This series consists of original incoming correspondence and duplicate copies of outgoing correspondence documenting gallery exhibits, loans, sales, and routine maintenance activities. Correspondence is with artists, galleries, museums, collectors, dealers, publications, and staff while the Perls traveled. Also found is correspondence concerning routine business affairs such as framing, restoration, and shipping; gallery-related services such as locksmiths and window and drapery cleaners; and business-related services such as accounting, taxes, and legal representation. A handful of project files relating to the commission or installation of Calder sculptures in public spaces follows the Calder correspondence file.
Significant correspondents include artists Darrell Austin, Joan Mir, Pablo Picasso, and Karl Priebe; galleries such as the Corcoran Gallery, Fujikawa Galleries, Galerie Maeght, and the Pierre Matisse Gallery; museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; collectors such as Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, Adelaide de Mnil, Valentine Dudensing, and Henry Ford, II; and celebrity clients such as Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry and Clare Booth Luce, and Barbra Streisand.
Many letters enclose photographs, negatives, or slides of artwork and contain requests for the artwork to be identified, authenticated, or appraised. Additional letters enclose clippings mentioning Perls or the gallery, or discussing artists collected by Perls, notable art world figures or trends, or exhibitions at Perls Galleries or other galleries including artwork loaned by Perls Galleries. A few letters include oversize architectural or engineering drawings, usually relating to the installation of Calder stabiles.
A small handful of letters from Carol Blanchard, Robert and Elodie Osborn, and Karl Priebe are illustrated, and original artwork can be found in the Adelaide Milton de Groot file.
Many of the correspondence files include copies of invoices for artwork sold and occasional provenance information, useful to supplement the relatively small amount of sales records in the collection.
Two color photographs of Calder painting one of his sculptures can be found in the Marcel Fleiss file, and a black and white photograph of Calder standing in front of the terrazzo sidewalk he designed for the Perls Galleries entrance can be found in the Newsweek Magazine file.
Court records and attorney correspondence regarding the 1969 World War II looted art case Menzel v. List can be found in the Ralph F. Colin, Allan D. Emil, and Albert A. List files.
Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and thereunder approximately in reverse chronological order. Each alphabetical section is completed by miscellaneous files containing correspondence with individuals and organizations, also arrange alphabetically, with whom Perls Galleries exchanged fewer than five letters.
Many of the records in this series are brittle and require careful handling. Many of the records alphabetized under the letter G have suffered from previous water damage.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Perls Galleries records, 1937-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.