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The records of the Perls Galleries measure 79.7 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1997. Founded by Klaus Perls in 1937 and operating until 1997, the gallery dealt primarily in modern French art and the artwork of Alexander Calder. Found within the records are extensive correspondence (circa 44 linear feet) with artists, dealers, galleries, museums, and collectors; photographs and negatives of inventory and other artwork; exhibition files, scattered financial records; and exhibition catalogs and clippings.
Correspondence primarily discusses sales (and includes invoices), loans, and exhibitions, as well as more routine activities such as gallery maintenance, the printing of exhibition catalogs and letterhead, and the shipment, framing, or restoration of artwork. Many letters enclose photographs, negatives, or slides of artwork, and clippings. A few letters contain oversize architectural or engineering drawings, and a small handful of letters are illustrated.
Correspondents include artists such as Darrell Austin, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Karl Priebe; galleries such as the Corcoran Gallery, Fujikawa Galleries, Galerie Maeght, and the Pierre Matisse Gallery; museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; collectors such as Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, Adelaide de Menil, Valentine Dudensing, and Henry Ford, II; and celebrity clients such as Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry and Clare Booth Luce, and Barbra Streisand.
The records contain nearly thirty-two linear feet of photographs and negatives. Photographs are of artists and the inventory of the gallery's artwork. Additional photographs represent artwork either by artists not represented by the gallery or not included in the gallery's inventory. Most of the photographs are black and white. Over fifteen linear feet of negatives are of gallery stock. Photographs are also found in the exhibition files.
There is a relatively small amount of records relating to exhibitions, loans, and sales. Found are exhibition lists, schedules, invitations and announcements, photographs of exhibition installations, press releases, and records of loans to other institutions and galleries. Sales records include artist lists, inventory lists, invoices, pick up and delivery receipts, and price lists.
Printed materials include a large number of clippings and an incomplete run of catalogs from Perls Galleries exhibitions between 1939 and 1980.
The collection also includes ten original pencil drawings from John Canaday's series entitled, "My Beautiful Girls" and a reproduction of eight drawings from the same series.
Perls Galleries records, 1937-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Related papers of Hugo Perls, father of Frank and Klaus Perls: located at Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History, New York, N.Y.
Among the resources relating to the Perls Galleries in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Klaus Perls done by Mona Hadler on January 19, 1993.
The Perls Galleries (1937-1996) was a New York art gallery. The gallery dealt in contemporary French artists of the School of Paris, such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, but also acted as the primary representative of Alexander Calder beginning in 1954.
The records were donated in 1997 by Douglas Mayhew, associate and legal representive of Klaus G. and Amelia B. Perls.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001