Fred A. Mayer Silhouette Collection, ca. 1923 – ca. 1946

Extent: 84 items
Artist Friedrike Mayer was born in Germany on April 4, 1904. At the age of nineteen, he emigrated to New York, arriving on April 22, 1923.  While few resources exist concerning Mayer’s biographical history, evidence of his success as a visual artist can be found in the publication and exhibition history of his work.  The height of Mayer’s creative output was during the 1930s and 1940s. His work was displayed at two branches of the New York Public Library and the advertising offices of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn.  He contributed the illustrations for a 1933 edition of Emile Zola’s Nana and a 1937 edition of Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  His silhouette illustrations accompanied New York Times theater reviews, and the newspaper frequently noted Mayer in their listing of current art shows.  Mayer’s silhouettes also appeared in the New York Herald Tribune and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Scope and Content
The collection contains 84 of Mayer’s cut-paper silhouettes that depict scenes and characters from various theater productions, dating primarily from the 1930s and 1940s.  At least one silhouette present in the collection (75.136.70) was published to accompany a New York Times theater review.

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