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Jean Liberte Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: BLE
Date: Feb 1971

Biographical History

Jean Liberté (1896-1965) was an Italian-American artist. Born in Italy, Liberté emigrated to the United States in 1900 and became a citizen in 1932. He received his art education at Cooper Union and studied under Arthur Crisp, David Karfunkle, and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League in New York City. Liberté also attended the National Academy of Design and the Beaux-Arts Institute for a short time. From 1946 until his death, Liberté taught painting at the Art Students League and casein painting at the North Shore (New York) Community Center Art School; he was also visiting lecturer for the Great Neck (New York) Art Association, Scarsdale Art Center, and the Roslyn (New York) Art Center.

Liberté exhibited in many one-man shows and shows with others throughout the world, and his work is represented in the permanent collections of many important galleries. He received numerous awards as a recognized authority on the technical aspects of casein painting and commendations for his experiments in gouache.

Liberté was married to the former Ruth Rita Kagan, a fellow artist. They had no children.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jean Liberté Papers are divided into correspondence-subject files, artwork reproductions, and memorabilia. The bulk of the material in the latter two categories is not dated.

Correspondence-subject files covers 1924-1971, with emphasis on 1933-1935, and includes both incoming and outgoing letters. Significant correspondents include artists with whom he collaborated at Yaddo and at the Art Students League and his wife, artist Ruth Rita Kagan (letters dated from 1924 to 1943).

Material in Artwork reproductions is entirely undated, and includes photographs of Liberté's paintings plus two reproductions of artwork by Ruth Rita Kagan Liberté.

Memorabilia includes awards, clippings, photographs (including three studies of Martha Graham by Soichi Sunami), printed material and a poster for an exhibit of the sculpture of Samuel Adler.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence-subject files are arranged alphabetically by name or subject. Artwork reproductions are arranged alphabetically by title or description with works by Jean Liberte first and Ruth Kagan Liberte second. Memorabilia is arranged alphabetically by type.


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.

Subject Headings


Becker, Maurice, 1889-1975.
Benno, Benjamin, 1901-1980.
DeMartini, Joseph, 1896-1984.
Edie, Stuart, 1908-1974.
Foy, Hans.
Hios, Theo, 1908-1999.
Liberte, Jean, 1896-1965.
Liberte, Ruth Kagan.
Smith, Jacob Getlar, 1898-1958.
Sunami, Soichi, 1885-1971.

Corporate Bodies

Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)
Butler Institute of American Art.
Columbia University.
National Academy of Design (U.S.)
Treasury Relief Art Project.
Yaddo (Artists' colony)


Art -- Political Aspects -- United States.
Art Schools -- United States.
Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Italian Americans.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Painting, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Programs (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jean Liberté Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. R. Liberte, 1970.

Table of Contents

Correspondence-subject files

Artwork reproductions