John DePol Research Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection, donated to the Whitney by Mr. DePol, includes correspondence, several original prints, keepsakes that include prints, holiday cards, exhibition catalogs and documentation, and press clippings. Correspondence with Whitney Museum staff members includes references to the donations that form this collection. Much of the material was organized into folders by Mr. De Pol, with typed labels explaining their contents. For the most part, this organization has been maintained; where items were moved, a notation has been made on the folder. See series description below for more detailed information on the contents of this collection.
- 1953-2004 [bulk 1997-2004]
- DePol, John (Person)
Biographical / Historical
John DePol (1913-2004), artist and wood engraver, is considered to be one of the great exemplars in the field of wood engraving, having produced thousands of images for commercial graphic design and for private presses and fine printers.
Born in Greenwich Village, New York City, in 1913, DePol left school at age thirteen to help support the family, and worked as a statistical clerk and securities runner on Wall Street. An ardent interest in art led him to make drawings of sights he saw around the city, and study art in library books. He also took night classes in lithography at the Art Students League. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Air Corps, and while on duty in Northern Ireland, he continued his lithography studies at the College of Art in Belfast. During this time he also sketched the sights and scenes of Ireland, images that would later form the basis for many prints and book illustrations, including his own Ireland Remembered: A GI’s Recollection (1982).
After the war, DePol began a career as a graphic designer, working as a production assistant for the L.F. White Company, a commercial printing firm. He began doing wood engraving in 1947. He continued to work for a number of commercial publishing companies, and also received independent commissions illustrating private-press booklets, separate prints, broadsides, and limited edition books. After his retirement from commercial illustration in 1978, DePol remained active illustrating private press books, producing individual prints, and teaching wood engraving in workshops at Farleigh Dickinson University.
He received many honors for his work including election as a National Academician by the National Academy of Design and Laureate, New York Printers Wall of Fame. John DePol died in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, on December 15, 2004.
Language of Materials
This collection consists of material sent to Whitney Museum print department staff members by wood engraver John DePol during the years 1997, 1998 and 2004. It includes samples of DePol’s work, as well as documentation about his career.
This collection is organized into eight series:
Series I: Correspondence with Whitney Museum staff, 1997-2004
- Arranged chronologically
Series II: Original prints and related documentation, 1945-1998
Arranged alphabetically by work title
Series III: Holiday cards, 1938-1947
Series IV: Keepsakes, 1961-1994
Series V: Talks by DePoL, 1979-1982
Series VI: Exhibition catalogs and documentation, 1945-1998
Series VII: Press clippings and reproduction of DePol images, circa 1940s-2004
Series VIII: Whitney Museum of American Art Cataloging Information, 1997-2005
This collection was kept in the print department offices before coming to the Whitney Museum Archives. It was arranged there, more or less, in the series presented here.
A listing of the material in this collection was prepared; see Series 8, Whitney Museum of American Art cataloging information.
- Finding aid compiled in 2004 by Whitney Museum archivists. Updated information was added in 2019 by Mariana Lopez de Castilla.
- Language of description
- Script of description
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