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Catalog Data

Creator:
Reis, Bernard J.  Search this
Names:
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts  Search this
Marlborough Gallery  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Peggy Guggenheim Foundation  Search this
Albee, Edward, 1928-  Search this
Birnbaum, Abe, 1899-1966  Search this
Chagall, Marc, 1887-  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-  Search this
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Pepper, Beverly  Search this
Poe, Barbara Reis  Search this
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968  Search this
Reis, Rebecca G., 1896-1988  Search this
Rivers, Larry, 1925-2002  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Rothko, Mary Alice  Search this
Vail, Sinbad  Search this
Extent:
2.1 Linear Feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Drawings
Date:
circa 1913-1983
Summary:
The papers of New York accountant and art collector Bernard J. Reis measure 2.1 linear feet and date from circa 1913 to 1983. The papers document his friendships with artists, his role as accountant for Art of This Century and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, and executor of the Mark Rothko Estate. Included are biographical and family papers, correspondence, professional files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York accountant and art collector Bernard J. Reis measure 2.1 linear feet and date from circa 1913 to 1983. The papers document his friendships with artists, his role as accountant for Art of This Century and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, and executor of the Mark Rothko Estate. Included are biographical and family papers, correspondence, professional files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs. Biographical and family papers includes a biographical essay, a caricature of Bernard Reis by Abe Birnbaum, documents regarding Rebecca Reis's 1963 cookbook and Barbara Reis Poe's art career, as well as memorabilia from tours of the Reis house and art collection. Correspondence is with family, friends, and artists, such as Marc Chagall, Sir Herbert Read, and Robert Motherwell. Also found is correspondence with art organizations, galleries, and museums, including the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern Art. A small set of professional files include copies of others' correspondence, miscellaneous legal documents and reports, Marlborough Gallery records from Reis's time as a New York Director, and copies of wills drawn up by Reis, including those of Edward Albee, Willem De Kooning, Peggy Guggenheim, Beverly Pepper, Abraham Rattner, Man Ray, and Larry Rivers. Art of This Century and Peggy Guggenheim Foundation records are comprised of accountant's reports, an architect's essay, papers concerning exhibitions and films, a catalog of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Foundation dissolution documents, meeting minutes, gift agreements, and news clippings. Also included is correspondence between Peggy Guggenheim and Bernard and Rebecca Reis, correspondence between Peggy Guggenheim and her son, Sindbad Vail, and financial correspondence. Mark Rothko Estate papers include administrative records, financial documents, inventories, sales records, papers concerning the Mary Alice "Mell" Rothko Estate, news clippings, and two scrapbooks. Also found are Mark Rothko's correspondence and estate correspondence. Of note are papers related to the Rothko estate trial. Printed material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, copies of articles by Reis, news and magazine clippings, and printed materials regarding Marc Chagall. Photographs depict Bernard Reis, Reis with wife Rebecca and friends, the Reis home and collection, and Reis at events. Also found are photographs of Peggy Guggenheim's Palazzo in Venice.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series: Series 1: Biographical and Family Papers, circa 1943-1975 (Box 1; 8 folders) Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1935-1979 (Box 1, OV 3; 0.2 linear feet) Series 3: Professional Files, circa 1947-1975 (Box 1; 9 folders) Series 4: Art of This Century and Peggy Guggenheim Foundation Records, circa 1942-1978 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet) Series 5: Mark Rothko Estate Papers, circa 1958-1983 (Box 1-2; 0.9 linear feet) Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1913-1978 (Box 2, OV 3; 0.3 linear feet) Series 7: Photographs, circa 1920-1975 (Box 2, OV 3; 0.3 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Bernard J. Reis (1895-1978) was an accountant and art collector in New York, as well as the exector of Mark Rothko's estate. Reis was born in New York City, in 1895. He received a degree in Commercial Science from New York University in 1915 and graduated from the New York University School of Law in 1918. He passed the New York State Bar Examination but was unable to complete the required one year clerkship as he was supporting his parents financially, and subsequently became a Certified Public Accountant in 1921. Reis and his wife, Rebecca, built a collection of art in their home, which they opened for charity tours starting in 1948. During this time, Reis became acquainted with many individuals involved in the art world. He developed friendships with art collector Peggy Guggenheim and artists Marc Chagall and Mark Rothko. Reis served as a director for Art of This Century Films and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, as well as Guggenheim's personal financial advisor and confidant. Following the death of Mark Rothko in 1970, Reis was named one of the executors of his estate. The estate was largely managed by the Mark Rothko Foundation, of which Reis was a director. Reis and the other executors entered into an agreement with Marlborough Gallery to sell Rothko's paintings, and in 1971, Mark Rothko's daughter, Kate, accused the estate and gallery of fraudulent practices and sued to release the estate from the sale agreement. The case was not fully resolved until after Reis's death in 1978.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an interview of Bernard Reis conducted June 3-10, 1976, by Paul Cummings. Bernard and Rebecca Reis papers, circa 1924-1985, are also located at the Getty Research Institute in California.
Provenance:
The papers were donated in 1979 and 1980 by Bernard J. Reis's widow, Rebecca G. Reis.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Bernard J. Reis papers 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 -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Accountants  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Drawings
Citation:
Bernard J. Reis papers, circa 1913-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.reisbern
See more items in:
Bernard J. Reis papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-reisbern