Anne Truitt Papers
Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010
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Overview and metadata sections
Anne Truitt was born Anne Dean in 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland, and spent her childhood living with her family in Easton on the eastern shore of Maryland. At the age of seventeen she entered Bryn Mawr College. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology in 1943. She worked as a Red Cross Nurse's Aid for a while, and also did research in a psychology lab, during which time she tried to decide how best to apply her training at Bryn Mawr and her interests in human behavior and emotion. Always a prolific writer, Truitt wrote many poems and short stories during this time. She has preserved these exercises along with all her other writings and correspondences, and they form part of the documentation of her personal and artistic development that is now housed in the archives of Bryn Mawr College.
After the war she met James Truitt, who had served in the navy. They married in 1947 and moved to Washington D.C. where he worked for the State Department. She continued to write, and in the early 1950s she became involved in a project with Catherine Richards to translate from French into English Germaine Bree's Marcel Proust and Deliverance from Time. (Richards was also a Bryn Mawr graduate and Bree had taught French at the college). James Truitt began a career in journalism at about the same time, which took the family across the country and around the world. Between 1955 and 1960 they had three children, Alexandra, Mary and Sam.
Truitt's formal training as an artist began in 1948 when she studied sculpture at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Washington D. C. Afterwards she received her artistic education largely through a process of informal, self-directed training. Truitt admired the artist David Smith, who was then producing large welded steel sculptures, but after experimenting with various materials she ultimately settled on wood as her preferred medium.
In the early 1960s Truitt began to develop what would become her signature style, applying layer upon layer of paint to hollow wooden structures. These smooth, slender free-standing towers were built to her design at a lumber mill, and she then painted them in her studio space. Truitt was friends with several of the artists who have come to be associated with the New York art scene of the 1960s, such as Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler, and many of them kept her abreast of their own artistic developments through correspondence, particularly when she was living in Japan between 1964-1967. She was also friends with the art critic Clement Greenberg who admired and supported her work.Upon Truitt's return to America and the end of her marriage to James, she chose to live in Washington D. C. rather than New York. She has always remained connected with communities of artists however, most notably by integrating herself into the lively Yaddo community at Saratoga Springs.
Truitt's work has been exhibited and collected around the world. Her work was principally represented by the Andre Emmerich gallery in New York from 1963-1997. In 1997 Renato Danese became Truitt's New York representative. Truitt has been the subject of three retrospective shows. The first, at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York in 1974, was followed immediately by one at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D. C. The third was held in New York at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in 1991. In the aftermath of the retrospective shows of the mid-1970s Truitt began keeping detailed journals documenting the details of her life, her creative processes, her working methods, and her personal development. She converted the writing from one year into a book, Daybook, published in 1982. In 1986 more of her journal-writing was published as the book Turn. The 1991 retrospective led to her third book, Prospect, in 1996. In addition to being an artist and writer, Truitt is also an educator. She has taught since 1975 at the University of Maryland, where she is now Professor Emerita, and her contributions to both scholarly and artistic communities have been recognized with numerous honors, including five honorary doctorates.
Anne Truitt's papers consist of 43 boxes of documents that were acquired in a series of donations, beginning in 1987. The papers are organized in the following manner: Section 1: Writings. 7 boxes Includes Truitt's notebooks; her notes and drafts of Daybook, Turn and Prospect; correspondence, reviews, and other papers relating to her books; and manuscripts of poems, short stories, and essays. Section 2: Papers relating to exhibitions and art work. 5 boxes. Includes correspondence, reviews, invitations, and catalogues for exhibitions, papers relating to her stays at Yaddo, sketchbooks, and studio expense records. The correspondence is divided into two groups: Series A contains correspondence organized by the name of the writer or recipient; Series B contains correspondence organized chronologically for the years 1973-2000. Section 4: University papers. 2 boxes. Includes manuscripts of Truitt's lectures, programs and invitations to conferences and events, and grant applications. Section 5: Interviews, essays and articles. 1 box. Includes published interviews with Truitt, and articles about her work. Section 6: Publications. 3 boxes. Includes magazines, exhibition programs, and other publications containing articles about Truitt or people and issues that interested her. Section 7: Travel & miscellaneous. 2 boxes. Includes papers relating to Truitt's trips to Australia, 1981-1983 and Lincoln, Nebraska. Section 8: Photographs. 2 boxes. Includes photographs of Truitt and her work. Section 9: Financial records, 7 boxes.
Gift of Anne Truitt, 1987, and Alexandra Truitt, 2013 and ongoing.
- Bryn Mawr College
- Finding Aid Author
- Jenny Bird
- Finding Aid Date
- April 23, 2008
- Access Restrictions
Access is restricted. Please contact the Special Collections Department for further details.
- Use Restrictions
The Anne Truitt Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.