Held, John, 1889-1958

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John Held, 1889-1958, was an illustrator, Westport, Conn. and Palm Beach, Fla. He was most famous for his Jazz Age era illustrations for the New Yorker. He also produced watercolor landscapes and sculpture. [Not to be confused with John Held, Jr., b. 1947, associated with Mail Art].

From the description of John Held, Jr. papers, 1917-1958. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122291275

Epithet: of Beeley, yeoman

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000700.0x00012b

John Held, Jr. (born 1947) of San Francisco, California, is a rubberstamp and artistamp artist, participant in the international mail art network, activist, performance artist, collector of mail art, and a fine arts librarian.

Jonathan Held was born on April 2, 1947. In the mid-1970s he took the name of the early twentieth century illustrator, John Held, Jr., famous for his images of "flapper girls" in the 1920s. This name change was both in tribute to the older artist as well as an expression of Dada.

Earning a Bachelor's Degree in 1969, Held received a Master of Library Science Degree from Syracuse University School of Information Studies in 1972 and expanded his interests toward participating in the international mail art network and assembling one of the largest archives of mail art in the United States. He was mentored by mail artist Ray Johnson, and Jean Brown, a leading participant in Fluxus, and whose interest in the Dada and Surrealism movements promoted emerging art forms including mail art, visual poetry, and artists' books.

From 1981 to 1995, Held was a Fine Arts Librarian at the Dallas Public Library. In 1982, he began making artistamps, pseudo-postage stamps used as an art medium, and opened the Modern Realism Gallery and Archive in Dallas, Texas, with his future wife Paula Barber. The gallery sought to preserve the record of contemporary avant-garde cultural activity.

Held published Mail Art: An Annotated Bibliography, a five-hundred page listing of secondary sources on the field, in 1991 and in 1996 Held moved to San Francisco, California, where he established the Modern Realism Gallery and acted as curator of the Stamp Art Gallery, an exhibition space devoted to rubberstamp and artistamp works.

John Held, Jr. has lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, and at the National School of Art, Prague. He participated in international exhibitions and, since 1986, engaged in international performance work, appearing in Japan, Russia, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia, as well as in the United States. One of Held's more notable performance creations is the Fake Picabia Brothers, in partnership with artist Picasso Gaglione.

John Held, Jr. lives in San Francisco, California.

From the guide to the John Held papers relating to Mail Art, 1973-2008, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Vanguard Press. Vanguard Press Records, ca. 1925-ca. 1985. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Grant British Library
creatorOf Held, John, 1889-1958. John Held, Jr. papers, 1917-1958. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Vanguard Press Records, ca.1925-ca.1985 Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Garrett Orr Papers, bulk, circa 1873-1994, 1890s-1914, 1935-1965 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf John Held papers relating to Mail Art, 1973-2008 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Munson, Larom B. Larom Munson papers and gallery records, 1952-1961. Archives of American Art
referencedIn J. Walter Thompson Company. Biographical Information, 1916-1998 (bulk 1960s-1980s) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Held, John, Jr. : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Held, John, 1889-1958. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Release British Library
referencedIn Alumni Association (University of Michigan), Individual Photographs, ca. 1880-ca. 1960s Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Held, John : Biographical file. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
creatorOf McFee, William, 1881-1966. Papers of William McFee [manuscript], 1916-1951. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Andre, Carl, 1935- person
associatedWith Blaster, Al person
associatedWith Bloch, Mark, 1956- person
associatedWith Braumuller, Hans, 1966- person
associatedWith Brown, Jean, 1911- person
associatedWith Cage, John, 1912-1992 person
associatedWith Cavellini, Guglielmo Achille, 1914- person
associatedWith Durland, Steve person
associatedWith Gaglione, Bill person
associatedWith Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994 person
associatedWith Higgins, Dick, 1938- person
associatedWith Janssen, Ruud, 1959- person
associatedWith Johnson, Ray, 1927- person
associatedWith J. Walter Thompson Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Kaprow, Allan person
associatedWith Knizák, Milan person
associatedWith McFee, William, 1881-1966. person
associatedWith Munson, Larom B. person
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith Orr, Garrett person
associatedWith Shimamoto, Shozo, 1928- person
associatedWith University of Michigan. Alumni Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Vanguard Press. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
le Greves, Derbyshire
Beley, Derbyshire
New York (State)--New York
Beley, Derbyshire
Mail art
Performance artists


Birth 1889-01-10

Death 1958-03-02



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