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Joseph Coletti Papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Personal Documents and Biographical Materials

Personal Correspondence

Professional Documents and Correspondence

Academic Notes and Reference Materials

Lectures and Writings

Photographic Materials

Artwork

Oversized Materials



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Joseph Coletti Papers, 1919-1973 | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

By Andrew Maloney, under the direction of Eve Griffin, Curator of Fine Arts, 2015; Unidentified Boston Public Library Librarian.

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Collection Overview

Title: Joseph Coletti Papers, 1919-1973Add to your cart.

Collection Identifier: 2015.001

Primary Creator: Joseph Coletti, 1898-1973

Extent: 75.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The Joseph Coletti Papers were donated to the library in 1973, and arranged in the original order in which they were received, and kept by Joseph Coletti. In 1984-85, the collection was inventoried, and described by Boston Public Library librarians Stanley Moss and Robert Brown. In years since, the Papers have been reorganized, possibly more than once, and by 2015 were found to be foldered throughly by subject, and arranged alphabetically by folder name. In late 2015, under the direction of Eve Griffin, Curator of Fine Arts, archival intern Andrew Maloney reorganized the collection once more into 25 boxes separated into eight series, itemized the photographic prints within the collection which had been left untouched since donation, and wrote a DACS-compliant finding aid for the Papers.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1973

Subjects: Art and architecture--United States--20th century., Artists--20th century--Correspondence., Busts--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th Century, Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Archives, Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Biography--Sources., Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Correspondence., Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Sources., Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973., Italian-Americans--Massachusetts--Boston--20th century--Correspondence., Public architecture--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th century., Public sculpture--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th century., Sculptors--Massachusetts--Boston--20th century--Correspondence., Sculpture, American--20th century--Sources.

Languages: English

Abstract

Joseph A. Coletti was a sculptor active in Boston from the 1920s to the early 1970s. He was known for his religious sculpture, public monuments, portrait busts, and medals. Working first as an apprentice to sculptor John Evans and then as an assistant to painter John Singer Sargent, Coletti attended Harvard University (1919-1923) and studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome. Coletti opened his studio in Boston in 1926 after traveling throughout Europe honing his craft. Much of his work was commissioned by public or private institutions, or by private individuals. His collection consists of personal and professional documents, correspondence, photographs of artwork, and assorted ephemera.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Joseph A. Coletti (1898-1973) was a sculptor active in Boston from the 1920s through the early 1970s. He was known for his religious sculpture, public monuments, portrait busts, and medals. Working first as an apprentice to sculptor John Evans and then as an assistant to painter John Singer Sargent, Coletti attended Harvard University (1919-1923) and studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome. Coletti opened his studio in Boston in 1926 after traveling throughout Europe honing his craft. Much of his work was commissioned by public or private institutions, or by private individuals.

The Joseph A. Coletti Papers (1919-1973) consist of drawings, photographs, personal memorabilia, and correspondence. The bulk of the collection includes visual material: sketches drawings, and photographs of Coletti’s work. The collection charts the arc of Coletti’s career from his beginning as an assistant to Boston painter John Singer Sargent to his maturity as a sculptor, with particular richness in the period of his education at Harvard (1919-1923) and travel in Europe (1923-1926). The range of Coletti’s work is represented in his papers, from the fanciful to the utilitarian. The records of Coletti’s commission's document his continuing relationship with Harvard, as he designed panes for Memorial Chapel, a memorial plaque for the Countway Medical Library, as well as various other sculptural projects. Coletti’s methods and techniques are documented in the many sketches that make up the collection, in which he developed designs for medals, panels, and fountains, as well as other commissions. The extent of the photography throughout the collection points to Coletti’s use of the media as a supplementary format in his sculpture. Many of Coletti's commissions required close collaboration with architects; the many sketches of architectural designs with Coletti’s annotations on placement reveal his interest in achieving harmony between his design and its architectural surroundings. Finally, the assemblage of visual source material, apparently a lifelong collection, shows Coletti’s continuing interest in past and current works of art as sources of inspiration.

The collection is made up of 25 boxes separated into eight series: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials, Personal Correspondence, Professional Documents and Correspondence, Academic Notes and Reference Materials, Lectures and Writings, Photographic Materials, Artwork, and Oversized Materials.

Series 1: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials (1919-1973)

This Series is comprised of papers collected by Coletti and pertaining to his personal life. These files contain biographical materials, documents of will and estate, tax and financial records, investment records, social security records, medical receipts, credit cards, and club and society membership documents. Ephemera collected by Coletti has also been filed here and include postcards, articles, newspaper clippings, and event programs. The included biographical materials consist of an autobiographical sketch of Joseph Coletti written to aid in the authorship and publication of an article about Coletti’s career. This sketch is in both typed and handwritten drafts, and includes information beginning from Coletti's birth and extending to 1945. Subjects range from biographical milestones to an index of his work to date, with focus on information relevant to Coletti’s career. This series also contains a small amount of correspondence concerning the publication of the aforementioned article.

Series 2: Personal Correspondence (1923-1973)

This Series includes correspondence between Coletti and others pertaining to all subjects besides professional dealings. These files include communications between Coletti and family members, friends, and colleagues, on subjects including intimate family issues, casual socialization, award ceremonies, and the like. This series is mostly comprised of handwritten letters, typed letters, and postcards, but also contains various other papers relevant to the contained communications.

Series 3: Professional Documents and Correspondence (1926-1974)

This Series is comprised of communications and related papers concerning Joseph Coletti’s professional work. The majority of this series pertains to the commissioning of Coletti for sculpture, including both correspondence with commissioners, and other professionals needed for the casting and construction of Coletti’s artworks. Related receipts and contracts resulting from these interactions, professional contacts, papers from his time heading the Massachusetts Art Commission, and other professional ephemera have also been filed here.

Series 4: Academic Notes and Reference Materials (1922-1953)

This Series includes notes taken by Coletti on artworks and artists, notes taken by Coletti during art history lectures at Harvard University, books used in Colletti’s courses at Harvard, photographs of rubbings Coletti took of varying reliefs, and notes authored by others for Coletti’s benefit.

Series 5: Lectures and Writings (1961-1975)

This Series contains lectures, speeches, and articles authored by Coletti. Within these works Coletti discusses art history and theories of sculpture, gives context to his own works, reviews books, and authors encyclopedia articles.

Series 6: Photographic Materials (1920-1967):

This Series includes photographic prints and negatives sorted into subseries by these formats. The primary subject of these photographs is Coletti’s own work, including his medals, religious works, memorials and portraits, classical sculpture, and his sculptures at the St. George Chapel, Newport, RI, as well as at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore, MD. Photographs from these latter two locations have been filed together, as they were while stored by Coletti himself. Other photographic subjects encompass Joseph Coletti, his family and friends, references used during Coletti’s artistic work, unidentified photographs, and a group of slides collected by Coletti.

Series 7: Artwork (1921-1971):

This Series includes sketches and architectural drawings by Joseph Coletti in sketchbooks, and on drafting paper, as well as Joseph Coletti’s collection of medals. The subjects of Coletti’s drawings include medals and sculptures designed by Coletti, as well as sketches he drew while studying at the American Academy in Rome as a Sachs fellow (1924). The medals in this series were in most cases designed by Coletti. Some were sculpted by others. A small number of the medals in this collection were awarded to Coletti.

Series 8: Oversized materials:

This Series includes oversized photographic prints and architectural drawings. These prints and drawings are almost entirely of Coletti’s work. Items in this series have been arranged within other series, but stored separately from the rest of the collection in Room 430 in the Boston Public Library Arts Department.

Collection Historical Note

Joseph Coletti (1898-1973) was born November 5, 1898 in Italy. At the age of two, his family emigrated to the United States, and settled in Quincy, MA, where he spent his youth. Throughout his primary education, Coletti exhibited an aptitude for art, eventually studying the subject at both the Massachusetts Art School, and Harvard University. In 1919 he began his formal education as a sculptor, entering Harvard College, and graduating with the class of 1923. Post-graduation, Coletti was awarded two defining fellowships which furthered his learning, the Travelling Fellowship in Fine Arts by the Fogg Art Museum in 1923, and the Sachs Fellowship in Fine Arts by Harvard University in 1924. As a Sachs fellow, Coletti studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome until he returned to Massachusetts in 1925, where only a year later he was commissioned by John Nicholas Brown to sculpt a number of works for St. George’s Chapel, St. George's School, newport, RI. This commision proved to be the first of many prolific works by Coletti which have been represented in exhibitions worldwide, including at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, 1930; the New York Museum of Modern Art, 1933; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1940; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1940; the New York World's Fair, 1940; and permanently at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy, 1959. Throughout his career, Coletti demonstrated a keen understanding of both classical and medieval art, harkening back to these forms in subject and medium, while retaining originality within his work. It is this synergy of old and new that has defined his works.

Biographical Note

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"> <span id="docs-internal-guid-0f48a072-a4bf-c8bc-15d7-1f0f7f787467"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Joseph Coletti (1898-1973) was born November 5, 1898 in Italy. At the age of two, his family emigrated to the United States, and settled in Quincy, MA, whereupon he spent his youth. Throughout his primary education, Coletti exhibited an aptitude for art, eventually studying the subject at both the Massachusetts Art School, and Harvard University. In 1919 he began his formal education as a sculptor, entering Harvard College, and graduating with the class of 1923. Post-graduation, Coletti was awarded two defining fellowships which furthered his learning, the Travelling Fellowship in Fine Arts by the Fogg Art Museum in 1923, and the Sachs Fellowship in Fine Arts by Harvard University in 1924. As a Sachs fellow, Coletti studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome until he returned to Massachusetts in 1925, where only a year later he was commissioned by John Nicholas Brown to sculpt a number of works for St. George’s Chapel, St. George's School, newport, RI. This commision proved to be the first of many prolific works by Coletti which have been represented in exhibitions worldwide, including at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, 1930; the New York Museum of Modern Art, 1933; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1940; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1940; the New York World's Fair, 1940; and permanently at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy, 1959. Throughout his career, Coletti demonstrated a keen understanding of both classical and medieval art, harkening back to these forms in subject and medium, while retaining originality within his work. It is this synergy of old and new that has defined his works.</span></span>

Subject/Index Terms

Art and architecture--United States--20th century.
Artists--20th century--Correspondence.
Busts--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th Century
Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Archives
Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Biography--Sources.
Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Correspondence.
Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973--Sources.
Coletti, Joseph, 1898-1973.
Italian-Americans--Massachusetts--Boston--20th century--Correspondence.
Public architecture--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th century.
Public sculpture--Massachusetts--Boston--History--20th century.
Sculptors--Massachusetts--Boston--20th century--Correspondence.
Sculpture, American--20th century--Sources.

Administrative Information

Repository: Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. The Boston Public Library does not hold copyright on the material in this collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

When reproducing material from this collection please include the credit line "Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/ Arts Department."

Physical Access Note: The Coletti Papers include a number of architectural drawings and glass negatives. Some material may not be accessible due to condition.

Acquisition Source: Donation, 1973.

Acquisition Method: Collection donated to the Boston Public Library Fine Arts Archive after Coletti's death.

Processing Information: The Papers were processed minimally in 1984-85 by BPL librarians Stanley Moss and Robert Brown. The Collection was fully arranged in 2015 by Fine Arts Intern Andrew Maloney under the supervision of Eve Griffin, Curator of Fine Arts.

Finding Aid Revision History: The basic scope and content of the Joseph Coletti Papers was written sometime between 1984 and 2015. The author of this original abbrieviated finding aid is unclear. A full finding aid was written by archival intern Andrew Maloney in 2015 under the supervision of Eve Griffin, Curator of Fine Arts.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Personal Correspondence],
[Series 3: Professional Documents and Correspondence],
[Series 4: Academic Notes and Reference Materials],
[Series 5: Lectures and Writings],
[Series 6: Photographic Materials],
[Series 7: Artwork],
[Series 8: Oversized Materials],
[All]

Series 5: Lectures and WritingsAdd to your cart.
<p dir="ltr"> This Series contains lectures, speeches, and articles authored by Joseph Coletti. Within these works Coletti discusses art history and theories of sculpture, gives context to his own works, reviews books, and authors encyclopedia articles.
Box 15Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Articles, 1961-75Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Articles - Angel, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Articles - Boston Forum - Boston Junior Chamber of Commerce, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Aspects of Sculpture, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Book Reviews, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Book Reviews, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Book Reviews, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Book Reviews, circa. 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Book Reviews, circa. 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Book Reviews, circa. 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Book Reviews - Newsclippings, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Cathedral of St. John the Divine - iconography, circa. 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Encyclopedia Britannica Articles, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Lectures, D.U.Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Personal Correspondence],
[Series 3: Professional Documents and Correspondence],
[Series 4: Academic Notes and Reference Materials],
[Series 5: Lectures and Writings],
[Series 6: Photographic Materials],
[Series 7: Artwork],
[Series 8: Oversized Materials],
[All]


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