Henri Michaux Catalogue Raisonné

Artist: Henri Michaux (1899 – 1994)
Scope: Comprehensive
Years Covered: 1925 -1984
Database: custom-designed software
Print or Digital: digital
Schedule: Research has been on going since 2001. A publication has not yet been set.
Key Staff: Micheline Phankim, Rainer M. Mason, Franck Leibovici

CRSA:  This project will be the first catalogue raisonné on Henri Michaux. What are some of the project’s primary resources?
HMCR: We used the studio collection as a basis, then, the photos archives of the previous galleries, like the Point Cardinal Gallery, in Paris.

CRSA:  What specific challenges do you face in researching Michaux?
HMCR: Michaux did not provide any dates, and he did not give titles to his paintings and drawings. So finding an accurate date is here a strong issue.  We can not rely on dates published in museum catalogues, because depending on the publication, the same painting may get different dates, and because these dates were given by either the art dealer or by a collector not paying much attention to this issue. Also, generic categories are not so much of a help: applying the term “Indian ink” to more than 500 works does not allow us to discriminate and go through the works. Nor the dimensions, as the size of the paper is usually standard. This is why we needed to create a software which would take into account the properties of Michaux works. For instance, tools as queries by similarities, or tagging or family resemblances will be of a great help for future investigations. Additionally, most of the works between 1925 and the 50’s are largely un-documented. We have lists of galleries or museums exhibitions, which happened during that time, but with with very few images or descriptions of the works which were exhibited.

CRSA:  How do you think this research will help change our understanding of Michaux’s work?
HMCR: The catalogue raisonné allows us to put works next to each other and set up series and family resemblances, which is very helpful to date works which have been un-dated for years.

CRSA:  Are there plans for additional content, such as essays or appendices?
HMCR: Yes, an essay (just released) takes care of the epistemological and methodological issues of the Michaux catalogue raisonné. It has been published first in France as an autonomous book, but will be linked as an ebook to the catalogue raisonné itself: Franck Leibovici, Henri Michaux: Voir (une enquête), Paris : 2014, PUPS. ISBN : 978-2-84050-930-1

CRSA:  Once the digital publication is finalized, will you consider adapting a print version?
HMCR: The digital edition will be the main one. It is today the most relevant medium to conduct a research. A print version would be then a selection among the works, but it would not make sense to turn it into a fac simile of the the electronic edition. We would lose all the technical advantages of digital organisations (facets, tags, and so on).

For more information, please visit: www.henrimichaux.org
Or contact: archivesmichaux@gmail.com

Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings

Artist: Sam Francis (1923-1994)
Title:  Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946-1994
Key Contributors:  Edited by Debra Burchett-Lere with featured essay by William C. Agee
Publisher:  University of California Press
Published Date:  2011
ISBN-10: 0520264304 | ISBN-13: 978-0520264304 0
Organized by: Sam Francis Foundation, Pasadena, CA
Works covered:  1,850-plus paintings on canvas and panel

CRSA: The Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné is both a print publication for essays and texts, and a digital publication on DVD for artwork entries.  What was behind the decision to publish in this dual format?

SFCR: Working with the University of California Press at Berkeley provided an ideal atmosphere of collaboration for us to explore ideas to develop this educational project. As this was UC Press’s first artist’s catalogue raisonné they were open to exploring alternative ways of presenting information. We felt it would be important to not only offer a richly illustrated “coffee table” book with art historical texts, but to provide additional data about the artist, his work, and his life that could function as a browsable resource. The boxed set was developed to include the book and two DVDs that can be accessed on any computer (great for students and researchers without the need for the internet) with capability to search by topics, artworks, dates, exhibitions, bibliography, etc.  The DVD data can be transferred directly to the reader’s computer database so the contents be used as a research source on a daily basis.

The packaged set offers a traditional book with vibrant color images accompanying a comprehensive scholarly text by William C. Agee, as well as the most detailed, anecdote-packed biography of Sam Francis ever published. The two DVDs offer options for the reader to discover Francis’s paintings more fully through thousands of supplementary documentary photographs, essays about Francis’s paint methods and studios, examples of his writings, exhibition history, detailed bibliography, and two videos of rare film footage showing Francis at work.

With the DVDs capability of providing more comprehensive data, we were able to allow ample space for the illustrations. The reader can enlarge many of the painting images and “zoom-in” for closer study. One of the main reasons we opted for using the DVDs was the fact that we would not be as limited to text and illustration constraints with a printed book format. Therefore we were able to include additional notes and detail photographs such as signatures and inscriptions.

CRSA: How how much time was dedicated to research in advance of the publication?

SFCR: Francis did not always photograph or identify paintings over the years as he created them — so the archival records have not been the only resource for information gathering. A limited registration procedure was initiated by his studio assistants in the early 1970s that resulted in a compilation of “doc” cards that documented a large percentage of his artworks that continues to be updated and catalogued to date. After his death in 1994, records were consolidated from the artist’s studios around the world (Francis had studios in Paris, New York, Santa Monica, Palo Alto, Tokyo, etc.), as well as other resources to document his oeuvre. We began to focus our efforts in consideration of creating a catalogue of the canvas and panel paintings, and some works have more data than others due to their public exhibition history, auction records, etc. The resulting publication with UCPress was conceived as a “living catalogue raisonné,” subject to change and expansion as new information continues to come to light. We notated that we are planning to publish an addendum in the future — probably online.

CRSA: What has been the project’s most valuable research resource?

SFCR: The artist’s artworks, his personal and business archives, as well as sources listed below continue to be the primary resources for our information.

This sources include:
Polaroids taken by studio assistants of works over the years in the studio
Correspondence and personal letters
Business & sales records
Black and white negative strips of artworks, studio shots, exhibitions
Old slides, transparencies, and black and white photographs of artworks, studio shots, exhibitions, etc.
Archives and business records of the galleries, curators and museums
Conservation records
Lists and notes by the artist
Exhibition checklists, catalogues, newspaper articles, auction records, other documentation
Interviews, development of an oral history archive, as well as correspondence with individuals who worked with him (especially studio assistants) and knew him, such as: friends, family, colleagues, collectors of his work, exhibitors of his work, dealers, galleries, curators, etc.
Identification cards assigned to a large percentage of the artworks since the early 1970s

In addition we gathered information housed at the Getty Research Institute (including the Sam Francis Papers in the special collections), Los Angeles County Museum of Art library, the Morgan Library, UCLA library, Archives of American Art, among many other sources.

CRSA: Is research ongoing?  Will other areas of Sam Francis’ practice eventually be published as a CR?

SFCR:  Since 1995 we have been archiving unique works on paper as well as monotypes and prints. Research continues as we plan to begin publishing an online document for the “works on paper.” As the Sam Francis Foundation does not authenticate or render opinions on artworks the information we provide is for educational purposes. We anticipate launching “works on paper” by June 2015 — starting with Francis’s earliest period beginning in 1945. We plan to continue publishing different periods of his career, including updated data about prints (lithographs, etchings, screen prints) as well as ceramics and sculpture.

CRSA: How does the project intend to address updates to information in this CR?

SFCR:  As mentioned, we aim to provide online updates to the UCPress catalogue and are compiling results of our ongoing research and inputting this into one of the best systems designed for catalogue raisonné research –the wonderful panOpticon database!  This software platform makes research so thorough and provides many links and ways to check data. panOpticon has designed this produce to allow for a seamless transfer of data to the web.

The following video offers a remarkable preview of the Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné.  For additional information, visit the Sam Francis Foundation at http://www.samfrancisfoundation.com/.

 

N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings

Artist: N. C. (Newell Convers)  Wyeth  (1882-1945)
Title:  N. C. Wyeth / Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (two volumes)
Key Contributors:  by Christine B. Podmaniczky; with essay by Joyce Hill Stoner
Publisher:  Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Brandywine River Museum of Art in conjunction with Scala Publishers, Ltd.
Published Date:  2008
ISBN: 978-1-85759-478-2
Organized by/Supported by: Organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art; supported by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art
Works covered:   1,928 paintings
Years covered:  Oct. 1902 – Oct. 1945

CRSA: How is the N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings organized?
Christine Podmaniczky: The catalogue is divided intosections—Illustration, Murals and Architectural Decoration, Commercial Work, Landscapes, Still Life, Portraiture and Private Paintings and Other Work. Within these distinctions, the paintings are presented chronologically. The actual pages are three columns wide, and painting reproductions span one or two columns or take a complete page.
The catalogue opens with an extensive historical essay and an essay on Wyeth’s working methods from the viewpoint of a conservator.  Back matter includes a bibliography, time line, and exhibition history.

CRSA: How how much time was dedicated to research?
CP: Research and organization for the printed version were completed over a period of 18 years.  Beginning in 1990, the project was conducted by a half-time staff member of the Brandywine River Museum of Art; after 1999, the project included a full time staff member and a part time assistant. Since the publication of the hardcover version in the 2008, the BRMA has supported regular updates to the on-line version.

CRSA: Looking back, what was the project’s most valuable resource?
CP: To our knowledge, N. C. Wyeth did not keep daybooks or other records of his work. Therefore, his correspondence turned out to be the most crucial resource for the project. N. C. Wyeth was an avid letter writer, and his letters to his family (preserved by the family) were valuable for descriptions of the paintings on which he worked and for accounts of the original disposition of paintings.  Also valuable in establishing provenance were collections of secondary correspondence, such as letters from owners written to the Wyeth family after N. C. Wyeth’s death and letters written to the Brandywine River Museum from 1970 on.

CRSA: Are there other categories of Wyeth’s work not covered in this CR?
CP: There are entries for approximately 800 drawings in the on-line version of the N. C. Wyeth catalogue raisonné.  No further volumes are being considered.

CRSA: How does the online N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné differ from the print edition?
CP: The on-line version of the catalogue raisonné can accommodate far more information than the printed edition, and on-line entries are usually more detailed than those in the printed edition.  For example, additional images can be attached to the on-line entries, making it possible to illustrate both an original and altered appearance, a problem in conservation or a view of an installation that is no longer current. On-line entries might also contain relevant quotations from letters, source material, or other archival matter.

CRSA: Is your research ongoing?
CP: N. C. Wyeth’s work is a particular focus of the Brandywine River Museum of Art, and ongoing research for various projects inevitably reveals new material related to the artist’s career.  When relevant, such information is incorporated into the on-line catalogue raisonné.  In the past the museum has supported a review committee to consider additions to the catalogue; that process is suspended at this time while the submission forms and procedures are evaluated.

For more information, please visit the N. C. Wyeth catalogue raisonné website www.ncwyeth.orgChristine Podmaniczky can be reached at cpodmaniczky@brandywine.org or 610-388-8354.

Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné of Drawings

Jasper Johns. Two Flags, 1969. Graphite pencil and collage on paper. 22 1/4 x 30 3/4 in. The Menil Collection, Houston. © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photograph: Jamie M. Stukenberg / Professional Graphics Inc., Rockford, Illinois.

Jasper Johns. Two Flags, 1969. Graphite pencil and collage on paper. 22 1/4 x 30 3/4 in. The Menil Collection, Houston. © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photograph: Jamie M. Stukenberg / Professional Graphics Inc., Rockford, Illinois.

Artist:  Jasper Johns (b. 1930)
Planned Title:  The Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings of Jasper Johns
Years Covered:  1954-2014
Print or Digital:  Print
Publisher: To be announced
Database:  FileMaker
Schedule:  2011–2016; Expected publication date Fall 2016
Supported by:  The Menil Collection, Houston, in cooperation with the artist
Key Staff: Allegra Pesenti (Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute), Bernice Rose (Advisor), Eileen Costello (Editor and Project Director); Kate Ganz (Senior Editor); Caroline Gabrielli (Senior Project Associate); Christian Wurst (Exhibitions Researcher); Kim Costello (Literature Researcher)

CRSA:  What are some of the Johns Drawings Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
JJDCR:  At the start of our project, the artist’s studio provided us with Mr. Johns’s complete drawings inventory, which we migrated into our specially designed database. This laid the foundation for our research in addition to the numerous comprehensive retrospective exhibitions of Mr. Johns’s work that have taken place over the past several decades. We were also very fortunate to have access to invaluable primary resources located in the archives of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; The National Gallery, D.C; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Menil Foundation, and a number of commercial galleries. The Archives of American Art continues to be a rich resource, especially The Leo Castelli Gallery records, which became available the year we commenced our research. Our project has also benefited from the artist’s cooperation and his studio’s assistance, especially in regard to photography. Further, as a Menil Foundation project, we benefit from their reputation for publishing scholarly exhibition catalogues as well as the highly regarded René Magritte and Max Ernst catalogues raisonné.

CRSA:  This project is one of two separate catalogues raisonnés currently being prepared on the artist.  Is there any project overlap or opportunities to collaborate?
JJDCR:  Roberta Bernstein, under the aegis of the Wildenstein Institute, had begun work on a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings and sculptures several years previous to our project. Although dealing with entirely different mediums, in a number of instances, the two projects often shared secondary (literature and exhibition) research, which proved mutually beneficial.

CRSA:  How do you hope this publication might affect the public’s understanding of Jasper Johns?
JJDCR:  The Drawings Catalogue Raisonné will present each drawing as factually and visually accurate as possible.  As the definitive publication of Mr. Johns’s drawings oeuvre, our hope is to make that aspect of the artist’s work more accessible—visually and intellectually—to a broader audience.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching Johns?
JJDCR:  The extensive amount of primary resources available to us concerning the artist and his work has expedited our research. The artist’s renown has also facilitated our project. We’ve dealt with the anticipated challenges in compiling a catalogue raisonné such as artworks with complicated provenances or exhibitions that were a little more difficult to verify because of a lack of records. However, our dedicated and persistent research staff has been able to track down many of these “unavailable” records as well as a number of “lost” drawings, which we weren’t entirely sure would ever be found.

CRSA: Are there plans for additional content beyond artwork/exhibitions/bibliography, such as essays or appendices?
JJDCR: There is discussion of including a drawing-centric chronology. However, as of this date, it is still too early to decide on additional content.

CRSA: Does this project update or expand upon a previously published catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work?
JJDCR: This will be the first catalogue raisonné of the artist’s drawings.

CRSA: Are there plans for supplements or a digital adaptation?
JJDCR: For now we are planning a printed publication only. However, we are considering adapting a digital version, but no decisions have been made about this yet.

For more information, please refer to the website jasperjohnsdrawings.menil.org or contact Caroline Gabrielli at cgabrielli@menil.org.

The Daumier-Register

CRSA recently sat down with Dieter and Lilian Noack to talk about their monumental 14 year effort, the Daumier-Register, an ongoing digital catalogue of the works of Honoré Daumier.  The site launched in 2001, giving it the distinction of being one of the first and longest running digital catalogues of one artist’s work in the field.  Over the course of our interview, we learned many ways their project relates to and departs from the traditional (printed) catalogue raisonné format:

Artist:  Honoré Daumier (1808 – 1879)
Organized by / Staff:  Dieter and Lilian Noack
Publication format: Digital, accessible via http://www.daumier-register.org and http://www.daumier.org
Scope: 4000 lithographs, 1000 wood engravings, 550 oil paintings and 100 sculptures
Forthcoming content: 1,500 drawings
Database:  Microsoft Access
Prior publications:  The Daumier-Register builds upon a fairly long list of catalogues on the artist, dating back to 1888, including those by:

Arsène Alexandre (Paris, H. Laurens, 1888)
Erich Klossowski (München, R. Piper 1908 and München, R. Piper, 1923)
Eduard Fuchs (München, A. Langen, 1930)
Jean Adhémar’s (New York, Macmillan, 1954)
K.E. Maison (v. 1 London, Thames and Hudson, 1967-68,v.2 London Thames and Hudson New York, NY Graphic Society 1968)
Gabriele Mandel, Luigi Barzini and Pierre Georgel (Milano, Rizzoli 1971, and Paris, Flammarion 1972)

Primary resources: A primary resource for the Daumier-Register is the 1968 CR by K.E. Maison, but they have built on this by contacting museums and archives, and reviewing exhibition and auction catalogues from the 1860 onward with the help of the Watson Library and Frick Library.
Updates: While their database is updated regularly as research develops, the site undergoes a major update once or twice per year.  Minor changes occur on an ongoing basis.
Digital-only benefits:  The site includes three language options (English, French, and German), multimedia content, and more than 700 “themes” related to the artist and his practice so that scholars can identify, for example, all works that include or relate to “lawyers” or “bookdealers,” or combine up to four themes in a search.

Selfportrait by Honoré Daumier, 19th century, drypoint. Property of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Gift of E. Weyhe 1930.534

Selfportrait by Honoré Daumier, 19th century, drypoint. Property of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Gift of E. Weyhe 1930.534

The Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné

“Roy on Ladder, 1991” – Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht, 1991

“Roy on Ladder, 1991” – Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht, 1991

Artist:  Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)
Planned Title: Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné
Scope: The catalogue will illustrate every confirmed work and publish all known paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, commissions and other artwork by Roy Lichtenstein. The artist produced approximately 5,000 works during his lifetime (not counting the full edition runs of prints or multiples).
Years Covered:  The earliest works date from c. 1940 and the latest, 1997, plus a limited number of posthumous sculpture casts and prints.
Print or Digital:  We are planning to publish first an online catalogue version. When persuasively complete, we expect to issue a summary of our research in book form, distributed by a major University Press.
Database:  The Museum System (TMS) until 2011; panOpticon since then.
Schedule:  A first digital version is planned to be online in 2017.
Publisher: To be defined
Organized by:  The catalogue is organized and managed by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Jack Cowart (Executive Director), Andrea C. Theil (Project Manager).

CRSA:  What are some of the Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
RLCR:  Since its beginning in 1999, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has been systematically sorting through the extensive artist studio records. Lichtenstein and his studio staff photographed most of his artworks in the studio, and they accumulated contemporary documentation about his art, commissions, editions, and exhibitions. The material includes correspondence, exhibition files, catalogues, source books, studio and installation photographs as well as films, video, audio tapes and other materials related to the creation and production of Lichtenstein’s art. Of major importance are also the artwork and documentation held by the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. When it comes to technical questions we are continuously benefiting from the experience of Lichtenstein’s longtime studio assistants.

Provenance research usually starts with looking through the comprehensive Leo Castelli Gallery records at the Archives of American Art which cover the long relationship between the artist and his lifetime gallerist. We also refer to the oral histories conducted over the past decade by Avis Berman on behalf of the Foundation. She interviewed (and still interviews) family members, friends, and studio staff as well as people who were involved directly or indirectly in Lichtenstein’s creative life. Our research is enriched by the detailed memories and deep knowledge of Lichtenstein’s art offered by his widow Dorothy Lichtenstein.

CRSA:  What specific challenges do you face in preparing the RL Catalogue Raisonné?
RLCR:  One of our challenges is the attempt to create a complex online reference tool which covers numerous aspects of Lichtenstein’s work – sometimes it is rather difficult to establish a clear and integrated architecture. But with the help of our panOpticon database we are making great progress.

CRSA: Will the existing RL Catalogue Raisonné of Prints be included in your online CR version? 
RLCR:  Yes, it will. Lichtenstein was a prolific print maker, and we are happy to say that the existing catalogue raisonné of his prints (published by Hudson Hills press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) has absolved us of having to redo that part of his work. But we will reorganize the records, making minor corrections as we have been able to find new info.

For more information, please refer to the Lichtenstein Foundation’s website www.lichtensteinfoundation.org, or contact atheil@lichtensteinfoundation.org.

The Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné

Donald Judd in his studio © Judd Foundation

Donald Judd in his studio © Judd Foundation

Artist:  Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Scope:  Sculptures, paintings, and woodblocks
Years Covered:  1940s to 1994
Print or Digital:  Undecided
Database:  FileMaker Pro
Schedule:  The project was begun in earnest in 2009, although research that benefits the catalogue raisonné was begun several years earlier.  A publication date has not yet been set.
Supported by:  Judd Foundation and the support of anonymous donors

CRSA:  What are some of the Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
DJCR:  We used the lifetime catalogue raisonné (Del Balso, Smith, and Smith 1975) as a jumping off point.  However, this catalogue only includes work completed between August 1960 and mid-1974, leaving several decades at the beginning and end of his career completely uncatalogued.  Judd worked with a wide range of fabricators, so our primary sources are the fabricator records and a running record that Judd’s studio assistants kept beginning in 1968.  We’re lucky to have a number of the studio assistants involved with the project and their memories and stories add so much depth and context to our daily research.

CRSA:  What is something you have come across in your research that changed your understanding of the way Donald Judd worked?
DJCR:  This past June we opened Judd’s Soho studio to the public after three years of active restoration.  The catalogue raisonné offices are located in the basement of the building, which affords us special insight into how Judd’s living and working spaces continue to resonate with the art, design, and architecture communities.  It has brought Judd’s insistence that “art should be made as one lives” into high relief and affects how we interact with the research we are collecting. One starts to really understand the importance of permanently installed spaces when working in one.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching Donald Judd?
DJCR:  Each catalogue raisonné project has a different set of challenges even though they may look similar on the surface.  It’s been complicated to parse the varying records among the large number of fabricators he used.  The numbering system became a bit confused at a certain point with duplicate numbers, unfinished works, rejected works, and restored works.  It can also be extremely difficult to identify exactly which works were exhibited as Judd’s works are nearly all untitled and black-and-white installation photographs may only tell you what type of work was shown (i.e. a large “stack”) not the exact work that was shown (i.e. the large stack in copper and pink Plexiglas from 1983).

For more information, please refer to Judd Foundation’s website juddfoundation.org

The David Smith Catalogue Raisonné

David Smith in his workshop, Bolton Landing, 1953. Photograph by the artist. © The Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, New York.

David Smith in his workshop, Bolton Landing, 1953. Photograph by the artist. © The Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Artist: David Smith (1906-1965)
Planned Publication Title: David Smith Sculptures: A Catalogue Raisonné
Scope and Years Covered: Although best known for his steel and stainless steel sculptures, Smith also worked in coral, iron, lead, wood, marble, cast aluminum and bronze. The CR will comprise his entire body of sculptural works, created from 1932 to 1965, which includes more than 600 free-standing works, as well as cast silver and bronze relief sculptures and a small group of cast metal jewelry pendants.
Organized and Supported by: The Estate of David Smith (a.k.a. Terminal Iron Works LLC); Candida Smith, Rebecca Smith and Peter Stevens, Executive Director.
Planned Format: To be determined. We would like to publish the CR first as a book, and perhaps later in digital form.
Database: Filemaker Pro
Current CR Project Staff: Susan Cooke, Associate Director, The Estate of David Smith & Catalogue Raisonné Director. Allyn Shepard, Senior Researcher. Tracee Ng, Researcher.

CRSA: Is this project updating or building upon a previously published CR?
Susan Cooke: Yes. Our project is profoundly indebted to Rosalind Krauss’s CR of Smith’s sculpture, published by Garland Publishing, Inc., in 1977, which she originally submitted to Harvard University in 1969 as a component of her dissertation on Smith’s work. The Estate’s CR will re-verify, revise, update and expand the information presented by Krauss and greatly increase the visual documentation of individual works. Smith, with rare exceptions, did not make editions or multiple casts of his sculptures, and The Estate has never authorized posthumous casts of his works. In addition, because he sold or gave away few sculptures during his life and his own records and the inventories Krauss and the Estate completed soon after his death were so thorough, we don’t expect to add significantly to the number of works that comprise this body of his work.

CRSA: Do you have a publisher?
SC: We’ve had some preliminary conversations with digital and web publishers and hope to begin conversations with print publishers later this year. We have largely completed the inventory of Smith’s sculptures, have received CR application forms back from nearly all of the public and private collections we contacted, and have gathered most the data we need to write physical descriptions, and compile exhibition, literature and provenance histories for the individual works.
e are in the process of defining what the components of the CR–the nature and scope of the individual catalogue entries, the accompanying historical, critical, analytical and biographical essays, the concordances and back matter—and are still gathering or commissioning publication-quality photographs of the works. All of which is to say that publication of the Smith CR–as whatever form it takes as a printed or digital entity—is still several years away.

CRSA: What are some of the Smith CR’s primary resources?
SC: Beginning with the creation of his earliest sculptures, and for the rest of his life, Smith documented his work extensively, in his sketchbooks and in a prodigious body of photographs, many annotated, that he took of individual sculptures and sculpture groups. These original records and images, together with Smith’s writings, lectures and interviews, his personal and business correspondence, clippings files, his library, and, to a much lesser extent, the tools and materials he used to make his sculptures, remain part of The Estate’s collections (microfilm copies of the photographs, sketchbooks and correspondence are also accessible on microfilm at the Archives of American Art).
e have also relied heavily on the resources of the Archives of American Art, which preserves the correspondence and oral histories donated by Smith’s first wife, Dorothy Dehner, and the papers of several of his dealers and close friends; on the archives of The Museum of Modern Art, which houses much of the documentation gathered by Rosalind Krauss in the 1960s for her David Smith CR; and on many other public and private archives throughout the country. In addition, the Estate owns representative bodies of the artist’s sculptures, drawings, paintings, and prints, which we refer to constantly for information and insight about the esthetic and technical characteristics of his work. Our research also been enriched by the memories and uniquely intimate understanding of Smith’s work possessed by his daughters, Rebecca and Candida, and guided by the eye and expertise of Peter Stevens, Executive Director of the Estate for more than thirty years.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching DS?
SC: We spend a lot of time trying to answer very practical questions that then lead to interesting methodological and even philosophical discussions: how to standardize The Estate’s (and other owners’) measurements of a sculpture’s height, width and depth; how to define accurately the media and methods Smith used; how to record the physical changes to a work wrought by time or deliberate or unintended acts by the artist or others; how best to illustrate in photographs a work’s three-dimensional materiality and visual multiplicity, and convey the artist’s intention that these be experienced over time and as a function of the viewer’s own movement through space? Some of these questions also bedevil CR authors working with two-dimensional media, but the verbal and graphic conventions for representing sculpture seem less settled and less precise.

CRSA: When examining artworks, what is one thing the Smith project particularly makes sure to note?
SC: Like all CR researchers, we try to examine every work directly and also study them in newly taken high-resolution digital photographs. Looking closely at works, even those we assumed we knew well, has made us more sensitive to the importance of color and surface treatment in every sculpture Smith created. These aspects of his formal and expressive vocabulary have been often overlooked, if only because until fairly recently the images used to illustrate his work in books and catalogues were almost exclusively the artist’s own highly evocative, but rarely detailed or close-up, black and white photographs.
e also try to take or obtain photographs of all signatures and inscriptions, because these have sometimes been ignored or incompletely or incorrectly recorded, and we also try to document whether the current base is original to the work. We also re-verify the identification of each work’s media and method of fabrication, because the artist’s own descriptions and information provided by subsequent owners (and even The Estate) are not infrequently cursory, contradictory, incomplete, or just plain wrong.

CRSA: What is something you have come across in your research that changed your understanding of the way DS worked?
SC: Smith’s habit of working in series is well known and often determines the conceptual structure of major surveys of his sculpture. By trying to pinpoint the start and completion dates of each individual work, whether or not Smith designated them as part of a series, we’ve been able to document more precisely when and how various series coincide and overlap, and to demonstrate the cross-pollination that occurs among sculpture series and between sculptures and paintings, drawings and photographs. Smith’s work is both tremendously heterogeneous and interconnected by recurring formal and expressive motifs. We hope to devise a visual design and structure for the CR that enables its users to understand the development of Smith works in terms of chronological simultaneity and chronological sequence.

CRSA: Are you preparing additional content beyond artwork, exhibitions, bibliography and chronology?
SC: We would like to quote Smith’s statements and sketchbook notes about particular works as well as summarize the critical commentary on the major sculptures in the individual CR entries. We also feel strongly that it’s important to illustrate most of his sculptures from multiple viewpoints, using recent color photographs and vintage black and white and color images taken by the artist, and also to illustrate related drawings and paintings, as a way of demonstrating his thinking processes and honoring his declaration that he did not “recognize the lines drawn between painting and sculpture aesthetically”.
e will provide a detailed, illustrated biographical chronology, and we are considering including a number of longer, analytical and historical essays that will address the nature and stature of Smith’s sculptural achievements, his materials and working methods, the relationship between figuration and abstraction in his work, the concept of the sculptural series, and the evolution and significance of the sculpture installations he created on his property at Bolton Landing.

For more information, please contact The Estate of David Smith, 333 Hudson Street, Suite 904, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 212-627-4452. Email: info@davidsmithestate.org.

The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné

Isamu Noguchi in his Long Island City studio with “Red Untitled” (1965-66), © The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York

Isamu Noguchi in his Long Island City studio with “Red Untitled” (1965-66), © The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York

Artist:  Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)
Scope:  Comprehensive
Years Covered:  1924 – 1988
Format:  Digital, accessible at http://catalogue.noguchi.org
Schedule:  Research has been ongoing for many years.  The first chapter of the publication premiered online in 2011.  New chapters will be added annually until research is complete (expected in 2018).
Database:  The Museum System (TMS)
Supported by:  The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné is a project of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York, with generous lead support from Tsuenko and Shoji Sadao.  Additional support from the Dedalus Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

CRSA:  What are some of the INCR’s primary resources?
INCR:  Noguchi was not very rigorous about studio inventories – very few were ever conducted, and he frequently changed galleries. Our project’s most consistent archival resource has been the artist’s extant archives, including more than 17,000 photographs of artworks, exhibitions, his various studios and travels.  In the late 1970s, Noguchi’s studio assistants also completed what became the first catalogue raisonné of his sculpture.  The Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi, 19241979: A Catalogue (Garland Press: 1980) was compiled with the help of Noguchi, and became the foundation for all future research and cataloging.

CRSA:  How do you hope the INCR might affect the public’s understanding of Isamu Noguchi?
INCR:  We hope that digital publication will offer a good sense of how extremely interdisciplinary and interrelated Noguchi’s practice was throughout his lifetime.  He worked in a variety of media and formats, ranging from discrete sculpture, to industrial design, stage sets and whole environments.  We’ve arranged the publication’s chronology in a way that shows what he was working on each year, alongside where he was traveling and exhibiting.  Some years will show the premier of a stage set, coinciding with the design of a table, as well as work in stone and wood.

CRSA:  What specific challenges do you face in researching Noguchi?
INCR: One that we are working on this year has to do with Noguchi’s work in bronze.  He would begin edition series with an original intent of the edition size, but only cast on-demand.  This is not an uncommon practice, but an added complication is that as he switched foundries every couple of years, and certain casts which began in the early 1960s were not revisited until the late 1980s.  This led to some errors in accounting in a series of more than 300 individual bronze sculptures.  It’s a tangled mess, but we’re working through it by reviewing foundry invoices and a tremendous amount of correspondence between Noguchi and his galleries, fabricators, and accountant.

CRSA:  Are you preparing additional content beyond artwork, exhibitions, bibliography and chronology?
INCR:  Not at this time, but our digital platform is flexible should we decide to add more content like audio, video, downloadable resources, etc.

CRSA:  Would you do anything extra if time and resources were unlimited?
INCR:  A fully digitized archive would be a tremendous help to our project and others researching Noguchi’s life and work.

CRSA:  Will updates be ongoing?
INCR:  We plan for updates and additions through at least 2018.

CRSA:  Would you consider adapting a print version?
INCR:  The Noguchi Museum has considered the possibility of publishing excerpts from the digital publication when research is complete.  We also hope that advances in digital press printing may make it possible to create a “print on demand” feature from our existing digital platform in the near future.

To learn more, visit The Noguchi Museum’s website at http://www.noguchi.org, or contact the The Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné by emailing catalogue@noguchi.org.

Robert Motherwell Painting and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941 – 1991

After more than ten years of research and preparation, Robert Motherwell Painting and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941 – 1991 was released by the Dedalus Foundation in fall 2012, published by Yale University Press, and printed in Verona by Trifolio.

In the process of publishing this extensive record of Robert Motherwell’s life and work, the Dedalus Foundation chose to film the task of printing this three-volume publication while the book’s authors oversaw the process in Verona, Italy, in May and June 2012.  As a result, we have an in-depth picture into the process of printing a seminal art publication.  View the video online:

Video realized by Elettra Bertucco & VRVideo http://www.vrvideo.net
Music: W.A. Mozart, Divertimento in D Major, K. 334: VI. Rondo. Allegro performed by Sandor Frigyes & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra

The Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio, 1968 – © The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Berkeley, Calif.

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio, 1968 – © The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Berkeley, Calif.

Artist:  Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993)
Scope: The Diebenkorn catalogue raisonné will be a comprehensive presentation of works by the artist. The 4 volumes of the catalogue raisonné will present some 4,900 unique artworks; primarily works on paper and paintings, but also a few mixed-media pieces and sketchbooks. RD was an active printmaker and there will be a future publication dedicated to his graphic works.
Database:  TMS from Gallery Systems
Print or Digital:  Print
Publisher: Yale University Press
Schedule:  When the project was first envisioned in the mid-90s, the estate was unaware of the full scope of the artist’s work and the level of effort needed to complete the project. It wasn’t until the Foundation established a relationship with Yale University Press–the only publisher to work on this scale for a mid-century artist–that we were able to develop a realistic sense of the time required for completion. Using a staggered schedule, two volumes on the artworks have been delivered to the editors and the last two volumes, the remaining artwork volume and the research volume with essays and supporting documents, will be wrapped up by the spring of 2014. The catalogue raisonné will go to press in 2016.
Organized by:  The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Berkeley, Calif.

CRSA:  What are some of the Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
Carl Schmitz:  The estate’s records and library, communication with museums, galleries, and auction houses, and extensive research conducted at libraries and archives are some of our tangible assets. Our most valuable resource, however, is the Diebenkorn family’s involvement.

CRSA:  What is unique about the approach being taken with this catalogue raisonné?
CS:  There are two essential elements to our work on the catalogue raisonné for which we maintain the highest possible standards: the color accuracy of our reproductions and the thoroughness of our research. Richard Grant, the Foundation’s Executive Director and the artist’s son-in-law, has made a strong commitment to making sure that the color of the reproductions on the page are as accurate as possible to the artworks. A good deal of this comes from his memory of RD looking at poor quality reproductions and feeling like black and white may have been a fairer representation. Our charge is to get the color right and to that end we are performing all original digital photography while utilizing and continually exploring advanced color management.
On the research side, we have been at it long enough that it’s a good shock to the system when there are new publications and new research that really changes things. The recent biography of Diebenkorn’s colleague David Park done by Nancy Boas is one of those game-changers. It’s amazing to think that there are completely new things to be discovered about an artist like Park who we lost over 50 years ago. For Diebenkorn, we hope that the catalogue raisonné will become a widely used source for discovery of new ideas about an artist we lost 20 years ago. Some of these insights will come through the included essays written by John Elderfield, Ruth Fine, Steven Nash, Gerald Nordland, and our editor Jane Livingston. Other, more obscured pearls will be found in the chronology’s footnotes, a listing in the exhibition history, or a citation in the bibliography. A wealth of material will certainly be left on the catalogue raisonné’s cutting room floor, but it will be available to scholars in the Foundation’s archive. In the meantime, the research process that drives us up to that point will continue to be purposeful.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching Richard Diebenkorn?
CS:  We are at least somewhat fortunate that Diebenkorn didn’t often utilize non-traditional media and that he didn’t have a studio production line. This may have helped us avoid some of the difficulties involved in the authentication process. Being located in California can be a challenge given the distance to some wonderful resources like all of the New York Art Resources Consortium libraries and the Archives of American Art’s Washington headquarters, but this just means that we have to be efficient when there’s an opportunity to get out there. One of our goals is to help build more resources in the west.

CRSA: Are you preparing additional content beyond artwork, exhibitions, bibliography and chronology?
CS: There will also be essays and concordances, and a few planned special features include illustrations of items from the artist’s studio and a section dedicated to writings and statements by the artist.

CRSA: Are there plans for supplements? Would you consider adapting a digital version?
CS: We are still very much in the work of the 4 volumes that will be ink on paper but are constantly reflecting on future endeavors.

For more information, please refer to The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation’s website http://www.diebenkorn.org/