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Herman Baron papers, 1937-1967

Creator:
Baron, Herman, 1892-1961  Search this
Subject:
ACA Galleries  Search this
American Contemporary Art Gallery  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Exhibition catalogs
Topic:
Art galleries, Commercial  Search this
Gallery directors  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7115
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209249
AAA_collcode_baroherm
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography
The Art Market
Art Movements and Schools
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209249

The ACA Galleries records

Creator:
ACA Galleries  Search this
Names:
American Contemporary Art Gallery  Search this
Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991  Search this
Baron, Herman, 1892-1961  Search this
Burliuk, David, 1882-1967  Search this
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960  Search this
Dondero, George A. (George Anthony), 1883-1968  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Gropper, William, 1897-1977  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Olds, Elizabeth, 1896-1991  Search this
Pickens, Alton  Search this
Refregier, Anton, 1905-  Search this
Soyer, Moses, 1899-1974  Search this
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
Valente, Alfredo  Search this
Weber, Max, 1881-1961  Search this
Young, Art, 1866-1943  Search this
Photographer:
Newman, Arnold, 1918-2006  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Writings
Photographs
Date:
1917-1963
Summary:
The scattered records of the ACA (American Contemporary Art) Galleries date from 1917 through 1963 and include writings by founder Herman Baron, artists Philip Evergood and Anton Refregier, and art critic Elizabeth McCausland; printed materials; and photographs of Baron, ACA artists, art collectors, works of art, and exhibitions. Correspondence is with David Burliuk, Philip Evergood, William Gropper, Lewis Mumford, Moses Sawyer, Max Weber, and others. Also found is a small group of Herman Baron's personal papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The scattered records of the ACA (American Contemporary Art) Galleries date from 1917 through 1963 and include writings by founder Herman Baron, artists Philip Evergood and Anton Refregier, and art critic Elizabeth McCausland; printed materials; and photographs of Baron, ACA artists, art collectors, works of art, and exhibitions. Correspondence is with David Burliuk, Philip Evergood, William Gropper, Lewis Mumford, Moses Sawyer, Max Weber, and others. Also found is a small group of Herman Baron's personal papers.

The records are a rich resource for documenting the Social Realist artists and the militant socialist artists during the great depression and the post-World War II era of "McCarthyism".

Correspondence with ACA artists consists of letters from Philip Evergood, David Burliuk, William Gropper, Robert Gwathmey, Joseph Hirsch, Lewis Mumford, Elizabeth Olds, Alton Pickens, Moses Soyer, Max Weber, and Art Young. Some of the letters concern the socialist and communist views of some of the artists, including responses to Congressional Representive George A. Dondero's public statements and attacks on modern art as a conspiracy to spread communism in the United States. There is a letter written by Holger Cahill to the editor of Time magazine concerning WPA artists. Also found is a letter from Raphael Soyer written to the ACA Galleries concerning the American Artists' Congress.

Writings include Herman Baron's written history of the ACA Galleries and scattered pages of Baron's book on Joe Jones and William Gropper. There are essays and writings by art critic Elizabeth McCausland, and artists Anton Refregier and Philip Evergood. Printed materials consist of ACA publications, newspaper clippings, published articles, printed illustrations by Philip Evergood, and printed materials about Congressman Dondero.

Photographs are of David Burliuk, Bruce Calder, Nicolai Cikovsky, Hy Cohen, Robert Cronbach, Alexander Dobkin, Philip Evergood, Mike Gold, Chaim Gross, William Gropper, Joe Jones, Mervin Jules, Irene Rice Pereia, Geri Pine, Philip Reisman, Vic Shifreen, Harry Sternberg, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, James Baare Turnbull, Nicky Walker, Abraham Walkowitz, Nat Werner, and Art Young. Photographers include Berenice Abbott, Arnold Newman, and Alfredo Valente. Additional photographs are of unidentified installations or exhibitions.

Herman Baron's personal papers include letters written to his wife and friends during World War I, writings by Baron for various magazines including Glazier's Journal. Personal photographs are of Herman Baron in his army uniform. There is also an obituary for Herman Baron written by art critic Elizabeth McCausland.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 5 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1930s-1960s (Box 1; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 2: Writings and Notes, 1938-circa 1960s (Box 1; 8 folders)

Series 3: Printed Material, 1939-1960 (Box 2; 4 folders)

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1930s-circa 1960s (Box 2; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 5: Herman Baron Personal Papers, circa 1910s, 1940s-1960s (Box 2-3; 0.3 linear feet)
Historical Note:
Herman Baron, Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Adolf Dehn founded the American Contemporary Art (ACA) Galleries on August 16, 1932. Located at 1269 Madison Avenue in New York City, the galleries' first show featured watercolorist Hy Cohen. Baron encouraged freedom of expression and did not censor the artworks displayed in his gallery. As a result, the gallery became an outlet for generally unknown and socially conscious artists, including the Social Realists.

Born in Lithuania in 1892, Herman Baron immigrated to the United States as a child. He served in World War I and later attended New York University. Baron founded and edited Glazier's Journal (later Glass Digest) in 1924 as the first journal for the professional glazing trade. Additionally, he wrote short stories and plays for American Hebrew and Young Israel.

In response to economic issues facing the art market during the depresssion of 1930s, ACA Galleries organized relief efforts to financially support their artists. During this period, the gallery became closely allied with militant artists' organizations and some of the more politically radical artists. In 1935, the ACA Galleries and Herman Baron hosted the first meeting of the American Artists' Congress in the gallery space.

The ACA Galleries featured exhibitions of works by artists David Burliuk, Stuart Davis, Philip Evergood, William Gropper, Robert Gwathmey, Joe Jones, Rockwell Kent, Lee Krasner, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Lewis Mumford, Louise Nevelson, Alton Pickens, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Max Weber, Art Young, and others. Baron also organized exhibitions of many artists employed by or associated with the Works Progress Administration of the federal arts program. Due to the progressive nature of the works of art found in the ACA Galleries, Herman Baron came under considerable criticism during the McCarthy Era. Baron was condemned by Representative George A. Dondero for supporting "un-American" sympathies and was forced often to defend his gallery and artists.

For years the gallery focused on artists rights and supporting the work of artists, rather than a profit. In the 1950s, a shift occurred when Baron's nephew Sidney Bergen initiated professional business practices and transformed the gallery into a profitable venture. Now located at 529 West 20th Street in New York City, ACA Galleries continues to promote and support various social causes.
Related Material:
The Archives of American Art holds the Herman Baron papers, dating from 1937-1967 which were donated by Syracuse University, George Arents Research Library in 1984. Some exhibition catalogs may be found here.
Provenance:
Ella Baron, widow of the ACA Galleries' founder Herman Baron, donated the records to the Archives of American Art in 1965 and 1966.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The ACA 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.
Topic:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Politics in art  Search this
Gallery directors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Writings
Photographs
Citation:
ACA Galleries records, 1917-1963. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.acagall
See more items in:
The ACA Galleries records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-acagall
Additional Online Media:

Gropper

Author:
Gropper, William 1897-1977  Search this
Baron, Herman 1892-1961  Search this
Bookseller:
Smith, Ray DSI  Search this
Subject:
Gropper, William 1897-1977  Search this
Physical description:
5 leaves, [59] leaves of plates : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1938
C1938
Call number:
N40.1.G868 B2
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_509348

Gropper

Author:
Gropper, William 1897-1977-  Search this
Baron, Herman 1892-1961  Search this
Subject:
Gropper, William 1897-1977-  Search this
Physical description:
5 leaves, 59 pl. 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1938
C1938
Call number:
N40.1.G868 B2
N40.1.G868 B21938
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_76585

Art front

Editor:
Baron, Herman 1892-1961  Search this
Davis, Stuart 1892-1964  Search this
Weinstock, Clarence 1910-1964  Search this
Cover designer:
Dehn, Adolf 1895-1968  Search this
Publisher:
New York Artists' Union  Search this
Artists Committee of Action (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
volumes : illustrations ; 31-44 cm
Type:
Periodicals
Date:
1934
1937
20th century
Topic:
Art--Political aspects  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
AP1.A784 F9
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_80318

Lena Gurr papers

Creator:
Gurr, Lena, 1897-1992  Search this
Names:
ACA Galleries  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
John Reed Club  Search this
New York World's Fair (1939-1940)  Search this
Allen, Mary Cecil, 1893-1962  Search this
Ascher, Mary G. (Mary Goldman), b. 1900  Search this
Baron, Herman, 1892-1961  Search this
Biel, Joseph, 1891-1943  Search this
Block, Dorothy, 1904-1984  Search this
Ehrenreich, Emma, 1906-  Search this
Fabri, Ralph, 1894-  Search this
Force, Juliana, 1876-1948  Search this
Grosz, George, 1893-1959  Search this
Harkavy, Minna, b. 1895  Search this
Jones, Joe, 1909-1963  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Knaths, Karl, 1891-1971  Search this
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000  Search this
Lozowick, Louis, 1892-1973  Search this
Model, Elisabeth D. (Elisabeth Dittmann), 1897-1993  Search this
Norman, Maria  Search this
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
Von Wicht, John, 1888-1970  Search this
Ward, Lynd, 1905-1985  Search this
Extent:
7 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Prints
Photographs
Christmas cards
Interviews
Phonograph records
Sketchbooks
Place:
New York (N.Y.) -- Pictorial works
Date:
1908-1979
Summary:
The Lena Gurr (1897-1992) papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Gurr was a painter and printmaker who studied under John sloan and Maurice Sterne at the Art Students League between 1920-1922. She also studied in France and married painter and photographer Joseph Biel in 1931. The papers document both Gurr and Biel's careers through correspondence, notes, art work, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs. The collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
Scope and Content Note:
The Lena Gurr papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of Gurr's career as a painter and printmaker, and her relationship with her husband, painter Joseph Biel. Through biographical material, correspondence, notes, an interview with Lena Gurr, original artwork by Gurr and others, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs of Gurr, family, and friends, and photographs of artwork by Gurr and others, the collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into eight series. Material within each series is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1968, undated (box 1; 1 folder)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1979, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.1 linear ft.)

Series 3: Notes, 1926-1972 (box 4; 4 folders)

Series 4: Interview, 1950 (box 4; 1 folder)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1908-1951 (box 4; 36 folders)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1912-1948 (boxes 4-5, 8-11; 1.45 linear ft.)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1926-1978 (box 5; 21 folders)

Series 8: Photographs, 1912-1978 (boxes 5-7; 1.05 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Born October 27, 1897, in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Gurr was the daughter of Hyman and Ida (Gorodnick) Gurr. She attended the Maxwell Training School for Teachers from 1915 to 1917, then turned her energies toward art. She studied painting and printmaking at the Educational Alliance Art School in 1919, and at the Art Students League (1920-1922), where she was a student of John Sloan and Maurice Stern. She also studied art in Paris, Nice, and Mentone, France. Her first solo exhibition was in 1932 at the Brooklyn Museum.

On November 24, 1931, Gurr married painter and photographer Joseph Biel. He was born October 27, 1891 in Russia, studied at the Russian Academy in Paris, and at the Workman's College, Melbourne, Australia. He also established the first Jewish Library in Melbourne. Upon his arrival in the United States, he studied under George Grosz at the Art Students League. Biel died in April 1943 of a heart ailment.
Provenance:
The Lena Gurr papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Lena Gurr from 1966 to 1979.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Rights:
The Lena Gurr 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:
Works of art  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Artists' studios -- France -- Paris -- Photographs  Search this
Women artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painting, American -- Massachusetts -- Provincetown  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Printmakers  Search this
Painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Prints
Photographs
Christmas cards
Interviews
Phonograph records
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Lena Gurr papers, 1908-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gurrlena
See more items in:
Lena Gurr papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gurrlena

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