Collection ID: M.40

Collection context


1927-1981 and undated
The Phillip Kappel Papers contains various correspondence and artwork files documenting Kappel's career. The collection was donated by Elton Hall, who was a museum curator and close friend to Kappel and later head of the Kappel estate. Some of the correspondence includes letters to Phillip Kappel from various colleagues regarding his artwork and letters between Elton Hall and Phillip Kappel. Also, included are re-prints of Kappel's work, various photos of his art work, and exhibit announcements. The collection also contains many photographs of Kappel and his wife, as well as photographs of their home in New Milford, Connecticut. Lastly, the collection includes files from the Kappel estate.
2 Linear Feet and 1 records center carton, 2 flat boxes
English .


Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The Phillip Kappel Papers contains documents from 1927-1981 and undated. The Phillip Kappel Papers is largely composed of various correspondence and includes photographs of Kappel's artwork. The collection is divided into three series. The Biographical Files contains newspaper clippings, photographs of Kappel, correspondence and awards won by Kappel. The Artist Files contain photographs of Kappel's work, exhibit announcements, and index card artist files. The Estate Files contain Kappel's will, correspondence between Phillip Kappel and Elton Hall, as well as correspondence from Elton Hall as the head of the Kappel estate.

Biographical / Historical:

Phillip Kappel was a printmaker whose work focused on marine life and Asia.

Phillip Kappel was born on February 10, 1901, in Hartford, Connecticut. As a child he was introduced to art through visits to the Wadsworth Museum and a local print shop. His father dissuaded him from perusing an artistic career out of fear that he would not become financially successful. To try and convince Phillip not to become a painter his father had him meet with one of his artist friends. This meeting only strengthened Phillips's love for art and eventually gained his father's approval of his career. In high school Phillip worked as a staff artist for the Hartford Courant. This job earned him a scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he studied art.

While Kappel was in college he spent his summer teaching art in Boothbay Harbour, Maine. It was there that Phillip Little, an artist from Salem Massachusetts noticed Kappel's work. Little was so impressed that he gave Kappel access to his studio near Derby Wharf in Salem. It was here that he developed his artistic specialties - marine life and Asia.

Kappel spent many years traveling. He sailed to Haiti and spent a year in the West Indies and Columbia. He made six voyages around the world in a steamboat. On these trips Kappel would produce dry point etchings of passing ships. Upon returning home from Sea Kappel moved to New York City and began his life as an etcher in the city.

His etchings have appeared in numerous major collections of graphic arts from the Bibliotheque in Paris to the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Congressional Library in Washington, and many others including permanent collections of Yale University in New Haven, Wesleyan in Middletown, and the Museum of Art in Meriden.

He was a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers, Philidelphia Society of Etchers, Society of American Etchers, The Propeller Club United States, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Salmagundi Club, and numerous other societies.

In the mid 1930's Kappel moved out of New York City to New Milford, Connecticut with his wife Teresa Pentz.

In 1950 Kappel began publishing books. His first was "Louisiana Gallery," followed by "Jamaica Gallery" in 1962, and lastly "New England Gallery" in 1966.

Kappel helped found and was President of the Washington Art Association. In 1966 Governor Dempsey appointed him to the Connecticut Commision of the Arts. In that same year he was awarded an honorary Degree of Fine Arts from Trinity College. This award was not only for his contributions to printmaking, but because of his service to museums and schools to cultivate the artistic interest and ability of young men and women.

Kappel died in 1981. His estate was overseen by Elton Hall, longtime friend of Kappel and museum curator.

Custodial history:

The collection was donated by Elton Hall.


63 Prospect St
Waterbury, CT, USA
(203) 753-0381