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Notebooks

Notebooks document Munn’s student life in New York City and at the Art Students League Summer School in Woodstock. She recorded her lecture notes, essays containing reviews and summaries of books read, notations regarding books of interest, sketches, anatomical drawings, copies of historical works of art, poems, and occasionally ephemera. Under the tutelage of her teachers at the Art Students League – Andrew Dasburg, Max Weber, A.S. Baylinson, Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Henry L. McFee, she embraced modernism and gained exposure to literary, artistic and musical influences of her day. The notebooks show her to be an avid reader with a keen interest in the intellectual life of her time and in the artistic expression of other cultures and epochs. There is a particular delight in pattern and an underlying search for explanation and order. On the front pastedown of Notebook No. 8 she wrote, “Perfect beauty is the expression of perfect order, balance, harmony, rhythm. Beauty is a supreme instance of order intuitively felt, instinctively appreciated”. The notebooks are undated, with the exception of No. 5.

Munn, Kathleen Jean, 1887-1974

Notebook No. 3

Notebook with paper covered boards, cloth backstrip, disbound. Two New York addresses are written down in the first few pages, one at 215 West 57th Street, the other at 161 East 63rd Street. This notebook is more casual and fragmentary, containing notes that may have been taken at lectures and are interspersed with rough drawings in pencil. There are a number of loose pages inserted, and an envelope with stamps dated 1915. The notes are a mixture of art-related topics (specific artists suggest an art history class: Titian, El Greco, etc.), and scraps of poetry, a number of these on the subject of love.

Notebook 9

Notebook is bound in grey marbled paper covered boards with black cloth backstrip and attached label with hand-written notation:’ Kathleen J. Munn/Art Students League/57 St./ near B.W.’ The binding is shaken but intact and the sheets are unlined. A number of books are listed and the latest publication date found is 1917 (Joseph Conrad’s The shadow line). The notebook appears to consist mainly of anatomical studies and lecture notes, with 3 leaves removed and 2 partially removed. Rough sketches accompany the notes. The notebook is likely for the academic year 1918-1919

Life drawings: charcoal

File contains drawings in charcoal on paper of figures that appear to have been executed in a life drawing class.

Figure drawings: Cubism (2)

File contains drawings in pencil and red pencil on heavy paper containing figures and copies from the antique, with geometrical structures overlaid.

Study notes on the human figure (2)

File contains pencil drawings on oiled tracing paper with detailed drawings and notes on various parts of the human figure, including the bodies and faces of children.

Stencil designs

27 designs in pencil on paper and 1 stencil cut in heavy paper. The designs include borders, corner designs, book covers, etc. The verso of one sheet contains the first page of an undated draft letter in Kathleen Munn’s hand to her mother evidently en route to Buffalo and Boston in which she mentions a visit to Elbert Hubbard’s studio in East Aurora NY, and a scheme to make money.

Drawings for "The Passion"

Series contains preparatory pencil drawings for ‘The Passion’ series. Munn commonly used both sides of her sheets of paper and the numbers given are for the number of pages. Some contain a brief notation or number. She apparently combined and rearranged the small drawings; some are pasted composites, and others contain pin-holes. Most sheets contain a single figure with variations in stance, usually involving points or dots, suggesting that she was using an angle to work out geometrical structure. The sheer quantity indicates the extraordinary effort involved in the creation of her final drawings. Series also contains 1 ink and brush drawing, and one charcoal drawing. None are dated.

Munn, Kathleen Jean, 1887-1974

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