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Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers

Creator:
Koppelman, Chaim, 1920-2009  Search this
Names:
American Federation of Arts  Search this
Associated American Artists  Search this
Audubon Artists (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park  Search this
Pratt Graphics Center  Search this
Print Council of America  Search this
School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation  Search this
Terrain Gallery  Search this
Anuszkiewicz, Richard  Search this
Dienes, Sari  Search this
Herz, Nat, 1920-1964  Search this
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944  Search this
Koppelman, Dorothy  Search this
Kranz, Sheldon  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Ozenfant, Amédée, 1886-1966  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Pond, Clayton, 1941-  Search this
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967  Search this
Siegel, Eli, 1902-  Search this
Stamos, Theodoros, 1922-1997  Search this
Extent:
4 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Illustrated letters
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Date:
circa 1930s-2006
bulk 1942-2005
Summary:
The papers of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. The collection documents the activities of Chaim Koppelman and his wife, Dorothy Koppelman, as artists and educators, and their affiliation with the Terrain Gallery and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Materials include biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, scrapbooks, printed material, sketches, sketchbooks, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. The collection documents the activities of Chaim Koppelman and his wife, Dorothy Koppelman, as artists and educators, and their affiliation with the Terrain Gallery and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Materials include biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, scrapbooks, printed material, sketches, sketchbooks, and photographs.

Scattered biographical material includes resumes, artist's statements, copies of entries in Who's Who directories, and miscellaneous items.

Correspondence includes personal correspondence and general correspondence. Personal correspondence mostly consists of Chaim Koppelman's letters written to Dorothy while he was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He describes his daily activities, observations on army life, and his travels while stationed in England, France, and Germany. Of interest is Chaim Koppelman's letter to Dorothy describing his meeting Picasso and visiting the artist's studio. Personal correspondence also includes Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman's letters with family and friends. Notable correspondents include Sari Dienes, Nat Herz, Sheldon Kranz, Amédée Ozenfant, Hilla Rebay, and Theodoros Stamos. Hilla Rebay's letters to Chaim Koppelman discuss museum-related activities at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, including the Guggenheim's memorial exhibition for Wassily Kandinsky. There is also a file of letters from Eli Siegel to Chaim Koppelman. General correspondence includes mostly incoming letters to Chaim Koppelman from collectors, colleagues, students, and arts institutions. Frequent correspondents include: Associated American Artists, American Federation of the Arts, Audubon Artists, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, Pratt Graphics Center and Print Council of America.

Writings and notes contain annotated typescripts and handwritten drafts by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Chaim Koppelman's writings include essays and talks on art, artists, and printmaking based on Aesthetic Realism; also found are some poems. Dorothy Koppelman's writings consist of artist's statements and essay-length pieces that were prepared for Aesthetic Realism talks on the work and lives of artists, held at the Terrain Gallery of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation and other venues. Also found is a sound recording of Chaim Koppelman's 1968 conversation with Richard Anuszkiewicz, Roy Lichtenstein, and Clayton Pond; the artists discuss the influence of the Siegel Theory of Opposites on their work.

Subject files document the activities, projects, and professional affiliations of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Included are materials on exhibitions, applications for fellowships and grants, awards, drafts of writings, donations and acquisitions of artwork by museums. Teaching files provide an overview of the faculty positions held by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman over the course of their careers. Found are extensive files on Chaim Koppelman's tenure at the School of Visual Arts. Exhibition files chronicle the Koppelmans' solo and group shows at the Terrain and other venues; substantive files contain Chaim Koppelman's correspondence with museums and arts institutions and sales information.

Two scrapbooks contain exhibition-related materials, such as artists' statements, press releases, awards, printed material, and photographs of artwork. Artwork includes sketches and illustrated letters by Chaim Koppelman. There are twenty annotated sketchbooks by Chaim Koppelman and a sketchbook by Dorothy Koppelman. Photographs and snapshots are of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman; many of the snapshots of Chaim Koppelman and others document his army service while stationed in the United States and Europe. Four photograph albums include black and white photographs of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in their studio; included are snapshots of the Koppelmans with family and friends at exhibition openings, gatherings, and on their travels. There are photographs of Regina Dienes, Gerson Lieber, Bernard Olshan, Joseph Solman, and Theodoros Stamos.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 12 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-2001 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-2003 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1930s-1989, 2005 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1942-2004 (Boxes 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Teaching Files, 1940s-2006 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1940s-2005 (Boxes 2-3; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Personal Business Records, 1944-1969 (Box 3; 3 folders)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1942-2003 (Box 3; 2 folders)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1937-1971, 2004 (Box 3; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 10: Artwork, 1933-1949, 1980-2000 (Box 3; 3 folders)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1944-2005 (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 12: Photographs, 1930-circa 2004 (Box 4; 0.25 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Chaim Koppelman (1920-2009) lived and worked in New York as a printmaker, educator, and Aesthetic Realism consultant. Painter, gallery director, Aesthetic Realism consultant, and educator Dorothy Koppelman (1920-) resides and works in New York City.

Chaim Koppelman was born in Brooklyn in 1920. Koppelman studied at the American Artists School with Carl Holty and at the Art Students League with Jose De Creeft and Will Barnet. Simultaneously, he began to study in classes taught by Eli Siegel, critic, poet, and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism. In 1942, Koppelman was drafted in the U.S. Army. Before going overseas in 1943, he married Dorothy Myers. In the army, Koppelman continued his studies in painting and sculpture, where he attended the Art College in Western England, Bristol, and the Beaux Arts School in Reims, France. Chaim Koppelman took part in the Normandy invasion and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

After Koppelman returned to New York in 1944, he studied at the Amédée Ozenfant School, where he eventually became Ozenfant's assistant. Around this time, Koppelman turned from painting and sculpture to printmaking. In 1955, Chaim Koppelman, his wife, Dorothy, and other artists and poets studying Aesthetic Realism established the Terrain Gallery. For many years, Koppelman was the head of the gallery's Print Division and then later became an advisory director.

Chaim Koppelman held a number of teaching positions in universities and arts institutions. He lectured at Brooklyn College, the Art Education Department from 1950-1960. In 1959, Koppelman founded the Printmaking Division at the School of Visual Arts, where he served on the school's faculty until 2007. At the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, he taught artists how to relate their artwork and their everyday lives. He wrote: "After having tested his aesthetic concepts in literally thousands of works of different periods, in different styles, in different media, I say that Eli Siegel's Theory of Opposites is the key to what is good or beautiful in art….When Eli Siegel showed that what makes a work of art beautiful—the oneness of opposites—is the same as what every individual wants, it was one of the mightiest and kindest achievements of man's mind."

Among the awards Chaim Koppelman received were: two Tiffany Grants, 1956, 1959; New York Artists Equity Annual Awards Honoring Will Barnet, Robert Blackburn, Chaim Koppelman, 1992; and the Purchase Prize, Art Students League in 2005. Koppelman was a member of the National Academy and a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA). In 2004, SAGA presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery, Chaim Koppelman's work was featured at the Beatrice Conde Gallery, International Print Center (New York), Library of Congress, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His prints are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the National Gallery.

In December 2009, Koppelman died at age 89 in New York City.

Born in 1920, Dorothy Koppelman attended Brooklyn College, the Art Students League, and American Artists School where she trained under Joseph Solman. During this time, she began to study poetry, and the relation of art and the self in classes with Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism.

Dorothy Koppelman has had a number of solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery. She has also shown her paintings at the Atlantic Gallery, Art Gallery of Binghamton, New York, Beatrice Conde Gallery, the Broome Street Gallery, and at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, the Whitney Biennial 2006 Peace Tower, the National Academy, and the Butler Art Institute.

Dorothy Koppelman has served on the faculty at several arts institutions: the National Academy, Brooklyn College School of Education, and the School of Visual Arts. She has given presentations on Aesthetic Realism at the Fondazione Piero della Francesa in Italy, and with Carrie Wilson at the 31st World Congress of the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA). On August 16, 2002, in a talk given on Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore, she said, "Eli Siegel explained the true meaning of art for our lives. No one—no scholar, no artist, no person—in all the centuries ever saw this before: that we can learn about ourselves from the very technique of art!...He showed that far from being in a separate world, art has the answer to the trouble in this one."

She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Contemporary Artists and New York Artists Equity. She has received an Honorable Mention from the Brooklyn Society of Artists, 1957; a Tiffany Grant for painting, 1965; and awards from the American Society of Contemporary Artists, 1996, 1999. Dorothy Koppelman's work has been included in the collections of Hampton University, Virginia; Rosenzweig Museum, Durham, North Carolina; New-York Historical Society; Yale University; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as well as other institutions.

Dorothy Koppelman lives in New York City. She is a consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, where she also teaches the Critical Inquiry, a workshop for artists. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and is President of the Eli Siegel/Martha Baird Foundation. She continues her study in classes with Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Terrain Gallery records of which Dorothy Koppelman is the director.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in 2006.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman 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:
Artists' studios  Search this
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Illustrated letters
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Citation:
Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers, circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.koppchai
See more items in:
Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-koppchai

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records

Creator:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery  Search this
Names:
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Andrejevic, Milet, 1925-  Search this
Aponovich, James, 1948-  Search this
Bailey, William, 1930-  Search this
Bell, Leland  Search this
Brassaï, 1899-  Search this
Cameron, Julia Margaret Pattle, 1815-1879  Search this
Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dawson, Manierre, 1887-1969  Search this
Driggs, Elsie, 1898-1992  Search this
Erlebacher, Martha Mayer  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude, 1878-1961  Search this
Freund, Gisèle  Search this
Horton, William S., 1865-1936  Search this
Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983  Search this
Lachaise, Gaston, 1882-1935  Search this
Laderman, Gabriel, 1929-  Search this
Ligare, David  Search this
Matthiasdottir, Louisa  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Myers, Ethel  Search this
Nadelman, Elie, 1882-1946  Search this
Schoelkopf, Robert J., 1927-1991  Search this
Stella, Joseph, 1877-1946  Search this
Storrs, John Henry Bradley, 1885-1956  Search this
Wiesenfeld, Paul  Search this
Extent:
29 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Date:
1851-1991
bulk 1962-1991
Summary:
The collection comprises 29 linear feet of records that document the day-to-day administration of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery from 1962 to 1991, with additional items predating the founding of the gallery from 1851 to 1961. The collection records artist and client relations, exhibitions, and daily business transactions through artist files, correspondence, printed matter, and photographic material.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery comprise 29 linear feet of material from 1851 to 1991, with some items predating the founding of the gallery. The bulk of the records date from 1962 to 1991, providing researchers with fairly comprehensive coverage of the gallery's development and operations from its inception in 1962 until its closure in 1991. Items dated prior to 1962 relate principally to the period of transition during which Robert Schoelkopf ended his partnership with the Zabriskie Gallery and established his own business. There are also some items relating to artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The collection consists primarily of artist files documenting relations with contemporary artists, representation of deceased artists, and other works of art handled by the gallery. It also chronicles the gallery's exhibition schedule and the day-to-day administration of the business. The types of material that can be found here include correspondence, exhibition inventories, price lists, accounting and consignment records, shipping and insurance records, printed material, and photographs.

The collection is a valuable source of information on twentieth-century American art history, focusing primarily on early-twentieth-century modernists as well as an important group of American realist painters and sculptors from the latter half of the century. The collection illuminates, in detail, the developing market for these schools and, in the case of the latter group, provides personal insights from artists on the realist perspective.

The records also document the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery's significant contribution to the resurgence of interest in fine art photography during the 1960s and 1970s as reflected in an increase in the value of works by important American photographers such as Walker Evans.

Much of the outgoing correspondence from the gallery consists of copies of letters written by Robert Schoelkopf, with additional business being handled by assistant staff and, from the mid-1970s, Schoelkopf's wife, Laura Jane Schoelkopf. The records offer insight into the personalities of the Schoelkopfs and how their congenial and candid management style influenced their relationships with the contemporary artists they represented.
Arrangement:
Originally the collection was organized as one large file arranged alphabetically by folder title, with titles ranging from names of artists to general subject headings such as "Correspondence." During processing it became clear that the gallery delineated operations into three main functions: artist relations, client-dealer relations, and exhibitions. Consequently the collection is arranged as three main series based on these areas of concern. A small group of miscellaneous photographs of artists constitutes an additional series at the end of the collection.

Originally paper records throughout the collection were generally arranged chronologically, although this order was not strictly adhered to. Frequently, correspondence and memoranda were attached to related records going back several years. To preserve the relationship between such documents, records stapled together in this way have been left together. They are arranged in reverse chronological order and filed in the folder corresponding to the primary date (i.e., the date of the first and most recent paper in the group). Researchers should be aware that date ranges provided on folders refer to the primary dates of documents contained therein and that some items in the folder may predate that range. Otherwise, the general chronological scheme has been retained throughout the collection, with undated material placed at the beginning of the appropriate file.

Printed material is arranged in chronological order, with undated material at the beginning of the folder, and may include press releases, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, posters, clippings from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and other publicity material. Large amounts of printed material are broken down into several discrete folder units.

The most consistent labeling system for photographic material apparent throughout the collection was title of work of art. The majority of images are not dated with a printing date or the date that the work of art was produced, and although many of them have a processing number, these are by no means consistent and there are no master lists that can be used to interpret them. Consequently, images are arranged primarily by media type and then alphabetically by title. Untitled images are placed at the beginning of a media group; "the" in a title is ignored. Exceptions to this method are addressed in the appropriate series descriptions.

Files labeled "Photographs of Works of Art" will typically include any or all of the following: black-and-white copy prints, black-and-white transparencies, color transparencies, slide transparencies, Polaroid prints, color snapshots, contact sheets, and separation sheets. Often the same image will be duplicated in several different formats. Any notes on photographic material found in or on the original folder in which the material was filed have been preserved with the material or transcribed onto a sheet of acid-free paper that either encloses or is placed directly before the item to which the information applies.

The designation "General" indicates that a file may contain any or all of the types of material outlined above.

Series 1: Artist Files, 1851-1991, undated (Boxes 1-23; 23 linear ft.)

Series 2: General Business Files, 1960-1991, undated (Boxes 24-28; 4.74 linear ft.)

Series 3: Group Exhibition Files, 1960-1988, undated (Boxes 28-29; 1 linear ft.)

Series 4: Photographs of Artists, undated (Box 29; 0.25 linear ft.)
Historical Note:
Robert Schoelkopf, Jr., was born in Queens, New York, in 1927. He graduated from Yale College in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree and then taught briefly at his alma mater while conducting graduate research in art history. Schoelkopf began his career in commercial art in 1957 as an independent dealer of American painting and sculpture and became a member of the Art Dealers Association of America in 1958. In 1959 he formed a partnership with Virginia Zabriskie, of the Zabriskie Gallery in New York, that lasted until 1962. The gallery exhibited late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American painting, together with contemporary painting of a somewhat conservative style.

In 1962 Schoelkopf signed a three-year lease for the fourth floor of a building at 825 Madison Avenue in New York, where he opened the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery. From the outset, Schoelkopf aimed to specialize in American painting of the nineteenth and twentieth century and sculpture of all schools. He predicted a burgeoning market for the Hudson River School in particular, believing that American painting was increasingly perceived as being worthy of serious attention. In a letter dated January 3, 1963, Schoelkopf congratulated John Spencer for his decision to collect nineteenth-century American paintings for the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, assuring him that "progressive chauvanism [ sic] will operate to elevate prices in American painting. Every year more colleges teach Art History, and soon they shall have reached the level of sophistication and development where they will be obliged (for face) to offer tuition in specifically American art - hitherto neglected of academicians.... I and many other dealers have plans for exhibitions of nineteenth-century American painting, especially the Hudson River School."

Schoelkopf's instincts regarding the Hudson River School were undoubtedly correct, and consequently nineteenth-century American painters formed a permanent mainstay of his inventory. He is perhaps remembered more, however, for his dedication to reviving interest in lesser-known American painters from the turn-of-the-century who were impressionist or modernist in style. Schoelkopf developed something of a reputation for unearthing forgotten talent that, while sometimes mediocre or inconsistent, was occasionally exceptional and certainly worthy of note. He was committed to reinstalling Joseph Stella in the pantheon of major American artists, representing Stella's estate from 1963 to 1971 and holding regular exhibitions of the artist's work from 1962 on. In 1969 the gallery held the first New York exhibition of the paintings of Manierre Dawson, who was subsequently acclaimed by the critics for his important and innovative contributions to modernism. In 1970 Schoelkopf began showing the work of Jan Matulka, an artist whose work had been neglected since the 1930s, and his enthusiastic representation of the Matulka estate paved the way for a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1979.

Schoelkopf's interest in turn-of-the-century artists also extended to sculptors such as John Flannagan, Ethel Myers, Elie Nadelman, and John Henry Bradley Storrs, and he directed considerable energy to furthering Gaston Lachaise's reputation as an artist of major stature. When Lachaise died at the peak of his career in 1935, his estate was left to his wife, Isabel, and in 1957 to Isabel's son, Edward. When Edward died shortly thereafter, John B. Pierce, Jr., a nephew of Isabel Lachaise, was appointed trustee of the estate and formed the Lachaise Foundation. In 1962 Pierce entered an agreement with Robert Schoelkopf and Felix Landau to represent Lachaise's sculpture on the East and West Coasts, respectively. In this capacity Schoelkopf helped to launch a major retrospective of the artist's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1964 and a traveling exhibition that began circulating in 1967.

The gallery's other major commitment was to painting and sculpture by contemporary American realists, many of whom worked in a figurative style and explored elements of allegory and classical mythology in their work, presenting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits from a realist perspective. The bulk of the gallery's exhibitions were, in fact, of work by contemporary artists, including metaphysical still-life painter William Bailey, colorist Leland Bell, figurative painter Martha Mayer Erlebacher, landscape and narrative painter Gabriel Laderman, and Icelandic artist Louisa Matthiasdottir. William Bailey was one of the gallery's most commercially successful artists, and his first one-person exhibition in New York was held there in 1968. Demand for Bailey's paintings often far exceeded his output, and by the late 1970s Schoelkopf invariably sold out his exhibitions and had compiled a lengthy waiting list for his work.

In its early years the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery contributed considerably to the development of interest in fine art photography that fostered an increasingly lucrative market for photographic prints during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1965 Schoelkopf began incorporating photography into the gallery's exhibition schedule and, in the spring of 1974, opened a gallery dedicated to photography on the second floor at 825 Madison Avenue. Between 1965 and 1979 Schoelkopf's was the only serious New York gallery dealing in painting and sculpture that also regularly exhibited photography as fine art. His interests lay primarily in antiquarian photography and the work of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century masters including Eugéne Atget, Mathew Brady, James Robertson, and Carleton Watkins. Schoelkopf organized shows examining specific photographic processes, the photogravure and the cyanotype, and presented surveys of genres such as portrait and landscape photography. In 1967 he held the first exhibition in many years of the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, an important figure in the history of Victorian photography, timing it to coincide with a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focused on Cameron as one of four Victorian photographers.

Schoelkopf also handled the work of several influential contemporaries, most notably Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Gisèle Freund. The gallery held Freund's first exhibition in the United States in 1975 and was, for a time, the only place in New York where one could see and purchase prints by Cartier-Bresson. Schoelkopf began exhibiting Evans's work in 1966 and regularly thereafter, including a 1971 exhibition that coincided with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

In the fall of 1976 the second-floor gallery space was turned over to Marcuse (Cusie) Pfeifer, then the gallery's director, who planned to use it to show the work of young photographers in a gallery under her own name. Schoelkopf continued to hold several photography exhibitions a year in the fourth-floor gallery but decided to concentrate primarily on nineteenth-century masters.

In March 1971 a fire in the building at Madison Avenue resulted in substantial water damage to the gallery space. Although very little of the inventory was destroyed, the incident forced Schoelkopf to close until September. This temporary loss of revenue compounded with a nationwide recession cut into Schoelkopf's financial resources and left him questioning his commission policy and his level of commitment to contemporary work in all media. A letter to artist Adolph Rosenblatt dated May 3, 1971, records how Schoelkopf had become increasingly disenchanted with "all contemporary work" and would begin taking 40 percent commission on sales, instead of 33.3 percent. "Beside the matter of enthusiasm is the matter of economics," Schoelkopf remarked, "and the last year and a half have been really dreadful for the art business."

This difficult period was followed immediately by more prosperous times. January 1973 proved to be the gallery's most successful month to date, encouraging Schoelkopf to purchase a house in Chappaqua, New York, later that year. In November 1974 Schoelkopf wrote to Anthony D'Offay that business "is as slow as it has ever been, but what sales we make are big ones" and revealed that auctions had, at that point, become his primary avenue for trade.

Around 1975 Schoelkopf's wife of eleven years, Laura Jane Schoelkopf, began working in the gallery. Although seemingly dubious of the work at first, she became a considerable asset to the business and reputedly complemented her husband's relationship with the gallery's contemporary artists through her warmth and hospitality, qualities often noted by artists who corresponded regularly with the couple.

The financial instability that characterized the 1970s undoubtedly influenced Schoelkopf's decision to cease exhibiting photography in 1979. By 1978 however, his investment in early-twentieth-century art appeared to be paying off. Jan Matulka, Joseph Stella, and John Henry Bradley Storrs had all been represented in exhibitions at major museums, and sales of their work had increased considerably. Gaston Lachaise's reputation continued to grow, and the traveling exhibition still circulated, garnering far more interest than had originally been anticipated.

Although contemporary artists continued to take up the largest portion of the gallery's changing exhibitions, Schoelkopf's interest in contemporary work was growing more conservative, tending toward a narrower focus on the narrative and allegorical. By 1979 he no longer exhibited contemporary sculpture, admitting to a lack of enthusiasm for the work of any of the current figurative sculptors and a dislike of all contemporary abstract work. In a letter to Lillian Delevoryas, dated March 17, 1982, he confessed, "With age has come a hardening of the aesthetic arteries perhaps. What we have been showing is realism, but getting tighter all the time."

In April 1984 the gallery was moved to 50 West Fifty-seventh Street, and, during the years that followed, the Schoelkopfs pared down the number of contemporary artists they represented, handling only those to whom they felt most strongly committed while continuing to specialize in nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century American painting and sculpture. As the gallery approached its thirtieth anniversary, Schoelkopf's achievements were considerable. He had operated a successful New York gallery for almost three decades, rejuvenated the reputations of several important American artists, and was respected by artists and clients alike for the integrity, intelligence, and humor with which he conducted his business affairs. In 1987 he had been appointed to the board of trustees of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory. By this time he was also a member of the advisory board to the National Academy of Design, and in 1988 he became a co-trustee of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

In March 1990, Robert Schoelkopf was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent a regimen of cancer treatment that resulted in a brief remission by the summer. Schoelkopf returned to work temporarily, but by 1991 his condition had worsened and he died in April of that year. Having known for some time that her husband's prognosis was poor, Laura Jane Schoelkopf had apparently decided that she would not continue the gallery in the event of his death. With the help of the youngest of their two sons, Andrew, she settled final accounts and assisted the gallery's contemporary artists in finding representation elsewhere before closing the business in August 1991.
Provenance:
Twenty-seven linear feet of records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Laura Jane Schoelkopf, Robert Schoelkopf's widow, and the Coe Kerr Gallery in 1991 and 1992. An additional gift of 3.4 linear feet was donated by Laura Jane Schoelkopf in 1996. The collection was reduced slightly during processing.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records 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, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Realism in art  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Citation:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.robeschg
See more items in:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-robeschg
Additional Online Media:

Katharine Kuh papers

Creator:
Kuh, Katharine  Search this
Names:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago -- Faculty  Search this
Biennale di Venezia  Search this
Katharine Kuh Gallery (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Albright, Ivan, 1897-1983  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S. (Louise Stevenson), 1879-1953  Search this
Arensberg, Walter, 1878-1954  Search this
Arp, Jean, 1887-1966  Search this
Barnet, Will, 1911-  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Breuer, Marcel, 1902-  Search this
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Campoli, Cosmo  Search this
Chagall, Marc, 1887-  Search this
Chavez Morado, José, 1909-2002  Search this
Chermayeff, Serge, 1900-  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Cox, Richard  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
Day, Worden, 1916-1986  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-  Search this
Dickinson, Edwin Walter, 1891-  Search this
Dubuffet, Jean, 1901-  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-  Search this
Ernst, Jimmy, 1920-1984  Search this
Falkenstein, Claire, 1908-1997  Search this
Feitelson, Lorser, 1898-1978  Search this
Friendly, Fred W.  Search this
Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966  Search this
Golub, Leon, 1922-2004  Search this
Goto, Joseph, 1920-  Search this
Grabe, Klaus  Search this
Graves, Robert, 1895-1985  Search this
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-  Search this
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980  Search this
Hare, David, 1917-  Search this
Hare, Denise Browne  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988  Search this
Hirshhorn, Joseph  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Inverarity, Robert Bruce, 1909-1999  Search this
Johns, Jasper, 1930-  Search this
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
Kepes, Juliet  Search this
Klee, Paul, 1879-1940  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Knox, Seymour H., 1898-1990  Search this
Le Corbusier, 1887-1965  Search this
Lundeberg, Helen, 1908-1999  Search this
Lye, Len, 1901-1980  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969  Search this
Millier, Arthur, 1893-  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Mérida, Carlos, 1891-1984  Search this
Nutting, Muriel Leone Tyler, b. 1892  Search this
Nutting, Myron Chester, 1890-1972  Search this
O'Higgins, Pablo, 1904-  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente, 1883-1949  Search this
Ozbekhan, Hasan, 1921-2007  Search this
Perkins, Frances  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Putnam, Wallace, 1899-1989  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Rich, Daniel Catton, 1904-1976  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Sandberg, Carl  Search this
Seligmann, Kurt, 1900-1962  Search this
Shackelford, Shelby  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Spaeth, Otto, d. 1966  Search this
Sterne, Hedda, 1916-  Search this
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-  Search this
Tanning, Dorothea, 1910-2012  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Winston, Harry Lewis  Search this
Woolf, Olga  Search this
Young, Victor  Search this
Photographer:
Pollack, Peter, 1909-1978  Search this
Extent:
12 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Illustrated letters
Resumes
Travel diaries
Minutes
Calendars
Visitors' books
Photographs
Paintings
Awards
Drawings
Sound recordings
Collages
Scrapbooks
Lithographs
Prints
Wills
Watercolors
Poetry
Lecture notes
Lectures
Sales records
Date:
1875-1994
bulk 1930-1994
Summary:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. The collection documents Kuh's career as a pioneer modernist art historian and as the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.

Biographical material consists of copies of Kuh's birth certificate, resumés, passports, award certificates, honorary diplomas, and address books listing information about several prominent artists and colleagues.

Four linear feet of correspondence offers excellent documentation of Kuh's interest in art history, her travels, her career at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work as a corporate art advisor, and as an author. There are letters from her mother Olga Woolf, friends, and colleagues. There is extensive correspondence with various staff members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the First National Bank of Chicago, and The Saturday Review. Also of interest are letters from artists and collectors, several of whom became life-long friends including Walter and Louise Arensberg, Cosmo Campoli, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Cox, Worden Day, Claire Falkenstein, Fred Friendly, Leon Golub, Joseph Goto, David Hare, Denise Brown Hare, Jean Hélion, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Len Lye, Wallace Putnam, Kurt Seligmann, Shelby Shackelford, Hedda Sterne, and Clyfford Still. Many letters are illustrated with original artwork in various media.

There are also scattered letters from various artists and other prominent individuals including Josef Albers, George Biddle, Marcel Breuer, Joseph Cornell, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Joseph Hirshhorn, Daniel Catton Rich, and Dorothea Tanning.

Personal business records include a list of artwork, Olga Woolf's will, inventories of Kuh's personal art collection, miscellaneous contracts and deeds of gift, receipts for the sale of artwork, files concerning business-related travel, and miscellaneous receipts.

Artwork in the collection represents a wide range of artist friends and media, such as drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages, and prints. Included are works by various artists including lithographs by David Hare and a watercolor set, Technics and Creativity, designed and autographed by Jasper Johns for the Museum of Modern Art, 1970.

Notes and writings include annotated engagement calendars, travel journals for Germany, a guest book for the Kuh Memorial gathering, and many writings and notes by Kuh for lectures and articles concerning art history topics. Of interest are minutes/notes from meetings for art festivals, conferences, and the "Conversations with Artists Program (1961). Also found are writings by others about Kuh and other art history topics.

Six scrapbooks contain clippings that document the height of Kuh's career as a gallery director and museum curator. Scrapbook 6 contains clippings about Fernand Léger, the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953.

Additional printed material includes clippings about Kuh and her interests, a comprehensive collection of clippings of Kuh's articles for The Saturday Review, exhibition announcements and catalogs, calendars of events, programs, brochures, books including Poems by Kuh as a child, and reproductions of artwork. Of particular interest are the early and exhibition catalogs from the Katharine Kuh Gallery, and rare catalogs for artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Hofmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Pablo Picasso.

Photographs provide important documentation of the life and career of Katharine Kuh and are of Kuh, family members, friends, colleagues, events, residences, and artwork. Several of the photographs of Kuh were taken by Will Barnet and Marcel Breuer and there is a notable pair of photo booth portraits of Kuh and a young Ansel Adams. There are also group photographs showing Angelica Archipenko with Kuh; designer Klaus Grabe; painters José Chavez Morado and Pablo O'Higgins in San Miguel, Mexico; Kuh at the Venice Biennale with friends and colleagues including Peggy Guggenheim, Frances Perkins, Daniel Catton Rich, and Harry Winston; and "The Pre-Depressionists" including Lorser Feitelson, Robert Inverarity, Helen Lundeberg, Arthur Millier, Myron Chester Nutting, and Muriel Tyler Nutting.

Photographs of exhibition installations and openings include views of the Katharine Kuh Gallery; Fernand Léger, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. There are also photographs depicting three men posing as Léger's "Three Musicians" and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is a photograph by Peter Pollack of an elk skull used as a model by Georgia O'Keeffe.

Additional photographs of friends and colleagues include Ivan Albright, Alfred Barr, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem De Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Marcel Duchamp, Claire Falkenstein, Alberto Giacometti, poet Robert Graves with Len Lye, Philip Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Carlos Mérida, José Orozco, Hasan Ozbekhan, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sandberg, Ben Shahn, Otto Spaeth, Hedda Sterne, Adlai Stevenson, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and composer Victor Young.

Photographs of artwork include totem poles in Alaska; work by various artists including Claire Falkenstein, Paul Klee, and Hedda Sterne; and work donated to the Guggenheim Museum.

Four audio recordings on cassette are of Katharine Kuh's lectures, including one about assembling corporate collections, and of Daniel Catton Rich reading his own poetry. There is also a recording of the Second Annual Dialogue between Broadcasters and Museum Educators.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Undated correspondence, artwork, and photographs of individual artists are arranged alphabetically. Otherwise, each series is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1908-1994 (Boxes 1-5, 13-14, OV 15; 4.0 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1941-1989 (Box 5; 19 folders)

Series 4: Artwork, 1931-1986 (Boxes 5, 13-14, OVs 15-23; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1914-1994 (Boxes 5-7; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1953 (Box 7; 8 folders)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992 (Boxes 7-10, 13, OV 22; 3.0 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, 1875-1993 (Boxes 10-13; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 9: Audio Recordings, 1977 (Box 12; 1 folder)
Biographical Note:
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.

After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.

In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.

After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.

In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review. In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.

A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.

Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.
Provenance:
The Katharine Kuh papers were donated in several installments from 1971 to 1989 by Katharine Kuh and in 1994 by her estate. Artwork was donated in 1995 by Kuh's former employer, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Restrictions:
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission until 2019. Contact the Archives of American Art Reference Services department for additional information.
Rights:
The Katharine Kuh 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, Abstract -- United States  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art festivals  Search this
Women museum curators -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Women art critics -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Authors -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Women art historians -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Women art dealers -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Women art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women art critics -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Genre/Form:
Illustrated letters
Resumes
Travel diaries
Minutes
Calendars
Visitors' books
Photographs
Paintings
Awards
Drawings
Sound recordings
Collages
Scrapbooks
Lithographs
Prints
Wills
Watercolors
Poetry
Lecture notes
Lectures
Sales records
Citation:
Katharine Kuh papers, 1875-1994, bulk 1930-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kuhkath
See more items in:
Katharine Kuh papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuhkath

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