Skip to main content

Pierre Restany letters and postcards

Identifier: MS-1010

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Content Description

This collection contains three letters, one greeting card, and twenty-nine postcards sent to French art critic and theorist Pierre Restany by his friends Roman Cieślewicz, Alina Szapocznikow, Szapocznikow's son Piotr Stanisławski, and other artists and friends identified only by first name (i.e., Gillo, Carole, Pea, Clara[?], Claire, Alex, Ursula, Teresa, Josefine). They were sent from various places in Europe, including Croatia (then Yugoslavia), France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland.


  • Creation: 1969 - 1977


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Pierre Restany, born in 1930 in Amélie-les-Bains, France, was a French art critic known for co-founding the neo-Dadaist Nouveau Réalisme artistic movement with Yves Klein in 1960. He began writing for the Italian art and architecture magazine Domus in 1963, helped found the Domus Academy in Milan in 1984, and edited the Italian contemporary arts and culture magazine D’Ars beginning in 1985. His writing includes monographs on the artists César and Yves Klein, and artistic theory on Nouveau Réalisme, marginal cultures, ecology in art, and technological humanism. He often organized large international art exhibitions. He died in 2003 in Paris, France.


1. Bourriaud, Nicolas. “Pierre Restany.” Artforum, September 26, 2023.

2. Chilvers, Ian, and John Glaves-Smith. "Restany, Pierre." In A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art. : Oxford University Press, 2009.

3. Johnson, Ken. “Pierre Restany, 72, Formulator of ‘new Realism’ School in Art.” The New York Times, June 5, 2003.

Biographical / Historical

Roman Cieślewicz, born in 1930 in Lviv, was a Polish poster artist who co-founded the Polish poster school, whose aesthetics are characterized by simplicity and clarity, poetic metaphor, and a variety of modes of expression. He studied at the School of Artistic Industry in Lviv, Krakow's Fine Arts Lycee, and the Poster Faculty of the Krakow Fine Arts Academy. He was the art director of Elle magazine from 1965-1969, and his work appeared in a variety of magazines, including Vogue and Opus International, film posters, exhibition catalogs for Paris Centre Pompidou, graphic design for the Galeries Lafayette and Musée Picasso, and graphic design for publishing houses such as Hachette. He died in Paris in 1996.

Sources: 1. Brukwicki, Jerzy. “Roman Cieślewicz.”, March 2, 2004.

2. Policht, Piotr. “Roman Cieślewicz.”, July 13, 2018.

Biographical / Historical

Alina Szapocznikow, born in 1926 in Kalisz, was a Polish sculptor and Holocaust survivor known for her work in the Nouveau Réalisme and Surrealist artistic movements. She studied sculpture at Otokar Velimsky's studio in Prague, the Academy of Art and Industry in Prague, and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Her art was characterized by abstractions of the human form and bodily deterioration, including a series she titled "Tumors." She was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1951 and breast cancer in 1968, and she died in 1973 of breast cancer.

Sources: 1. Kitowska-Łysiak, Małgorzata. “Alina Szapocznikow.”, March 4, 2021.

2. Rosenberg, Karen. “Body and Soul, From the Surrealistic to the Fetishistic.” The New York Times, October 11, 2012.

3. Traps, Yevgeniya. "Source of All Joy: On Alina Szapocznikow." The Paris Review, January 17, 2013.


0.24 Cubic Feet (1 legal half box)

Language of Materials




This collection contains letters and postcards sent to French art critic and theorist Pierre Restany by his friends Roman Cieślewicz, Alina Szapocznikow, Szapocznikow's son Piotr Stanisławski, and other artists and friends.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in January 2024 from Penka Rare Books.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in March 2024 by Jenelle Clark.

Guide to the Pierre Restany letters and postcards
Jenelle Clark
March 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA