The collection is arranged as 5 series: Series 1: Correspondence, 1943-1984 (Boxes 1-2; 2.0 linear ft.) Series 2: Artist Files, 1950-1984 (Boxes 3-6; 3.4 linear ft.) Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1957-1968 (Boxes 6-7; 0.9 linear ft.) Series 4: Business Records, 1957-1989 (Boxes 7-9; 2.6 linear ft.) Series 5: Writings, 1957-1984 (Box 9; 4 folders) Series 6: Video Recordings, 1973-1985 (2.5 linear feet)
Access Note / Rights:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The records of the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, and its predecessor the Howard Wise Gallery of Present Day Painting and Sculpture in Cleveland, Ohio, measure 11.4 linear feet and date from 1943-1989. Records consist of correspondence, artist files, exhibition files, business records, writings, and video recordings that document the activities of Wise's gallery in Cleveland from 1957-1961 and, to a lesser extent, his gallery in New York City from 1960-1970. Wise's activities following the closing of the Howard Wise Gallery are also found among the correspondence, artist files, business records, writings, and video recordings.
Howard Wise Gallery records, 1943-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Many of the video recordings have been preserved, and digital copies are available for researchers in the Archives of American Art offices.
Material lent for microfilming is available on 35mm microfilm reel N70-77 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Howard Wise conducted by Paul Cummings on February 22, 1971. The Harvard Art Museum Archives also holds archival records of the Howard Wise Gallery. The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel N70-77) including publicity materials, correspondence, exhibition plans, text of an exhibition catalog, and photographs relating to Howard Kiesler. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
After twenty-five years as president of Arco Company, his family's industrial paint and varnish manufacturing business in Cleveland, Howard Wise (1903-1989) sold his interest in the business and began to pursue his own artistic interests. The Howard Wise Gallery of Present Day Painting and Sculpture opened in Cleveland in 1957 and operated for the next five years. It first showed School of Paris and New York painters and also sold prints. With the exception of a few collectors and loyal customers, Clevelanders did not appreciate Wise's efforts to bring the best new art from all over the world to the city. The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran several editorials ridiculing modern art in general and Howard Wise and his gallery in particular. Attendance was poor and Wise decided to relocate to New York.
In 1979, the Howard Wise Gallery lent material to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. The rest of the collection was donated by Howard Wise in 1971 and by Barbara Wise, Howard Wise's widow via Dana Kasarsky, Wise's daughter-in-law in 2011.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001