Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides

RIT Art Collection

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for Frans Wildenhain
Scope and Content
Additional Finding Aids
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Paul Rankin collection of  Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides
Rankin, Paul
Inclusive Date(s)
circa 1965 - 1985
The Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides contains four books of sketches done by Mr. Wildenhain in the 1970's, approximately 154 slides of his sculptures, pots, and murals, several books and publications relating to the Bauhaus in Germany, Marguerite Wildenhain, and crafts, some in German.
2.0 Linear feet (2 boxes Box 1 contains sketchbooks, misc. guides, catalogs, clippings,etc. Box 2 contains 2 paintings and 105 slides.)
General Physical Description note
Slides have some mold.
C.S. N. Shelf 170
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Biographical Information for Frans Wildenhain (Collapse)

German born potter Frans Wildenhain (1905-1980) joined the faculty at the School for American Crafts in 1950 where, along with Hobart Cowles, he helped create the legendary ceramics program. Wildenhain was trained at the Bauhaus with such giants as Josef Albers, Paul Klee, and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. In addition to more traditional forms of pottery, Wildenhain created large ceramic murals for display in public spaces, such as the wall in the lobby of RIT’s Ingle Auditorium and a ceramic mosaic mural for the R.J. Strasenburgh laboratory in Henrietta, New York.

Wildenhain's work is held by numerous galleries, including the Stedelijk Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the Art Institute of Chicago. However, the largest collection of Wildenhain work is held by RIT.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides includes four sketchbooks dated 1973-1976, and 1979 that contain pencil drawings and some notes in German. Some of the sketches are identified by names, dates, or places. There are also pages of personal journal entries of Frans' daily life. Slides include some of Mr. Wildenhain's ceramic work, specifically his murals from the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland and a mosaic in Overlook Hospital. Other slides are of ceramic pots and sculptures. Most are dated between the late 1950s and early 1960s. Miscellaneous materials include a book about the Bauhaus in Germany, a book titled Pottery Form and Expression by  Marguerite Wildenhain, and multiple exhibit catalogs, including the works of  Gerhard Marcks, one of Frans' mentors.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection is arranged by material type.

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Additional Finding Aids (Collapse)

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Rankin, Paul
  • Marcks, Gerhard
  • Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-
  • Wildenhain, Marguerite

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology. School for American Crafts.


  • Ceramicists


  • Arts and crafts movement -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Ceramics -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- 20th century
  • Crafts (art genres)


  • Books
  • Murals (any medium)
  • Sketchbooks
  • Sketches
  • Slides (photographs)

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Accession Information

The collection was donated to the RIT Archive Collections by Paul Rankin. Accession number(s): 2012:007

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in March 2012.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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Bibliography (Collapse)

Bruce Austin. Frans Wildenhain, 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century. Rochester, NY: Printing Applications Laboratory, 2012.

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