The papers of artist Isabella Howland measure 1.1 linear feet and date from 1899-1979. The collection documents her career through biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, sculptor, caricaturist, and portraitist Isabella Howland measure 1.1 linear feet and date from 1899-1979. Correspondence makes up about a third of the collection, with the remainder comprised of biographical material, writings, printed material, photographs, and artworks.
Correspondence is found between Isabella Howland and other artists or dealers. Among these are Eugenie Gershoy, Henry Strater, Edith Halpert, Peggy Bacon, Forbes Watson, Jerry Bywaters, Adolph Dehn and Dorothea Greenbaum. Letters from Juliana Force, the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, are present. Many invitations to exhibit are included. The collection includes a small number of letters with Howland's family. She maintained written communication with several individuals over decades.
The biographical material contains Isabella Howland's handwritten notes and typed documents about her life. Some legal documents and financial records are present. The writing series includes her story 'Willy Nilly' with accompanying illustrations of animals, in addition to some other writings. The artwork series includes sketches and sketchbooks from childhood into adulthood. Photographs include images of Howland as well as her paintings and portraits.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1901-1972 (4 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1917-1973 (22 folders; Box 1)
Series 3, Writings, 1935-1964 (8 folders; Box 1)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1928-1976 (5 folders; Box 1)
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1900-1979 (4 folders; Box 1, OV 2)
Series 6: Artwork, 1899-circa 1940s (8 folders; Box 1, OV 2)
Biographical / Historical:
Isabella Howland (1895-1974) lived and worked in New York City. She drew portraits, painted on canvas, sketched on paper, and sculpted caricature busts of people in the art world. She wrote that she could do anything with her hands.
Howland was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. From her youth she knew she wanted to be an artist. She had her earliest artistic training at age 16. Her art education included time at the Boston Museum School and the Art Students League in New York City. She completed her secondary education in France and Germany, moved back to the United States afterwards, and in 1920 travelled again to Europe. In 1922 she settled in Greenwich Village and spent summers in Woodstock to paint landscapes and still-lifes.
She actively painted in the 1920s, and had three shows in 1927, 1929, and 1931. During the Depression she worked for the Public Works of Art Project and the Works Progress Administration. In 1934 she married Armando Zegri, and they divorced in 1937. While they were married they owned a club in the West Village named The Café Latino. She began teaching at a private school in the early 1940s while dealing with some personal difficulties. She found religion which comforted her as she dealt with her mother's declining health and her sister's waning mental state.
Howland had many friends in the art world and regularly received requests to exhibit at museums. She became known as an accomplished portrait artist, and she was commissioned many times to execute drawings or sculptures. She dabbled in writing and illustrating stories, and produced a set of 33 Christmas cards featuring two monks.
Donated between 1975-1976 by Mrs. Martha Craig and Barbara Summer. Three photographs of works of art were donated by Eugenie Gershoy in 1979.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The Isabella Howland papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donors have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Caricaturists -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Portrait painters -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries records measure 21.8 linear feet and are dated 1858-1969 (bulk 1919-1968). The records consist mainly of business correspondence with collectors, artists, museums and arts organizations, colleagues, and others. A small amount of Frank K. M. Rehns personal correspondence and a few stray personal papers of individual artists are interfiled. Also included are financial records, scrapbooks, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting most of the history of a highly regarded New York City art gallery devoted to American painting.
Scope and Content Note:
The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries records measure 21.8 linear feet and are dated 1858-1969 (bulk 1919-1968). The records consist mainly of business correspondence with collectors, artists, museums and arts organizations, colleagues, and others. A small amount of Frank K. M. Rehn's personal correspondence and a few stray personal papers of individual artists are interfiled. Also included are financial records, scrapbooks, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting most of the history of a highly regarded New York art gallery devoted to American painting.
Series 1: Correspondence contains correspondence with artists, museums and arts organizations, collectors, colleagues, and others documents the workings of Rehn Galleries from its earliest days through 1968. A small amount of Frank K. M. Rehn's personal correspondence and a few scattered personal papers of individual artists are interfiled with the business correspondence.
Series 2: Financial Records includes banking, insurance, and investment records, tax returns and related documentation, miscellaneous financial records and paid bills. Among the insurance records are detailed monthly schedules listing paintings with titles, artists, and insurance values. Miscellaneous financial records include inventories of gallery stock, notes regarding business expenses and income, and receipt books recording incoming paintings. Also included are a small number of items concerning the personal business of Frank Rehn and John Clancy.
Five volumes of Scrapbooks (Series 3) contain clippings and a small number of exhibition catalogs documenting the activities of Rehn Galleries and many of its associated artists. Additional Printed Matter in Series 4 includes material relating to Rehn Galleries and its artists, as well as publications produced by Rehn Galleries. General, art-related printed matter consists of articles, auction catalogs, advertisements, and publications of various museums, arts organizations, and schools. There is also material about artists not affiliated with Rehn Galleries. Additional printed items concern miscellaneous subjects that are not art-related.
Series 5: Miscellaneous Records, includes artwork, lists and notes, and writings. Photographs in Series 6 are of people including artists represented by Rehn as well as several not affiliated with the gallery. Noticeably absent are likenesses of Frank Rehn and John Clancy. Photographs of works of art are by Rehn Galleries' artists and others. Reginald Marsh's photographs consist of family and personal photographs that were either given to Rehn Galleries or perhaps loaned for research use, and include views of Marsh from early childhood through later life, photographs of family and friends, and a small family album. Also included are photographs are of Marsh's childhood drawings.
Series 1: Correspondence is arranged alphabetically and Series 3: Scrapbooks is in rough chronological order. Series 2, and 4-6 are arranged in categories, as indicated in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing. Unless otherwise noted, items within each folder are arranged chronologically.
The collection is arranged into 6 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1858-1969, undated (Boxes 1-15; 14.4 linear ft.; Reels 5849-5869)
Series 2: Financial Records, 1919-1968, undated (Boxes 15-17; 2.6 linear ft; Reel 5869)
Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1919-1940 (Boxes 23-24; 0.6 linear ft.; Reels 5869-5870)
Series 4: Printed Matter, 1882-1969, undated (Boxes 18-20; 2.4 linear ft.; Reels 5870-5872)
Series 5: Miscellaneous Records, circa 1920-1968 (Boxes 20-21; 0.7 linear ft; Reel 5872)
Series 6: Photographs, 1871-1966, undated (Boxes 22, 24, OV 25; 1.0 linear ft.; Reel 5872)
Frank K. M. Rehn (1886-1956), son of the marine painter Frank Knox Morton Rehn, after several years' experience as an employee of the Milch Galleries and as exhibition manager for the Salmagundi Club, opened his own art gallery in 1918. In its earliest years, the gallery operated as the Galleries of Frank K. M. Rehn. From the mid 1920s through the mid 1940s, the name used was Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries. As early as 1946, the gallery was referred to simply as Rehn Galleries. The gallery closed in 1981.
Throughout its existence, Rehn Galleries specialized in representing American painters. During the first five years Rehn's operation was a private gallery at 6 West 50th Street, New York City. Among the artists he first represented were older, established men such as J. Alden Weir, George Inness, Alexander Wyant, Theodore Robinson, Thomas Dewing, and John H. Twachtman. Occasionally, Rehn handled works by such luminaries of the period as Robert Henri, George Luks, and John Singer Sargent. Among the living artists affiliated with the gallery in its first years were Daniel Garber, Walter Griffin, Dodge MacKnight, and Robert Spencer. Rehn's most popular artist during this time was Childe Hassam, who sued for recovery of a painting that, although acquired by Rehn through a reputable dealer, had been stolen from Hassam's studio many years earlier.
Despite the newspaper publicity surrounding Hassam's lawsuit, the business was a successful venture almost immediately. Very early, a number of important collectors including Duncan Phillips, John Gellatly, John T. Spaulding, Albert McVitty, E. W. Root, and C. Vanderbilt Barton displayed confidence in Rehn's judgment and integrity, which enhanced his gallery's reputation and stature among both collectors and artists. In 1923, the gallery moved to 693 Fifth Avenue and began operating as Rehn Galleries, a commercial gallery in the same building that housed in a building that housed Kennedy and Company and the Bourgeois Galleries. At this time, Rehn hired an assistant, John C. Clancy (1897-1981), who had formerly been with Henry Reinhardt and Son and M. Knoedler.
The Rehn Galleries soon enjoyed a regular following among museum curators and collectors visiting from out of town. The gallery's roster of artists grew along with its reputation. Rehn focused almost exclusively on American painters, occasionally showing drawings and prints by artists who were primarily painters; notable exceptions were sculptor Mahonri Young and Henry Varnum Poor who, in addition to being a painter, was known for his work in ceramics. Among the painters eventually represented were: Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, Alexander Brook, Charles Burchfield, John F. Carlson, John Carroll, Howard Cook, Jon Corbino, Virginia Cuthbert, Andrew Dasberg, Sidney Gross, Edward Hopper, Alexander James, Irving Kaufmann, Yeffe Kimball, Leon Kroll, Peppino Mangravite, Reginald and Felicia Meyer Marsh, Henry Mattson, Henry Lee McFee, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Charles Rosen, Robert Riggs, Alexander Russo, Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones, Eugene Speicher, Henry Strater, Richard Derby Tucker, Franklin C. Watkins, and Denny Winters.
In 1930, Rehn Galleries moved one block south to the Air France Building at 683 Fifth Avenue, remaining there for thirty years. John C. Clancy, Rehn's long-time assistant, became Gallery Director in 1953 after a stroke prevented Rehn from continuing to run his business in an active capacity. Eventually, Rehn's widow sold Clancy the gallery, which he continued to operate under varying names, including Rehn Gallery, Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries, Frank Rehn Gallery, and Rehn Galleries. From 1960 until 1966, The Rehn Galleries were at 36 East 61st Street from 1960 until 1966, when the gallery moved to a space formerly occupied by Kootz Gallery at 855 Madison Avenue, where it remained in business for another fifteen years.
John Clancy interview by Paul Cummings, July 10, 1970. Oral History Program, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Samuel Adler Papers, 1902-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Contains a recording (1 cassette; untranscribed) of Beverly Chesler interviewing John Clancy about the history of Rehn Galleries, 1973; Samuel Adler is present and participates briefly in the interview.
In addition, the Archives of American Art has among its collections personal papers and oral history interviews of artists and collectors associated with the Rehn Galleries. Researchers are advised to conduct a name search in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS).
The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries records were loaned by John Clancy for microfilming in 1959; in 1966, this same material was donated to the Archives. Mr. Clancy made subsequent gifts of additional gallery records in 1978 and 1981. In 1985, the Whitney Museum of American Art donated to the Archives correspondence with Edward Hopper that John Clancy had loaned the museum many years earlier. A death mask of George Luks received with the collection is on extended loan to the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries 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.