NY Public Library for the Performing Arts Acquires New Collection of Tony Winner Jo Mielziner's Designs
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has acquired Jules Fisher's personal collection of scenic renderings by Jo Mielziner, making the biggest private collection of the theatrical designer's work available to the public for the first time. The Jules Fisher Collection of Jo Mielziner Designs significantly expands and enhances the current holdings of Mielziner materials within the Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division, creating one of the largest and most robust archives of the artist's work anywhere.
Tony Award-winning lighting designer Jules Fisher assembled his extensive collection, which includes more than 150 scenic renderings and designs spanning the entirety of Mielziner's historic career, over decades from various sources. The Jules Fisher Collection of Jo Mielziner Designs features examples from every phase in Mielziner's designing process: from rough initial outlines and preliminary pencil sketches, to finished renderings and paint elevations. It also includes works in pencil, pastel, pen and ink, charcoal, color gouache, watercolor and airbrush, showcasing Mielziner's mastery of multiple rendering techniques.
The Jules Fisher Collection of Jo Mielziner Designs documents the prolific and influential theatrical designer's historic career, and how Mielziner shaped performances with his scenic designs by collaborating with directors and aiding in their conceptualization of the show itself. Mielziner created the original set designs for iconic Broadway shows such as Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Most Happy Fella and Death of a Salesman, all of which are represented in The Jules Fisher Collection of Jo Mielziner Designs. Eighteen small renderings from the less commercially successful 1947 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro, directed by Agnes de Mille, offer rare images of the show's groundbreaking minimalist design. Renderings for The Red General (1929), and Yellow Jack and Emperor Jones (1934) illustrate a simplified expressionist technique and early examples of Mielziner's utilization of lighting effects, while renderings from his 1955 set for The Lark illustrate his innovative solution to complex staging requirements. Other highlights from the collection include costume designs for Pillar of Fire, Romeo and Juliet, and others showing Mielziner's collaborations with Robert Edmund Jones; and his venue designs for the AT&T Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, and the Arch Theatre.