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Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArt-0069

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: circa 1965 - 1985


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical Information: Frans Wildenhain

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.


2 Linear Feet (2 boxes Box 1 contains sketchbooks, misc. guides, catalogs, clippings,etc. Box 2 contains 2 paintings and 105 slides.)




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.


The collection is arranged by material type.

Physical Location

C.S. North, Shelf 170

Other Finding Aids

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


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

Physical Description

Slides have some mold.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in March 2012.

Paul Rankin collection of Frans Wildenhain sketchbooks and slides
RIT Art Collection
Jody Sidlauskas
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA