Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Theater History & Dramatic Arts > 250. Robert Wilson

250.  Robert Wilson.  "The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud" A Three Act Dance-Theatre Concert, Brooklyn Academy of Music. Poster, lithograph, "after engraving by William Blake/R. Wilson 70/300," 1969. RBML, Robert Wilson Papers

Robert Wilson was born in Waco, Texas in 1941. He attended the University of Texas, Austin, 1959-1962 and the Pratt Institute, 1962-1965 where he earned a BFA in architecture. By 1968 he had gathered a group of artists that became known as The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in honor of Wilson's former teacher. Together they worked and performed at 147 Spring Street in lower Manhattan. The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud, along with The King of Spain, were both produced in 1969. His Einstein on the Beach, a collaboration with composer Philip Glass, appeared in 1976.

In the early 1980s, Wilson began working on his multi-national epic, "the CIVIL wars: a tree is best measured when it is down," his most ambitious project to date. Created in collaboration with an international group of artists and planned as the centerpiece of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles, the full opera has not been seen in its entirety, but individual parts have been produced in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Columbia's Robert Wilson Papers include correspondence, outlines, scripts, production notes, technical materials, story boards, contracts, posters, programs, announcements, reviews, and other printed materials relating to all aspects of Wilson's theater works, opera, films, artwork and video productions. Also included are the files of the Byrd Hoffman Foundation.

Gift of Robert Wilson and the Byrd Hoffman Foundation, 1988-91

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