An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.
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Interview of Paul Burlin, conducted on December 5-6, 1962, by Dorothy Gees Seckler, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Burlin speaks of his childhood education in England; working for the magazine Delineator; his education at the National Academy of Design; his travels in the American Southwest; his early exhibitions in New York; his first wife's writings on folk music; visiting Europe before the first World War; discovering Cubism and Fauvism; working on the WPA under the Whitney Museum; joining and then leaving the American Artists' Congress in protest; his thoughts on overtly political art; exhibiting at the Downtown Gallery; his image-making process; and his critique of Pop art. Burlin also recalls James Huneker, Franz Boas, Albert Gleizes, Henri Matisse, Edith Halpert, Georgia O'Keeffe, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Paul Burlin (1886-1969) was a painter in New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 5 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 39 min.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work. A small portion of the correspondence and printed materials are written in Greek.
Biographical material includes artist statements written and recorded by Constant, two audio interview recordings discussing his philosophies on art and his work, inventories of artwork, personal property deeds and legal correspondence, and other miscellaneous material.
Correspondence is predominantly in the form of business and personal letters, postcards, and holiday cards received from family and friends. These include correspondence from Constant's daughter, Georgette Preston, and extended family members. Other frequent personal correspondents include Milton and Sally Avery, Lewis Balamuth, Margaret Brunning, David Burliuk, Nathaniel Burwash, Rhys Caparn, Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell, Phillip Cavanaugh, Morris Davidson, Charles Eaton, Vilko Gecan, Marchal Landgren, Roy Neuberger, Walter Pach, Nell Perret, Constantine Pougialis, Wallace Putnam and Consuelo Kanaga, Hi Simons, and Helen Slosberg. Business related correspondents include Audubon Artists, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute, Dayton Art Institute, Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Ferargil Galleries, Guild Hall, Heckscher Museum, Lyman Allyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Spanish Refugee Appeal, and the Whitney Museum. Other business correspondence related to Constant's work with the WPA are also included in the series.
Printed material includes books and booklets on American and Greek art, including a limited print edition of George Constant by George Constant, clippings and articles reviewing Constant's work, exhibition announcements and catalogs of Constant's shows, periodicals profiling his artwork, and dance and theater related programs that Constant consulted on.
Photographs include black and white prints of Constant and his family and friends in St. Louis, Missouri, Dayton, Ohio, and in and around his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York. The collection also includes photo stills from his 1965 exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum and a comprehensive set of black and white prints, a handful of color prints, and several color slide sheets of Constant's artwork from the 1920s to 1978.
The collection is arranged into 4 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-2007 (Box 1; 17 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1930-1979 (Box 1-2; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1927-2005 (Box 2-3; 2 linear feet)
Series 4: Photographic Material, 1912-1978 (Box 4-6; 1 linear foot)
Greek American George Zachary Constant (1892-1978) worked from his studios in Shinnecock Hills, and New York City, New York as a painter and printmaker. A founder and lifelong member of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Constant worked for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) during the Depression and early years of World War II, and exhibited regularly at major galleries and museums from the 1920s to 1970s.
Born in Arahova, Greece, Constant was raised by his two uncles after the death of his parents in 1896. In school and at the monestary one of his uncles led, Constant showed an early interest in classical Greek aesthetics. At the age of eighteen, he immigrated to the United States and continued his art studies at Washington University before transferring to the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1918 to 1922, Constant taught at the Dayton Art Institute and continued to produce and exhibit his work locally. In 1922, he moved to New York, joined the Society of Independent Painters, and became close friends with Society founder and art critic Walter Pach. During the 1920s, his etchings were shown at the Valentine and Downtown Galleries, and at the New Art Circle of J.B. Neumann, where he presented his first one man gallery show in 1929.
From the 1930s to 1940s, Constant produced prints, watercolors, and oil paintings for the WPA, many of which were purchased by museums and public institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum. During this same period, Constant exhibited his work at the Boyer Gallery in the late 1930s, and at the Ferargil Gallery from the 1940s to early 1950s. In the decade between 1955 and 1965, Constant also worked on color and set design for seventeen dance productions created by the choreographer Alwin Nikolais. In the last two decades of his career, Constant produced works from his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York and continued to exhibit at numerous galleries, including Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Guild Hall, Mari Galleries, Tirca Karlis Gallery, and Artium Gallery.
The papers of George Constant were donated by the artist in 1969 and 1978. Additional materials were donated in 2001 and 2007 by his daughter Georgette Preston.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The papers of painter Dorothy Varian date from circa 1902 to 1984 and measure 2.3 linear feet. This collection documents Varian's life primarily through scattered biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, artists and art galleries; personal business records; a few writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material; photographs of Varian, her friends, and artwork; and original sketches by Varian and fellow artist Peggy Bacon.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter Dorothy Varian date from circa 1902 to 1984 and measure 2.3 linear feet. This collection documents Varian's life primarily through scattered biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, artists and art galleries; personal business records; a few writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material; photographs of Varian, her friends, including Peggy Bacon, Alex Brook, Bernard Karfiol, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and artwork; and original sketches by Varian and fellow artist Peggy Bacon.
Varian's earliest correspondence is with her mother and her cousin Jessie, detailing her life as an artist in Paris. Also found is extensive correspondence with with Peggy Bacon, Hermine Kleinert, Lenore G. Marshall, Waldo Pierce, Katherine Schmidt, Antoinette Schulte, and the Renoir family.
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1920-1980 (5 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1917-1981 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Writings, 1940s-1960s (3 folders; Box 1)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1931-1984 (9 folders; Box 1)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1916-1981 (0.5 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1902-1961 (13 folders; Boxes 2-3)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1912-1924 (11 folders; Boxes 2-3)
Biographical / Historical:
Dorothy Varian (1895-1985) was a painter in New York City, and Woodstock, NY. Varian was born in New York City on April 26, 1895; daughter of Eugene W. and Helen Estelle Varian. She dropped out of high school at 15 and entered Cooper Union where she graduated with honors. After Cooper Union she attended the Art Students League. While a student she inadvertently won first and second prize in a local art contest sponsored by movie producer, William Fox. She used the prize money to rent her first studio in Woodstock.
In 1920, her cousins Jessie and C. Vanderbilt Barton provided her the means to study in Paris.
Varian's first one-man show was held in 1922 at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in Paris. A close friend of Varian's during this time was Jean Renior, son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Within the first year after she returned permanently to the United States, Varian had exhibitions at the Whitney Club, Whitney Galleries, and the Downtown Galleries. Edith Halpert, director of the Downtown Galleries became Varian's art dealer. Varian used the money from her work to buy a home in Woodstock which became her primary painting studio. The majority of her circle was formed during her time at the Art Students League and during her years in Paris. Varian also met many artists who were living and working alongside her in Woodstock. Throughout her life, she stayed in contact with many of these friends including Peggy Bacon, Alex Brook, Georgina Klitgaard, Frederick Dana Marsh, Lenore G. Marshall, and Waldo Pierce.
Varian worked primarily with watercolor and oil painting. Varian's work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corcoran Galleries, Carnegie International, Whitney Museum of American Art, Association of American Artists Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, and several universities across the country. Over the course of her career, Varian held fifteen solo exhibitions and received many awards including the Kuniyoshi Award in 1975. Varian died in 1985 at the age of 90.
Also found in this repository is an interview of Dorothy Varian conducted 1980 Dec. 6-7, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in installments by Dorothy Varian in 1972, 1978, and 1981. An additonal installment was donated in 1986 by the Dorothy Varian estate, via Robert Plate.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers measure 311.4 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2009. The collection documents the business of the André Emmerich Gallery as well as André Emmerich's life and activities related to the business of selling art. Gallery records include correspondence; appointment books; administrative and subject files; exhibition files; artist files and accounts; inventory, sales, purchase, and consignment records; chronological files; financial and legal records; printed materials; original artwork; photographic and audiovisual materials. Also found are personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich. A small addition received in 2014 includes general correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, artists' files, inventory records, consignment records, printed material, photographic materials, and André Emmerich personal papers and records.
Scope and Content Note:
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers measure 311.4 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2009. The collection documents the business of the André Emmerich Gallery as well as André Emmerich's life and activities related to the business of selling art. Gallery records include correspondence; appointment books; administrative and subject files; exhibition files; artist files and accounts; inventory, sales, purchase, and consignment records; chronological files; financial and legal records; printed materials; original artwork; photographic and audiovisual materials. Also found are personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich.
The records document the gallery's daily business operations, exhibitions, and relationships with artists, dealers, clients, galleries, and museums. Artists particularly well-represented throughout the collection include Anthony Caro, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, David Hockney, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Beverly Pepper.
Records pre-dating the gallery's establishment in 1954 are primarily newspaper and magazine clippings related to artists, personal photographs and photographs of artists, an original etching, and some of André Emmerich's personal records including biographical materials, correspondence, writings, and legal and financial records. Records post-dating the gallery's closure in 1998 are primarily residual business records related to the final disposition of artwork, clippings, photographs of André Emmerich and gallery staff, biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings, legal and financial records, and condolences received by Emmerich's wife upon his death in 2007.
Correspondence is primarily with galleries, museums and clients about business matters. Correspondence files also cover topics such as appraisals, authentications, offers of sale, artists seeking representation, image requests, job applications and recommendations. Also included are the New York gallery's copies of correspondence between the New York staff and the Zurich staff.
André Emmerich's appointment books document appointments, notes, and reminders about Emmerich's business and personal activities. Four appointment books relating to the birth of Emmerich's three sons and second marriage were kept by the family. The appointment books are access restricted and require written permission to use.
Administrative files include corporate records establishing the Andre Emmerich gallery's structure, records documenting the gallery's daily operations, advertising and publicity material, and records about the Sotheby's acquisition. There are also materials related to Top Gallant Farm, from its establishment to its closure. Travel records relate to André Emmerich's business trips and vacations along with some files on the travels of a several staff members at the gallery. Files about the operations of the Galerie André Emmerich in Zurich, Switzerland are included in the series as well.
Subject files relate to Emmerich's gallery business as well as personal and political interests, such as antiquities, art fairs and exhibitions, lecture research, art associations, and sculpture parks. There are several files on the art critic Clement Greenberg and former president of Gay Men's Health Crisis, Nathan Kolodner, who was also an art dealer and director of the Andre Emmerich Gallery.
Exhibition files contain numerous exhibition catalogs and printed materials related to exhibitions held or organized by the André Emmerich Gallery in Manhattan and Galerie André Emmerich in Zurich. The files contain materials ranging such as exhibition invitations, posters, printed materials, press releases, and guest books. Photographs of exhibitions can be found in the Photographic Materials series.
Artist files include biographical materials, clippings, correspondence, mailing lists, price lists, printed materials, and occasionally lectures, writings, and audiovisual materials for many of the artists represented or shown by André Emmerich Gallery. The General Correspondence files might contain duplicates or expanded versions of some of the correspondence. Photographs of artists can be found in the Photographic Materials series.
Artist accounts comprise account statements prepared periodically by the gallery documenting each artist's expenses and sales. Ledgers and general accounting files can be found in the Other Financial and Legal Records series.
Inventory records include inventory cards describing artwork entering and leaving the gallery and files containing various gallery inventories. Artist inventory cards, representing artists from both the New York and Zurich galleries, list the artist, title, date, media and measurements of an artwork. The cards also indicate whether the work was ultimately sold, returned to the artist, consigned, etc., and divided into categories accordingly. Inventory files show various gallery inventories.
Sales records document gallery sales and include paid invoices, records relating to Zurich sales, general sales records such as price lists and canceled sales, and Sotheby's Parke-Bernet auction reports. There are gaps in sales invoices in 1961-1964 and 1969-1971.
Purchase records include correspondence and invoices related to purchases and offers; annotated invoices for works of art bought by the gallery; André Emmerich, Inc. related purchase records; "Non-Modern" art related purchase records.
Consignment records include correspondence and consignment agreements documenting consignments to and from the André Emmerich Gallery; consignments from other galleries to André Emmerich, Inc.; and general consignment records.
Chronological files include copies of invoices or cover letters documenting the movement of artwork into and out of the gallery through sales, consignments, loans, and approvals. Records dating January through August 1968, January through March 1969, and September 1969 through July 1971 are missing.
Financial and legal records include client and partner account statements, resale and exempt organization certificates, accounting ledgers, and legal files related to disputes involving or of interest to the gallery.
Printed materials include auction catalogs and reports, books, and clippings describing André Emmerich, the galleries in New York and Zurich, Top Gallant Farm, and the art world. Also included is a large scrapbook created by the gallery containing clippings and gallery announcements dated 1955-1958. Clippings relating to particular artists can be found in the Artists Files series.
There are two pieces of original artwork in the collection. One is a 1974 print of a 1933 composite etching by Esther Dick Gottlieb, Adolphe Gottlieb, Edgar Levy, Lucille Corcos Levy, David Smith, and Dorothy Dehner Smith. The second is a 1998 lithograph by Louise Bourgeoise, called The Face of the Critic. The artist gave the lithograph as a gift in honor of Robert Hughes and the Archives of American Art and is numbered 61 out of a series of 300.
Photographic materials include prints, slides, negatives, and transparencies. Subjects include artists, André Emmerich, gallery installations, Top Gallant Farm, events, artists' studios, gallery staff, gallery space, and artwork. Photographs which show André Emmerich are indicated as such in the finding aid.
Audiovisual materials includes videocassettes and one audiocassette related to the art world. Videocassettes related to specific artists can be found in the Artists Files series. Videocassettes related to André Emmerich can be found in the André Emmerich Personal Papers and Records series. Videocassettes related to Top Gallant Farm and Sotheby's can be found in the Administrative Files series.
Personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich include biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings and lectures, and legal and financial records. The biographical materials include an address book, interviews and identifying documents. Writings include articles, edits, dissertations, lectures, etc. There are also some miscellaneous correspondence which is organized chronologically.
The small addition received in 2014 includes general correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, artists' files, inventory records, consignment records, printed material, photographic materials, and André Emmerich personal papers and records.
The collection is arranged as 19 series:
Series 1: General Correspondence Files, 1958-2006 (boxes 1-18, OV 314-315; 18.2 linear feet)
Series 2: André Emmerich Appointment Books, 1954-2007 (boxes 19, 325, 326; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 3: Administrative Files, 1954-2003 (boxes 20-31, 306, OV 314, OV 316-319; 11 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1958-1967, 1971-2000 (boxes 31-32, 306, OV 318, OV 320; 2 linear feet)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, circa 1954-1998 (boxes 32-40, 306, 307, OV 318-322; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Artists Files, 1929-1932, 1938-2007 (boxes 40-68, 307, 308, OV 320-323; 28 linear feet)
Series 7: Artist Accounts, 1958-1998 (boxes 68-81; 13.5 linear feet)
Series 8: Inventory Records, circa 1954-2000(boxes 82-128; 46.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Sales Records, 1959-1998 (boxes 128-168; 40 linear feet)
Series 10: Purchase Records, 1961-1966, 1972-1994 (boxes 168-170; 2 linear feet)
Series 11: Consignment Records, 1961-2002 (boxes 170-177; 7.7 linear feet)
Series 12: Chronological File of Incoming and Outgoing Artwork, 1968-1998 (boxes 178-185; 8 linear feet)
Series 13: Other Financial and Legal Records, 1956-1999 (boxes 186-202; 16.5 linear feet)
Series 14: Printed Materials, 1955-1960, 1965-2008 (boxes 202-204, 308, 309; 3 linear feet)
Series 15: Original Artwork, 1933, 1974, 1998 (box 205, 310; 0.7 linear feet (2 folders))
Series 16: Photographic Materials, circa 1930-1935, 1941-1998, circa 2005 (Boxes 205-296, 311-313, OV 324; 92.8 linear feet)
Series 17: General Audio and Video Recordings, 1985, 1990-1995 (Boxes 297-298; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 18: André Emmerich Personal Papers and Records, 1937-1940, 1946-2008 (Boxes 298-305, OV 321, OV 323; 7.7 linear feet)
Series 19: Addition to the The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers, 1956-2009 (Boxes 328-329, OV 330; 2.1 linear feet)
André Emmerich (1924-2007) was one of America's most noted contemporary art dealers and opened the André Emmerich Gallery in New York in 1954. The gallery showcased contemporary art, particularly Color Field painting and monumental sculpture.
André Emmerich was born on October 11, 1924 in Frankfurt, Germany. From age 7 he was raised in Amsterdam before emigrating with his family to New York City in 1940. He studied at Oberlin College and developed an interest in pre-Columbian art and antiquities. After graduation, he spent ten years in Paris working as a writer and editor before returning to New York. He married Constance Emmerich and the couple had three sons, Adam, Noah, and Toby.
In 1954 Emmerich opened the André Emmerich Gallery at 18 East 77th Street and initially specialized in contemporary American and European art and pre-Columbian antiquities. In 1956, the gallery moved to 17 East 64th Street, and in 1959 to the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street. Emmerich wrote two books about pre-Columbian art, Art Before Columbus in 1963 and Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: Gold and Silver in Pre-Columbian Art in 1965.
In 1961, Emmerich learned that French and Company, a gallery advised by art critic Clement Greenberg, was closing its department of contemporary art. French and Company had represented Color Field painters Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski. Emmerich immediately invited Louis and Noland to be represented by his gallery. In 1966 he extended the invitation to Olitski as well, and Helen Frankenthaler joined soon after. The gallery's reputation as one of the earliest and most important promoters of Color Field painters was launched.
In addition to Color Field painters, the gallery represented, among others, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Milton Avery, Herbert Ferber, Sam Francis, John Graham, Al Held, David Hockney, Hans Hofmann, John Hoyland, Judy Pfaff, Miriam Schapiro, and Anne Truitt.
Until January 1983, sales of pre-Columbian art primarily went through an entity called André Emmerich Inc. (AE Inc.), while sales of contemporary went through the André Emmerich Gallery Inc. (AEG). In 1983, the two entities were merged and operated under the name André Emmerich Gallery Inc.
In 1971, Emmerich began operating a downtown gallery at 420 West Broadway, in SoHo, in space shared with Leo Castelli, Virginia Dwan, and Ileana Sonnabend. In 1972, Emmerich opened a branch of his gallery in Zurich. He incorporated the Galerie André Emmerich Gmbh primarily for the purpose of leasing gallery space in Zurich. Until February 1974, sales of Pre-Columbian art in Zurich were made by an entity called André Emmerich Gallery Inc., New York Filiale Zurich. The Galerie André Emmerich Gmbh was officially liquidated in May 1982. The Filiale was formally closed in October 1996. Galerie André Emmerich also enjoyed a short-lived joint venture with Gimpel & Hanover.
André Emmerich served as president of the Art Dealers Association of America from 1972-1974 and again from 1991-1994.
Emmerich opened a private 150 acre sculpture park, Top Gallant Farm, on his estate in Pawling, New York, in 1982, where he stored and exhibited monumental sculptures by artists his gallery represented including Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Alexander Liberman, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, George Rickey, and Keith Haring. David Hockney painted waves onto floor of the property's swimming pool in 1986. Emmerich operated the sculpture park until 1996.
Emmerich sold his gallery to Sotheby's in 1996. He continued to be affiliated with the gallery until Sotheby's closed the gallery in 1998. Emmerich then began work on his memoir, My Life With Art, excerpts of which have been published in Art News, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Criterion.
Andre Emmerich died in New York 2007 and is survived by his second wife, Susanne Emmerich.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with André Emmerich conducted by Mona Hadler on January 18, 1993.
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by André Emmerich in eight accretions between 1999 and 2002. Two additional accretions were donated by Emmerich's wife Susanne in 2008 and 2009; and by James Yohe, executive director (1990-1999), in 2009 and 2014.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Access of diaries and appointment books required written permission.