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Donna Stein papers on Thomas Wilfred

 Collection
Call Number: MS 2036

Scope and Contents

The papers document Stein's professional and scholarly work on kinetic light artist Thomas Wilfred. The majority of the collection consists of research materials on Wilfred and his art work, including scholarly and popular magazine articles, writings by Wilfred, and photographs of Wilfred's compositions and studio. Included are materials from two exhibitions of Wilfred's work that Stein curated for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York. Finally the collection contains Stein's master's thesis on Wilfred, and professional correspondence regarding Wilfred's artwork, the exhibitions, and professional publications. Materials cover from 1914 to 2001, with the bulk from 1962 to 1972.

Dates

  • 1914 - 2001

Creator

Language of Materials

The material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creator(s) of this collection for unpublished works they have authored or otherwise produced. After the lifetime of the creator(s) or until October 2, 2035, whichever comes first, copyright passes to Yale University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Donna Stein, 2015, 2017.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged in four series and one addition: I. Stein's thesis materials on Thomas Wilfred, 1950-1971. II. Correspondence, 1950-2001. III. Exhibition files, 1965-1996. IV. Research materials, 1914-1981.

Related Materials

Related materials: Thomas Wilfred Papers (MS 1375).

Extent

4.33 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.2036

Overview

The papers document Stein's professional and scholarly work on kinetic light artist Thomas Wilfred. The majority of the collection consists of research materials on Wilfred and his art work, including scholarly and popular magazine articles, writings by Wilfred, and photographs of Wilfred's compositions and studio. Included are materials from two exhibitions of Wilfred's work that Stein curated for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York. Finally the collection contains Stein's master's thesis on Wilfred, and professional correspondence regarding Wilfred's artwork, the exhibitions, and professional publications. Materials cover from 1914 to 2001, with the bulk from 1962 to 1972.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Wilfred

Thomas Wilfred was a kinetic light artist whose body of work consists of compositions that he called "Lumia." He was born Richard Edgar Løvstrøm on June 18, 1889 in Naestved, Denmark. Wilfred trained as both an artist and a musician, starting both drawing classes and piano lessons in 1903. In 1908 he moved to Paris, France, to study painting, sculpture, and voice at the Sorbonne, although he never earned a degree there. Beyond the piano, he also learned how to play the archlute, a European folk instrument. Both his art training and musical training would play important roles in developing his Lumia compositions. He also was a freelance newspaper journalist and wrote and published poetry. In 1913, he took the professional name Thomas Wilfred for his musical career, which he would continue to use as an artist. He served in the Royal Danish Army during World War I. After finishing his military service in 1916, he moved to the United States.

Wilfred's earliest memory was of his father using a faceted crystal egg as a prism to project colors on a wall to entertain Wilfred. He started experimenting with refracting light in 1905 with a cigar box, an incandescent lamp, colored glass, and lenses. He also studied theoretical works on light that related colors on the light spectrum with musical scales. His work progressed to projecting different colors on a screen by playing a keyboard instrument he built called a clavilux. Wilfred started performing at his first studio in South Huntington, New York as well as performing at concerts at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, New York, Queen's Hall in London, England, and the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also created several standalone compositions, many as commissions. In 1930, he founded the Art Institute of Light to serve as a place of study for artists wishing to work in Lumia. Wilfred died on August 15, 1968 in Nyack, New York.

Donna Stein

Donna Stein is the Deputy Director of the Wende Museum in Culver City, California. She is also an art historian, art critic, and curator. She has studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has curated exhibitions in museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Title
Guide to the Donna Stein Papers on Thomas Wilfred
Status
In Progress
Author
compiled by Christy Tomecek
Date
October 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)

Location

Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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