The collection is arranged into two series. Series 1: John Gruen papers, 1946-2013 (19.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-19, 26, 11.88 GB; ER01-ER21) Series 2: Jane Wilson papers, 1909-2014 (5.3 linear feet; Boxes 19-25, 9.77 GB; ER22-ER25)
Access Note / Rights:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
The papers of photographer and art critic John Gruen and painter Jane Wilson measure 25 linear feet and 21.65 GB and date from 1909 to 2016. The papers document their careers through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and art institutions; book manuscripts, articles, interview transcripts, notes, and other writings; loan agreements, commissions, and other documentation related to exhibitions and writing articles for publications; inventories, price lists, royalty statements, and other personal business records; photographs; and artwork. Some of the documents, photographs and interviews are in digital format.
John Gruen and Jane Wilson papers, 1909-2016. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
John Gruen (1926-2016) was an art critic and photographer who lived and worked in New York. Jane Wilson (1924-2015) was a landscape and expressionism painter who primarily lived and worked in New York. Gruen and Wilson married in 1948.
John Gruen was born in France and moved with his family to New York City at the outbreak of World War II. Gruen completed his studies in art history at the University of Iowa. Initially, Gruen became a music composer and contributed music reviews for the New York Herald Tribune. Gruen became the chief art critic for the New York Times, and he wrote pieces for other outlets such as ART News and Architectural Digest. Gruen was also a photographer, taking photographs of friends and colleagues such as Willem de Kooning and Larry Rivers. He featured his images in various exhibitions as well as written works.
Jane Wilson was born and raised in Seymour, Iowa. Wilson studied and, for a short time, taught at the University of Iowa before moving to New York in 1949 with her husband, John Gruen. In New York, Wilson became associated with the New York School, an informal group of artists, musicians, artists, and writers. Wilson served on the board for organizations such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. Wilson exhibited her landscape paintings around the country at museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The majority of the materials are in English. Some of the correspondence and printed materials are in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
The papers were donated in several installments between 1982 and 2016. Donations between 1982 and 2003 were made by John Gruen and Jane Wilson, and the 2016 donation was made by Julia Gruen, daughter of Gruen and Wilson.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001