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Robert Kehlmann Papers

Identifier: MS-0215

Scope and Contents

This mixed-media collection documents Robert Kehlmann’s career as an glass artist, art critic and author. It is arranged into three series:

(1) Personal Papers, 1961-2019

(2) Artwork, 1973-2010

(3) Collected Materials, 1966-1979, Undated


  • 1961-2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for public research. Researchers must make an appointment to view this collection.

Kehlmann's archived website is linked directly to this finding aid. Other digital materials in this collection are available upon request.

Works of art on canvas should be unrolled only by the Museum's preparators.

Conditions Governing Use

The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Research Library against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of Library materials.

Biographical / Historical

American artist, art critic and author Robert Kehlmann was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1942. He received both a B.A. (Antioch College, 1963) and an M.A. (University of California, Berkeley, 1966) in English literature. Upon graduation, Kehlmann wanted to pursue a career as a fiction writer. It was only in preparation for a year-long European trip that he first began to study the history of art and architecture. From 1969-1970, he and his wife traveled extensively throughout England, Scotland, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. Upon return to his home in Berkeley, he signed-up for a drawing class and in 1971 took a course in stained glass making at a local studio.

Inspired by Abstract Expressionism and Bauhaus aesthetics, Kehlmann believes that stained glass art can involve the same sort of visual expression as contemporary painting and sculpture. By using the lead line as a drawn line—instead of simply as structural support—he emphasizes the activity of forms in his works. Although he does not use any stain or paint in his compositions, the term “stained glass” remains the vernacular to describe his glass pieces. Kehlmann was also one of the first advocates of the autonomous or non-architectural glass panel. His panels are never created to function as a window; instead they are meant to be hung on or in front of a wall.

Kehlmann received National Endowment for the Arts grants both for his work in glass (Craftsmen’s Fellowship Grant, 1977) and for his critical writings (Art Critic’s Fellowship Grant, 1978). His essays on contemporary glass have appeared in numerous publications from the United States, Europe and Japan. From 1981 to 1984 he edited the Glass Art Society Journal and served on the Society’s Board of Directors for over a decade. In 1994 he was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Glass Art Society. He is also the author of two books: Twentieth Century Stained Glass: A New Definition (1992) and The Inner Light: Sculpture by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová.


14.7 Linear Feet (9 Hollinger boxes, 2 half record cartons, 1 half Hollinger Box, 2 flat boxes, and 4 rolls)

2.86 Gigabytes

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Received from Robert Kehlmann, 2014. Accession 2014.004, 2019.006

Processing Information

Processed by Mary Anne Hamblen, Sandra Glascock, and Colleen McFarland Rademaker.

Robert Kehlmann Papers, 1961-2019
A Guide to the Collection
Mary Anne Hamblen and Sandra Glascock
May 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Rakow Research Library Manuscript Collection Repository

The Rakow Research Library
The Corning Museum of Glass
Five Museum Way
Corning NY 14830 USA