorr, Donald.
    Knox, Doris.
    Krasner, Lee, 1908-
    Lebeau, Roland.
    Le Corbusier, 1887-1965.
    Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955.
    Lehmbruck, Wilhelm, 1881-1919.
    Lescaze, William, 1896-1969.
    Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-
    Little, John.
    Loewy, Raymond, 1893-1986.
    Logan, Joshua.
    Lollo, Dizzy.
    Maccio, Romulo, 1931-.
    Maclanchlen, Betty.
    Magritte, René, 1898-1967.
    Mangiarotti, Angelo.
    Mathsson, Bruno.
    Matisse, Pierre, 1900-1989.
    Matta Echaurren, Roberto Sebastian, 1911-.
    Matter, Alex.
    Matter, Herbert.
    Matter, Jordan.
    Matter, Mercedes.
    McGray, Peter.
    McGray, Porter.
    Meredith, Burgess, 1908-
    Miró, Joan, 1893-
    Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969.
    Mondrian, Piet, 1872-1944.
    Moore, Henry, 1898-
    Morgan, Willard Detering, 1900-.
    Morris, George L.K.
    Morrison, Andrew.
    Motherwell, Robert.
    Muller, Henry, 1902-.
    Muller, Jan.
    Nagy, Laszlo Moholy.
    Nakashima, George, 1905-
    Nast, Condé, 1873-1942.
    Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964.
    Nelson, Paul.
    Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970.
    Niemeyer, Oscar.
    Nitschke, Oscar.
    O'Hara, Frank.
    Olson, Odelberg.
    Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985.
    Oswald, Marion.
    Pearson, L. Max, 1886-.
    Pearstein, Philip.
    Petit, Don.
    Pevsner, Antoine, 1886-1962.
    Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973.
    Picchetti, Carlo.
    Platner, Warren, 1919-
    Pollock, Charles.
    Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956.
    Rae, Christine.
    Rand, Paul, 1914-
    Rassmussen, Jorgen.
    Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-
    Rebetez, Robert.
    Risom, Jens.
    Ritchard, Cyril, 1897-1977.
    Rivers, Larry, 1925-
    Rosenquist, James.
    Rothko, Mark.
    Rudolph, Paul, 1898-1976.
    Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961.
    Sandals, Bernardo.
    Scarpa, Tobia.
    Schlossberg, Edwin.
    Schultz, Richard.
    Seitlin, Percy.
    Senft, Peter.
    Sert, José Luis, 1902-
    Sillman, Ives.
    Sorenson, Abel.
    Southern, Terry.
    Stephens, Bill.
    Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965.
    Stone, Edward Durrell.
    Sweeney, Ciannait.
    Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-
    Switzerland, Christian.
    Sylvester, David.
    Takahama, Kazuhide.
    Tamayo, Ruffino.
    Tàpies, Antoni, 1923-
    Tapiovaara, Ilmari.
    Temple, Shirley, 1928-
    Thackray, Joanna.
    Thompson, David C.
    Twombly, Cy, 1928-
    Vicente, Esteban, 1903-
    Vincente, Harriet.
    Waddell, Theodore.
    Wagner, Hans, 1929-
    Weese, Harry.
    Wegner, Hans.
    Wolff, Robert.
    Wormley, Edward.
    Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959.
    Wyler, Eva.
    Zapf, Otto.
    Zogbaum, Wilfrid, 1915-1965.
    Zumstag, Abraham.
    Arts et métiers graphiques.
    American Institute of Graphic Arts.
    Black Star (Picture agency)
    Bonwit Teller & Co.
    Boston and Maine Railroad.
    Coca-Cola Company.
    Condé Nast Publications, Inc.
    Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.
    Container Corporation of America.
    Corning Glass Works.
    Cummins Engine Company.
    Deberny et Peignot.
    First Savings. (Houston, Tex.)
    Ives - Sillman Workshop.
    Kimbe Optic.
    Knoll Associates, Inc.
    Kunsthaus Zürich.
    Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
    Mount Washington Ski Resort (Plymouth, New Hampshire)
    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
    Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
    Museum of Primitive Art (New York, N.Y.)
    New Bauhaus (Chicago, Ill.)
    New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company.
    New York Studio School.
    Oxford Paper Company.
    Pepsi-Cola Company.
    Schweizerische Zentrale für Verkehrsförderung.
    Seagram Company.
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
    Seven-Up Company.
    Tishman Construction Corporation.
    Union Carbide Corporation.
    Universal Limited Art Editions.
    Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
    Wyandotte Chemicals.
    Yale University.
    African American dance.
    Art, Modern--Switzerland.
    Art, Modern--20th century.
    Civil Defense.
    Furniture--United States--History.
    Graphic arts.
    New York World's Fair (1939-1940).
    Photography, Artistic.
    Sculpture, Modern--20th century.
    Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.)
    Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
    Grosse Pointe (Mich.). Library.

    Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Ain, Gregory, 1908-
    Baldwin, Benjamin.
    Beebe, Tina.
    Bill, Max, 1908-
    Breuer, Connie.
    Breuer, Marcel, 1902-
    Bunshaft, Gordon, 1909-
    Cage, John.
    Chermayeff, Serge, 1900-
    Dearstyne, Howard.
    Entenza, John, 1903-
    Girard, Alexander.
    Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969.
    Johnson, Philip, 1906-
    Kendrick, Marvin.
    Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-
    Larsen, Jack Lenor.
    Liberman, Alexander, 1912-
    Lord, James.
    Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-
    Penn, Irving.
    Prestini, James.
    Salzman, Arthur George.
    Vignelli, Massimo.
    Weston, Brett.
    Yanaihara, Isaku, 1918-.
    Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais, Brazil) Arts & architecture. Fortune Magazine. Harpers Bazaar. House & Garden. House Beautiful. Ladies Home Journal. Mademoiselle. PLUS. Vogue.