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Brooklyn, NY

Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

Pen to Paper | 1961

Letters from 1961 - 1970

Joseph Cornell, 1968

Ray Johnson, 1969

Ray Johnson (83),  letter to Eva Lee, September 15, 1969

Joseph Cornell's drafts of sympathy letters to Teeny Duchamp after Marcel Duchamp's death, October 8 and 9, 1968.

Joseph Cornell (48), draft of letter to Teeny Duchamp, October 8-9, 1968

I recall so easily an esp. cherished one, first brief meeting (as a stranger), the piquant flavor of contact with a unique personality.
Ray Johnson once stated in an interview for the Archives of American Art that he was interested in how handwriting “would change depending on the intended reader: perhaps cursive for a more formal recipient or casual print for someone familiar.”
— Gillian Pistell, Art History PhD candidate at The Graduate Center, CUNY (82, Pen to Paper)

Lenore Tawney, 1970

When we are drawing a line, it is a part of our being. Only after it is done, can someone look at it and say, It is a line.
— Lenore Tawney (142-3), letter to Maryette Charlton, Jan. 27, 1970 [above]

Lenore Tawney (141), postcard to Maryette Charlton, February 15, 1969

1830-1869          1870-1900          1901-1960          1961-1970          1971-1990

All images are from Pen to Paper: Artists' Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art by Mary Savig, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Courtesy of, and copyrighted by, the Archives of American Art.