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Otto and Ilse Gerson papers

Creator:
Gerson, Otto  Search this
Gerson, Ilse, 1901-1980  Search this
Names:
Fine Arts Associates  Search this
Galerie Dina Vierny  Search this
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery  Search this
Otto Gerson Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Marcks, Gerhard  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Turner, J. M. W. (Joseph Mallord William), 1775-1851  Search this
Valentin, Curt, 1902-1954  Search this
Wotruba, Fritz, 1907-1975  Search this
Extent:
3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
1933-1980
Summary:
The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.

Biographical material consists of Otto and Ilse Gerson's naturalization certificates and Ilse Gerson's will.

Correspondence includes a mixture of personal and professional letters. There are a few scattered letters between Otto and Ilse Gerson as well as correspondence with clients, museums, dealers, and artists. Notable correspondents include art dealer Curt Valentin and the artist Gerhard Marcks. There is also correspondence with the Dina Vierny Gallery in Paris, France.

There is a small number of files on the Joseph Mallord William Turner exhibition at Gerson Gallery in 1960 which include correspondence, loan forms, and printed material.

Artists' files contain correspondence, estimates, inventories, sales records, and printed material for art work by five different artists such as Jacques Lipchitz, David Smith, and Fritz Wotruba.

Collectors' files include correspondence, invoices, photographs, and other material related to purchases by various art collectors.

Business records consist of purchase and sales records, audit reports, balance sheets, certificates of authenticity, a sales ledger, and legal documents regarding the business conducted by Fine Arts Associates and Otto Gerson Gallery, and legal agreements and contracts related to the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery merger.

Inventory and stock records include assorted art inventories, a stock book, and stock cards for artists.

Printed material includes a few Gerson Gallery exhibition catalogs and clippings of exhibition reviews.

Photographs consists of a few snapshots of Otto and Ilse Gerson and images of gallery installations.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1933-1973 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1980 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Turner Exhibition Files, 1960-1961 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 4: Artists' Files, 1950-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 5: Collectors' Files, 1956-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 6: Business Records, circa 1945-1964 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 7: Inventory and Stock Records, 1946-1965 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1951-1962 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1945-circa 1960 (2 folders; Box 3)
Biographical / Historical:
Otto Gerson was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where he met and married Ilse Goehler in 1939. They both became U.S. citizens and together they rose to prominence as art dealers in New York City, circa 1940-1962, bringing works by noted post-war European (and some American) artists to the American market.

The Gersons also owned and operated galleries in New York, including Fine Arts Associates and Gerson Gallery. The Gerson Gallery was located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City and later merged with another gallery to form the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery around 1963, shortly after Otto Gerson's death.
Provenance:
The Otto and Ilse Gerson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1984 by Indian Head Bank North on behalf of Otto and Ilse Gerson.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Otto and Ilse Gerson 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.
Topic:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Gallery owners  Search this
Art dealers  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gersotto
See more items in:
Otto and Ilse Gerson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gersotto
Online Media:

Jacques Seligmann & Co. records

Creator:
Jacques Seligmann & Co  Search this
Names:
De Hauke & Co., Inc.  Search this
Eugene Glaenzer & Co.  Search this
Germain Seligmann & Co.  Search this
Gersel  Search this
Jacques Seligmann & Co  Search this
Glaenzer, Eugene  Search this
Haardt, Georges  Search this
Hauke, Cesar M. de (Cesar Mange), d. 1965  Search this
Parker, Theresa D.  Search this
Seligman, Germain  Search this
Seligmann, Arnold, 1870-1932  Search this
Seligmann, Jacques, 1858-1923  Search this
Seligmann, René  Search this
Trevor, Clyfford  Search this
Waegen, Rolf Hans  Search this
Extent:
203.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gallery records
Date:
1904-1978
bulk 1913-1974
Summary:
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. measure approximately 203.1 linear feet and date from 1904 to 1978, with bulk dates from 1913 to 1974. The collection includes extensive correspondence files, reference material on American and European collectors and their collections, inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies. The collection is an invaluable resource in tracing the provenance of particular works of art and provides a comprehensive view of the activities of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.
Scope and Contents note:
The Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., records measure approximately 203.1 linear feet and date from between 1904 and 1978, with bulk dates of 1913-1974. The records include extensive correspondence files, reference material on American and European collectors and their collections, inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies, including de Hauke & Co., Inc., and Modern Paintings, Inc.

Historians and researchers will find the collection an invaluable resource in tracing the provenance of particular works of art. Although in the early 1940s many records in the Paris office were destroyed by Seligmann staff to keep them from falling into the hands of the occupying German military forces, many records survive, as much of the firm's business had previously come to center in the New York office. In all, the remaining records provide a comprehensive view of the activities and transactions of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.

Correspondence (Series 1) is the largest series of the collection (80 linear feet) and is comprised of extensive correspondence files, primarily between Germain Seligman and his New York office staff with domestic and foreign private clients, collectors, dealers, individuals representing public museums and collections, and international scholars. The New York Office Correspondence (Series 1.1) concerns a wide variety of topics, including routine business matters, but focuses primarily on potential and realized sales and purchases and provenance documentation. Also found is detailed information on financial transactions, commissions, stock inventory, and the travel of Germain Seligman and other staff. Paris Office Correspondence (Series 1.2) is separated into a small subseries and contains correspondence written primarily by Jacques Seligmann from Paris. The subseries General Correspondence (Series 1.3) is the largest subsection of the Correspondence series and contains letters written to and received from clients and other business associates concerning business transactions and inquiries. The subseries Museum Correspondence (Series 1.4) contains letters between the firm and art institutions and museums. The subseries Germain Seligman's Correspondence (Series 1.5), contains not only personal letters but a wealth of information concerning the affairs of the firm. Much personal correspondence was marked "private."

Also of note in the Correspondence series are the Legal Correspondence Files (Series 1.6) and the Inter-Office Correspondence (Series 1.9) and Inter-Office Memoranda (Series 1.13). The Legal Correspondence Files subseries houses correspondence with both U.S. and Paris attorneys and concerns legal affairs and specific lawsuits. Of particular interest are Germain Seligman's attempts to recover Seligmann family and Paris gallery artwork and other assets stolen or confiscated by the Germans in World War II. This small subseries also contains limited information on the stock and inventory holdings of several of the firm's and Germain Seligman's subsidiary corporations, family legal affairs and lawsuits, and other related legal matters. The subseries Inter-Office Correspondence and Inter-Office Memoranda (called fiches by Seligmann staff) include memos between Germain Seligman and his staff about clients, collectors, sales, acquisitions, and other matters. These offer interesting commentary clearly intended to be read by staff only.

Also prominent is Collectors Files (Series 2), which contains numerous reference files documenting the collections of existing and potential clients with whom Seligmann & Co. maintained contacts. The files are arranged by either individual name or institution and reflect the wide scope of collector references maintained by the firm throughout its operating years. The files contain a variety of reference materials, such as photographs, provenance notes, and sales, purchase, and inventory information in cases where the collector purchased from the firm or the firm purchased from the collector. Researchers will find that many of the private and public names that appear in General Correspondence (Series 1.3) appear in the Collectors Files as well. Also found in this series are specific files relating to the Duc d'Arenberg Collection, the Clarence H. Mackay Collection, the Mortimer L. Schiff Collection, and the Prince of Liechtenstein Collection. The firm either handled substantial estate sales for these collections or purchased and sold important pieces from these collections.

Auction Files (Series 3) and Exhibition files (Series 4) trace the sales and exhibition activities undertaken by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. In the Auction files, researchers will find documentation of auctions of individual works of art owned by the firm and handled by Christie's, Parke-Bernet, and other auction houses. Of particular interest is the 1948-1949 Parke-Bernet auction of the C. S. Wadsworth Trust, a "dummy" trust set up by the firm to dispose of a portion of its unsold inventory. The Exhibition Files house a variety of documentation, such as catalogs and correspondence, concerning the firm's active exhibition history. Many of the exhibitions featured works of art recently acquired by the firm, such as the 1937 exhibition, Twenty Years in the Evolution of Picasso, which included a number of Picassos the firm acquired from Madame Jacques Doucet that year.

Reference Files (Series 5) includes a card catalog to books and catalogs in the library maintained by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and a photograph reference index of works of art. Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) tracks the firm's inventory through a series of stock books and supporting documentation that include sales and provenance information.

Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7) consists primarily of records of the New York office, but some Paris office documents can be found scattered throughout. Found in this series is a wide variety of financial records including purchase receipt files, credit notes, invoices, consignment invoices and books, invoices, consular invoices, sales and purchase account books, ledgers, and tax records. The records appear to be quite complete and date from 1910 to 1977. Of particular interest are the purchase receipts and credit notes and memoranda that contain detailed documentation on acquisitions and sales. The consignment invoices provide information about works of art sold on behalf of other galleries and dealers, as well as which galleries and dealers were handling works of art for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Although quite large and complex, the financial records offer a comprehensive overview of the firm's business and financial transactions.

The records of subsidiary companies that were part of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., such as Contemporary American Department, de Hauke & Co., Inc., Modern Paintings, Inc., and Gersel Corp. are arranged in their own series. In 1935, the firm established the Contemporary American Department to represent young American artists. Under the direction of Theresa D. Parker, a longtime gallery employee, the department initiated an exhibition and loan program. Contemporary American Department (Series 8) includes mostly correspondence files and exhibition files.

The largest subsidiary company to operate under Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., was de Hauke & Co., Inc. De Hauke & Co., Inc., Records (Series 9) dates from 1925 through 1949 and contains domestic and foreign correspondence with clients, collectors, and dealers; inter-office correspondence and memoranda with Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc.; administrative and legal files; and financial records. Modern Paintings, Inc., records (Series 10) contains the legal and financial files of this subsidiary company, which was established in 1930 to incorporate most of the stock of the liquidated de Hauke & Co., Inc. Gersel Corp. Records (Series 11) contains a small amount of material from this company.

Researchers should note that a scattering of records from most of the subsidiary companies may also be found throughout additional series, particularly Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) and Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7). Records for the firms Tessa Corp. and Georges Haardt & Co., which were also owned by Germain Seligman, are not part of the Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., Records, although scattered references to these two firms may be encountered throughout the collection.

German Seligman's Personal papers (Series 12) includes scattered family and biographical materials, his research and writings files, and documentation of his personal art collection. Found in Family and Biographical Material (Series 12.1) are photographs of family members, including Jacques Seligmann, and of the Paris gallery. Also found is a limited amount of correspondence concerning Germain Seligman's residency status and his desire to obtain an army commission during World War II. Germain Seligman's research and writing files are found in this series and include material for his books: Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné (1969); Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty Years of Professional Collecting (1961); The Drawings of Georges Seurat (1947); and Oh! Fickle Taste; or, Objectivity in Art (1952). Documentation of Germain Seligman's private art collection is arranged in this series and includes provenance and research files and correspondence concerning his art collection.

Overall, the historical records of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., offer researchers a comprehensive and detailed resource for studying one of the most active dealers in decorative arts, Renaissance, and European contemporary art. The records clearly document the firm's numerous acquisitions and sales of important works of art to well-known European and American collectors and museums as well as Germain Seligman's extensive client contacts and references. The collection offers an insightful, intriguing, and often fascinating view into the complex field of art sales, trading, and acquisition during the first half of the twentieth century, when many major collections in the United States were formed.

Researchers interested in tracing the provenance of individual works of art should carefully check each series of the collection for information to obtain a complete history for any work. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., staff set up many different files to cross-reference works of art from various angles, such as artist or creator; collector or collection; most recent owner or repository location; stock inventory number, if owned by Seligmann & Co.; and photographic reference files. The task is made somewhat more difficult by the number of commission sales and joint ownership of works of art, often documented solely in the Inventory and Stock Files (Series 6) or the Financial Files and Shipping Records (Series 7). Only by tracing a name or date through the various series can one find all of the information relating to a particular work of art and its provenance.
Arrangement note:
Following is an outline of the arrangement of the collection by series and corresponding box numbers and extent. More detailed information for each series and subseries, along with a box and folder inventory, is found in the Series Descriptions/Container Listings, which can be found by following the series links below. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1913-1978 (1-174, 80 linear feet)

Series 2: Collectors Files, 1875, 1892-1977, undated (Boxes 175-252, 35 linear feet)

Series 3: Auction Files, 1948-1975, undated (Boxes 253-259, 2.75 linear feet)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1925-1977, undated (Boxes 260-272, 5.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Reference Files, 1877-1977, undated (Boxes 273-278, 2.25 linear feet)

Series 6: Inventory and Stock Files, 1923-1971, undated (Boxes 279-289, 4.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Financial Files and Shipping Records, 1910-1977 (Boxes 290-357, 30.5 linear feet)

Series 8: Contemporary American Department, 1932-1978 (Boxes 358-381, 10 linear feet)

Series 9: De Hauke & Co., Inc., Records, 1925-1949, undated (Boxes 382-416; 16 linear feet)

Series 10: Modern Paintings, Inc., Records, 1927-1950 (Boxes 417-420, 1.25 linear feet)

Series 11: Gersel Corp. Records, 1946-1969 (Box 421, 0.25 linear feet)

Series 12: Germain Seligman's Personal Papers, 1882, circa 1905-1984, undated (Boxes 422-459, OV 460, 17 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., was counted among the foremost French and American art dealers in antiquities and decorative arts and was among the first to foster and support the growth and appreciation for collecting in the field of contemporary European art. The company's clients included most of the major American and European art collectors of the era, and the art that passed through its galleries often ended up in the collections of prominent American and European museums through the donations of the wealthy benefactors who purchased them from the company. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., took an active part in promoting such donations as well as providing its own donations and selling paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts directly to many museums.

The company was first established as Jacques Seligmann & Cie. in 1880 on the Rue des Mathurins in Paris by Jacques Seligmann (1858-1923), a German émigré who came to France in 1874 and soon thereafter became a French citizen. The company experienced so much success that in 1900 a new, larger Galerie Seligmann was opened on the Place Vendôme, and Jacques's two brothers, Simon and Arnold, joined the business as partners. Simon served as the company's accountant, and Arnold was in charge of correspondence with the firm's many clients. Jacques remained as the manager and was in charge of all purchases for the firm.

Prominent clients of the company included Baron Edmond de Rothschild of France, the Stroganoff family of Russia, Sir Philip Sassoon of England, and American collectors Benjamin Altman, William Randolph Hearst, J. P. Morgan, Henry Walters, and Joseph Widener. As American clients increasingly came to dominate the company's sales activities, a New York office at 7 West Thirty-sixth Street was opened in 1904. Five years later, Jacques purchased the Hôtel de Sagan (also called the Palais de Sagan by the Seligmann family) in Paris as a location where Jacques Seligmann & Cie. could stage larger exhibitions and receive its most distinguished clients.

In 1912 a family quarrel resulted in a lawsuit that split the company. Arnold remained at the Place Vendôme location, reorganized under the name Arnold Seligmann & Cie., while Jacques consolidated his operations and moved the headquarters for Jacques Seligmann & Cie. to the Hôtel de Sagan. Jacques also opened an additional gallery at 17 Place Vendôme to retain a presence near the company's original location, but this branch soon relocated to 9 Rue de la Paix. The New York office, which formerly had operated out of a single room, was upgraded to larger office space and a gallery at 705 Fifth Avenue.

Jacques's son, Germain Seligman (1893-1978), showed an interest in art connoisseurship from his early years and often accompanied his father to work in the galleries. (In 1943, when Germain Seligman became an American citizen, he dropped the second "n" from his surname, and for clarity his name appears with this spelling throughout this finding aid.) His father taught him how to deal with clients and often assigned him tasks to help in the completion of sales. Germain accompanied Jacques on many business trips and in 1910 was sent to St. Peterburg, Russia, to secure information about the selling price of the Swenigorodskoi enamels owned by the Russian collector M. P. Botkine.

Germain continued to work informally in the firm's galleries until the outbreak of World War I. Within hours of the mobilization order in 1914, Germain joined the French army as a second lieutenant in the 132nd Infantry Regiment of Rheims. By 1916 he was promoted to first lieutenant in the Twenty-fourth Infantry Brigade and in the following year achieved the rank of captain in the Fifty-sixth Infantry Division. Also in the same year, he was assigned as the first French liaison officer to the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force in France, serving as translator for Major George C. Marshall. Seligman was discharged from the French army in 1919 and was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with six citations. (In 1938 Seligman also was awarded the Office of the Legion of Honor from France, and in 1939 he was decorated by General John Joseph Pershing with the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States, in recognition for his service during World War I.)

After his discharge from military service, Germain Seligman actively joined his father's company as a partner in 1920. Jacques Seligmann & Cie. was changed to Jacques Seligmann et Fils, and Germain was placed in charge as the president of the New York office. The strong American art market necessitated Germain's making numerous cross-Atlantic trips each year. Upon the death of his father in 1923, Germain took over as president of both the Paris and New York offices, and the company was once again renamed Jacques Seligmann & Cie.

In the early years of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., the firm carried few paintings, as collectors focused their interest mostly on small objects, enamels, ivories, and other decorative pieces from the Byzantine to the Renaissance eras. Stone and bronze sculptures, medieval and Renaissance tapestries, and eighteenth-century French furniture were the most avidly collected pieces of the era. The galleries of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., reflected its clients' tastes, but soon after the turn of the century art trends began to change.

The 1913 Armory Show introduced many Americans to contemporary European art, and collectors in the United States began to show marked interest in it. The advent of World War I brought much of the art market to a standstill in Europe, but interest in the Impressionists continued in the United States, and it quickly resumed in Europe, as well, after the war. Both collectors and dealers began buying modern art, led by such progressive American collectors as Walter Arensberg, Albert C. Barnes, A. E. Gallatin, Mrs. Horace O. Havemeyer, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Duncan Phillips, and John Quinn, among others.

Under Germain's leadership, Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., began acquiring works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent van Gogh. While Germain promoted this trend for modern art in the New York gallery, other family partners did not approve as this was a new direction for the firm. For this reason Germain Seligman looked to establish a new, independent business venture in the evolving field of modern art. He selected as his partner César Mange de Hauke.

César Mange de Hauke was born on March 8, 1900, the son of a French engineer and a Polish mother. After completing academic and art studies in England and France in the years following World War I, de Hauke arrived in the United States in 1926. While in New York City, he was introduced to Germain Seligman by Germain's cousin, René Seligmann, and by 1927 de Hauke had joined Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., as a sales representative.

With their shared interest in modern French painting, Seligman and de Hauke decided to explore the feasibility of sales in this area by forming a subsidiary to Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., that would specialize in contemporary European artists. In 1926 Seligman personally financed the fledgling company, first called International Contemporary Art Company, Inc., and he appointed de Hauke its director, but even before the legal documents setting up the company were completed the name was changed to de Hauke & Co., Inc. Although the bulk of the new company's art purchases took place in Paris and London, the majority of its sales occurred in the United States.

Seligman and de Hauke worked out an agreement allowing de Hauke to purchase works of art that could then be sold as stock inventory of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., or privately under de Hauke's own name. Ownership of paintings was often shared among various art dealers, involving complicated commission transactions upon completion of sale. Seligman provided display space for de Hauke & Co., Inc., at the new, larger gallery of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., now located at 3 East Fifty-first Street. The two businesses were deeply intertwined, as evidenced by the facts that Seligman's financial records include a great deal of de Hauke material and many of de Hauke's records are written on the stationery of Jacques Seligmann Co., Inc.

During the second half of the 1920s, de Hauke showed the work of modern French School artists in New York City. He exhibited works by Pierre Bonnard, Amedeo Modigliani, Odilon Redon, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Edouard Vuillard, and many others. De Hauke was equally interested in French School drawings and watercolors, and the scope of his exhibitions also included works by nineteenth-century masters such as Paul Cézanne, Jacques-Louis David, Eugè00E8;ne Delacroix, Jean Ingres, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Georges Seurat.

Among the exhibitions held at the New York gallery were two highly successful shows featuring the works of Pablo Picasso. The first one, held in 1936, displayed paintings from the Blue and Rose Periods and was soon followed by the 1937 exhibition, Twenty Years in the Evolution of Picasso. The star of this exhibition was Les Demoiselles d'Avignon which Germain had recently acquired from the Jacques Doucet Estate sale.

Despite the bleak economic conditions of the 1930s, the new business venture proved so successful that the other family members of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., withdrew their opposition to expanding into the field of modern art, and de Hauke & Co., Inc., was dissolved and re-formed under the new name, Modern Paintings, Inc. César M. de Hauke was appointed its director, but tensions had crept into the relationship between the former partners, and by 1931, de Hauke had resigned and returned to Paris.

The mid-1930s appear to have been a period of reorganization for the company. By 1934 Modern Paintings, Inc., was also dissolved, and it assets were assumed by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and by Tessa Corp., another subsidiary of the firm. In 1935, however, the firm established a new subsidiary, the Contemporary American Department, to represent young American artists. Theresa D. Parker, a longtime gallery employee, was selected to head the department, and she initiated an exhibition and loan program. Soon thereafter, the City of Paris offered to buy the company's building at the Hôtel de Sagan as part of a complicated negotiation for a site for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la vie Modern 1937. The Paris office of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., reestablished itself at 9 Rue de la Paix, but Germain selected the New York office as the headquarters for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Subsequently he filed his legal residence as New York City. Germain's half-brother, François-Gerard, was left in charge of the Paris office operations, although Germain continued to commute between the two offices until the summer of 1939.

During the New York World's Fair of 1939, Germain served as a member of the Exhibition Committee, which coordinated the art section. When the fair was extended for an additional year, Seligman was asked to take responsibility for planning the French art section. World political events intruded, however, and rumors of impending war affected both the European and American economies as well as the international art world. Speculative sales, particularly in Europe, made for a chaotic and unpredictable market. In June 1940 German forces invaded France and occupied Paris. Business for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., took a dramatic downturn. In the summer of 1940 the Seligmann galleries and family holdings were seized by the Vichy government, along with Germain's private art collection. The family house and its contents, along with almost the entire stock of the Paris firm, was sold at public auction. Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., staff burned the Paris office archives in an effort to keep the records relating to works of art from falling into the hands of the Nazi occupiers, who were looting and shipping art to Germany.

Family members also experienced the pains and changes brought on by the war. Jean Seligmann, a cousin of Germain and the head of Arnold Seligmann & Cie., was captured and shot in Vincennes, France. François-Gerard, a half-brother, was drafted into the army and subsequently joined the French Resistance. Another brother, André, fled France in September 1940 and arrived in New York City, where he opened his own gallery. (He would later return to Paris after the war, but died shortly thereafter from a heart attack.)

Germain applied for a commission in the United States Army in 1942, but his application was initially turned down due to his noncitizen status. Soon thereafter, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the second War Power Act, which stipulated that naturalization could be expedited if the individual served in the military during the war. This act prompted Germain to further press his application for a post overseas, citing his citizenship status as fairly inconsequential or at least no longer a grave hindrance. Despite numerous letters exchanged with the War Department, however, his application was eventually rejected due to changes in military personnel policy.

During the war years, the Seligmann company in New York moved from its 3 East Fifty-first Street location to smaller quarters at 5 East Fifty-seventh Street. The first exhibition in this space was held in the spring of 1944. By 1945 the Contemporary American Department was reactivated, with Theresa D. Parker as its head.

In the years following the war, a rapprochement occurred among the family members who had been split since the family quarrel between Jacques and Arnold Seligmann. With the death of Jean Seligmann during the war, Arnold Seligmann & Co. had been left without a director. Germain consolidated the two family businesses, but made separate financial and administrative entities of the Paris and New York offices. Henceforth they were affiliated "only by ties of affection."

During the early to mid-1950s, many of the activities involving Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., centered upon the recovery of looted artwork and property as well as resolving outstanding issues from the consolidation of the various family businesses. The firm was also involved in the sale of several significant collections.

In 1951 Germain was commissioned by the family of the Duc d'Arenberg to sell the family's collection of important illuminated manuscripts, engravings, and select paintings. Jan Vermeer's Portrait of a Young Girl was purchased for over a quarter million dollars.

Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., also handled the 1953 sale of works from the Prince of Liechtenstein's collection and negotiated the purchase of seven Italian marble sculptures that were eventually sold to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in 1954. From the late 1950s up until the closing of the company in 1977-1978, the exhibitions mounted by the firm seem to indicate a gradual focus back toward drawings and more traditional art. Contemporary American artists continued to be shown as well, but the firm no longer maintained its leading edge in the art market.

Germain, who during the 1940s had written several works, among them a monograph on Roger de La Fresnaye in 1945 and The Drawings of Georges Seurat in 1947, devoted himself more and more to writing. In Oh! Fickle Taste; or, Objectivity in Art, published in 1952, Seligman addressed the importance of political and social climates in understanding the evolution of art collecting in the United States. He followed this book with the 1961 publication of Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty Years of Professional Collecting which memorialized his father and traced the history of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. Germain's most significant work, Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné (1969), was lauded by art critics and listed among the 1969 "Best Ten Books of the Year" by the New York Times.

With the death of Germain Seligman in 1978, the firm doors closed, leaving behind a legacy of collecting that helped to establish American collectors and museums in the forefront of the international art world. A survey of the major art museums and collections in the United States reveals the significant number of works that were acquired either by sales or through donation from Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. The influence the company wielded is also demonstrated through the network of relationships it built with collectors, art museums and institutions, and other dealers, such as Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Bernheim-Jeune, George Blumenthal, Sen. William A. Clark, the Detroit Institute of Arts, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Henry Walters, and Wildenstein & Co., among others.

1858, September 18 -- Jacques Seligmann born in Frankfurt, Germany.

1874 -- Jacques Seligmann leaves Germany to work in Paris, France, as an assistant at Maître Paul Chevallier, a leading Paris auctioneer. Soon after he leaves to work for Charles Mannheim, an expert in medieval art.

1880 -- Jacques Seligmann opens his own shop at the Rue des Mathurins. An early client is Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

1893, February 25 -- Germain Seligman is born in Paris, France. His mother's maiden name is Blanche Falkenberg (d. 1902).

1900 -- Jacques Seligmann & Cie. is formed when Jacques's brothers, Arnold and Simon, join him as partners and the business moves to the Place Vendôme.

1904 -- The New York City office of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is established, with Eugene Glaenzer as the manager. Beginning in 1905, Seligmann begins yearly visits to the New York office.

1907 -- Jacques Seligmann is elected a Fellow for Life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1909 -- Jacques Seligmann & Cie. acquires the Hôtel de Sagan on the Rue Saint Dominique. Jacques moves the headquarters for the company to this location and reserves its use for the most exclusive and important clients, but his brother Arnold continues to oversee the general operations of the company at the Place Vendôme.

1912 -- A lawsuit between Jacques Seligmann and his brother, Arnold, results in a split in the family company. Arnold remains at Place Vendôme under the name Arnold Seligmann & Cie. Jacques consolidates his activities at the Hôtel de Sagan. He also opens another gallery at 17 Place Vendôme, but this is soon moved to 9 Rue de la Paix.

1914 -- As a result of the split in the family business, a new office and gallery are opened at 705 Fifth Avenue, and Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is incorporated within the State of New York.

1914-1919 -- Germain Seligmann serves in the French army as a second lieutenant in the 132nd Infantry Regiment of Rheims. Later he is assigned as the first French liaison officer to the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force in France. He is discharged from active service in 1919.

1920 -- Germain Seligman becomes a partner with his father and formally joins Jacques Seligmann & Fils as the president of the New York office.

1923, October -- Jacques Seligman dies.

1924 -- Germain Seligman becomes the president of both the Paris and New York offices. Several of his brothers and sisters become partners in the firm. Theresa D. Parker joins the New York office.

1926 -- The New York office moves to 3 East Fifty-first Street. Germain Seligman, with César Mange de Hauke, sets up de Hauke & Co., Inc., to sell modern European paintings to American clients.

1930 -- De Hauke & Co., Inc., becomes Modern Paintings, Inc.

1931 -- De Hauke resigns as head of Modern Paintings, Inc., and returns to Paris.

1934 -- Modern Paintings, Inc., is dissolved, and its assets are assumed by Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and by Tessa Corp., another subsidiary of the parent company.

1935 -- The Contemporary American Department is created as a part of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., and Theresa D. Parker directs its operations.

1936-1937 -- Jacques Seligmann et Fils moves out of its gallery space at the Hôtel de Sagan and briefly reestablishes its headquarters at 9 Rue de la Paix. By 1937, however, the company headquarters moves to New York City. Germain Seligman establishes his legal residence there.

1939 -- World War II begins.

1940 -- During the summer, the Seligmann family house and its contents (at Rue de Constantine) are seized and sold by order of the Vichy government, along with Germain's private art collection and the gallery's stock. The Paris archives of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., is destroyed by the Seligmann staff in order to keep the records from falling into the hands of the Nazis. René Seligmann dies in a New York hospital in June; François-Gerard, Germain's half-brother, is called up to serve in the army and joins the French Resistance. Another brother, André, escapes to the United States and opens a gallery in New York. Jean Seligmann, a cousin of Germain and the head of Arnold Seligmann & Cie., is captured and shot at Vincennes, France.

1943 -- Germain Seligman becomes an American citizen (and drops the second "n" from his original surname).

1944, Spring -- The New York gallery holds its first exhibition in the new 5 East Fifty-seventh Street location in New York City. During the war years, the firm had moved from its Fifty-first Street location to smaller quarters.

1945 -- The Contemporary American Department is reactivated.

1946 -- After the war, Arnold Seligmann & Cie. is left without a director, although it remains at the Rue de la Paix location. Germain consolidates the two firms but organizes the Paris and New York offices as separate financial and administrative entities.

1969 -- Germain Seligman publishes Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonné. The book receives acclaim and is listed on the 1969 New York Times "Ten Best Books of the Year."

1978, March 27 -- Germain Seligman dies.
Provenance:
The records of the Paris and New York art dealer Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1978 by Mrs. Ethlyne Seligman, widow of Germain Seligman. A small addition of 19 linear feet was donated in 1994.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. 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.
Topic:
Mackay, Clarence Hungerford, 1874-1938 -- Art collections  Search this
Schiff, Mortimer L. -- Art collections  Search this
Arenberg, duc d' -- Art collections  Search this
Liechtenstein, House of -- Art collections  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Art dealers -- France -- Paris  Search this
La Fresnaye, Roger de, 1885-1925  Search this
Art, Renaissance  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Art treasures in war  Search this
Art, European  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Citation:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.jacqself
See more items in:
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jacqself
Online Media:

Zabriskie Gallery records

Creator:
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Names:
Galerie Zabriskie  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Baizerman, Saul, 1889-1957  Search this
Benglis, Lynda, 1941-  Search this
Christenberry, William, 1936-  Search this
Crawford, Ralston, 1906-1978  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
Frank, Mary, 1933-  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
King, William, 1925-2015  Search this
Lozowick, Louis, 1892-1973  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Snelson, Kenneth, 1927-2016  Search this
Stankiewicz, Richard, 1922-1983  Search this
Sugarman, George, 1912-1999  Search this
Tacha, Athena, 1936-  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Vytlacil, Vaclav, 1892-1984  Search this
Wilmarth, Christopher  Search this
Yunkers, Adja, 1900-1983  Search this
Zabriskie, Virginia M., 1927-1991  Search this
Extent:
120.7 Linear feet
2 Items (rolled docs)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1951-2010
Scope and Contents:
Records of the New York and Paris locations of Zabriskie Gallery, including artist and subject files, financial records, and business records.
Artist files contain correspondence with artists, galleries and collectors, photographs of artists and their work, inventories, resumes, exhibition catalogs, press releases, and clippings. Artists include Ansel Adams, Pat Adams, Alexander Archipenko, Eugen Atget, George Ault, Saul Baizerman, Lynda Benglis, Isle Bing, Nell Blaine, Claude Cahun, Harry Callahan, William Christenberry, Ralston Crawford, Imogen Cunningham, Stuart Davis, Kiki de Montparnasse, Marcel Duchamp, Arnold Friedman, Joan Fontcuberta, Mary Frank, Lee Friedlander, Marsden Hartley, Geroges Hugnet, Allan Kaprow, William King, William Klein, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ellen Lanyon, Louis Lozowick, Man Ray, Elie Nadelman, Nicholas Nixon, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Alfonso Ossorio,Albert Renger-Patzch, Jorge Ribalta,Theodore Roszak, Tomoko Sawada, Aaron Siskind, Kenneth Snelson, Ralph Steiner, Richard Stankiewicz, Alfred Stieglitz, George Sugarman, Athena Tacha, Dorothea Tanning, Jack Tworkov, Junko Uoda, Vaclav Vytlacil, Abraham Walkowotz, Christopher Wilmarth, Adja Yunkers and William Zorach, among others.
Gallery correspondence is between the Paris and New York galleries and with artists, dealers, clients, and other galleries. Financial records includes artists account statements, administrative files, Zabriskie transaction records, sales books, and price lists. Also included are signed guest books, floor plans, and inventory cards.
Also found are blueprints and line drawings by Richard Stankiewicz, with copies of designs and information relating to Stankiewicz's sculpture and studio building (0.2 linear ft.).
Biographical / Historical:
Art gallery, New York City and Paris (Galerie Zabriskie) owned by Virginia Zabriskie. The New York gallery opened in 1954; Galerie Zabriskie in Paris officially opened in January 1977, but work began there the previous year and closed in 1998.
Provenance:
Donated by Virginia Zabriskie, 1992-2011.
Restrictions:
Use requires an appointment.
Occupation:
Artists -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris
Identifier:
AAA.zabrgall
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-zabrgall

Galerie Darthea Speyer records

Creator:
Galerie Darthea Speyer (Paris, France)  Search this
Names:
Musée national d'art moderne (France)  Search this
De Forest, Roy, 1930-2007  Search this
Delany, Beauford, 1901-  Search this
Foulkes, Llyn, 1934-  Search this
Gilliam, Sam  Search this
Golub, Leon, 1922-2004  Search this
Luboski, Richard, 1934-  Search this
Paschke, Ed  Search this
Remington, Deborah  Search this
Saul, Peter, 1934-  Search this
Speyer, Darthea  Search this
Weiss, Hugh, 1925-  Search this
Extent:
17.2 Linear feet
1.58 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Visitors' books
Photographs
Date:
1953-2010
Summary:
The records of Galerie Darthea Speyer measure 17.2 linear feet and 1.58 GB and date from 1953 to 2010. The majority of the collection consists of artists' files containing a wide variety of materials documenting the Paris gallery's relationship with American and European artists, as well as gallery exhibitions. Also found are scattered financial records, guestbooks, documentation on the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome art collection, exhibition announcements, posters, and additional photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of Galerie Darthea Speyer measure 17.2 linear feet and 1.58 GB and date from 1953 to 2010. The majority of the collection consists of artists' files containing a wide variety of materials documenting the Paris gallery's relationship with American and European artists, as well as gallery exhibitions. Also found are scattered financial records, guestbooks, documentation on the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome art collection, exhibition announcements, posters, and additional photographs.

Artists' files are varied but may contain biographical materials, correspondence and business records, printed materials, photographs, digital photographs, and slides. Correspondence is with artists and others primarily concerning the exhibition or sale of the artists' work. Also filed with the correspondence are other scattered business records regarding the artists' dealing with the gallery including exhibition documents and sales records. Photographs depict artists, artwork, exhibition installations and exhibition openings at Galerie Darthea Speyer. Printed material includes exhibition announcements, catalogs, and extensive press clippings. Files for prominent American artists such as Roy De Forest, Beauford Delaney, Llyn Foulkes, Leon Golub, Sam Gilliam, Richard Luboski, Ed Paschke, Peter Saul, Deborah Remington, and others, document a long relationship between the artist and the gallery.

This collection also includes scattered financial records from 2000 to 2002. Eight gallery guestbooks, and documentation on the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome art collection, which was organized by Darthea Speyer.

Printed material consists of posters and Galerie Darthea Speyer exhibition announcements. Included with the exhibition announcements are lists of exhibitions by year. Many of the posters advertise exhibitions organized by Darthea Speyer at the Musee National D'Art Moderne and Centre Culturel Americain, including 12 Modern American Painters and Sculptors (1953). Additional posters advertize exhibitions at Galerie Darthea Speyer and elsewhere for artists such as Leon Golub, Beauford Delaney, Ed Paschke, Peter Saul, Hugh Weiss, and several others.

Photographs include an unidentified exhibition opening, exhibition installations at Galerie Darthea Speyer, and artwork.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series:

Series 1: Artists' Files, 1955-2010 (Boxes 1-15; 14.8 linear feet, ER01-ER07; 1.58 GB)

Series 2: Financial Records, 2000-2002 (Box 15; 6 folders)

Series 3: Guestbooks, 1997-2009 (Box 16; 8 folders)

Series 4: Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome Art Collection, circa 1980s-2009 (Box 16; 4 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1953-2008 (Boxes 16, 17, OV 19-22; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1960s-1970s (Boxes 17-18; 0.7 linear feet)
Historical Note:
Galerie Darthea Speyer was founded in 1968 by Darthea Speyer at 6, rue Jacques Callot, Paris, France. The gallery was notable for promoting American painting and sculpture in France until it closed in 2009.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Darthea Speyer began collecting art at the age of 15. She studied art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and in 1950 went to Paris as a cultural attaché for the United States Information Services (USIS). In 1953 she helped organize the exhibition 12 Modern American Painters and Sculptors at the Musee National D'Art Moderne, a show that initiated a change in the way Europeans viewed American Art. While working for the USIS, Speyer founded the Centre Culturel Americain where she gave many American artists their first European exhibition. She continued to work for the USIS until 1965.

Speyer opened Galerie Darthea Speyer during the May 1968 riots in Paris with an inaugural show of works by Deborah Remington. The gallery was designed by her brother, A. James Speyer, and primarily exhibited sculpture and paintings by Americans, as well as works by some European artists. Over the next 40 years Darthea Speyer remained a powerful advocate for American artists in the European market.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Darthea Speyer conducted by Paul Cummings, June 28, 1976.
Provenance:
Records were donated in 2010 by Emmanuelle Gelzer, owner of Galerie Darthea Speyer.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Galerie Darthea Speyer records 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.
Topic:
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Visitors' books
Photographs
Citation:
Galerie Darthea Speyer records, 1953-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.galedars
See more items in:
Galerie Darthea Speyer records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-galedars
Online Media:

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