Vassar College’s Special Collections Library acquires the lifetime works and papers of internationally renowned artist Werner Pfeiffer

Artist Werner Pfeiffer has spent more than 50 years working in a variety of media, including books, book objects, collages, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures. He has donated his collected works and papers to the Special Collections Library at Vassar College.


Pfeiffer’s work has been shown in more than 100 group exhibitions and over 75 solo shows internationally. His award-winning designs have been published in magazines such as Graphis, Print, Modern Publicity, Novum and Art Direction. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Whitney Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art as well as many private collections.


Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Pfeiffer studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. In 1961 he immigrated to the United States. He pursued a career in design and art direction and became an art professor at New York’s Pratt Institute and director of the Pratt Adlib Press in 1969. He retired from Pratt in 2002. Upon retirement, Pfeiffer worked full-time on his many artistic projects, including concentrating on works on paper, including collages, book objects and limited edition artist books.


When Pfeiffer began to consider archiving his large body of work and personal papers, Vassar was a natural fit. A long-time resident of New York’s Hudson Valley region, he already had a relationship with Vassar (Pfeiffer’s works were the subject of an exhibition, Re-Examining Books, in 2012, both at the library and at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center) and liked the idea of keeping his archive close to home.

“I am very pleased that the Special Collection Library at Vassar will house my archive,” says Pfeiffer. “Not only will my papers and artistic reflections join a most venerable collection, but the material will be preserved fur future generations and research in the most appropriate setting. Vassar has a unique and historic reputation among educational institutions and I am very proud to be associated with this singular achievement.”

“It is an honor to have Werner Pfeiffer’s works housed in our library,” said Ronald Patkus, head of Special Collections of the Vassar College Libraries. “His legacy as an artist and a visionary has far-reaching interest, and his connection to the Hudson Valley makes our collection an especially appropriate place for his archive. I know that our students and scholars and art historians will benefit from having access to his body of work.”

In addition to art works, the Pfeiffer archive will include his early sketches, portfolios, photos, negatives, slides, and an array diaries and correspondence. The collection will be available for viewing by appointment only beginning in fall 2016. Contact the Special Collections Library (; 845-437-5799) to make arrangements.


Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.


Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, June 9, 2016