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Jacques Seligmann & Co. records

Creator:
Jacques Seligmann & Co.  Search this
Names:
De Hauke & Co., Inc.  Search this
Eugene Glaenzer & Co.  Search this
Germain Seligmann & Co.  Search this
Gersel  Search this
MM. Jacques Seligmann & fils  Search this
Glaenzer, Eugene  Search this
Haardt, Georges  Search this
Hauke, Cesar M. de (Cesar Mange), d. 1965  Search this
Parker, Theresa D.  Search this
Seligman, Germain  Search this
Seligmann, Arnold, 1870-1932  Search this
Seligmann, Jacques, 1858-1923  Search this
Seligmann, René  Search this
Trevor, Clyfford  Search this
Waegen, Rolf Hans  Search this
Extent:
203.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gallery records
Date:
1904-1978
bulk 1913-1974
Summary:
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. measure approximately 203.1 linear feet and date from 1904 to 1978, with bulk dates from 1913 to 1974. The collection includes extensive correspondence files, reference material on American and European collectors and their collections, inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies. The collection is an invaluable resource in tracing the provenance of particular works of art and provides a comprehensive view of the activities of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.
Scope and Contents note:
The Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., records measure approximately 203.1 linear feet and date from between 1904 and 1978, with bulk dates of 1913-1974. The records include extensive correspondence files, reference material on American and European collectors and their collections, inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies, including de Hauke & Co., Inc., and Modern Paintings, Inc.

Historians and researchers will find the collection an invaluable resource in tracing the provenance of particular works of art. Although in the early 1940s many records in the Paris office were destroyed by Seligmann staff to keep them from falling into the hands of the occupying German military forces, many records survive, as much of the firm's business had previously come to center in the New York office. In all, the remaining records provide a comprehensive view of the activities and transactions of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.

Correspondence (Series 1) is the largest series of the collection (80 linear feet) and is comprised of extensive correspondence files, primarily between Germain Seligman and his New York office staff with domestic and foreign private clients, collectors, dealers, individuals representing public museums and collections, and international scholars. The New York Office Correspondence (Series 1.1) concerns a wide variety of topics, including routine business matters, but focuses primarily on potential and realized sales and purchases and provenance documentation. Also found is detailed information on financial transactions, commissions, stock inventory, and the travel of Germain Seligman and other staff. Paris Office Correspondence (Series 1.2) is separated into a small subseries and contains correspondence written primarily by Jacques Seligmann from Paris. The subseries General Correspondence (Series 1.3) is the largest subsection of the Correspondence series and contains letters written to and received from clients and other business associates concerning business transactions and inquiries. The subseries Museum Correspondence (Series 1.4) contains letters between the firm and art institutions and museums. The subseries Germain Seligman's Correspondence (Series 1.5), contains not only personal letters but a wealth of information concerning the affairs of the firm. Much personal correspondence was marked "private."

Also of note in the Correspondence series are the Legal Correspondence Files (Series 1.6) and the Inter-Office Correspondence (Series 1.9) and Inter-Office Memoranda (Series 1.13). The Legal Correspondence Files subseries houses correspondence with both U.S. and Paris attorneys and concerns legal affairs and specific lawsuits. Of particular interest are Germain Seligman's attempts to recover Seligmann family and Paris gallery artwork and other assets stolen or confiscated by the Germans in World War II. This small subseries also contains limited information on the stock and inventory holdings of several of the firm's and Germain Seligman's subsidiary corporations, family legal affairs and lawsuits, and other related legal matters. The subseries Inter-Office Correspondence and Inter-Office Memoranda (called fiches by Seligmann staff) include memos between Germain Seligman and his staff about clients, collectors, sales, acquisitions, and other matters. These offer interesting commentary clearly intended to be read by staff only.

Also prominent is Collectors Files (Series 2), which contains numerous reference files documenting the collections of existing and potential clients with whom Seligmann & Co. maintained contacts. The files are arranged by either individual name or institution and reflect the wide scope of collector references maintained by the firm throughout its operating years. The files contain a variety of reference materials, such as photographs, provenance notes, and sales, purchase, and inventory information in cases where the collector purchased from the firm or the firm purchased from the collector. Researchers will find that many of the private and public names that appear in General Correspondence (Series 1.3) appear in the Collectors Files as well. Also found in this series are specific files relating to the Duc d'Arenberg Collection, the Clarence H. Mackay Collection, the Mortimer L. Schiff Collection, and the Prince of Liechtenstein Collection. The firm either handled substantial estate sales for these collections or purchased and sold important pieces from these collections.

Auction Files (Series 3) and Exhibition files (Series 4) trace the sales and exhibition activities undertaken by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. In the Auction files, researchers will find documentation of auctions of individual works of art owned by the firm and handled by Christie's, Parke-Bernet, and other auction houses. Of particular interest is the 1948-1949 Parke-Bernet auction of the C. S. Wadsworth Trust, a "dummy" trust set up by the firm to dispose of a portion of its unsold inventory. The Exhibition Files house a variety of documentation, such as catalogs and correspondence, concerning the firm's active exhibition history. Many of the exhibitions featured works of art recently acquired by the firm, such as the 1937 exhibition, Twenty Years in the Evolution of Picasso, which included a number of Picassos the firm acquired from Madame Jacques Doucet that year.

Reference Files (Series 5) includes a card catalog to books and catalogs in the library maintained by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and a photograph reference index of works of art. Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) tracks the firm's inventory through a series of stock books and supporting documentation that include sales and provenance information.

Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7) consists primarily of records of the New York office, but some Paris office documents can be found scattered throughout. Found in this series is a wide variety of financial records including purchase receipt files, credit notes, invoices, consignment invoices and books, invoices, consular invoices, sales and purchase account books, ledgers, and tax records. The records appear to be quite complete and date from 1910 to 1977. Of particular interest are the purchase receipts and credit notes and memoranda that contain detailed documentation on acquisitions and sales. The consignment invoices provide information about works of art sold on behalf of other galleries and dealers, as well as which galleries and dealers were handling works of art for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Although quite large and complex, the financial records offer a comprehensive overview of the firm's business and financial transactions.

The records of subsidiary companies that were part of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., such as Contemporary American Department, de Hauke & Co., Inc., Modern Paintings, Inc., and Gersel Corp. are arranged in their own series. In 1935, the firm established the Contemporary American Department to represent young American artists. Under the direction of Theresa D. Parker, a longtime gallery employee, the department initiated an exhibition and loan program. Contemporary American Department (Series 8) includes mostly correspondence files and exhibition files.

The largest subsidiary company to operate under Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., was de Hauke & Co., Inc. De Hauke & Co., Inc., Records (Series 9) dates from 1925 through 1949 and contains domestic and foreign correspondence with clients, collectors, and dealers; inter-office correspondence and memoranda with Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc.; administrative and legal files; and financial records. Modern Paintings, Inc., records (Series 10) contains the legal and financial files of this subsidiary company, which was established in 1930 to incorporate most of the stock of the liquidated de Hauke & Co., Inc. Gersel Corp. Records (Series 11) contains a small amount of material from this company.

Researchers should note that a scattering of records from most of the subsidiary companies may also be found throughout additional series, particularly Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) and Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7). Records for the firms Tessa Corp. and Georges Haardt & Co., which were also owned by Germain Seligman, are not part of the Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., Records, although scattered references to these two firms may be encountered throughout the collection.

German Seligman's Personal papers (Series 12) includes scattered family and biographical materials, his research and writings files, and documentation of his personal art collection. Found in Family and Biographical Material (Series 12.1) are photographs of family members, including Jacques Seligmann, and of the Paris gallery. Also found is a limited amount of correspondence concerning Germain Seligman's residency status and his desire to obtain an army commission during World War II. Germain Seligman's research and writing files are found in this series and include material for his books: Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné (1969); Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty Years of Professional Collecting (1961); The Drawings of Georges Seurat (1947); and Oh! Fickle Taste; or, Objectivity in Art (1952). Documentation of Germain Seligman's private art collection is arranged in this series and includes provenance and research files and correspondence concerning his art collection.

Overall, the historical records of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., offer researchers a comprehensive and detailed resource for studying one of the most active dealers in decorative arts, Renaissance, and European contemporary art. The records clearly document the firm's numerous acquisitions and sales of important works of art to well-known European and American collectors and museums as well as Germain Seligman's extensive client contacts and references. The collection offers an insightful, intriguing, and often fascinating view into the complex field of art sales, trading, and acquisition during the first half of the twentieth century, when many major collections in the United States were formed.

Researchers interested in tracing the provenance of individual works of art should carefully check each series of the collection for information to obtain a complete history for any work. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., staff set up many different files to cross-reference works of art from various angles, such as artist or creator; collector or collection; most recent owner or repository location; stock inventory number, if owned by Seligmann & Co.; and photographic reference files. The task is made somewhat more difficult by the number of commission sales and joint ownership of works of art, often documented solely in the Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) or the Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7). Only by tracing a name or date through the various series can one find all of the information relating to a particular work of art and its provenance.
Arrangement note:
Following is an outline of the arrangement of the collection by series and corresponding box numbers and extent. More detailed information for each series and subseries, along with a box and folder inventory, is found in the Series Descriptions/Container Listings, which can be found by following the series links below. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1913-1978 (1-174, 80 linear feet)

Series 2: Collectors Files, 1875, 1892-1977, undated (Boxes 175-252, 35 linear feet)

Series 3: Auction Files, 1948-1975, undated (Boxes 253-259, 2.75 linear feet)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1925-1977, undated (Boxes 260-272, 5.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Reference Files, 1877-1977, undated (Boxes 273-278, 2.25 linear feet)

Series 6: Inventory and Stock Files, 1923-1971, undated (Boxes 279-289, 4.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Financial Files and Shipping Records, 1910-1977 (Boxes 290-357, 30.5 linear feet)

Series 8: Contemporary American Department, 1932-1978 (Boxes 358-381, 10 linear feet)

Series 9: De Hauke & Co., Inc., Records, 1925-1949, undated (Boxes 382-416; 16 linear feet)

Series 10: Modern Paintings, Inc., Records, 1927-1950 (Boxes 417-420, 1.25 linear feet)

Series 11: Gersel Corp. Records, 1946-1969 (Box 421, 0.25 linear feet)

Series 12: Germain Seligman's Personal Papers, 1882, circa 1905-1984, undated (Boxes 422-459, OV 460, 17 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., was counted among the foremost French and American art dealers in antiquities and decorative arts and was among the first to foster and support the growth and appreciation for collecting in the field of contemporary European art. The company's clients included most of the major American and European art collectors of the era, and the art that passed through its galleries often ended up in the collections of prominent American and European museums through the donations of the wealthy benefactors who purchased them from the company. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., took an active part in promoting such donations as well as providing its own donations and selling paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts directly to many museums.

The company was first established as Jacques Seligmann & Cie. in 1880 on the Rue des Mathurins in Paris by Jacques Seligmann (1858-1923), a German émigré who came to France in 1874 and soon thereafter became a French citizen. The company experienced so much success that in 1900 a new, larger Galerie Seligmann was opened on the Place Vendôme, and Jacques's two brothers, Simon and Arnold, joined the business as partners. Simon served as the company's accountant, and Arnold was in charge of correspondence with the firm's many clients. Jacques remained as the manager and was in charge of all purchases for the firm.

Prominent clients of the company included Baron Edmond de Rothschild of France, the Stroganoff family of Russia, Sir Philip Sassoon of England, and American collectors Benjamin Altman, William Randolph Hearst, J. P. Morgan, Henry Walters, and Joseph Widener. As American clients increasingly came to dominate the company's sales activities, a New York office at 7 West Thirty-sixth Street was opened in 1904. Five years later, Jacques purchased the Hôtel de Sagan (also called the Palais de Sagan by the Seligmann family) in Paris as a location where Jacques Seligmann & Cie. could stage larger exhibitions and receive its most distinguished clients.

In 1912 a family quarrel resulted in a lawsuit that split the company. Arnold remained at the Place Vendôme location, reorganized under the name Arnold Seligmann & Cie., while Jacques consolidated his operations and moved the headquarters for Jacques Seligmann & Cie. to the Hôtel de Sagan. Jacques also opened an additional gallery at 17 Place Vendôme to retain a presence near the company's original location, but this branch soon relocated to 9 Rue de la Paix. The New York office, which formerly had operated out of a single room, was upgraded to larger office space and a gallery at 705 Fifth Avenue.

Jacques's son, Germain Seligman (1893-1978), showed an interest in art connoisseurship from his early years and often accompanied his father to work in the galleries. (In 1943, when Germain Seligman became an American citizen, he dropped the second "n" from his surname, and for clarity his name appears with this spelling throughout this finding aid.) His father taught him how to deal with clients and often assigned him tasks to help in the completion of sales. Germain accompanied Jacques on many business trips and in 1910 was sent to St. Peterburg, Russia, to secure information about the selling price of the Swenigorodskoi enamels owned by the Russian collector M. P. Botkine.

Germain continued to work informally in the firm's galleries until the outbreak of World War I. Within hours of the mobilization order in 1914, Germain joined the French army as a second lieutenant in the 132nd Infantry Regiment of Rheims. By 1916 he was promoted to first lieutenant in the Twenty-fourth Infantry Brigade and in the following year achieved the rank of captain in the Fifty-sixth Infantry Division. Also in the same year, he was assigned as the first French liaison officer to the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force in France, serving as translator for Major George C. Marshall. Seligman was discharged from the French army in 1919 and was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with six citations. (In 1938 Seligman also was awarded the Office of the Legion of Honor from France, and in 1939 he was decorated by General John Joseph Pershing with the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States, in recognition for his service during World War I.)

After his discharge from military service, Germain Seligman actively joined his father's company as a partner in 1920. Jacques Seligmann & Cie. was changed to Jacques Seligmann et Fils, and Germain was placed in charge as the president of the New York office. The strong American art market necessitated Germain's making numerous cross-Atlantic trips each year. Upon the death of his father in 1923, Germain took over as president of both the Paris and New York offices, and the company was once again renamed Jacques Seligmann & Cie.

In the early years of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., the firm carried few paintings, as collectors focused their interest mostly on small objects, enamels, ivories, and other decorative pieces from the Byzantine to the Renaissance eras. Stone and bronze sculptures, medieval and Renaissance tapestries, and eighteenth-century French furniture were the most avidly collected pieces of the era. The galleries of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., reflected its clients' tastes, but soon after the turn of the century art trends began to change.

The 1913 Armory Show introduced many Americans to contemporary European art, and collectors in the United States began to show marked interest in it. The advent of World War I brought much of the art market to a standstill in Europe, but interest in the Impressionists continued in the United States, and it quickly resumed in Europe, as well, after the war. Both collectors and dealers began buying modern art, led by such progressive American collectors as Walter Arensberg, Albert C. Barnes, A. E. Gallatin, Mrs. Horace O. Havemeyer, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Duncan Phillips, and John Quinn, among others.

Under Germain's leadership, Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., began acquiring works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent van Gogh. While Germain promoted this trend for modern art in the New York gallery, other family partners did not approve as this was a new direction for the firm. For this reason Germain Seligman looked to establish a new, independent business venture in the evolving field of modern art. He selected as his partner César Mange de Hauke.

César Mange de Hauke was born on March 8, 1900, the son of a French engineer and a Polish mother. After completing academic and art studies in England and France in the years following World War I, de Hauke arrived in the United States in 1926. While in New York City, he was introduced to Germain Seligman by Germain's cousin, René Seligmann, and by 1927 de Hauke had joined Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., as a sales representative.

With their shared interest in modern French painting, Seligman and de Hauke decided to explore the feasibility of sales in this area by forming a subsidiary to Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., that would specialize in contemporary European artists. In 1926 Seligman personally financed the fledgling company, first called International Contemporary Art Company, Inc., and he appointed de Hauke its director, but even before the legal documents setting up the company were completed the name was changed to de Hauke & Co., Inc. Although the bulk of the new company's art purchases took place in Paris and London, the majority of its sales occurred in the United States.

Seligman and de Hauke worked out an agreement allowing de Hauke to purchase works of art that could then be sold as stock inventory of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., or privately under de Hauke's own name. Ownership of paintings was often shared among various art dealers, involving complicated commission transactions upon completion of sale. Seligman provided display space for de Hauke & Co., Inc., at the new, larger gallery of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., now located at 3 East Fifty-first Street. The two businesses were deeply intertwined, as evidenced by the facts that Seligman's financial records include a great deal of de Hauke material and many of de Hauke's records are written on the stationery of Jacques Seligmann Co., Inc.

During the second half of the 1920s, de Hauke showed the work of modern French School artists in New York City. He exhibited works by Pierre Bonnard, Amedeo Modigliani, Odilon Redon, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Edouard Vuillard, and many others. De Hauke was equally interested in French School drawings and watercolors, and the scope of his exhibitions also included works by nineteenth-century masters such as Paul Cézanne, Jacques-Louis David, Eugè00E8;ne Delacroix, Jean Ingres, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Georges Seurat.

Among the exhibitions held at the New York gallery were two highly successful shows featuring the works of Pablo Picasso. The first one, held in 1936, displayed paintings from the Blue and Rose Periods and was soon followed by the 1937 exhibition, Twenty Years in the Evolution of Picasso. The star of this exhibition was Les Demoiselles d'Avignon which Germain had recently acquired from the Jacques Doucet Estate sale.

Despite the bleak economic conditions of the 1930s, the new business venture proved so successful that the other family members of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., withdrew their opposition to expanding into the field of modern art, and de Hauke & Co., Inc., was dissolved and re-formed under the new name, Modern Paintings, Inc. César M. de Hauke was appointed its director, but tensions had crept into the relationship between the former partners, and by 1931, de Hauke had resigned and returned to Paris.

The mid-1930s appear to have been a period of reorganization for the company. By 1934 Modern Paintings, Inc., was also dissolved, and it assets were assumed by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and by Tessa Corp., another subsidiary of the firm. In 1935, however, the firm established a new subsidiary, the Contemporary American Department, to represent young American artists. Theresa D. Parker, a longtime gallery employee, was selected to head the department, and she initiated an exhibition and loan program. Soon thereafter, the City of Paris offered to buy the company's building at the Hôtel de Sagan as part of a complicated negotiation for a site for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la vie Modern 1937. The Paris office of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., reestablished itself at 9 Rue de la Paix, but Germain selected the New York office as the headquarters for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Subsequently he filed his legal residence as New York City. Germain's half-brother, François-Gerard, was left in charge of the Paris office operations, although Germain continued to commute between the two offices until the summer of 1939.

During the New York World's Fair of 1939, Germain served as a member of the Exhibition Committee, which coordinated the art section. When the fair was extended for an additional year, Seligman was asked to take responsibility for planning the French art section. World political events intruded, however, and rumors of impending war affected both the European and American economies as well as the international art world. Speculative sales, particularly in Europe, made for a chaotic and unpredictable market. In June 1940 German forces invaded France and occupied Paris. Business for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., took a dramatic downturn. In the summer of 1940 the Seligmann galleries and family holdings were seized by the Vichy government, along with Germain's private art collection. The family house and its contents, along with almost the entire stock of the Paris firm, was sold at public auction. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., staff burned the Paris office archives in an effort to keep the records relating to works of art from falling into the hands of the Nazi occupiers, who were looting and shipping art to Germany.

Family members also experienced the pains and changes brought on by the war. Jean Seligmann, a cousin of Germain and the head of Arnold Seligmann & Cie., was captured and shot in Vincennes, France. François-Gerard, a half-brother, was drafted into the army and subsequently joined the French Resistance. Another brother, André, fled France in September 1940 and arrived in New York City, where he opened his own gallery. (He would later return to Paris after the war, but died shortly thereafter from a heart attack.)

Germain applied for a commission in the United States Army in 1942, but his application was initially turned down due to his noncitizen status. Soon thereafter, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the second War Power Act, which stipulated that naturalization could be expedited if the individual served in the military during the war. This act prompted Germain to further press his application for a post overseas, citing his citizenship status as fairly inconsequential or at least no longer a grave hindrance. Despite numerous letters exchanged with the War Department, however, his application was eventually rejected due to changes in military personnel policy.

During the war years, the Seligmann company in New York moved from its 3 East Fifty-first Street location to smaller quarters at 5 East Fifty-seventh Street. The first exhibition in this space was held in the spring of 1944. By 1945 the Contemporary American Department was reactivated, with Theresa D. Parker as its head.

In the years following the war, a rapprochement occurred among the family members who had been split since the family quarrel between Jacques and Arnold Seligmann. With the death of Jean Seligmann during the war, Arnold Seligmann & Co. had been left without a director. Germain consolidated the two family businesses, but made separate financial and administrative entities of the Paris and New York offices. Henceforth they were affiliated "only by ties of affection."

During the early to mid-1950s, many of the activities involving Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., centered upon the recovery of looted artwork and property as well as resolving outstanding issues from the consolidation of the various family businesses. The firm was also involved in the sale of several significant collections.

In 1951 Germain was commissioned by the family of the Duc d'Arenberg to sell the family's collection of important illuminated manuscripts, engravings, and select paintings. Jan Vermeer's Portrait of a Young Girl was purchased for over a quarter million dollars.

Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., also handled the 1953 sale of works from the Prince of Liechtenstein's collection and negotiated the purchase of seven Italian marble sculptures that were eventually sold to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in 1954. From the late 1950s up until the closing of the company in 1977-1978, the exhibitions mounted by the firm seem to indicate a gradual focus back toward drawings and more traditional art. Contemporary American artists continued to be shown as well, but the firm no longer maintained its leading edge in the art market.

Germain, who during the 1940s had written several works, among them a monograph on Roger de La Fresnaye in 1945 and The Drawings of Georges Seurat in 1947, devoted himself more and more to writing. In Oh! Fickle Taste; or, Objectivity in Art, published in 1952, Seligman addressed the importance of political and social climates in understanding the evolution of art collecting in the United States. He followed this book with the 1961 publication of Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty Years of Professional Collecting which memorialized his father and traced the history of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Germain's most significant work, Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné (1969), was lauded by art critics and listed among the 1969 "Best Ten Books of the Year" by the New York Times.

With the death of Germain Seligman in 1978, the firm doors closed, leaving behind a legacy of collecting that helped to establish American collectors and museums in the forefront of the international art world. A survey of the major art museums and collections in the United States reveals the significant number of works that were acquired either by sales or through donation from Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. The influence the company wielded is also demonstrated through the network of relationships it built with collectors, art museums and institutions, and other dealers, such as Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Bernheim-Jeune, George Blumenthal, Sen. William A. Clark, the Detroit Institute of Arts, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Henry Walters, and Wildenstein & Co., among others.

1858, September 18 -- Jacques Seligmann born in Frankfurt, Germany.

1874 -- Jacques Seligmann leaves Germany to work in Paris, France, as an assistant at Maître Paul Chevallier, a leading Paris auctioneer. Soon after he leaves to work for Charles Mannheim, an expert in medieval art.

1880 -- Jacques Seligmann opens his own shop at the Rue des Mathurins. An early client is Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

1893, February 25 -- Germain Seligman is born in Paris, France. His mother's maiden name is Blanche Falkenberg (d. 1902).

1900 -- Jacques Seligmann & Cie. is formed when Jacques's brothers, Arnold and Simon, join him as partners and the business moves to the Place Vendôme.

1904 -- The New York City office of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is established, with Eugene Glaenzer as the manager. Beginning in 1905, Seligmann begins yearly visits to the New York office.

1907 -- Jacques Seligmann is elected a Fellow for Life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1909 -- Jacques Seligmann & Cie. acquires the Hôtel de Sagan on the Rue Saint Dominique. Jacques moves the headquarters for the company to this location and reserves its use for the most exclusive and important clients, but his brother Arnold continues to oversee the general operations of the company at the Place Vendôme.

1912 -- A lawsuit between Jacques Seligmann and his brother, Arnold, results in a split in the family company. Arnold remains at Place Vendôme under the name Arnold Seligmann & Cie. Jacques consolidates his activities at the Hôtel de Sagan. He also opens another gallery at 17 Place Vendôme, but this is soon moved to 9 Rue de la Paix.

1914 -- As a result of the split in the family business, a new office and gallery are opened at 705 Fifth Avenue, and Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is incorporated within the State of New York.

1914-1919 -- Germain Seligmann serves in the French army as a second lieutenant in the 132nd Infantry Regiment of Rheims. Later he is assigned as the first French liaison officer to the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force in France. He is discharged from active service in 1919.

1920 -- Germain Seligman becomes a partner with his father and formally joins Jacques Seligmann & Fils as the president of the New York office.

1923, October -- Jacques Seligman dies.

1924 -- Germain Seligman becomes the president of both the Paris and New York offices. Several of his brothers and sisters become partners in the firm. Theresa D. Parker joins the New York office.

1926 -- The New York office moves to 3 East Fifty-first Street. Germain Seligman, with César Mange de Hauke, sets up de Hauke & Co., Inc., to sell modern European paintings to American clients.

1930 -- De Hauke & Co., Inc., becomes Modern Paintings, Inc.

1931 -- De Hauke resigns as head of Modern Paintings, Inc., and returns to Paris.

1934 -- Modern Paintings, Inc., is dissolved, and its assets are assumed by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and by Tessa Corp., another subsidiary of the parent company.

1935 -- The Contemporary American Department is created as a part of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and Theresa D. Parker directs its operations.

1936-1937 -- Jacques Seligmann et Fils moves out of its gallery space at the Hôtel de Sagan and briefly reestablishes its headquarters at 9 Rue de la Paix. By 1937, however, the company headquarters moves to New York City. Germain Seligman establishes his legal residence there.

1939 -- World War II begins.

1940 -- During the summer, the Seligmann family house and its contents (at Rue de Constantine) are seized and sold by order of the Vichy government, along with Germain's private art collection and the gallery's stock. The Paris archives of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is destroyed by the Seligmann staff in order to keep the records from falling into the hands of the Nazis. René Seligmann dies in a New York hospital in June; François-Gerard, Germain's half-brother, is called up to serve in the army and joins the French Resistance. Another brother, André, escapes to the United States and opens a gallery in New York. Jean Seligmann, a cousin of Germain and the head of Arnold Seligmann & Cie., is captured and shot at Vincennes, France.

1943 -- Germain Seligman becomes an American citizen (and drops the second "n" from his original surname).

1944, Spring -- The New York gallery holds its first exhibition in the new 5 East Fifty-seventh Street location in New York City. During the war years, the firm had moved from its Fifty-first Street location to smaller quarters.

1945 -- The Contemporary American Department is reactivated.

1946 -- After the war, Arnold Seligmann & Cie. is left without a director, although it remains at the Rue de la Paix location. Germain consolidates the two firms but organizes the Paris and New York offices as separate financial and administrative entities.

1969 -- Germain Seligman publishes Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné. The book receives acclaim and is listed on the 1969 New York Times "Ten Best Books of the Year."

1978, March 27 -- Germain Seligman dies.
Provenance:
The records of the Paris and New York art dealer Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1978 by Mrs. Ethlyne Seligman, widow of Germain Seligman. A small addition of 19 linear feet was donated in 1994.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. 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:
Mackay, Clarence Hungerford, 1874-1938 -- Art collections  Search this
Schiff, Mortimer L. -- Art collections  Search this
Arenberg, duc d' -- Art collections  Search this
Liechtenstein, House of -- Art collections  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Art dealers -- France -- Paris  Search this
La Fresnaye, Roger de, 1885-1925  Search this
Art, Renaissance  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Art treasures in war  Search this
Art, European  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Citation:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.jacqself
See more items in:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jacqself
Additional Online Media:

Henri Vever Papers

Creator:
Vever, Henri, 1854-1942  Search this
Names:
Vever, Henri, 1854-1942  Search this
Extent:
2.5 Linear feet (circa 35 items)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Diaries
Place:
Le Havre (France)
Paris (France)
Date:
1867-1932
Summary:
The papers of Parisian jeweler and art collector Henri Vever (1854-1942) include six diaries; a ledger of his art acquisitions; original oil paintings by Vever; and photographs. The materials document Vever's circle of friends, patrons, and other art collectors in turn-of-the-century Paris.
Scope and Content Note:
The Henri Vever Papers measure 2.5 linear feet (35 items) and span the years 1875 --1932. The collection contains six diaries, an account ledger, 20 photographs, one guest list, one ceremonial pommel, and six original oil paintings by Henri Vever.
Arrangement note:
This collection is organized into five series:

Series 1: Diaries, 1878-1901

Series 2: Account Ledger, 1894, 1907-1917

Series 3: Photographs, 1867-1932, n.d

— Subseries 3.1: Henri Vever and Family

— Subseries 3.2: Vever Family Estate in Noyers, France

Series 4: Art Works, 1914-1915

— Subseries 4.1: Pommel

— Subseries 4.2: Le Havre, France

— Subseries 4.3: Château de Noyers
Biographical Information:
Henri Vever Chronology

1854 -- Vever born in Metz, France.

1870 -- Following the German annexation of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War, the Vever family leaves Metz for Luxembourg.

1871 -- Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever (father of Henri) buys a jewelry studio in Paris. Vever begins apprenticeship at Loguet and at Hallet and attends night classes at the Ecole des Art Décoratif in Paris.

1873 -- Vever enters the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the studios of M.A. Millet and J.L. Gérôme.

1881 -- Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever retires and Vever and his brother Paul assume control of the jewelry shop (Maison Vever). Henri Vever marries Jeanne Monthiers.

1882 -- Jeanne Vever gives birth to Marguerite Vever, the couple's only child.

1885 -- Vever buys first painting.

1891 -- Vever travels to Russia where the Maison Vever takes part in a jewelry exhibition in Moscow.

1892 -- Vever becomes a regular participant of the dîners japonisants organized by art dealer Siegfried Bing.

1893 -- Vever appointed commissioner for jewelry to the World's Columbian Exposition, in Chicago. Maison Vever exhibits jewelry at the Exposition.

1894 -- Vever donates forty Japanese prints to the Louvre.

1900 -- Vever joins the Société Franco-Japonasie and is elected the mayor of Noyers, France.

1906-1908 -- Vever publishes, Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle.

1913 -- With Georges Marteau, Vever authors, Miniatures Persanesa catalogue of the 1912 Exposition des Arts Musulmans.

1915 -- Paul Vever dies.

1919 -- Maison Vever commissioned to make sword of honor offered to Marshall Ferdinand Foch by the city of Paris to celebrate the end of World War I.

1921 -- Vever retires.

1939 -- Marguerite Vever dies.

1942 -- Henri Vever dies.

1982 -- Maison Vever closes.

Jeweler, art collector, and author Henri Vever was born in Metz, France in 1854. Together with his older brother Paul, Henri Vever managed the family jewelry firm, Maison Vever, from 1881 until Paul's death in 1915 and Henri's retirement in 1921. As an art collector, Vever amassed a large collection of European, Asian, and Islamic art. Through his work as a jeweler, art collector, and author, Henri Vever played an important role in the twentieth-century art world.

To equip him with the proper skills to run Maison Vever, Henri Vever apprenticed in the studios of Louguet and of Hallet and attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in 1871. Two years later, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts accepted Henri and he entered the studios of artists M.A. Millet and J.L. Gérôme. Jean-Jacque Ernest Vever retired from Maison Vever in 1881 and his two sons, Henri and Paul, assumed control.

The youngest son of Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever, Henri Vever was born into a family of jewelers. His grandfather, Pierre-Paul Vever, launched a successful jewelry shop in Metz in 1854. Upon retirement, Pierre-Paul Vever's son, Henri's father, assumed control of the shop. With the German annexation of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Jean-Jacque Ernest Vever took his family to Luxembourg and one year later acquired a jewelry shop at 19 Rue de la Paix in Paris and named the new shop Maison Vever.

That same year Henri married Jeanne Monthiers and she gave birth to the couple's only child, Margeurite, in 1882. Henri, Jeanne, and Margeurite Vever lived at 19 Rue de la Paix in the same building that housed Maison Vever. In 1892 Jeanne Vever inherited her family's estate in Noyers, France.

The Vever brothers ran a very successful jewelry studio. Not only did Maison Vever's clientele base expand during their tenure, but its designs were often prizewinners at various expositions around the world. The 1900 Exposition Universalle in Paris offers an example. The Maison Vever submission won a Grand Prix at this exposition in which the art movement Art Nouveau played a major role.

Henri Vever was a proponent of the Art Nouveau movement, a turn-of-the-century art movement whose adherents sought to forge a new, modern style, one that would, "reunite art and craft." According to curator Glenn Lowry, Vever's interest in Art Nouveau affected the Maison Vever's designs. "…during the 1880s many of the Maison Vever's designs were highly traditional, by the beginning of the 1890s the firm was at the vanguard of the art nouveau movement.

In addition to his work at Maison Vever, Vever amassed an enormous and influential collection of European, Asian, and Islamic art. Initially a collector of European art, by the late 1880s Vever's collecting interests expanded to include Asian and then Islamic art works. According to Lowry, Vever's interest in Islamic art was sparked in 1891 when he traveled to Moscow to participate in a jewelry exhibition. In approximately 1892 Vever joined Les Amis de l'Art Japonais, a group whose members met for dinners at which they discussed Japanese art. Claude Monet was also a member of this group.

From 1906 to 1908, Vever published a three-volume series, Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle . This set became the, "standard text on nineteenth-century jewelry". Through his art collections, writings, and profession, Henri Vever played an important role in the twentieth-century art world. He acquired a large art collection and often loaned pieces out for exhibition to various galleries and museums throughout the world. Henri Vever retired from Maison Vever in 1921 and the sons of Paul Vever, André and Pierre, took over the reigns. Henri Vever died in 1942 at the country estate in Noyers. Maison Vever continued operation until 1982 when it permanently shut its doors.
General note:
For a more detailed look at the life of Henri Vever, please see the following publication from which much of this biographical information originates: Lowry, G.D. with Nemazee, S. (1988). -- A jeweler's eye: Islamic arts of the book from the Vever Collection -- . Washington D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Insitution with Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Biographical Overview

1854 -- Vever born in Metz, France.

1870 -- Following the German annexation of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War, the Vever family leaves Metz for Luxembourg.

1871 -- Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever (father of Henri) buys a jewelry studio in Paris. Vever begins apprenticeship at Loguet and at Hallet and attends night classes at the Ecole des Art Décoratif in Paris.

1873 -- Vever enters the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the studios of M.A. Millet and J.L. Gérôme.

1881 -- Jean-Jacques Ernest Vever retires and Vever and his brother Paul assume control of the jewelry shop (Maison Vever). Henri Vever marries Jeanne Monthiers.

1882 -- Jeanne Vever gives birth to Marguerite Vever, the couple's only child.

1885 -- Vever buys first painting.

1891 -- Vever travels to Russia where the Maison Vever takes part in a jewelry exhibition in Moscow.

1892 -- Vever becomes a regular participant of the dîners japonisants organized by art dealer Siegfried Bing.

1893 -- Vever appointed commissioner for jewelry to the World's Columbian Exposition, in Chicago. Maison Vever exhibits jewelry at the Exposition.

1894 -- Vever donates forty Japanese prints to the Louvre.

1900 -- Vever joins the Société Franco-Japonasie and is elected the mayor of Noyers, France.

1906-1908 -- Vever publishes, Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle.

1913 -- With Georges Marteau, Vever authors, Miniatures Persanes a catalogue of the 1912 Exposition des Arts Musulmans.

1915 -- Paul Vever dies.

1919 -- Maison Vever commissioned to make sword of honor offered to Marshall Ferdinand Foch by the city of Paris to celebrate the end of World War I.

1921 -- Vever retires.

1939 -- Marguerite Vever dies.

1942 -- Henri Vever dies.

1982 -- Maison Vever closes.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery holds the, Vever Collection of Islamic Manuscripts. Additionally, the Archives holds, the Vever Family Photograph Album which contains photographs depicting the Vever family from 1881-1930 and the family estate in Noyers, France.
Provenance:
The Henri Vever Papers were donated to the Archives by the grandson of Henri Vever, François Mautin, in 1988. Additionally, Mr. Mautin donated six original oil paintings by Henri Vever to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1988. These paintings were transferred to the Archives in 1993.
Restrictions:
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment: AVRreference@si.edu.
Rights:
No restrictions on use.
Topic:
Art nouveau  Search this
Art dealers -- France -- Paris  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Art, Asian  Search this
Jewelry -- History -- Twentieth century -- France  Search this
Art, Islamic  Search this
Art, European  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- France -- Paris  Search this
Jewelry -- History -- Nineteenth century -- France  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Diaries
Citation:
Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Gift of François Mautin, 1988
Henri Vever Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of François Mautin, 1988
Identifier:
FSA.A1988.04
See more items in:
Henri Vever Papers
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a1988-04
Additional Online Media:

James McNeill Whistler collection

Creator:
James McNeill Whistler, 1834-1903  Search this
Names:
Company of the Butterfly  Search this
Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain)  Search this
Salon (Exhibition : Paris, France)  Search this
Salon des refusés  Search this
World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893  Search this
Anderson, Christine  Search this
Beck, J. W.  Search this
Boehm, Joseph Edgar, Sir, 1834-1890  Search this
Bronson, Katharine de Kay, 1834-1901  Search this
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924  Search this
Burnett, Swan M. (Swan Moses), 1847-1906  Search this
Ford, Sheridan, d. 1922  Search this
Lee, George Washington Custis, 1832-1913  Search this
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870  Search this
Leighton of Stretton, Frederic Leighton, Baron, 1830-1896  Search this
Lucas, George A., 1824-1909  Search this
Pollitt, Herbert Charles Jerome, 1871-1942  Search this
Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Postcards
Pamphlets
Date:
1863-1906, circa 1940
Summary:
The collection measures 0.2 linear feet and provides scattered documentation of the career of American-born British-based painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) through 39 items from Whistler to various recipients, including 25 letters, 9 telegraphs, 3 invitations, one thank you card and a postcard. The collection also contains 4 letters from others, 7 catalogs of Whistler exhibitions, a note from the back of Whistler's painting The Beach at Selsey Bill, and a 1906 copy of Wilde v. Whistler: being an acromonious correspondence on art between Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler, a pamphlet containing letters originally published in London newspapers between 1885 and 1890.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection measures 0.2 linear feet and provides scattered documentation of the career of American-born British-based painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) through 39 items from Whistler to various recipients, including 25 letters, 9 telegraphs, 3 invitations, one thank you card and a postcard. The collection also contains 4 letters from others, 7 catalogs of Whistler exhibitions, a note from the back of Whistler's painting The Beach at Selsey Bill, and a 1906 copy of Wilde v. Whistler: being an acromonious correspondence on art between Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler, a pamphlet containing letters originally published in London newspapers between 1885 and 1890.

The Whistler letters found here touch on some important events in Whistler's career. One letter to George Lucas, an American art dealer in Paris, discusses his plans to send Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl to the Paris Salon of 1863. Rejected by the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1862, the painting was also refused by the Paris Salon but shown ultimately in the landmark exhibition at the Salon des Refusés.

Also found are a circa 1879 letter to the eldest son of Robert E. Lee, General George Washington Custis Lee, with whom Whistler had been a cadet at West Point, recommending sculptor Joseph Boehm for an equestrian statue for memorializing Lee and expressing Whistler's veneration for the Confederate general; a circa 1880 letter from Whistler, written during his 14 months in Venice, to Katharine de Kay Bronson, who presided over the expatriate community there; 2 circa 1892-1893 letters documenting Whistler's determination to pursue Sheridan Ford through the courts in response to Ford's publication of a contraband version of Whistler's book The Gentle Art of Making Enemies; and a circa 1897 letter to J. W. Beck, sent in response to Beck's request on behalf of the Royal Academy that he exhibit with the British contingent at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In the letter Whistler insults Sir Frederic Leighton, the Royal Academy's president, retaliating against previous slights including having his paintings hung well above eye-level, or "skied".

Although few, if any, records survive about the creation of The Company of the Butterfly, a syndicate established in 1897 for selling Whistler's work, the collection contains one letter from Christine Anderson, the secretary of the Company, to one of it's first clients, Herbert Charles Pollitt.

The collection also contains an 1883 invitation from Whistler to Dr. Swan Burnett and his wife, children's author Frances Hodgson Burnett, to view etchings and drypoints and a note written by Whistler and signed with the butterfly, taken from the back of the painting Beach at Selsey Bill (1865).

Seven catalogs dating from 1892-1910 and circa 1940 document Whistler exhibitions in London and the United States.

Seven of the Whistler items are signed with his butterfly signature and all letters sent after his wife's death in May 1896 are on mourning stationary.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 1 series:

Series 1: James McNeill Whistler Collection, 1863-1906, circa 1940 (Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
London-based painter and etcher, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and lived in St. Petersburg and London as a child before returning to the United States on the death of his father in 1849. After a failed attempt at a military career at West Point from 1851-1853, he worked as a draftsman for the Coast Survey from 1854-1855 where he received technical instruction in etching. Whistler then left for Paris and remained an expatriot for the rest of his life, living alternately in Paris and London. He studied briefly in Paris at the Ecole Impériale, but was influenced more heavily by his own studies of the great masters and his contemporaries, including Henri Fantin-Latour, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Courbet, and Edouard Manet.

Whistler's reputation as an etcher was firmly established with the 1858 publication of his group of "French Set" etchings. Shortly thereafter he settled in London and began work on his first major painting At the Piano (1859). His paintings, such as Symphony in White No. 1 The White Girl, (1862; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and later portraits such as Arrangement in Black and Grey No. 1: The Artist's Mother (1871; Musée d'Orsay, Paris), won him international acclaim. His style was not easily defined although he was influenced by Realism and Impressionism and by Japanese art styles, which can be seen in his "Nocturne" landscapes, exhibited in 1877 at the Grovesnor Gallery in London, and influenced the development of his "butterfly signature" in the 1860s.

When art critic John Ruskin wrote a scathing review of the "Nocturnes" exhibition, Whistler sued for libel and won, although the resulting legal fees drove him into bankruptcy. He spent 14 months in Venice on a commission for the Fine Art Society and produced a succession of etchings and pastels that were subsequently exhibited in 1883 and helped to stabilize his financial situation.

In 1885 Whistler, famous for his witty and flamboyant personality, published his Ten O'Clock Lecture which espoused his belief in "art for arts sake," and asserted his refusal to ascribe narratives or morality to his art. Whistler's "Ten O'Clock" drew a response from Oscar Wilde and a public discourse between the two men followed in the London newspapers. It was later published in the pamphlet Wilde v. Whistler: being an acrimonious correspondence on art between Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler.

In 1890 Whistler published The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, a collection of his best letters and witticisms. The book had originally been the idea of American journalist Sheridan Ford, to whom Whistler had advanced money which he then withdrew with the intent of completing the project alone. When Ford retaliated with a contraband edition of the book, Whistler pursued him through the courts and Ford was tried in Belgium in 1891.

Toward the end of his life Whistler focused increasingly on etching, drypoint and lithography, in addition to interior decoration such as the Peacock Room for Frederick Leyland's London residence begun in 1876. A happy marriage to Beatrix Godwin in 1888 ended in her death in May 1896. By the time of his death in London in 1903, Whistler was regarded as major artist of international renown.
Related Material:
The Archives holds several collections relating to James McNeill Whistler including the Katherine Prince collection relating to James McNeill Whistler, 1835- 1892; Edward Guthrie Kennedy papers concerning James McNeill Whistler in the New York Public Library, 1850-1902 and Selected papers concerning James McNeill Whistler in the New York Public Library, 1830-1950 (available on microfilm only, reel N25; originals reside at the New York Public Library); and James McNeill Whistler collection in the University of Glasgow, Special Collections, circa 1830-1963 (available on microfilm only, reels 4600-4611 and 4683-4699; originals reside in the Glasgow University Library, Dept. of Special Collections).
Provenance:
The collection was compiled from a series of accessions donated between 1959 and 2003. Most of the items in the collection were given to the Archives of American Art by Charles Feinberg in 1959. The pamphlet Wilde v. Whistler was donated by Mrs. Lois Field in 1964 and an invitation to Dr. and Mrs. Burnett was donated by Martha Fleischman in 2003.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The James McNeill Whistler collection is 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:
Painting, American  Search this
Art dealers -- France -- Paris  Search this
Painters  Search this
Etchers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Postcards
Pamphlets
Citation:
James McNeill Whistler collection, 1863-1906, circa 1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.whisjame2
See more items in:
James McNeill Whistler collection
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-whisjame2
Additional Online Media:

Chester Dale papers

Creator:
Dale, Chester, b. 1883  Search this
Names:
Allentown Art Museum  Search this
Amherst College  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
Parrish Art Museum  Search this
Batigne, Claire  Search this
Batigne, Renee  Search this
Braque, Georges, 1882-1963  Search this
Burkhardt, Rudy  Search this
Cantor, Irving  Search this
Cassatt, Mary, 1844-1926  Search this
Cooper, Maria  Search this
Cooper, Veronica  Search this
Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906  Search this
Dale, Mary Towar Bullard, 1892-1984  Search this
Dale, Maud, 1875-1953  Search this
Dallas Museum of Art  Search this
Dalí, Gala  Search this
Dalí, Salvador, 1904-  Search this
Dmitri, Ivan, 1900-1968  Search this
Dufy, Raoul, 1877-1953  Search this
Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-  Search this
Frost, Robert, 1874-1963  Search this
Hamilton, Edith, 1867-1963  Search this
Ingersoll, R. Sturgis (Robert Sturgis), b. 1891  Search this
Kahlo, Frida  Search this
Kessel, Dmitri  Search this
MacNeil, Neil  Search this
Mayes, Herbert R., 1900-1987 (Herbert Raymond)  Search this
Mellon, Paul  Search this
Mellon, Timothy  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente, 1883-1949  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Salles, Georges  Search this
Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009  Search this
Wyeth, Jamie, 1946-  Search this
Wyeth, Nicholas  Search this
Extent:
8.4 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Travel diaries
Place:
Europe -- description and travel
Date:
circa 1883-2003
bulk 1920-1970
Summary:
The papers of New York art collector Chester Dale measure 8.4 linear feet and date from circa 1883-2003. Dale amassed one of the world's most complete collections of nineteenth and twentieth century French art, was a collector of eighteenth century American portraitists, and a patron and collector of twentieth American artists including George Bellows and Mary Cassatt. The bulk of the collection dates from 1920 to 1970 and documents Dale's activities through biographical material, correspondence, memoirs and other writings, purchase, sales and estate records, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York art collector Chester Dale measure 8.4 linear feet and date from circa 1883-2003. Dale amassed one of the world's most complete collections of nineteenth and twentieth century French art, was a collector of eighteenth century American portraitists, and a patron and collector of twentieth American artists including George Bellows and Mary Cassatt. The bulk of the collection dates from 1920 to 1970 and documents Dale's activities through biographical material, correspondence, memoirs and other writings, purchase, sales and estate records, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs.

Biographical material comprises brief genealogical and biographical notes on Dale's father's side of the family; four pieces of miscellaneous artwork; several certificates, membership cards, and programs; circa six unidentified dictaphone recordings; and a home movie of an unidentified social event.

Correspondence provides scattered documentation of Dale's activities as a collector and benefactor, including correspondence relating to gifts to various museums such as the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as posthumous gifts to the Allentown Art Museum and Amherst College. Also documented is Dale's election as president of the National Gallery of Art in 1955. There are several letters to and from Salvador and Gala Dali, copies of two letters from Diego Rivera, and letters from other friends and business associates, including historian Georges Salles. Over one third of the correspondence consists of condolence telegrams and letters sent to Mary Dale following Dale's death. Other correspondence documents Mary Dale's work as exhibition chairman for the Parrish Museum of Art, and includes letters from Andrew, Jamie, and Nicholas Wyeth.

Writings include typed drafts of Dale's memoirs which recall the beginning of his career in banking, and include stories of his early experiences in buying art. Dale credits the highly discerning and influential eye of his first wife, Maud Dale, for guiding him in his early selections, and his memoirs recall his unconventionally direct way of doing business with the Paris art dealers. Two travel diaries record a 1904 trip to Europe, and five trips to Europe and the Caribbean between 1949 and 1953. Writings by others include several essays on Dale by various authors, several essays on art by Maud Dale, and a typed draft of a manuscript on Dale's life by Neil MacNeil.

Extensive inventories, estate appraisals, and will disbursement records document the contents of the Chester Dale collection in Series 4. Also found here are receipts for specific purchases of works by Cezanne, Cassatt, Dali, Dufy, Picasso, and others.

Printed material includes catalogs for auction sales annotated with sales prices and other purchase information; catalogs of Dale's collection; and exhibition catalogs and announcements for the Parrish Museum of Art during Mary Dale's tenure as exhibition chairman. Some of the catalogs include essays by Maud Dale. News clippings and magazine articles document press coverage of Dale's activities at home and abroad.

Scrapbooks contain additional printed material, primarily news clippings, documenting press coverage of Chester Dale's life from the 1920s until his death. One of the scrapbooks includes multiple photographs of Dale and others, including a photo of Frida Kahlo and Jose Orozco. An additional scrapbook of photographs and clippings documents Mary Dale's life before and after her marriage to Dale.

Photographs are of Dale, Mary Dale, Maud Dale, family, friends, and colleagues. There are photographs of Dale and Mary Dale with artists including George Braques, Salvador and Gala Dali, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Jamie and Nicholas Wyeth; and friends and associates Renee and Claire Batigne, Veronica "Rocky" Cooper and Maria Cooper, Robert Sturgis Ingersoll, Edith Hamilton with Robert Frost, Neil MacNeil, Herbert Mayes, and Paul and Timothy Mellon. There are individual photos and three photograph albums of Dale's various residences and his collection, including photographs taken shortly before his death at his Plaza Hotel apartment showing some of his favorite pictures. Photographers include Rudolph Burkhardt, Irving Cantor, Ivan Dmitri, and Dmitri Kessel. There are also many photographs of exhibition openings and museum events, especially events at the National Gallery of Art, including the presentation of Dale's gift of Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper to the museum in 1956, and the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II of England's visit to the museum in 1957. Photographs also include photographs of artwork in Dale's collection.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as seven series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1897-circa 1960, 2003 (Boxes 1, 7-8; FC 20; 0.45 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1911-1984 (Box 1; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1904-1963 (Boxes 2, 8; 0.55 linear feet)

Series 4: Chester Dale Collection, circa 1930-1968 (Boxes 2-3; 1 linear foot)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1925-circa 1972 (Boxes 3-4, 8, OV 9; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, circa 1920s-1963 (Box 4, BVs 10-14; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1883-1972 (Boxes 4-6, 19, BVs 15-17, OV 18; 3.3 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
New York art patron and collector of French and American art Chester Dale (1883-1962), made his fortune as a banker who pioneered the sale of public utility securities. He began purchasing French paintings in the mid-1920s and retired from the investment security business in 1935 in order to focus full time on the acquisition of art.

Dale was encouraged to begin collecting art by his first wife, Maud Dale, who was an artist, a writer, and a former chairman of the Exhibition Committee of the Museum of French Art. With the benefit of his wife's knowledge, passion, and perception, Dale began to lay the foundation of his collection in 1926, and amassed circa seven hundred pictures within ten years. His collection is considered to be one of the most complete collections of nineteenth and twentieth century French art in the world, and includes some of the finest examples of works by Braque, Corot, Delacroix, Degas, Derain, Dufy, Leger, Matisse, and Renoir, as well as by artists representative of the French tradition in art including Modigliani, Picasso, Rivera, and Van Gogh.

Although primarily interested in French art, Dale also collected and encouraged American artists. He was a patron of George Bellows and Salvador Dali, and had his portrait painted by both artists. Dale presented the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art with their first Dali paintings, the latter being The Sacrament of the Last Supper. Dale also purchased works by Mary Cassatt, representative works by "the Eight," and examples of eighteenth century American portraitists John Smibert, Gilbert Stuart and Thomas Sully. In the early 1940s he visited Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico, and Rivera subsequently completed a portrait of Dale in 1945.

Dale served as a trustee to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He made the first of a series of gifts to the National Gallery of Art when it opened in 1941. In 1955 he was elected president of the museum, by which time his collection occupied ten of its galleries. Dale bequeathed the bulk of his remaining collection to the National Gallery in his will. This final gift included eighty of his favorite pictures, which had been located in his Manhattan apartment at the Plaza Hotel up until his death.

A year after the death of Maud Dale in 1953, Dale married Mary Towar Bullard, whom he had employed as his secretary for twenty-five years. Mary Dale oversaw the disbursement of her husband's estate, following Dale's death from a heart attack in 1962.
Related Materials:
Holdings at the Archives of American Art also include the Chester Dale papers concerning George Bellows, 1919-1956, comprising correspondence, a photograph, and invoices relating to Chester Dale's relationship with George Bellows and Dale's interest in artwork by Bellows; and the Chester Dale eulogy, consisting of one 35 minute, 9 second sound tape reel of a eulogy delivered by an unidentified speaker.
Provenance:
The collection was donated in 1972 by Mary Dale, Chester Dale's second wife, and in 1985 by Mary Dale's estate.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D. C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Chester Dale 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
Art dealers -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art, French--19th century  Search this
Art, French--20th century  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Art, Modern--19th century--Collectors and collecting  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Travel diaries
Citation:
Chester Dale papers, circa 1883-2003, bulk 1920-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.daleches
See more items in:
Chester Dale papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-daleches
Additional Online Media:

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