6 Letters to and from Artists

by Clara Olshansky on July 24, 2013 · 1 comment Lists

Ray Johnson via GammaBlog

I love reading letters to and between artists. Maybe it’s the off-the-clock attitude that even published letters can give—you don’t really get that in interviews or essays. Or maybe it’s just sentimentality for all the physical, postal communication that my generation missed. Either way, here are six of my favorite art letters.

Eugene Delacroix to his paint dealer, 1827

 

Jean Cocteau to Paul Valéry, 1924: I can’t read a word of this, but Cocteau wrote damn beautiful letters. Click for more.

Yves Tanguy to Paul Eluard, 1933: another beautiful and unreadable french letter.

Jack Kerouac to his publisher, 1952: his proposed cover design for On the Road

Ray Johnson to lots of people, 1971: Ray Johnson is considered the first “mail artist.” He would send out work to be mailed from person to person, each recipient adding something, and then ultimately mailed back to Johnson.

From lots of people to Ryosuke Cohen, 1985: Rather than sending his work out to be modified, Ryosuke collected things stamps, stickers, etc., from other artists via mail, which he then assembled into a small collages that he sent back to each participant.

  • Shaun Johnson

    I enjoyed this, thank you.

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