The Fontaine Archive contains the writings and artwork of Virginia Hammersmith Fontaine (1915-1991) and Paul Emile Fontaine (1913-1996). The collection is an essential primary resource for art historians interested in American artists living abroad, as well as the role that the arts played in postwar Europe’s rebuilding.
The Finding Aid details all documents and information from the Fontaine Archive.
Archive Person Index
The Archive Person Index catalogues persons in guestbook entries, the diaries, photographs, the scrapbook, mentioned in letters or having received correspondence from with links for more information.
The archive includes approximately 314 photographs, 350 artworks, 13.5 linear feet of books and manuscripts, 10 linear feet of miscellany, and 6 linear feet of letters and documents related to the Fontaines’ life as art students and their residency in postwar Germany and Mexico. The bulk of the documentation covers the years from 1935 to 1965, during the height of Modernism.
In addition to photographs, letters and ephemera, the archive is also a repository for a significant number of art history monographs, theory texts and rare catalogs from the 1930s onward, some of which have only scant documentation in OCLC. Included in the book collection are the homemade art survey texts of Paul and Virginia Fontaine from their Yale studies, comprised of notes, drawings, photographs and reproductions that serve as both a chronicle of their studies and a window into mid-century art historical practice.
Finally, the archive also houses a portion of Paul Fontaine’s oeuvre, dating from the 1940s to the large-scale canvases he completed shortly before his death. As the provenance of other works is still an ongoing process, the most cumulative known collection of his paintings is housed in the Fontaine Archive, adding a definitive creative stamp to a massive amount of context.