An interview of Ira Spanierman conducted June 6-12, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, in the Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York. Spanierman speaks of growing up and living in New York City his whole life; the influence of working in his father's antique store; studying English at Syracuse University; how he got involved in the art business; becoming an auctioneer at Savoy Gallery working with silver and arms and armor; his collecting preferences; the influence of the Internet and technology; changes in the art market among buyers and collectors; the development and growth of art auctions; opening his first gallery and what kind of art he showed; interest in dealing 19th and 20th century American art; the kind of clientele he attracted; the Spanierman Gallery catalogues and publication program; publishing and distributing the catalogue raisonné; working and collaborating with other institutions like the Cooper-Hewitt; working with a panel of scholars to identify work that was fraud; the various kinds of collectors he has dealt with in the past and what kind of collectors he prefers to work with; opening a contemporary and modern wing to the gallery and the motivation behind that; relationships with artists; exhibiting members of the Ashcan School, the Ten, and the Hudson River School; trying to find artists that have been overlooked in the past and promoting a re-emergence of these figures and their work; a number of mentors in his life including Abe Adler and Roy Leroy; advice for younger collectors; what he sees in the future for the art market; a shift in privately owned art being turned over to museums; the educational aspect of his gallery; future goals of his gallery; the role of the museum today; what he has contributed to the art world; and how he would like to be remembered and thought of in the future. Spanierman also recalls Peter Wilson, Gene Thaw, Lloyd Goodrich, Abigail Gerds, Peter Poskas, Hans Heinrich, Daniel Terra, Jack Warner, Diane and Bruce Halles, Daniel and Rita Fraad, Barbara Newington, Robert Noortman, Ian Woodner, Barbara Novak, Roy Leroy, Abraham Adler, Norman Hirsch and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Ira Spanierman is a gallery owner from New York, New York. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator from New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 21 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art 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 administrators.
5 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 3 reels))
0.4 Linear feet (Addition)
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence; scrapbooks and diaries; writings; photographs; medals; passport; engagement calendars; and printed material.
REEL 1344: Letters, 1931-1977, from John Taylor Arms, George Biddle, Mario Bacchelli, Ralston Crawford, Joseph Hirsch, Norman Kent, Leon Kroll, Ezra Pound, Maxfield Parrish, Emilio Sanchez, Barbara and Katherine Ivins, and others. Also included is a photograph of a 1961 poster exhibition, a lecture announcement and Mayor's lecture schedule, writings, and miscellany.
REEL 2322: Ten volumes, 1917-1927, composed while traveling and studying, mostly in Europe. Six volumes contain postcards of architecture and art, a few photos, and typescripts and transcripts of letters to Mayor's grandmother "Minn" [Andella Hyatt], and to "Aunt Anna" [Anna Hyatt Huntington]. He writes about his studies, daily activities, friends, and others, including Bernhard Berenson at i Tatti. Three volumes are diaries written while in Florence, Italy, 1924-1925, Europe, 1925, and Egypt, 1927; and one volume contains reminiscenses of Leon Kroll and Maurice Sachs.
REEL 2336: 20 letters from Mayor to his wife from Spain, 1959, and Europe, 1966; an annotated, 99-page manuscript by Mayor, "The Mutations of Greece"; a travel diary, 1927; and a copy of MAGAZINE OF ART, 1952, with an article by Mayor, "Writing and Painting in China."
UNMICROFILMED: Papers, 1815-1980, including: a passport, 1949-1953; engagement calendars, 1966-1979; personal and business correspondence, 1911-1979; letters to Eliza Cadwell Blackwell (Mayor) from Francis Blackwell, 1815-1819; photographs of Mayor, his family and others, and negatives; published and unpublished writings by Mayor including handwritten notes, typescripts of lectures, galley proofs and newsletters containing articles by Mayor; 3 medals awarded to Francis Blackwell Mayor, 1852-1855; A. Hyatt Mayor's degree from Princeton, 1922, and a citation from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1971; printed material concerning Mayor's aunt, Anna Hyatt Huntington, catalogs, clippings; and miscellany.
Among the photos are: 4 cased daguerreotypes, 1 cased ambrotype, and 11 tintypes, including one taken by Moffett & Sheldon, Newark, N.J., 2 possibly of Alfred G. Mayor, ca. 1868, 1 of Alfred G. Mayor, ca. 1880, and 2 of Joseph Henry Mayor, ca. May 26, 1880.
ADDITION: Manuscripts and writings.
Biographical / Historical:
A. Hyatt Mayor (1901-1980) was a museum curator, art historian, and writer, from New York, N.Y. Former curator of prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A. Hyatt Mayor Papers, 1904-1946, are located at Syracuse University Libraries Special Collections Research Center.
Material on reel 1344 was lent for microfilming 1977-1978 by A. Hyatt Mayor; a portion was subsequently donated 1980-1981 by Virginia Mayor, his widow, along with additional (unmicrofilmed) material. Material on reels 2322 & 2336 lent for microfilming 1981 by Martha Smith, Mayor's daughter. An additional group of manuscripts and writings was received in 1985 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which had borrowed the material from Mrs. Mayor and returned it to AAA at her request.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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