Kokoon Arts Club membership records

The Kokoon Arts Club of Cleveland was founded in 1911 by Carl Moellman and William Sommer. Known for its modern energy and free spirit, the Club's activities included evening lectures, art instruction, two annual exhibitions, and an annual Kokoon Bal Masque. Many members were longtime May Show artists at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Club's membership dwindled during the Great Depression and following years until it disbanded in 1956. This collection includes membership applications from 1919-1952, which have been digitized and can be viewed online, and a membership ledger. For more information, please view the finding aid below.

1111.143

Summary Information

Repository: Cleveland Museum of Art Archives
Creator: Kokoon Arts Club (Cleveland, Ohio).
Title: Kokoon Arts Club collection
ID: 1111.143
Date [inclusive]: 1919-1952
Extent: 0.33 Cubic feet One container
Language: English

Preferred Citation note

The Cleveland Museum of Art Archives, Kokoon Arts Klub, date and short description of document [i.e. Application form of Raymond Sommer, 1925].

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Biographical/Historical note

The artistic tradition in Cleveland at the beginning of the twentieth century was one of traditionalism. Art groups such as the “Old Bohemians” and Brush and Palette Club had been in existence since the mid nineteenth century. Traditional art schools were also well established. The Cleveland Academy of Art was founded in 1881, teaching classes in the city hall attic. The Western Reserve School of Design for Women (founded 1882) became the Cleveland School of Art and is today the renowned Cleveland Institute of Art.

However, change was in the wind. Cleveland’s working industrial and commercial artists, by day laboring lithographers and engravers, had trained under modernist European artists. Carl Moellman, an ardent disciple of Robert Henri, a leader of the Ashcan School of American realism, wanted to promote Henri’s loose and free style. His friend and fellow artist, William Sommer, was in his post-impressionistic period of painting. Together these two men experienced an artistic awakening both through their training, exposure to American modernists, and through the experience of New York City nightlife, particularly at the famous Kit Kat Club. Modernism was also creeping into Cleveland with exhibitions of Cubist art at the William Taylor & Son Company art gallery. Moellman and Sommer decided to form a new club of Cleveland artists where modern energy and free spirit reigned.

The club’s founding members were employees of the Otis Lithograph Company. They produced a large volume of theatrical lithography for Otis, including posters for motion pictures and sensational magic productions. The new club, the Kokoon Arts Klub, whose name reflected this new artistic awakening, had not only a sense of modernism, but also a theatrical flair provoked by the new media and also visiting troupes such as the Ballet Russe that performed Stravinsky’s Firebird in 1913. The club first met in the interior design studio of Louis Rorimer. By 1911, the artists had a rented building on East 36th Street. It is said that Moellman chose the name, but watercolorist Joseph Garramone invented the crazy spelling of the Kokoon Arts Klub. Activities included evening lectures on a wide variety of topic, art instruction, and two annual exhibitions. An art auction to support the club’s artist members took place each December. A local reporter described their work as “revolutionary, purposeful and distinctly unique.”

The Kokoon artists had trouble affording rent and heat for their club, and dreamed of a warm studio with leather couches at an upscale location. It was with this dream in mind that in 1919 the members decided to give a ball. With a dance permit from city hall and a location secured (the Elks Club on Huron Road) the members worked for weeks creating decorations and costumes. The annual Kokoon Bal Masque was born. The balls became an annual sensation, and except for the cancellation of 1923, continued until 1938. The artwork, costumes, posters and invitations they produced are included in many public and private collections in the Cleveland area. Though risqué and wild, the balls became the cause celeb for the Kokoon Club

Kokoon artists contributed to Cleveland’s national reputation in the arts. Many were long time May Show artists at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Great Depression and war created a new economic reality for artists, many of whom moved to New York and other larger cities in order to make a living at their craft. With dwindling membership, the Kokoon Arts Klub disbanded in 1956.

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Scope and Contents note

This small collection contains application forms dating from 1919 to 1952 along with a membership ledger from the 1940s and 1950s. Although not all club members are represented, It is useful for the study of the arts and artists in Cleveland in the 20th century and complements the small collection of records from the Cleveland Society of Artists, a rival arts club.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Ingalls Library and Museum Archives

11150 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH, 44106
216-707-2492
archives2@clevelandart.org

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to the public. For more information or to access this collection contact archives staff at archives2@clevelandart.org.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Digital reproductions of portions of this collection are available electronically on the Cleveland Museum of Art Archives page of the Internet Archive at archive.org/details/kokoonclubapplications.

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)

  • Art -- Societies, etc.
  • Art, American -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- 20th century
  • Kokoon Arts Club (Cleveland, Ohio)

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Collection Inventory

Applications for Membership 1919-1952 

Box
1
Folder
1
Box
2
Folder
2

1919 

Bandlow, August Charles 

Buchwald, Richard 

Eastman, William J. 

Eisfeller, Earl 

English, Herbert C. 

Grauer, William C. 

Haefele, Burrill Viall 

Jicha, Joseph W. 

Kaufman, E. 

Klopp, T. Harry 

Roberts, James F. 

Trouth, Edward 

Ulsh, Don V. 

1920 

Brown, David Scott 

Heiterpreim, Paul 

Jarm, William F. 

Lee, H.J. 

Scott, Walt 

Smith, Roland 

Vacek, Carl E. 

1921 

Dickert, Ignatius E. 

Nelson, William S. 

Schoeffman, Max 

1922 

Konersman, Robert 

Rettig, George 

1923 

Anderson, John 

Brooks, Arthur D. 

Clinker, L.C. 

Davis, Edward Raymon 

Dimski, Henry C. 

Haefele, Burrill Viall 

MacDowell, A.H. 

Peebles, Hugh 

Smith, George Arthur 

Tanga, Carmello(?) 

Wiel, Sigurd 

1924 

Buser, Louis 

Hein, William A. 

Holcomb, Delorma B. 

Noyes, Edward A. 

Prettyman, Clyde 

Rodems, Ivan H. 

Smagola, John 

Winslow, Morton G. 

1925 

Butler, Murray Bliss 

Hart, Lester C. 

Jex, Gordon A. 

Mayer, Frank 

Schatz, Rudolph A. 

Sommer, Raymond 

Tilgner, Arthur 

Wolfe, Robert E. 

1926 

Due, Stephen 

1927 

Haude, Oscar 

Kray, J.L. 

Sarlay, Laszlo 

1928 

Boersig, Joseph A. 

Horton, Frank 

Jensen, Max (?) 

Johns, Ivor G. 

Steinman, John Ernest 

1929 

Adomatis, George F. 

Binder, Carl F. 

Probala, Andrew W. 

Smagola, John 

Terr, Joseph 

Wing, Clarence G. 

1930 

Blass, Gustav H. 

Hagemann, Warren 

Haupt, William R. 

Hunter, Anthony M. 

Keisogloff, Peter 

Pempin, Edward T. 

Schauer, Joseph 

Schuldt, Ira T. 

Snayder, Rudolph A. 

Stein, Leo 

Toothaker, Victor 

Volper, I. 

1931 

Davis, Benton 

Gross, Paul B. 

Holmes, Noel 

Jarm, William F. 

Patterson, W.N. 

1932 

Coyle, Dean G. 

Dohanos, Stevan 

Kirby, Neil 

McCann, Charles L. 

Perkin, A.J. 

1933 

Noeder, Willard(?) 

Nowako, Leo(?) 

Smith, Dean 

1934 

Horsfall, Albert(?) 

Munkachy, Elmer 

Richardson, Ralph M. 

1935 

Davis, Joseph A. 

Kanaval, Stephen W. 

Unknown [Panloer, El A.?] 

1936 

Gordon, Kenneth 

Henke, Gustav A. 

Jacobsson, Axel T. 

Munch, Andrew A. 

Rappaport, Maurice I. 

Schlensker, Henry G. 

Vacek, Carl E. 

Unkown [Guisseyler, Harry R.?] 

1937 

Lustig, Edward J.(?) 

Prince, John, Jr. 

1938 

Horowitz, Irwin L. 

Kanaval, Stephen W. 

Morgan, Elved T. 

Smagola, Steve 

1939 

Chenney, Stanley J. 

Jilek, Joseph J. 

Kubala, John 

Lebovitz, Benjamin G. 

Papenbrock, Andrew 

Suvak, John 

1940 

Davis, Hilary 

Dick, Albert 

Dommin, Leonard A. 

Eppolito, Frank J. 

Fraxine, Keith 

Lewandowski, Joseph 

Molnar, Emery R. 

Parsons, William G. 

Schiewe, Edward 

Schutpelz, Chester C. 

Wesley, Frank A. 

1941 

Feind, Adolph A. 

Kopacka, R. 

Neeb, Adam 

Schumann, Floyd G. 

1942 

Lackmeyer, Albert M. 

1943 

Schubert, Frederick Christian 

Siegried, Leroy S. 

1944 

Davis, Joseph 

Saubermann, Paul L. 

Unknown [(?), Richard F.] 

1945 

Mintz, William M. 

Patterson, William D. 

Schulz, Eric E. 

1946 

Danaman, James P., Jr. 

Guarniri, Angelo 

Hubka, Rudolph Peter 

Kelly, Gilbert Orlando 

Komocki, Stanley J. 

Lunte, Willard M. 

McCarlis, Edward 

Price, Eugene D. 

Reimer, Charles 

1947 

Ackerman, Charles 

Carlgren, Gustave 

Filisko, Joe 

Ford, Bryce F. 

Gavrilla, Jon 

Kuthy, Joseph M. 

La Quatra, John 

Unknown [Iannidogo, Vern?] 

1948 

Falberth, Fred G.(?) 

Goolewski, Marion 

Jewell, Larry 

Karnosh, Donald A. 

Keil, Tom 

Krnc, Albin John 

Kus, Edward J. 

Laws, Walter H. 

Sheridan, Tinker 

Smith, Edward 

1949 

Emery, Thomas P. 

Fahnle, William 

Helyer, John S. 

Johnquest, Merritt 

Kinder, Harold A. 

Macron, Fred K. 

Mernone, Arthur F. 

O'Brien, H. Alton 

Peders, Dan 

Salen, George E. 

Unger, John 

Zenone, Vincent 

1950 

Bender, Wayne 

Binz, Ellsworth E. 

Fitzgerald, Frank 

Frazine, Keith 

Hackett, Jim H., Jr. 

Harm, Ray 

Hodges, Ralph A. 

Lavelle, Thomas William 

McGavin, Vince 

Schmidt, Walter A. 

Sekelsky, John T. 

1951 

Barrie, Donald 

Borovy, Arthur 

Boughton, Kenneth 

Bucur, Nicholas A. 

Hinkle, Ed 

James, Herb 

Kuthy, Joseph M. 

Leach, Joseph B. 

McMillan, Carl P. 

Patterson, W. David 

Treon, Ray, Jr. 

Walsh, Edward John 

Williams, Robert 

1952 

Behm, Paul 

Cousino, Fred C. 

Davis, Joseph A. 

Dittebrand, Howard 

Emery, Thomas P. 

Enwell, Jack N. 

James, Herbert 

Janiak, Chuck 

Juhasz, Joseph 

Kovach, Julius 

Lynch, James 

Nielsen, Frank R. 

Prasser, A.F. 

Tinman, George 

Titzler, Henry 

Unknown [Chapian, Greg Hoosep?] 

Undated 

Burrell, Dwight 

Samson, M.W. 

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Membership Ledger 1940s-1950s 

Box
1
Folder
3

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