Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Carlton Lake:

An Inventory of His Collection in the Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Lake, Carlton, 1915-2006
Title: Carlton Lake Art Collection
Inclusive Dates: circa 1670-1985 (bulk circa 1910-1935)
Extent: 41 boxes, 1 flat file drawer (1,113 items)
Abstract: The Carlton Lake Art Collection is comprised mainly of drawings on paper, plus some paintings and sculpture, by modern French artists, most of whom had some connection to the French literary scene. The works of Christian Bérard, Félix Hilaire Buhot, Jean Cocteau, Raoul Dufy, André Hellé, Jean Hugo, Valentine Hugo, Berthe Morisot, Armand Rassenfosse, Odilon Redon, Arthur Rimbaud, Sir Francis Rose, and Ivan Thiele dominate the collection. Other prominent artists represented include Bac, Berrichon, Bonnard, Calder, Cézanne, Cosway, Dumas fils, Ionesco, de Groux, Jacob, John, Marceau, Monnier, Picasso, Rodin, Stein, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Access:

Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.




Acquisition:

Purchase and gift, 1965-1998

Processed by:

Helen Young, 1998-1999

Repository:

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin


Carlton Lake (born 1915, Brockton, Massachusetts; died 2006, Austin, Texas) was the curator of the French Collection at the Harry RansomCenter. He was the Paris art critic for the Christian Science Monitor (1950-1965), as well as a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, and other periodicals. He is the author of In Quest of Dali, 1969; Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist, 1990; co-author (with Françoise Gilot, Picasso's ex-mistress) of Life with Picasso, 1964; editor of A Dictionary of Modern Painting, 1956; and has authored and co-authored other books.

Lake graduated from the Boston University College of Liberal Arts (1936), and Columbia University (M.A. in Italian, 1937). He did doctoral studies at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, as well as at the École du Louvre, the Sorbonne, and the Collège de France. He was also in the Marines during World War II.

Lake started collecting in 1936, and when he moved to France after World War II, his collecting advanced and broadened. He put together a major research collection by acquiring primary works, as well as the background material on the writers and their environment, which give context to those primary works. The entire Lake Collection at the Ransom Center (of which the Carlton Lake Art Collection is one part) includes manuscripts, books, music, and photography.

Carlton Lake curated the Ransom Center exhibitions Baudelaire to Beckett: A Century of French Art & Literature, 1976; and No Symbols Where None Intended (a Samuel Beckett exhibition), 1984. He co-curated an exhibition on Henri-Pierre Roché (the author of Jules et Jim) in 1991.

Lake was a full-time resident of Paris 1950-1975, and then divided his time between France and the U.S. 1976-1984. Before his position as curator of the French Collection, Lake served as a consultant to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center from 1969 to 1975.


Shavelson, Michael B. "Parisian Fields of Texas," Bostonia (Fall 1997).

Basbanes, Nicholas A. A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1996).


The Carlton Lake Art Collection is comprised mainly of works by modern French artists, circa 1772-1985 (bulk circa 1910-1935). Most of the works are on paper; there are a few paintings and sculptural works. Almost all of the artists had some connection to the French literary scene. The works are arranged alphabetically by artist, with a few exceptions.

Works by a few artists, including Christian Bérard, Félix Hilaire Buhot, Jean Cocteau, Raoul Dufy, André Hellé, Jean Hugo, Valentine Hugo, Berthe Morisot, Armand Rassenfosse, Odilon Redon, Arthur Rimbaud (as both artist and subject), Sir Francis Rose, and Ivan Thiele dominate the collection. In addition to these artists, other prominent artists whose works are present include Ferdinand Bac, Paterne Berrichon, Pierre Bonnard, Alexander Calder, Paul Cézanne, Richard Cosway, Alexandre Dumas fils, Euène Ionesco, Henri de Groux, Max Jacob, Augustus John, Marcel Marceau, Marie Monnier, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Leo Stein, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Cross references to artists are provided within the alphabetically arranged folder list for a few works that have been filed by subject, or to other artist attributions.

Works by Jean Cocteau make up nearly one-fourth of this collection, and are arranged in the following groups: Portraits (alphabetical by subject, followed by unidentified portrait subjects); Drawings for Theatrical Productions; Drawings for Publications; Drawings of Miscellaneous Subjects; and Drawings for Emblems and Devices for Les Editions de la Sirène.

Approximately 250 of the items in this collection originated from Jean Cocteau's personal collection (up to about 1935), which had originally been sold to Henri Lefebvre by Maurice Sachs and Robert delle Donne. The Cocteau materials include drawings by Cocteau: his illustrations for Les Enfants terribles, Les Parents terribles, and Orphée; sketches for his Le Potomak; a study for Honegger's opera, Antigone; designs for Satie's Parade; sketch for a design for a cover for Poulenc's Toréador (song with words by Cocteau); a group of sheets with samples of Cocteau's signature in various styles and imitations of the signatures of others, with obscene caricatures of political and society figures on the versos; sketchbooks; and Cocteau's drawings and sketches of Georges Auric, Léon Bakst, Barbette, André Beucler, Jacques-Emile Blanche, Berthe Bovy, Blaise Cendrars, Paul Delaroche, Jean Desbordes, Tony de Gandarillas, Valentine Hugo, Tamara Karsavina, Charlotte Lysès, Comtesse de Noailles, Marianne Oswald, Raymond Radiguet, Gérard Berthier de Savigny, and Erik Satie. The Cocteau materials also include works by Christian Bérard, Paul Delaroche, Raoul Dufy, Olavo d'Eça Leal, Serge Férat, Jean and Valentine Hugo, Roger de La Fresnaye, Marie Laurencin, Jean Oberlé, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Théodore Strawinsky, Léopold Survage, and Paulet Thévenaz. The artwork from Cocteau's collection can be identified in the folder list by accession numbers which are underlined. Further information about the Jean Cocteau collection can be found in Carlton Lake's Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist (1990).

The Carlton Lake Art Collection also encompasses a large group of art works from the collection of the painter and designer, Valentine (Gross) Hugo, who was married to Jean Hugo, and later AndréBreton's mistress. Valentine Hugo's collection includes many works by Jean Hugo and Jean Cocteau.

The Lake Collection includes a large number of portraits, mainly of authors and poets who were living in France, and other people who were connected to the French artistic scene of the early twentieth century. Portrait subjects include Guillaume Apollinaire, composer Georges Auric, Léon Paul Fargue, André Maurois, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Auguste Renoir, philologist and historian Ernest Renan, Gertrude Stein, and Paul Verlaine. There are also works that were created for various published works, including woodcuts by André Derain for Apollinaire's L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909); illustrations by Henri de Groux for Remy de Gourmont's Le Fantime and Histoires magiques; lithographs by Luc-Albert Moreau for Francis Carco's Tableau de l'amour vénal (1924); three linoleum blocks cut by Henri Matisse for a planned (but never published) edition of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, which was to have been designed and printed by Daragnès; drawings by Armand Rassenfosse for Claude Farrère's Shahra Sultane (1923); prints by Georges Rouault for his own Cirque de l'Étoile filante (1938), and for Vollard's Réincarnations du Pére Ubu (1932); and two drawings by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for his Le Petit Prince. This finding aid includes a subject index which lists the portrait subjects and names of associated works (published works, music compositions, theater productions, etc.) that have been identified in the Lake Collection.


The Carlton Lake Collection at the Ransom Center encompasses a large body of manuscripts and more than 5,000 volumes. There are also photographs in the Photography Collection's Carlton Lake Literary Files. Three gouache paintings by Jean Lurçat for Patrice de La Tour Du Pin's Bestiaire fabuleux (1950) have been transferred to the Carlton Lake Manuscript Collection.


Notes Concerning Arrangement and the Folder List

The works are housed in 35 medium size boxes, 3 oversize boxes, and 1 flat-file drawer, except for a few works which are in other locations (the French Curator's office, the vault, long term loan). The works in the first 7 boxes are arranged alphabetically by creator. Boxes 8-34 contain works by certain artists who are represented by a number of works in the Lake Collection (Bérard, Buhot, Cocteau, Dufy, J. Hugo, V. Hugo, Morisot, Redon, Rimbaud, Rose, Thiele). Works by unidentified artists are in Box 35. Oversize items were placed either in the 3 oversize boxes 36-38 or the flat-file as appropriate. The following folder list includes creators, titles of works, number of items, format, media, dimensions, and accession numbers.