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The records of New York City Kraushaar Galleries measure 91.9 linear feet and date from its establishment in 1885 to 2006. Three-fourths of the collection documents the gallery's handling of contemporary American paintings, drawings, and sculpture through correspondence with artists, private collectors, museums, galleries, and other art institutions, interspersed with scattered exhibition catalogs and other materials. Also included are John F. Kraushaar's estate records; artists' files; financial ledgers documenting sales and gallery transactions; consignment and loan records; photographs of artwork; sketchbooks and drawings by James Penney, Louis Bouché, and others; and two scrapbooks.
The collection reflects all activities conducted in the day-to-day administration of the business and relates to the acquisition, consignment, loan, sale, and exhibition of art by twentieth-century American artists and European artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The records document specific arrangements for loans and exhibitions, artist-dealer relations, relationships with public and private collectors, interaction with the art dealer community, and routine requests for information.
Much of the artist correspondence relates to practical arrangements for exhibitions of artwork, but in many cases also documents the development of individual artists and the effect of their relationship with the galleries on their ability to produce marketable work. Many of the artists represented in the collection also wrote lengthy letters, particularly to Antoinette Kraushaar, describing their attitudes to their work and providing insight into how that work was shaped by events in their personal lives.
The bulk of the correspondence with museums and institutions concerns practical arrangements for loans of artwork and provides detailed information about market prices and insurance values. It offers insight into the general climate of opinion toward particular artists and styles at any given time. Correspondence with other galleries and dealers also concerns loans and sales of artwork but, due to the typically cordial and cooperative nature of relations between the Kraushaars and their contemporaries, may also provide a more extensive and personal view of relationships and trends in the art dealer community. Similarly, while a portion of the correspondence with private collectors concerns routine requests for information and loans of art on approval, there is also substantive correspondence documenting the development of the artistic vision of collectors such as Preston Harrison, Elizabeth S. Navas, and Duncan Phillips.
From 1917 to the mid-1930s correspondence was handled mainly by John Kraushaar, and the bulk of that relating to European galleries and European art can be found during these years. Although there are only a handful of materials before 1926, records from the 1920s and 1930s document Kraushaar Galleries' growing commitment to American artists and the climate of the market for their work. The financial hardships of the Depression are vividly depicted in the numerous letters written during the 1930s seeking payment on accounts receivable and requesting extensions on accounts payable.
From the mid-1930s to 1968 correspondence was conducted primarily by Antoinette Kraushaar and, to some degree, by her assistants in later years. As the galleries' focus on American art increased, so did the volume of correspondence with artists, and the collection is particularly rich during the 1940s and early 1960s. In later years to 2006, most of the correspondence was conducted by Carol Pesner and gallery assistants.
The exhibition catalogs included in the collection do not represent a complete set. Those found are working copies used by the galleries in preparation for exhibitions and are often annotated with prices or insurance values. Additional exhibition catalogs can be found on the microfilm described in the Administrative Information section of this finding aid.
The majority of Kraushaar Galleries' insurance records can be found in files relating to the company Wm. E. Goodridge & Son, later known as Wm. E. Goodridge, Inc. Shipping and transportation records are generally filed under the names of the companies used for such transactions and can primarily be found under Davies, Turner & Co., Hudson Forwarding & Shipping Co., Railway Express Agency, Inc., and W. S. Budworth & Son, and to a lesser degree under American Railway Express Company, Arthur Lenars & Cie., C. B. Richard & Co., De La Rancheraye & Co., Hayes Storage, Packing & Removal Service, Inc., and Willis, Faber & Co. Ltd.
The 2008-2009 accretion includes additional correspondence similar in content and with correspondents as described above, as well as some artists' Christmas cards. However, the bulk of the additional correspondence dates from 1965-2006, with a handful of miscellaneous correspondence from 1877 to the mid-twentieth century. Also found are financial and business records including records from the closing of the John F. Kraushaar estate; over 40 ledgers providing nearly complete documentation of the gallery's sales and transactions from its establishment to 1946; incoming consignment records, including account statements and correspondence with artists, from the 1940s to 2006; and outgoing consignment and loan records from 1899-2006. The gallery's representation of its stable of artists is documented through artists' files containing printed materials, exhibition catalogs and announcements, price lists, and biographical information, as well as containers of photographs and negatives of artwork. Also found is a 1933 sketchbook by James Penney, drawings and sketchbooks by Louis Bouché, and two scrapbooks.
ADDITION Records donated in 2012-2013 (8.0 linear ft.) include business correspondence files with collectors, museums, and organizations, 1979-1989, and a purchase ledger, 1919-1929. Found among the files are receipts, proposals, sales, and other information.
Kraushaar Galleries records, 1885-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Materials lent for microfilming in 1956 are available on microfilm reels NKR1-NKR3 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Processing of the collection was supported with funding from the Getty Grant Program and the Smithsonian Collections Care Fund.
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Katherine Kaplan Degn, Kraushaar Galleries, 74 East 79th St., Suite 9B, New York, N.Y. 10075
Also in the Archives are records lent to the Archives for microfilming in 1956 (reels NKR1-NKR3), and returned to Kraushaar Galleries, including: a book of clippings from 1907 to 1930, primarily of exhibition reviews; loose clippings and catalogs of exhibitions from 1930 to 1946; and a group of photographs and clippings relating to George Luks and other artists.
Also in the Archives is an untranscribed oral history interview with Antoinette Kraushaar, 1982.
Kraushaar Galleries (1885-) is an art gallery in New York, N.Y Established 1885 by Charles W. Kraushaar as the Kraushaar Galleries as a small store on Broadway near 31st Street. Charles and brother John F. Kraushaar moved the Galleries in 1901 to 260 Fifth Ave. and began adding more modern French and American painters. They became interested in "The Eight" group of American realists. George Luks, a member of "The Eight" was probably the first major Amerian artist represented at Kraushaar, and in 1917 John Sloan was invited to hold his first one-person show there. John assumed control upon Charles' death in 1917, and, ca. 1920, enlisted his daughter, Antoinette (b. 1902) to assist him. In 1919, the business moved to 680 Fifth Avenue, and in 1936 to 730 Fifth Avenue. While the Kraushaar Galleries exhibited mostly European artists in the early years, by the time John Kraushaar died in 1946, American art had become the focus of the business. In 1950, Antoinette Kraushaar assumed sole ownership. Carole Pesner joined as President in 1959, and Katherine Kaplan Degn as director in 1986. Antoinette retired in 1988 and died in 1992. The gallery is still in business at 724 Fifth Avenue.
53.5 linear feet of records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Kraushaar Galleries in three separate accessions in 1959, 1994, and 1996. Katherine Kaplan of Kraushaar Galleries donated an additional 38.4 linear feet in 2008-2009 and an 7.8 linear feet in 2012.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001