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Octavio Medellin Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Medellin, Octavio, 1907 or 8-1999.
Title: Octavio Medellin Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1936-1964
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the Mexican-American sculptor, mosaicist, specialized in religious subjects. Correspondence (1941-1963), incoming and outgoing; artwork reproductions, 14 original sketches and other material relating to a number of church commissions; autobiographical essays, and memorabilia, including articles and reviews about Medellin (1941-1958), newspaper clippings (1936-1962), and exhibition catalogs. Correspondents include Ben Bailey, Xavier Gonzalez, Gyorgy Kepes, Carlos Merida, Cora Elder Stafford, Salvador Toscano, and Charles Umlauf.
Language: English, Spanish
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Octavio Medellin (1907-1999) was a Mexican-American artist, sculptor, ceramist and teacher known for his work inspired by Mayan and Toltec influences.

Medellin was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1920, settling in San Antonio, Texas, and studied at the San Antonio School of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Guggenheim Museum. In 1929 he embarked on a lengthy journey around Mexico, visiting the villages and absorbing native art and craft techniques. He returned to the United States in 1931 and shortly thereafter he and several other San Antonio artists opened La Villita Art Gallery (1934).

Over the next thirty years, Medellin practiced and taught at a succession of prestigious Texas venues, including three years at the Witte Museum of Art and at La Villita, five years as sculptor-in-residence at North Texas State College, four years teaching art students from Southern Methodist University, and 21 years teaching sculpture and ceramics at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1964 Medellin moved to a studio at Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California and in 1966 he opened the Medellin School of Sculpture, teaching all levels of students in numerous different media. He semi-retired in 1979.

According to The Handbook of Texas Online, "Medellin developed a powerful style inspired in part by the art of the Maya and Toltec Indians, and exerted considerable influence over young artists." ["The Dallas Nine," The Handbook of Texas Online, accessed here]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1936 to 1964, the Octavio Medellin Papers comprises biographical material, correspondence, artwork, writings, and memorabilia of the Mexican-American artist. Illuminating Medellin's Latino heritage as well as his artistic expertise in the portrayal of religious subjects, the collection documents both the career and, to a lesser extent, the personal life of the sculptor, mosaicist, and educator.

Correspondence (1941-1963) consists of incoming and outgoing personal and business letters, a number of which are in Spanish. The Correspondence, mostly relating to specifications for various art commissions, includes that of architects and architectural firms (Kenneth Franzheim, Grayson Gill, Max M. Sandfield, Eugene Wukasch); artists (Ben P. Bailey, Julio de Diego, Frank Dolejska, Xavier Gonzalez, Gyorgy Kepes, Lucy Madison Maverick, Carlos Merida, Cora Elder Stafford, Salvador Toscano, Charles Umlauf); clients (Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Texas, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lewis, Father R. O'Laughlin for St. Henry's Church of Freeport, Texas, Frank Paxton, John L. Paxton, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Grand Prairie, Texas, Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur in Fort Worth, M. H. Stekoll, Waldo Stewart, Temple Emanu-El of Dallas); museum curator Charles Muskavitch; and orchestra conductor Vladimir Golschmann. A selected index to the correspondence follows the box list.

Artwork encompasses material concerning commissions and contracts (1951-1960), reproductions (1942-1957), and 14 preliminary sketches of the stations of the cross for a Dallas church. A small number of typescript autobiographical essays by Medellin pertaining to artwork constitutes Writings.

Memorabilia comprises an itinerary of a trip to Mexico and Central America, material from the Dallas-Fort Worth Men of Art Guild, one photograph of Medellin, printed material, a small amount of teaching-related material, and typescript reviews by Jerry Harwell, Carlos Merida, Gene Mitchell, and Salvador Toscano. Printed material contains published articles and reviews about Medellin (1941-1958), newspaper clippings (1936-1962), two exhibition catalogs (1950, 1964), and one exhibition invitation (1942).

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Other material is arranged alphabetically by type and/or author.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The Bywaters Special Collection at Southern Methodist University (SMU) has a large collection of Medellin material which they have digitized and made available online in Octavio Medellin: Works of Art and Artistic Processes.

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Subject Headings

Persons

Bailey, Ben P.
Gonzalez, Xavier.
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001.
Medellin, Octavio, 1907 or 8-1999.
Mérida, Carlos, 1891-
Stafford, Cora Elder.
Toscano, Salvador, 1912-1949.
Umlauf, Charles, 1911-1994.

Subjects

Art, American.
Church decoration and ornament, Texas.
Church decoration and ornament, United States.
Mexican Americans.
Mosaicists -- United States.
Mosaics -- 20th century -- United States.
Sculptors -- United States.
Sculpture, American -- 20th century.
Sculpture, American.

Genres and Forms

Articles.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Correspondence.
Exhibition catalogs.
Reviews (document genre)
Sketches.

Occupations

Artists.
Mosaicists.
Sculptors.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Octavio Medellin Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Octavio Medellin, 1964.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: ASE
Date: Aug 1993
Revision history: 10 Mar 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC); 24 Oct 2012 - related material link to SMU (MRC)

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Inventory

Biographical material
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Correspondence
Box 1 1941-1963, undated (3 folders)
Artwork
Box 1 Commissions and contracts 1951-1960, undated
Box 1 Reproductions 1942-1957, undated
Box 1 Sketches (original) 1958 - preliminary sketches of the stations of the cross - "for glass mosaic and plexiglass mural installed in St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Dallas, Texas" (14 items)
Writings
Box 1 Essays pertaining to artwork undated
Memorabilia
Box 1 Itinerary, trip to Mexico and Central America undated
Box 1 Membership, Dallas-Fort Worth Men of Art Guild 1956, 1957
Box 1 Photograph undated
Printed material
Box 1 Articles and reviews about 1941-1958, undated
Box 1 Clippings 1936-1962, undated
Box 1 Exhibition catalogs, invitations 1942, 1950, 1964
Box 1 Teaching-related 1941, undated
Typescript reviews by others (by author)
Box 1 Harwell, Jerry undated
Box 1 Merida, Carlos (in Spanish) 1941
Box 1 Mitchell, Gene undated
Box 1 Toscano, Salvador (in Spanish with English translation) undated

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Selected index to correspondence

  • Adleta Show Case & Fixture Manufacturing Co. (Dallas) : 1957 May 29 (re: Mercantile National Bank, Dallas)
  • Art Education Association (Fort Worth) : 1960 Oct. 7 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Bailey, Ben P. : 1961 Nov. 29; 1961 Nov. 30 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1962 Feb. 2
  • Bock Construction Co. (Dallas) : 1957 Oct. 29 (carbon from Grayson Gill architectural firm re: St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Dallas); 1960 Mar. 17 (carbon to architect Howard G. Decker re: Trinity Lutheran Church, Dallas)
  • Caldwell, Henry Bryan : See Fort Worth Art Center
  • Dalton, Walter (Father) : 1963 Mar. 8 (re: St. Paul the Apostle Church, Richardson, Texas?)
  • De Diego, Julio : undated (in Spanish)
  • Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth (St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Dallas) : 1957 June 22 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1957 July 2 (carbon from Grayson Gill); 1957 Sept. 10 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1958 June 7 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1958 June 10 (carbon from Grayson Gill); 1958 Sept. 12 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1958 Sept. 15 (carbon from Grayson Gill); 1958 Oct. 16 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1959 Apr. 10 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1959 May 8 (carbon to St. Bernard's Catholic Church)
  • Dolejska, Frank : 1961 Dec. 14
  • Edburg, A. H. (Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas) : 1956 Feb. 7 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas : See Grayson Gill
  • Fort Worth Art Center : 1956 Sept. 20 ; 1960 Jan. 13 ; 1960 Mar. 1
  • Franzheim, Kenneth (Police Administration Building, Houston) : 1950 Mar. 8 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1950 Mar. 15 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1950 July 5 ; 1950 July 8 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1950 July 15 ; 1950 July 21 (carbon to Houston Public Works Department); 1950 Sept. 5 (carbon from Hermes H. Nye, Medellin's attorney); 1950 Sept. 7 (carbon to Houston Public Works Department); 1950 Sept. 11 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1950 Sept. 11 (carbon to mayor of Houston); 1950 Nov. 3 ; 1950 Dec. 5 (carbon to Farnsworth & Chambers Co.); 1951 Jan. 18 (carbon to Houston Public Works Department); 1951 Jan. 26 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1951 Jan. 27 (carbon to Houston Public Works Department); 1951 Jan. 31 ; 1951 Feb. 12 ; 1951 Feb. 17 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1951 Feb. 28 (carbon to Hermes H. Nye); 1951 July 13 (carbon to Farnsworth & Chambers Co.); 1951 Sept. 1 (carbon to city of Houston); 1951 Oct. 26 ; 1951 Oct. 28 ; 1951 Nov. 20 (carbon to city of Houston); 1952 Feb. 1 (re: Hermann Hospital, Houston); 1952 Feb. 12 (outgoing typescript carbon re: Hermann Hospital); 1952 July 23 (with letter introducing Medellin to Diego Rivera); 1952 July 30 ; 1952 Aug. 29 ; 1952 Sept. 30 ; 1954 Oct. 4 ; 1955 Jan. 11 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Jan. 13 (secretary to Mr. Franzheim); 1955 Jan. 26 ; undated (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Golschmann, Vladimir : 1941 Dec. 27 ; 1942 Aug. 31 ; 1943 June 25
  • Gonzalez, Xavier : undated (in Spanish)
  • Grayson Gill (St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Dallas) : 1957 Apr. 27 (outgoing typescript carbon to Roman Plugge re: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas); 1957 July 2 (carbon to Father Robert C. Rehkemper); 1957 July 5; 1957 July 11 ; 1957 Oct. 16 ; 1957 Oct. 29 (carbon to Bock Construction Co.); 1958 June 10 (carbon to Father Rehkemper); 1958 July 3 ; 1958 July 18 ; 1958 Aug. 25 ; 1958 Sept. 15 (carbon to Father Rehkemper)
  • Hermann Hospital (Houston) : See Franzheim, Kenneth
  • Houston, Texas (Police Administration Building) : 1950 July 21 (carbon from architect Kenneth Franzheim); 1950 Sept. 7 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1950 Sept. 11 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1951 Jan. 18 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1951 Jan. 27 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1951 Sept. 1 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1951 Nov. 20 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim); 1951 Dec. 3 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • International Institute of Arts and Letters : 1960 Aug. 10 ; 1960 Nov. 15
  • Kepes, Gyorgy (Temple Emanu-El, Dallas) : 1956 Feb. 26 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 Mar. 2; 1956 Mar. 2 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 Mar. 25; 1956 Apr. 21 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 May 1 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 May 5; 1956 May 12 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 May 19; 1956 June 6; 1956 June 9 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 June 16; 1956 June 20 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 June 24 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 June 28; 1956 July 18 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 July 20; 1956 Aug. 30 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 Sept. (?); 1956 Oct. 16 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 Oct. 18; 1958 Nov. 4 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Lavanoux, Maurice E. : See Liturgical Arts Society, Inc.
  • Lewis, Donald (Mr. and Mrs.) : 1959 Dec. 10 (outgoing typescript carbon and bill)
  • Liturgical Arts Society, Inc. : 1952 Aug. 18; 1952 Aug. 22 (brochure attached) ; 1958 Apr. 7
  • Maverick, Lucy Madison : 1963 July 24 (carbons to politicians attached); 1963 Aug. 1 (from Senator Ralph Yarborough); 1963 Aug. 2 (from Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez); undated
  • Mercantile National Bank (Dallas) : See Adleta Show Case & Fixture Manufacturing Co.; Wagner, Frank J.
  • Merida, Carlos : 1952 Feb. 12 (in Spanish) ; 1957 Aug. 14 (in Spanish); 1959 July 18 (telegram in Spanish); 1960 Jan. 11 (in Spanish) ; 1961 May 8 (in Spanish); undated (in Spanish); See also Memorabilia: Typescript reviews by others
  • Museum of Modern Art (New York) : 1941 Nov. 27 ; 1943 Apr. 1 ; 1943 June 14 ; 1943 June 23
  • Muskavitch, Charles : 1961 Feb. 16; 1961 May 8 (3 letters attached re: Oscar Frerking Salas); 1961 May 15 (outgoing typescript carbon with carbon to Oscar Frerking Salas); 1961 July 12 (note on copy from Oscar Frerking Salas) ; 1961 July 19 (copy from Robert L. Abbey attached); 1961 Oct. 5 (note on copy from American embassy in La Paz) ; 1961 Oct. 10 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1961 Oct. 12 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1962 Oct. 15 (note on carbon of letter re: Medellin) ; 1963 Jan. 24; 1963 June 25 (note on copy from Oscar Frerking Salas)
  • North Texas State College (Denton) : See Stafford, Cora Elder
  • Nye, Hermes H. (Police Administration Building, Houston) : 1950 Sept. 5 (carbon to Kenneth Franzheim) ; 1951 Feb. 13; 1951 Feb. 28 (carbon from Kenneth Franzheim)
  • O'Laughlin, R. (Father) (St. Henry's Church, Freeport, Texas) : 1955 July 26; 1955 July 30 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1955 Aug. 4; 1955 Aug. 31; 1955 Sept. 1 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1955 Sept. 19 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1955 Oct. 19; 1955 Oct. 24 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1955 (postcard); 1957 Nov. 11; 1957 Nov. 14 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1958 May 14
  • Our Saviour's Lutheran Church (Victoria, Texas) : See Wukasch, Eugene
  • Paxton, Frank : 1949 Mar. 24 (outgoing typescript fragment); 1949 May 23 (outgoing typescript fragment); 1949 July 12 ; 1950 Mar. 6 (outgoing typescript carbon); undated
  • Paxton, John L. : 1954 Feb. 15; 1959 June 14 (telegram)
  • Police Administration Building (Houston) : See Franzheim, Kenneth; Houston, Texas; Nye, Hermes H.
  • Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Austin) : See Edburg, A. H.; Wukasch, Eugene
  • Rehkemper, Robert C. (Father) : See Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Rogers Associates, Inc. (Citizens National Bank of Denison, Texas?) : 1960 July 18
  • Sandfield, Max M. (Temple Emanu-El, Dallas) : 1956 June 20; 1956 July 16 (carbon to Temple Emanu-El) ; 1956 July 16 (outgoing typescript carbon) ; 1956 July 24 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 Aug. 3; 1956 Aug. 3 (carbon to J. E. Morgan & Sons); 1956 Nov. 7 (carbon to Casavan Carrara Marble Company, Inc.)
  • Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur (Fort Worth) : 1961 Oct. 11 (photograph of crucifix attached)
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal Church (Grand Prairie, Texas) : 1954 Nov. 4; undated
  • St. Bernard's Catholic Church (Dallas) : See Bock Construction Co.; Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth; Grayson Gill
  • St. Henry's Church (Freeport, Texas) : See O'Laughlin, R. (Father)
  • Stafford, Cora Elder : 1958 Oct. 10; 1959 Jan. 6; 1960 Feb. 24; 1960 Mar. 7; 1961 Feb. 9; 1961 Feb. 14
  • Stekoll, M. H. : 1959 Mar. 28 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Stewart, Waldo : 1955 Feb. 4 ; 1955 June 24
  • Temple Emanu-El (Dallas) : 1956 May 16; 1956 July 16 (from architect Max M. Sandfield); 1956 Sept. 21 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 Dec. 20; See also Kepes, Gyorgy; Sandfield, Max M.
  • Toscano, Salvador : 1946 Nov. 18 (in Spanish) ; 1947 Jan. 8 (in Spanish); See also Memorabilia: Typescript reviews by others
  • Trinity Lutheran Church (Dallas) : 1960 Nov. 15 (invitation); See also Bock Construction Co.
  • Umlauf, Charles : 1956 Oct. 8 ; 1956 Dec. 26
  • Wagner, Frank J. (Mercantile National Bank, Dallas) : 1957 Oct. 29 (outgoing typescript carbon)
  • Wukasch, Eugene (Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Austin, and/or Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Victoria, Texas) : 1955 June 4 ; 1955 July 29 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Aug. 4 ; 1955 Aug. 6 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Aug. 9 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Aug. 24 ; 1955 Aug. 29 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Sept. 24 ; 1955 Oct. 2 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1955 Nov. 12 ; 1955 Dec. 23 (carbon); 1955 Dec. 23 (carbon to Rev. David F. Larson); 1956 Jan. 8 ; 1956 Jan. 12 (carbon from Calcasieu Lumber Co.); 1956 Jan. 21 ; 1956 Jan. 27 ; 1956 Feb. 4 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1956 Feb. 14 (carbon to Victor Bragg); 1956 or 1957 (?) ; 1957 Sept. 27 ; 1957 Oct. 22; 1957 Oct. 24 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1957 Nov. 22; 1957 Nov. 27 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1958 Aug. 20; 1958 Aug. 20 (carbon to Herbert Delk); 1958 Oct. 28; 1958 Nov. 4 (outgoing typescript carbon); 1958 Nov. 22 ; 1959 May 8 ; 1960 July 14; 1960 Sept. 25 (outgoing typescript carbon)

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