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Jean Liberte Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Liberte, Jean, 1896-1965.
Title: Jean Liberte Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1924-1971
Quantity: 4.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the Italian-American painter including correspondence, reproductions of his art, clippings, photographs and other memorabilia
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Jean Liberté (1896-1965) was an Italian-American artist. Born in Italy, Liberté emigrated to the United States in 1900 and became a citizen in 1932. He received his art education at Cooper Union and studied under Arthur Crisp, David Karfunkle, and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League in New York City. Liberté also attended the National Academy of Design and the Beaux-Arts Institute for a short time. From 1946 until his death, Liberté taught painting at the Art Students League and casein painting at the North Shore (New York) Community Center Art School; he was also visiting lecturer for the Great Neck (New York) Art Association, Scarsdale Art Center, and the Roslyn (New York) Art Center.

Liberté exhibited in many one-man shows and shows with others throughout the world, and his work is represented in the permanent collections of many important galleries. He received numerous awards as a recognized authority on the technical aspects of casein painting and commendations for his experiments in gouache.

Liberté was married to the former Ruth Rita Kagan, a fellow artist. They had no children.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jean Liberté Papers are divided into correspondence-subject files, artwork reproductions, and memorabilia. The bulk of the material in the latter two categories is not dated.

Correspondence-subject files covers 1924-1971, with emphasis on 1933-1935, and includes both incoming and outgoing letters. Significant correspondents include artists with whom he collaborated at Yaddo and at the Art Students League and his wife, artist Ruth Rita Kagan (letters dated from 1924 to 1943).

Material in Artwork reproductions is entirely undated, and includes photographs of Liberté's paintings plus two reproductions of artwork by Ruth Rita Kagan Liberté.

Memorabilia includes awards, clippings, photographs (including three studies of Martha Graham by Soichi Sunami), printed material and a poster for an exhibit of the sculpture of Samuel Adler.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence-subject files are arranged alphabetically by name or subject. Artwork reproductions are arranged alphabetically by title or description with works by Jean Liberte first and Ruth Kagan Liberte second. Memorabilia is arranged alphabetically by type.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Becker, Maurice, 1889-1975.
Benno, Benjamin, 1901-1980.
DeMartini, Joseph, 1896-1984.
Edie, Stuart, 1908-1974.
Foy, Hans.
Hios, Theo, 1908-1999.
Liberte, Jean, 1896-1965.
Liberte, Ruth Kagan.
Smith, Jacob Getlar, 1898-1958.
Sunami, Soichi, 1885-1971.

Corporate Bodies

Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)
Butler Institute of American Art.
Columbia University.
National Academy of Design (U.S.)
Treasury Relief Art Project.
Yaddo (Artists' colony)


Art -- Political Aspects -- United States.
Art Schools -- United States.
Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Italian Americans.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Painting, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Programs (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jean Liberté Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. R. Liberte, 1970.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: BLE
Date: Feb 1971
Revision history: 31 Mar 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC); 8 Jun 2017 - rearranged and reboxed (PRB)

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Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 Advancing American Art Exhibition 1947
Box 1 The American Historical Company, Inc. 1965-1968
Box 1 Art Students League, New York 1953, 1964-1970
Box 1 Artists Equity Association 1950
Box 1 Audubon Artists, New York 1952
Box 1 Becker, Maurice and Dorothy Baldwin 1934, 1949
Box 1 Benno, Benjamin 1964
Box 1 Berkshire Art Center, Canaan, New York 1949-1951
Box 1 Brooklyn Community School 1952
Box 1 The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio 1954, 1959, 1968-1973
Box 1 Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1948-1949
Box 1 Columbia University 1951-1952
Box 1 Comen, Suetelle 1934
Box 1 Committee of Artists' Societies 1964
Box 1 DeVitis, Themis 1964
Box 1 DeMartini, Joseph 1935, 1965, undated
Box 1 Dirk, Nathaniel 1934, 1961
Box 1 Edie, Stuart 1945
Box 1 Eighth Street Gallery, New York undated
Box 1 Fiorello, Dante 1934
Box 1 Foy, Hans undated
Box 1 The Gallery of Modern Art, New York 1969
Box 1 Hios, Theo undated
Box 1 Hondius, Gerrit 1929
Box 1 Institute of International Education 1969-1970
Box 1 The Jean Liberte Memorial Scholarship 1968
Box 1 Karfunkle, David 1926
Box 1 Kessler, Paul 1969
Box 1 Liberte, Ruth Kagan 1924, 1933 (2 folders)
Box 2 Liberte, Ruth Kagan 1934, 1935-1938, 1940-1943, undated (3 folders)
Box 2 Liberte, Salvatore C. 1945
Box 2 MacLane, M. Jean 1934
Box 2 Metcalf, Evelyn 1933-1934
Box 2 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1941
Box 2 The Museum of Modern Art, New York 1966
Box 2 National Academy of Design 1950
Box 2 National Association of Women Artists, Inc. 1953
Box 2 Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, Newark, New Jersey 1951
Box 2 Pavillion of Fine Arts New York Worlds Fair 1964-1965
Box 2 Pollard, Paul 1969
Box 2 Schaeffer, H. Bela undated
Box 2 Sheffield, Emily 1933-1934
Box 2 Sheffield, Marion 1933-1934, 1967
Box 2 Smith, Jacob Getlar 1934
Box 2 Smithsonian Institution National Gallery of Fine Arts 1953
Box 2 Snow, Edith A. 1934
Box 2 Treasury Relief Art Project 1936
Box 2 Waldemar Medical Research Foundation, Inc. 1958
Box 2 Westchester Arts and Crafts Guild, White Plains, New York 1949
Box 2 Wilder Charlotte 1933
Box 2 Yaddo 1932-1934
Box 2 Miscellaneous correspondence 1932-1958, 1965-1971, undated
Artwork reproductions
Liberté, L. Jean
Box 3 Early Painting untitled
Box 3 "Fog at Grand Manan"
Oversize 1 A group of paintings at the Babcock Gallery, New York
Box 3 "Mother and Two Children"
Box 3 "Mother of Spain"
Box 3 "New England Wharf"
Box 3 "New York City"
Box 3 Nudes untitled
Box 3 "Part of Gloucester"
Box 3 "Portrait of a Woman (Ruth)"
Box 3 "Road in Monhegan"
Box 3 "The Sea Coast of Maine"
Box 3 "Serenity"
Box 3 Sketch study untitled
Box 3 "Yaddo Road"
Box 3 Miscellaneous untitled
Liberté, Ruth Rita Kagan
Box 3 "Clown at Circus"
Box 3 "Jamaica"
Oversize 1 Artwork reproductions by others
Oversize 1 Awards and certificates
Box 3 Clippings about Liberte and his work
Box 3 Art Students League
Box 3 Family and friends
Box 3 Jean and Ruth Liberte
Box 3 Photographs of Martha Graham by Soichi Sunami
Box 3 Reference images
Oversize 1 Studio and exhibitions
Printed material
Box 3 Exhibitions featuring works by Jean Liberte and Ruth Kagan Liberte
Oversize 1 Drawings by American Artists by Norman Kent 1947
Oversize 1 Modern American Painting by Peyton Roswell, Jr. 1939
Box 3 Miscelaneous
Box 3 Cemetery bill and cremation certificate
Oversize 2 Poster Frank Rehn Gallery 1971
Box 3 General

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