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Gerald Gulotta Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Gulotta, Gerald.
Title: Gerald Gulotta Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1942-2008
Quantity: 15.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American industrial designer and educator who specialized in the design of functional objects of glass, porcelain, ceramic, silver and stainless steel. Includes professional papers, teaching papers, sketches, design development drawings, working drawings, presentation drawings, published material, portfolios, photographs and writings. Also includes issues of CHIN UP, newsletter of the 13th Special Service Company during World War II.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Gerald D. Gulotta (b. 17 Apr 1921) is an American industrial designer and educator. Specializing in the design of functional objects of glass, porcelain, ceramic, silver and stainless steel, Gulotta was also deeply engaged with the formal teaching of design, serving on the faculty at the Pratt Institute in New York (1955-1985) and consulting on design education around the world.

Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Gerald Gulotta studied advertising art at the Academy of Applied Art in Chicago. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II as part of the 13th Special Service Company assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England. The duties of the 13th Special Service Company were to support troop morale in various ways including having a small band for popular music, accompanying individual performers, encouraging available talents to take part in programs, providing a system for playing records outdoors, comedians if possible, and maintaining a small library and collection of sports equipment for use by soldiers. During training at Fort Meade, Maryland Gulotta was graphic designer and later editor for CHIN UP, the Company's weekly newsletter, and while stationed in England he served as artist/designer for spaces and buildings including bars for servicement's clubs an an altar-rail for a chapel.

After his tour of duty in the Army Gulotta attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, studying design under the innovative design teacher Alexander Kostellow. Kostellow, a seminal figure in industrial design education in America, had created an Experimental Design Laboratory at Pratt in 1952, based on a principle of close collaboration between design students and commercial production operations, a principle that would later be reflected in Gulotta's own innovations in applied design curriculum in Portugal (1974) and Guadalajara, Mexico (1976-1977). Gulotta began as an instructor at Pratt in 1955, originally taking over the Ceramics class after the retirement of Eva Zeisel, another formative figure in Gulotta's development as a practicing designer. In 1970, Gulotta was named Adjunct Professor of Industrial Design, a position he held until 1985. It was during his tenure as Adjunct Professor that Gulotta became engaged as a design education consultant abroad, contributing to foundational programs in Portugal (Industrial Design Workshop 1974), Guadalajara, Mexico (1976, 1977) and lecturing at several prominent Chinese universities at the behest of the China National Arts and Crafts Corporation (1982).

As a practicing designer, perhaps some of Gulotta's most striking early works were the sterling silver pieces he designed for manufacture by the Towle Silversmiths in the early 1950s, or his award winning sterling silver flatware entry for the International Design Competition Sterling Silver (1960). The initial phase of his career saw Gulotta making forays into small scale outdoor architectural structures (Children's Outdoor Playhouse and the Leisure Cube of 1957), fiberglass furniture designs, and, most indicative of his future course, his Lucent melamine dinnerware (1952) and ceramic glass cookware (1962) done for Raymond Loewy, Inc. Gulotta's rise to prominence came in the mid-1960s, where development of a number of highly successful porcelain dinnerware lines for Block China— España (1965), Transition (1967), Creation (1968), Hearthstone (1968)— served to solidify his reputation as an artist-designer with broad appeal in the commercial market. Perhaps Gulotta's most successful design line, and certainly his most recognized, was the Chromatics collection with Block China (1970). The "highly personal and sculptural" collection, as he described it, that included dinnerware, flatware and glassware components marketed in several complementary color combinations, was manufactured by Porzellanfabrik Arzberg in Germany. Representative examples of Chromatics pieces currently reside in the permanent collections of The Newark Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Gulotta continued to develop successful dinnerware lines for Block China, including Harmony (1983), Optics (1985) and Porto (1985). It was also during the 1980s that Gulotta began to develop designs for lead crystal and glass for production by Atlantis and Steuben, lines which he continued to advance through the 1990s. In 1987, at the invitation of the China National Arts and Crafts Corporation, Gulotta designed an exclusive collection of miniature stoneware teapots for the Violet Sand Factory in Yixing, China. Seven of the "Yixing teapots" designs were selected for limited edition manufacture, examples of which now reside in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Other notable later period works by Gulotta include a line of giftware for Royal Doulton (1980), a series of sculptural ceramic bowls and vases with Ceramica São Bernardo in Portugal (1984-1988) and several striking flatware designs— Iona (1979), Eros (1994-1995) and Rondure (1996). In 2001, Gulotta designed the Floris porcelain dinnerware line for Tienshan, Inc. in China, and in 2006 his 26th Street line, also for Tienshan, appeared.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gerald Gulotta Papers includes professional papers, teaching papers, sketches, design development drawings, working drawings, presentation drawings, published materials, portfolios, photographs and writings.

Professional papers contains awards, biographical statements, clippings, photographs, reference files and writings.

Faculty papers contains China lectures, course material, industrial design workshop (Portugal), Pratt industrial design, student projects, University of Guadalajara.

Office records consists of portfolios and published material.

Project records (design projects) includes drawings and photographs.

Memorabilia contains issues of CHIN UP, a newsletter produced by the 13th Special Service Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland during World War II.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The material in this collection is arranged alphabetically by title, type or topic.

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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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Subject Headings

Persons

Gulotta, Gerald.

Corporate Bodies

Pratt Institute.
United States. -- Army Service Forces. -- Special Service Division.

Subjects

Cookware -- Design and construction.
Dinnerware -- Design and construction.
Flatware -- Design and construction.
Industrial design -- Study and teaching.
Industrial design -- United States.
Industrial designers -- United States.
Tableware -- Design and construction.

Places

Fort George G. Meade (Md.)

Genres and Forms

Articles.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Design drawings.
Lectures.
Newsletters.
Photographs.
Presentation drawings.
Sketches.
Slides (photographs)
Trade catalogs.
Working drawings.
Writings.

Occupations

Industrial designers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Gerald Gulotta Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Gerald Gulotta, 2011, 2014.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: mbd
Date: 20 Sep 2013
Revision history: 11 Jul 2014 - CHIN UP newsletters added (MRC)

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Inventory

Professional Papers circa 1949-2003
Box 1 Awards 1960, 1976, 2003
Box 1 Biographical statements - biographies, resumes, curriculum vitae
Box 1 Clippings 1960-1973 - newspaper and magazine clippings about Gulotta
Box 1 Photographs circa 1960-1970 - photos of Gulotta at work, teaching, etc.
Reference files
Box 1 Alexander Kostellow
Box 1 Chromatics collection - photos of pieces in museum collections (xerox copies)
Box 1 "Functional Esthetics" circa 1949 - course notes, hand-outs
Box 1 "Masters" circa 1976-1979 - course notes, writings and other material related to graduate work by Gulotta
Writings
Box 1 "Education Import for Design Export" Mar 1975 - reprint from Industrial Design
Box 1 "Industrial Design Education: A Proposal" Oct 1983 - unpublished manuscript
Box 1 Notebook undated
Box 1 "Steady-State and Industrial Design Education" Oct 1983 - unpublished manuscript
Box 1 Yixing Teapot book circa 1987 - unpublished manuscript with sketches
Faculty papers 1952-1982
Box 1 China lectures 1982 - slides, photos (xerox copies) and Hunan University information packet
Box 1 Course materials (Pratt Institute) - lectures, notes, class plans, teaching material
Industrial Design Workshop (Portugal) 1974
Box 2 Proposal and program descriptions
Box 2 Photos (xerox copies), article and promotional material
Box 2 Pratt Industrial Design - program booklet
Student projects (Pratt Institute)
Box 2 Chess, probability, space 1952-1975 - photos (xerox copies)
Box 2 Environmental design, form study, sculptural seating, ceramics 1955-1982 - photos (xerox copies)
Box 2 Furniture designs 1956-1957 - photos (black and white) and color slides
Box 2 Playground design 1960-1970 - photos (black and white) of class presentations, models and site photos (includes photos of Gulotta)
Box 2 Prototypes 1976-1979 - photos (xerox copies)
Box 2 Teapots as self-portraits 1959, 1976 - booklet, color slides, photos (black and white), photos (xerox copies)
University of Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico) 1976-1979
Box 2 Proposal, program descriptions and notes
Box 2 Photos (xerox copies)
Office records
Portfolios
Box 3 Presentation portfolio 1955-2001
Box 3 Portfolio 01: porcelain, ceramics, glass 1955-2001
Box 3 Portfolio 02: ads, brochures, reprints 1965-2008
Box 3 Portfolio 03: flatware and sterling silver 1952-2008
Box 3 Miscellaneous designs and early works, museum collections and photos of showroom 1942-circa 2005
Box 3 Plaster models 1950 - bowls, ashtrays and salad server
Box 3 Miscellaneous designs 1957-1962 - furniture, outdoor structures, fiberglass bathroom and exhibit designs
Box 3 Prestigio, Watercolors and various crystal/glassware 1975-1995
Box 3 Impressions (Royal Doulton) 1980
Box 3 Miscellaneous designs circa 1990-2005
Box 3 Flatware 2007
Published material 1960-circa 1996
Newspaper and magazine clippings, promotional brochures and other published materials related to dinnerware, glassware, lead crystal and flatware design lines, including the following named lines: Atlantis crystal (various), Cathay, Chromatics, Creation, España, Hearthstone, Impressions, International Design Competition for Sterling Silver Flatware, Iona, Limoges, Oval, Quartet, Sextet, Steuben glass designs (various), Transition, Up-Beat, Variance, Watercolors.
Box 4 Small format
Oversize 1 Large format
Project records for design projects 1950-2008
The bulk of the design project materials are not labeled or dated. Materials have been inventoried generically according to type. Explicit indication of specific design lines has been recorded in the inventory, where relevant, but these listings are not exhaustive of the material.
Drawings 1959-2008
Box 5 Sketchbooks 1984-2007 - original design development sketches (volumes)
Ceramics
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings, including designs for ceramic planters, cookware, servingware, ashtrays, fondue pots
Oversize 2 Drawings
Coffee pots, teapots, tea sets and pitchers 1966-2008
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings, including materials related to the following design lines: Chromatics, España, Hearthstone, Quadrille, Harmony, Serena, Tienshan designs, Yixing teapots.
Box 6 Drawings
Oversize 3 Drawings
Oversize 4 Drawings
Cookware 1959-1987
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings for a variety of covered casseroles, saucepans, skillets, etc. Includes materials related to the following design lines: Corning designs, Harmony, Hearthstone and Englishtown.
Box 6 Drawings
Oversize 5 Drawings
Dinnerware 1968-2006
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings, including materials related to the following design lines: 26th Street, Chromatics, Porto (Hearthstone).
Box 6 Drawings
Flatware 1960-2004
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings including materials related to the following design lines: Cathay, Chromatics, España, Hearthstone, International Design Competition Flatware, Transition, Venus (Dansk), Viners International Tableware Design Competition.
Box 6 Drawings
Oversize 2 "Original design drawings of knife, fork, and 5 piece place setting sent to Dallas" 4 Oct 2004
Furniture
Design development drawings and presentation drawings related to chair designs (1979-1982), a garden cart, infant bed, and various tables and chairs
Oversize 2 Drawings
Glass and crystal 1980-2005
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings for a variety of glassware, stemware, vases, bowls, candle holders, pitchers and sculptural forms. Includes materials related to the following design lines: Atlantis designs (1982-1999), including Centrifugal, Sonnet, Orbis and Polus; and Steuben designs (2001-2005), including Classic, Estate, Magnus, Petal and Tulip.
Box 6 Drawings
Oversize 6 Drawings
Oversize 7 Drawings
Oversize 8 Drawings
Porcelain 1970-2000
Design development drawings, working drawings and presentation drawings for porcelain vases, bowls, candle holders, covered boxes, serving trays and salt and pepper shakers. Includes materials related to the following design lines: Santa Fe (Tienshan), Floris (Tienshan), Block candle holders.
Oversize 2 Drawings
Miscellaneous design development materials
Oversize 2 Color and pattern studies
Photographs 1950-1985
Oversize 9 Assorted cordials, glassware and stemware 1970-1975 - black and white and color photos (5)
Oversize 9 Ceramica São Bernardo bowls and vases circa 1984 - board mounted presentation photos (5)
Oversize 9 Dinnerware 1955-1989 - black and white photos (10)
Oversize 9 Dinnerware, teapots, giftware, glassware, lead crystal, flatware 1966-1985 - board mounted presentation photos (black and white and color) with captions on verso (17)
Oversize 9 Eros flatware - black and white photos (2)
Oversize 9 España dinnerware 1965 - black and white photos (2)
Oversize 9 Hearthstone dinnerware 1968 - black and white photos (2)
Oversize 9 International Design Competition Flatware 1960 - color photos (7)
Oversize 9 Lead crystal (Atlantis and Steuben) 1997-2005 - color photos (7)
Oversize 9 Miscellaneous photos - black and white photos (5)
Oversize 9 Plaster models: - black and white photos; nesting bowls, pitchers, spoons, ashtrays (21)
Oversize 9 Rondure flatware - color photos (2)
Oversize 9 Towle Silversmiths tea set, pitchers, bowls and flatware (sterling silver) 1952 - color photos (4)
Oversize 9 Towle Silversmiths tea set, pitchers, bowls and flatware (sterling silver) 1950 - board mounted black and white presentation photos (8)
Oversize 9 Transition dinnerware 1967 - black and white photos (5)
Oversize 9 Viners International Tableware Design Competition Flatware 1962 - color photos (11)
Memorabilia
Box 7 CHIN UP newsletters 1942-1943 (8 folders)

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