Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Additional Online Media

Catalog Data

Louis, Morris, 1912-1962  Search this
Faatz, Anita J. (Anita Josephine)  Search this
Louis, Marcella  Search this
Noland, Kenneth  Search this
Greenberg, Clement  Search this
Truitt, Anne Dean  Search this
Frankenthaler, Helen  Search this
Bocour, Leonard  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  Search this
André Emmerich Gallery  Search this
Robert Pierce/Films, Inc  Search this
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
17.8 linear feet
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Any use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
Three interviews (see reference staff for list) ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required of the person interviewed.
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers measure 17.8 linear feet and date from circa 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-2000. The collection documents Morris Louis' career as a Color Field painter and founding participant in the Washington Color School, as well as the subsequent administration of his estate by his wife Marcella Brenner. Found within Morris Louis' papers are biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, scattered financial records, notes, writings, printed materials, and a canvas sample. The Morris Louis Estate papers include records of gallery exhibitions, mostly André Emmerich Gallery; artwork inventories; legal records concerning the lawsuit Bernstein v. Brenner; financial records of the sale of Louis' artwork; printed materials; writings about Louis; photographs of exhibition installations and artwork; and posthumous project files which include documentation of film projects by Robert Pierce Productions, a catalog raisonne, PBS documentaries, video recordings of the exhibition "Morris Louis Now", and numerous sound recordings of interviews with artists, many with transcripts, discussing Morris Louis and conducted by Anita Faatz.
Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers, circa 1910s-2007, bulk 1965-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4988-4994 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Location of Originals:
Letters of Morris Louis to and from the Bernstein family: originals are in the possession of I. S. Weissbrodt.
Partial funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Marcella Brenner Revocable Trust.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the Marcella Brenner journals, 1962-2000. The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) also holds papers of Morris Louis and the Morris Louis Estate in their Morris Louis Study Collection.
Biography Note:
Morris Louis (1912-1962) was one of the earliest American Color Field painters, and, along with other Washington, D.C. painters, formed the movement known as the Washington Color School. Born Morris Louis Bernstein in Baltimore, Maryland. He participated in the WPA Easel Painting Project, and adopted the name Morris Louis. Marcella Louis became administrator of his estate of paintings, as a result of an agreement with his family, the Bernsteins. In 1964, she married scientist Abner Brenner.
The Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers were donated by Marcella Brenner in several installments in 1976, 1986, and 1988. Subsequent donations in 2009 and 2012 were donated by Marcella Brenner via Ann M. Garfinkle, Executor. The Anita Faatz interviews were donated in 1976 by Marcella Brenner.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Washington Color School (Group of artists)  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Color-field painting  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Law and art  Search this
Record number:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art