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Peter Lipman-Wulf Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: ASE
Date: Feb 1993

Biographical History

Peter Lipman-Wulf (1905-1993) was born in Berlin to a prominent lawyer and his wife, a well-known sculptor, and studied at the Berlin Academy. Artistic success came quickly; he took first prize in the Prussian State Competition and had commissions from the city of Berlin for two marble fountains before he was 27 years old.

In 1933 Lipman-Wulf lost his teaching position at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin due to growing anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and he moved to France. Although he did not declare himself to the French government as a Jew, when France began arresting "enemy aliens" in 1939 he and hundreds of other immigrants were interned at Les Milles near Aix-en-Provence. (He was in sterling company, as his fellow detainees included painter Max Ernst, opera producer Friedrich Schramm, journalist Heinz Bieber-Georgi, two Nobel Prize winners in medicine, and numerous other "undesirables.") In 1940 he volunteered for a work detail in Normandy, from which he managed to escape to Switzerland where he remained through the end of the war.

In 1947 Lipman-Wulf moved to the United States, settling in New York and eventually becoming an American citizen. In addition to his own artistic endeavors he taught at Adelphi University on Long Island.

Lipman-Wulf worked in wood, bronze and ceramics in a semi-abstract style that often reflected the influence of German Expressionism. He also did portrait busts, including those of conductors Bruno Walter and Karl Bohm for the Metropolitan Opera. His work is in the permanent collections of museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the British Museum in London and the National Museum in Berlin.

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from Lipman-Wulf's obituary in the New York Times (September 30, 1993) and from The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews by Susan Zuccotti (University of Nebraska Press: 1999).]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1945 through 1975, the Peter Lipman-Wulf Papers consists of correspondence, writings and memorabilia of the American sculptor, painter, graphic artist and educator (b. 1905). A German Jew by birth, Peter Lipman-Wulf fled to France in 1933 where he was interned in a prison camp before emigrating to the United States in 1947. While documenting his professional career, the collection reveals little of his personal life or war-time experiences.

Correspondence is limited to a few predominantly incoming business letters concerning the creation of Peter Lipman-Wulf's own weekly radio program an New York station WEVD and the manuscripts he submitted for publication in the contemporary art Journal Leonardo.

Writings includes essays, notes, speeches, and radio scripts, the latter constituting the largest portion of the collection. Represented by both holograph and typescript drafts as well as the published versions which appeared in Leonardo, the essays are explications of Lipman-Wulf's artistic creations and principles. Also in this series, a manuscript and outlines of several speeches, as well as miscellaneous notes. Arranged chronologically (1950-1955), the 132 radio scripts for Lipman-Wulf's WEVD program encompass a broad range of art-related essays and Interviews. A broadcast list created by Peter Lipman-Wulf is located at the beginning of the radio scripts.

Memorabilia consists almost exclusively of printed material about Lipman-Wulf, and includes articles, clippings (1964-1965) and exhibition catalogs (1965-1974).

Arrangement of the Collection

All series are arranged alphabetically.


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.

Subject Headings


Lipman-Wulf, Peter.


Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
German Americans.
Jewish artists -- United States.
Jews, American.
Painters -- United States.
Sculptors -- United States.
Sculpture, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Radio scripts.
Speeches (documents)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Peter Lipman-Wulf Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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