Benjamin de Brie Taylor papers, 1930-2003
Papers of Benjamin de Brie Taylor, artist and educator, including correspondence, personal records, professional files, and artwork. Personal correspondence includes letters from family and friends as well as business exchanges. Extensive correspondence with mother Gertrude de Brie and sister Alix contain substantial biographical and family information. Correspondence with mother and father over the 1940s could provide interesting perspectives on war time and postwar Europe- some with sketches or illustrations. Also of potential interest is Brie’s correspondence with John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight Eisenhower, and the rest of the family. A large number of postcards track Bries movements around Europe and acquaintances abroad, though dating is spotty. Note that many letters still have original envelops with postmarks and stamps. Little of the correspondence from Brie to others is included. Personal files mainly contain information on professional activities, including notes on teaching classes, receipts and correspondence concerning Brie’s artwork, exhibits, and files from educational positions. Some limited materials from high school and college years- mainly academic work. One file of military records. Also included are an assortment of diaries and planners: weekly planners, which are sparsely noted, grade books, which include notes on grades and student assignments, and personal diaries from the 1940s- 2000s. A series of personal journals were numbered, presumably by Brie, these have been left in that order, which is not exactly chronological. Files also include Brie’s writing projects, the bulk of which are related to the unpublished work based on his experiences in World War II titled “Follow Me” the full manuscript of this is also included, but includes some copyright restrictions on reproduction. Some other photographs and commendations from military services as well. Sketchpads include 66 sketchpads ranging from 4” x 6” to 24” x 36” in size, though most are 18” x 24”. Sketchbooks contain a range of subjects and mediums, and are mostly unlabeled and undated. A large collection of unframed artworks are arranged loosely by subject or medium. Most of the unframed artwork is wrapped in plastic and labeled with title, date, and dimensions. Framed artwork includes a mix of painting, figure drawing, silkscreen, water colors, and some sculpture- all have titles and dates attached.
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1930-2003
- de Brie Taylor, Benjamin, 1923-2013 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research use. Viewing artwork may require advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
Manscuript of "Follow Me" cannot be reproduced with permission from copyright holder, Celine Hubler.
32 Boxes (20 hollinger boxes, 12 oversize boxes)
49 Item (Framed paintings and sculptures )
Biographical / Historical
Benjamin de Brie Taylor, “Brie,” was born in Paris in 1923 as a dual American and French citizen. His father, William Nicholson Taylor (1882- 1945), was a notable American architect and painter who worked throughout Europe. William married Gertrude Christine de Brie in 1919 and moved to Paris shortly after where Brie and his two sisters, Constance Alix Taylor (1921-xxxx) and Marie “Mimi” Celine Taylor (1925-xxxx) were born. Brie maintained relationships with European family and friends throughout his life. The Taylor family returned to the United States in 1936 when war broke out in Europe. Brie finished his education at the Andrews School and Kent School before beginning undergraduate studies at Harvard in 1941, following his father and grandfather. Following the U.S. entry into WWII Taylor took a leave to serve in the U.S. Army in 1943. After training at Ft. Bragg and Ft. Knox, Taylor served in the European theater, where he saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded two Bronze Stars and rose to the rank of Captain. His father, who had previously served in the U.S. Army during WWI also served in the Office of the Inspector General during WWII. Upon returning to the U.S. Brie resumed study at Harvard, and graduated in 1947. He spent time after graduating writing a book about his wartime experiences, but despite discussions with publishers the text was never published. He made use of GI Bill funds to study at the Art Students League in New York, graduating in 1955 and spent the rest of the 50s and 60s developing his own artwork while picking up sporadic jobs- including as a guide on a cruise line. While living in New York, he summered in Rhode Island and at Nantucket and maintained family connections to many of New York’s well known families. His artwork in this period was most closely affiliated with the New York School, a group of artists exploring Abstract Expressionism. In New York, he enjoyed socializing with the vibrant arts community of the time, including Andy Warhol and gallery owner Betty Parsons. According to biographical notes from his niece, Brie enjoyed the open-minded art scene, though he struggled throughout his life to square his sexuality with “his upper class upbringing, his father’s expectations to live up to being solider, even the expectations in academia and society not to be conceived as soft.” Brie exhibited his own paintings at the Corcoran Gallery, the Avant Garde Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art of Miami and among other galleries. “Design Lessons from Nature,” an exhibit and book developed with one of his classes at Pratt Institute enjoyed several exhibitions at both the Miami Museum of Modern Art and New York Museum of Natural History. In the 1960s, Taylor turned his focus to art education. From 1960 to 1968 he taught Painting, Drawing, Art History, and related courses at the Pratt Institute, Philadelphia College of Art and Parsons School of Design in New York before moving on to serve as the Dean of the Herron School of Art at Indiana University from 1970 to 1973 and the Director of the Institute of Design at IIT from 1973 to 1975. Although he stepped down from the Director position in 1975, he remained on the Institute of Design faculty until 1987, when he retired and was named Professor Emeritus. Upon retiring, he returned to live in Green Hill, Rhode Island where he remained highly involved in the South County Art Association and taught periodically at the University of Rhode Island. He passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013. Brie never married and had no children, but left several nieces and nephews.
Series I: Correspondence Series II: Personal Records Subseries 1: Personal Files Subseries 2: Numbered Journals Subseries 3: Nonacademic Writing Series III: Professional Records Subseries 1: Office Files Subseries 2: Artwork and Articles Subseries 3: Class Records and Grade Books Serives IV: Sketchbooks Series V: Unframed Artwork Subseries 1: Circle Compositions Subseries 2: Studies Subseries 3: Abstracts and watercolors Subseries 4: Animals and figure drawings Subseries 5: Other Series VI: Framed artwork Subseries 1: Oil paintings Subseries 2: Painting and sketches Subseries 3: Figure drawings Subseries 4: Silkscreen and acrylic prints Subseries 5: Etchings Subseries 6: Water color Subseries 7: Sculpture and 3-D work
Material were donated by UASC by Taylor's niece, Celine Hubler.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Celine de Brie Hubler (niece of Brie Taylor)
- de Brie Taylor, Benjamin, 1923-2013 (Person)
- Illinois Institute of Technology. Institute of Design (Organization)