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Catalog Data

Creator:
Boris Mirski Gallery (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Names:
Aronson, David, 1923-  Search this
Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000  Search this
Bloom, Hyman, 1913-  Search this
Geller, Esther  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Mazur, Michael, 1935-2009  Search this
Mirski, Boris, 1898-1974  Search this
Polonsky, Arthur  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Siporin, Mitchell, 1910-1976  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972  Search this
Extent:
6.2 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Date:
circa 1936-2000
bulk 1945-1972
Summary:
The Boris Mirski Gallery records measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. They include gallery administrative files; artist files including correspondence, exhibition and loan paperwork as well as photographic documentation of artwork; gallery correspondence; financial materials including outgoing and incoming invoices and sales records; printed materials promoting the gallery and its artists; press materials; and a number of photographs of Boris Mirski at events and with others, as well as photographs of artwork. Artists particularly well represented in the collection include David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.
Scope and Contents:
The records of the Boris Mirski Gallery, which showed the avant-garde art of the Boston Expressionist school, as well as New York and international modern art styles and non-western art, measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. They include gallery administrative files; artist files including correspondence, exhibition and loan paperwork as well as photographic documentation of artwork; gallery correspondence; financial materials including outgoing and incoming invoices and sales records; printed materials promoting the gallery and its artists; press materials; and a number of photographs of Boris Mirski at events and with others, as well as photographs of artwork. Artists particularly well represented in the collection include David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe. The administrative files cover a number of topics including documents related to various properties, mortgages, and insurance, copyrights, legal cases, administrative events, and select group exhibitions at the gallery. The artist files document each gallery artist's exhibition history in the gallery and include correspondence with the artist as well as files documenting significant outside exhibitions, projects and the placement of artworks. While exhibiting artists showed a range of sculpture, painting, and drawing at the gallery, there was a tendency towards highly expressive figurative artwork sometimes referred to as Boston Expressionism, often associated with the first generation Jewish American experience. The gallery correspondence, primarily with patrons and institutions, is arranged alphabetically with select regular correspondents of the gallery having their own file, in addition to a folder of holiday cards. The financial files include both outgoing and incoming transactions as invoices and sales records, organized by patron or vendor. The printed materials are a records of the printing activities of the gallery as well as a press archive, with select printed materials from outside the gallery reflecting the activities of the gallery and gallery artists. The photographic materials include both images that include the gallerist as well as images that document artworks.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series. Series 1: Administrative Files, circa 1948-1995 (0.5 Linear feet; Box 1) Series 2: Artist Files, circa 1945-2000 (2.7 Linear feet; Boxes 1-4, OV 7) Series 3: Gallery Correspondence, circa 1936-1976 (1 Linear feet; Boxes 4-5) Series 4: Financial Files, circa 1958-1974 (1.2 Linear feet; Boxes 5-6) Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1944-1981 (0.7 Linear feet; Box 6, OV 8) Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1945-1976 (0.1 Linear feet; Box 6)
Biographical / Historical:
The Boris Mirski Gallery (est.1944; closed 1979) was a gallery in Boston, Massachusetts owned and operated by Boris Mirski (1898-1974). The gallery evolved out of various businesses owned by Mirski from the late 1910s, including his first formal gallery established alongside a framing shop on Charles Street in Beacon Hill in 1927. The gallery moved to its final incarnation on the lower level of 166 Newbury in 1972, and closed in 1979 following the gallerist's death in 1974. Boris Chaim Mirski, born 1898, immigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen, leaving behind his troubled youth as a Lithuanian Jew in a harsh political climate that included frequent pogroms. At the advice of his mother, an activist in the resistance, Boris acquired a number of marketable skills including metalwork and framing, which allowed him to establish a lucrative business while he developed opportunities to show art that interested him. Early in his career this included a home for non-western and "primitive" art styles from around the globe, as well as the work of emerging local artists. Mirski's gallery created opportunities for artists working against the generally conservative tradition of the Boston School, and helped establish an identity for the local avant-garde. The gallery program had strong ties with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston alumni and faculty, and frequently hosted exchange shows with New York City's Downtown Gallery, whose director Edith Halpert acted as a mentor. While exhibiting artists showed a range of sculpture, painting, and drawing at the gallery, there was a tendency towards highly expressive figurative artwork sometimes referred to as Boston Expressionism, often associated with the first generation Jewish American experience. Gallery artists included David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.
Related Materials:
Related materials include Archives of American Art's Oral history interview with Boris Mirski, 1973 June 19.
Provenance:
The Boris Mirski Gallery records were donated by Deborah Mirski Brown, Boris Mirski's daughter from 1989-1996, with additions in 2007 and 2017.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Boris Mirski Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Art dealers  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Expressionism (Art) -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Jewish artists  Search this
Modernism (Art)  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Painters  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Boris Mirski Gallery records, 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mirsbori
See more items in:
Boris Mirski Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mirsbori