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Finding aid for the Franz Roh papers, 1911-1965
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Franz Roh papers
    Date (inclusive): 1911-1965
    Number: 850120
    Creator/Collector: Roh, Franz, 1890-1965
    Physical Description: 3.5 linear feet (7 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    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 articles.
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    Language: Collection material is in German

    Biographical/Historical Note

    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 Cicerone, 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.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Franz Roh papers, 1911-1965, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850120.

    Acquisition Information

    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 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.

    Arrangement note

    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.