Jules Fisher Collection of Jo Mielziner Designs
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 2017
Affairs of Anatole, Scene 1
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Client:New York Public Library Digital Collections
Project Category:Special Projects
Completion Year:2017
Location:New York, New York
In 2014, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 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 Billy Rose Theatre Division, creating one of the largest, most robust archives of the artist's work anywhere. In 2017, The Collection was made available online.

The Collection 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 Collection 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, and more, are represented in The Collection.

"Jo Mielziner was an inspiration to me from the beginning of my career," said Fisher. "Most people know of him as a great scenic designer. True, but he also designed the lighting for every one of his shows. Each show was beautifully lit. I wanted to emulate his ability of using light to enhance the storytelling. Upon his death in 1976 I decided to collect his work. I am thrilled that this survey of theatrical design of the 20th century is now available at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts."