Alfred Werner Papers, 1903-1979
- Werner, Alfred, 1911-1979
- The Alfred Werner Papers contain typescripts of his writings on artists and art topics, as well as a small amount of correspondence, student papers, notes and research materials used for his writing. Werner’s main focus was on Jewish art and artists.
- 23 cubic ft.
- English and English German French Hebrew Spanish
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Alfred Werner Papers, 1903-1979. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Werner Papers).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The Alfred Werner Papers is divided into eight series and contains typescripts of his writings on artists and art topics, as well as a small amount of correspondence, student papers, notes and research materials used for his writing. Werner’s main focus was on Jewish art and artists. Included in the collection are: typescripts and research materials for his monographs, essayistic writings and reviews; a small amount of correspondence with famous artists, including Achiam, Abdullah Alkara, Mordecai Ardon, Otto Bihalj-Merion, Marc Chagall, Isac Friedlander, Erich Heckel, Marcel Janco, Benjamin Kopman, Alfred Rubens, Michael Schreck, Ben Shahn, and Anna Ticho; as well as copious research notes and supporting materials.
- Biographical / Historical:
Alfred Werner was born Alfred Weintraub on March 30, 1911. Both his mother, Frederika (née Silberstein) and father, Ignatz Weintraub, were born in the former Polish city of Lwow (Lemberg), but relocated to Vienna in 1898, where Ignatz studied law at the University of Vienna, and where both Alfred and his brother Edward (1914) were born. Both sons followed their father in the study of law, although Alfred was encouraged early by his teachers to study philology.
Werner studied law at the University of Vienna from 1929 to 1934, but also took courses in German literature, philology, pedagogy, history and geography, with aspirations of a teaching career. After his graduation from the University, he continued his literary pursuits, writing for the Jewish publication Die Stimme and Gerechtigkeit and publishing a volume of his poetry under the title Gebet aus der Tiefe in 1936. During this time, he also lectured at the extension division of the University of Vienna and acted as literary director of the Jüdische Kulturstelle in Vienna. His career was cut short when he was arrested in 1938 and sent to the concentration camp Dachau, where he spent nearly a year, until he was allowed to immigrate to England in 1939. During the summer of 1940, Werner was again briefly interned, this time in the Kitchener Camp near Sandwich, England, awaiting a U.S. visa. Werner wrote articles for the camp publication, The Kitchener Review, and continued to write poetry describing his experiences of exile and internment.
In 1940, Werner arrived in New York City, spent a year mastering his English language skills, and by 1941 was free-lance writing articles and reviews for the New York Times, Kenyon Review, Commentary and Arts Magazine. He became an editor for the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia in 1941 and continued until 1945. During the late 1940s, Werner continued to pursue his free-lance career and also held editorial positions on the Chicago Jewish Forum and later Survey Reports.
Werner spent the years from 1949 to 1952 absorbed in the study of art history at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, the beginning of his career as an art historian and serious art critic. From 1953 until his death in 1979, Werner published no less than 20 monographs on such artists as Ernst Barlach, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, Moses Soyer and Max Weber, as well as over 2000 articles and reviews on artists and art topics, including his regular monthly article series, “Views and Visions”, for the magazine Art Voices.
Werner was married three times, but had no children. His first wife, Gertrude "Trudy", a psychoanalyst, emigrated with Werner to the United States in 1940, but died shortly thereafter. Werner married his second wife, Judith, in 1953, who died in the late 1960s. He was married to his third wife, Lisa, from 1975 until his death on July 14, 1979.
1911 Born March 30 in Vienna, Austria to Frederika (b. Silberstein) and Ignatz Weintraub. 1914 Birth of brother, Edward. 1918-1929 Attended elementary and secondary schools in Vienna; graduated Spring 1929. 1929-1934 Studied law at the University of Vienna; graduated with degree of Dr. jur. 1935-1936 Worked for the publications Die Stimme and Gerechtigkeit (Vienna). 1935-1938 Lectured at extension division of University of Vienna. 1936-1938 Literary director of Jüdische Kulturstelle in Vienna. 1938-1939 Interned in Dachau concentration camp. 1939 Emigrated to England. 1940 Summer, interned in Kitchener Camp near Sandwich, England; wrote articles for the Kitchener Camp Review. 1940 Emigrated to the United States. 1941-1945 Editor, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia; also wrote articles for the New York Times, the Kenyon Review, Commentary and Arts Magazine. 1941-1945 Short association with the Office of War Information (OWI). 1943-1960 Associate editor, Chicago Jewish Forum. 1945 Became naturalized U.S. citizen. 1946-1950 Consultant for the Office of Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Congress; consultant for Survey Reports. 1948-1949 Editor of Little Book Art Series. 1949-1952 Student of fine arts at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. 1953 Editor of Survey Reports; married second wife, Judith Mayer. 1955-1958 Lecturer in the school of General Studies at City College and Wagner College, CUNY. 1956-1978 Art Consultant for the Theodor Herzl Institute, New York City. 1967 Awarded prof. honoris causa by the Austrian Ministry of Education. 1975 Married Lisa Tramm in March. 1979 Died on July 14 in New York City.
- Acquisition information:
The Alfred Werner Papers were donated to the University Libraries of the State University of New York by his widow, Lisa Werner, on November 2, 1981.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2011 by Sandra Hunt Hawrylchak.
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees.
Art Historians--United States.
World War, 1939-1945--Poetry.
Reviews (document genre)
- Werner, Alfred, 1911-1979
Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985
Barlach, Ernst, 1870-1938
Modigliani, Amedeo, 1884-1920
Pascin, Jules, 1885-1930
Soutine, Chaim, 1893-1943
Soyer, Moses, 1899-1974
- New York (N.Y.)