The papers of art collector Charles Rand Penney measure 23.1 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1994 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1945 to 1994. The majority of the collection consists of Penney's art collection files, which include printed materials, correspondence, notes, and photographic materials. Also found within the papers are catalogs from exhibitions that featured artwork from Penney's collection.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art collector Charles Rand Penney measure 23.1 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1994 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1945 to 1994. The collection consists primarily of Penney's art collection files which include printed materials, correspondence, notes, and photographic materials. Also found within the papers are catalogs from exhibitions that featured artwork from Penney's collection.
Artists of significance represented in Penney's art collection files include Jean Arp, John James Audubon, Milton Avery, Harry Beroia, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Philip Evergood, Emil Ganso, Robert Goodnough, Red Grooms, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Beverly Pepper, George Segal, John Sloan, Theodoros Stamos, Saul Steinberg, and Ulfert Wilke, among many others. Also included are files for artists that participated in theToronto 20 portfolio project in 1965. The files do not include Penney's files relating to Charles Burchfield, Wester New York state artists, or objects from the Arts and Craft movement.
A few notable exhibition catalogs found in the series of catalogs of the Charles Rand Penney art collection are Charles Burchfield: The Charles Rand Penney Collection, The Graphic Art of Emil Ganso, Drawings from the Collection of Charles Rand Penney, Quilts Coverlets Hooked Rugs from the Collection of Charles Rand Penney, The Charles Rand Penney Collection: Twentieth Century Art, and An American Visionary: Watercolors and Drawings of Charles E. Burchfield.
The collection is arranged as 2 series.
Series 1: Art Collection Files, 1923-1994 (Box 1-23, OV 24; 22.7 linear feet)
Series 2: Catalogs of the Charles Rand Penney Art Collection, 1966-1991 (Box 23, 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Rand Penney (1923-2010) was an art collector from Buffalo, New York. He was well known for his collection of art by Western New York artists, but also collected art from Europe, Africa, Oceania, and other regions of the United States. His travels contributed to the eclectic mix of paintings, drawings, sculptures, hooked rugs, quilts, and tribal art found within his art collection.
Penney cited receiving the watercolor Warrior in 1933 from Western New York artist Bob Blair as the beginning of his life as an art collector. Years later, Penney served in World War II, attended law school, and began practicing law in the 1950s. His collections grew quickly during the late 1950s through 1970s. Penney collected over 100,000 works of art during his lifetime, much of it guided by dealers James and Merle Goodman.
In 1963, Penney began donating artwork to the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. In total, approximately 400 works of art were donated to the gallery including Big Diamond by David Smith and Beverly Pepper's Vertical Ventaglio (1967-1968). Penney also donated over 1000 works of art to the Burchfield Art Center in Buffalo, New York.
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Charles Rand Penney conducted by Robert F. Brown on August 14-16, 1981. Additional files relating to the Charles Rand Penney Foundation (1963-1976) are located at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Files relating to Western New York state artists, Charles Burchfield, and American Arts and Crafts are located at the Burchfield-Penney Center at Buffalo State College, Buffalo, New York.
The collection was donated in 1993-1994 by Charles Rand Penney.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center.
The Charles Rand Penney 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.