Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Letters, scrapbooks, drawings, photographs and other materials documenting sculptor Michael Brenner's career, the activities of members of the Brenner family and the colony of expatriate American artists flourishing in Paris in the early twentieth century. Letters (1888-1975) written to family members and associates, include exchanges between Brenner's sister Miriam (Fanny) and her brothers Michael, Morris, Samuel, and Victor (Dave) Brenner concerning their health, family business, their work and other art-related activities. Several of Michael Brenner's letters mention his dissatisfaction with Robert Coady's handling of consignments, dealings with Mr. Kahnweiler, and exhibitions of colleagues Michel Kikoine and Pinchus Kremegne. Brenner's correspondents include Alexandre Charpentier and (Louis) Oscar Roty. A scrapbook (1922-1953) contains a photocopy of a letter written to Michael Brenner from Gertrude Stein describing her travels with Alice B. Toklas and mentioning Brenner's bust of her, a 1953 exhibition catalog for Chaim Soutine at Perls Galleries and photographs of Miriam Brenner, other family members, and works of art. A second scrapbook (1971-1976) contains letters written to Mrs. Michael Brenner concerning the sale of her husband's art work and photographs of Michael Brenner, four men in uniform, and works of art. Photographs show Brenner family members, Victor Brenner and his studio, Michael Brenner with Chaim Soutine, I. C. Rubin with his friend Albert Einstein, Einstein in a classroom, with an assistant, with a little girl, and with two men, and 22 works of art by Michael Brenner. The collection also includs 27 figure drawings and a subject file on a life-long friend, physician I. C. Rubin (1922-1975), with letters from Rubin about his travels and photographs of Brenner and Rubin as young men, Brenner with his son, and Brenner with painter Isaac Pailes. Among the printed materials are three clippings about Abraham Lincoln, a photoengraving of Lincoln, reproductions of works of art, a bookplate for Marion Kean Lopez, an essay entitled "Instead of an Introduction" by Sadakichi Hartmann praising Leon Dabo, an 1899 announcement for a "Seance Publique Annuelle", a photocopy of an article about Brenner by Cathy Turrill, a list of objects borrowed and photographed by Turrill in 1974, a photocopy of a photograph of Robert Coady and the cover of the AVANT-GARDE catalog.
Michael Brenner papers, 1888-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Microfilm reel 4078 available at all Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Sculptor. Immigrated to New York in 1890 from Lithuania with his family. Studied under his brother, Victor, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Brenner moved to Paris around 1900, entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Julian. He established a studio in Paris and was included in Gertrude Stein's circle of friends. He was also associated with a small colony of Russian Jews in Paris which included Chaim Soutine, Michel Kikoine, Pinchus Kremegne, and Isaac Pailes. With an American friend, Robert Coady, he owned the Washington Square Gallery in New York, for which he acted as European agent. Rarely satisfied with his own work, few pieces left Brenner's studio.
Twenty-two letters are in French and eight are in German.
The donor is Michael Brenner's widow.
Lives of American Artists
American Art and Artists in a Global Context
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001