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Colette Roberts Papers and Interviews with Artists

Creator:
Roberts, Colette, 1910-  Search this
Names:
British Broadcasting Corporation  Search this
Grand Central Moderns (Gallery)  Search this
Le Point Cardinal (Gallery)  Search this
New York University -- Faculty  Search this
Bauermeister, Mary, 1934-  Search this
Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988  Search this
Chryssa, 1933-  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Ferren, John, 1905-1970  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Karp, Ivan C., 1926-2012  Search this
Le Prat, Thérèse  Search this
Lindner, Richard, 1901-  Search this
Marisol, 1930-  Search this
Moy, Seong  Search this
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988  Search this
O'Doherty, Brian  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967 -- Photographs  Search this
Schwabacher, Ethel, 1903-1984  Search this
Sterne, Hedda, 1910-  Search this
Vieira da Silva, Maria Helena, 1908-1992  Search this
Extent:
10.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Transcripts
Reviews (documents)
Interviews
Articles
Notes
Manuscripts
Photographs
Sound recordings
Date:
1918-1971
Summary:
The papers of New York City and Paris art historian, educator, and gallerist Colette Roberts measure 10.2 linear feet and date from 1918 to 1971. Papers include correspondence, writings, teaching records, project proposals, gallery records from Grand Central Moderns Gallery, clippings, Roberts' printed articles, press releases, exhibition catalogs, posters, photographs, and a few works of art on paper. Also found are 124 interviews with contemporary artists conducted by Roberts.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of New York City and Paris art historian, educator, and gallerist Colette Roberts measure 10.2 linear feet and date from 1918 to 1971. Papers include correspondence, writings, teaching records, project proposals, gallery records from Grand Central Moderns Gallery, clippings, Roberts' printed articles, press releases, exhibition catalogs, posters, photographs, and a few works of art on paper. Also found are 124 interviews with contemporary artists conducted by Roberts.

Significant correspondents include Sam Adler, Erwin Barrie, Hubert Damisch, George Deem, Mesdames de Harting and de Tinan, Lamar Dodd, Hélène Drude (Le Point Cardinal gallery), Arne Ekstrom, Albert M. Fine (Fluxus artist), Iqbal Geoffrey, R.G. Gilllet, Adolph Gottlieb, Cleve Gray, Leon Hartl, Jennett Lam, Alberto Cifolelli Lamb, Mike Nevelson, Norman Norotzky, Jacqueline Pavlowsky, Abe Rattner, Ad Reinhardt, H. Sandberg, Philippe Stern, Russell Twiggs, and Zuka.

Writings by Roberts include manuscripts and articles about artists, writings about her own art, personal writings, working notes from interviews and classes, reviews, and translations between English and French.

Among the personal records are Robert's files relating to teaching, charitable activities, and exhibitions. Also found are gallery records from Grand Central Moderns Gallery, including artist résumés, a card file of artworks with provenance information, exhibition catalogs and announcements, membership records, posters, publicity, and sales records.

Printed materials in the collection include clippings, Roberts' printed articles, press releases, and other exhibition catalogs and announcements. Photographs are of Roberts, artists, including Ad Reinhardt, classes, art spaces, and works of art. A small number of artworks on paper are also found, including Fluxus art stamps and a printed picture of Ray Johnson stamped "DOUGHNUT FESTIVAL."

Documentation of interviews with artists conducted by Roberts includes a card index file, a few transcripts, and the original sound recordings. Most of the recordings are interviews with artists that Roberts created during a class she taught at New York University between 1957 and 1971 called "Meet the Artist," including Mary Bauermeister, Romare Bearden, Dorothy Dehner, John Ferren, Ray Johnson, Ivan Karp, Thérèse Le Prat, Richard Lindner, Marisol, Seong Moy, Brian O'Doherty, Man Ray, Ethel Schwabacher, Hedda Sterne, Marie Helena Vieira da Silva, and many others. In preparation for magazine articles, Roberts conducted more extensive interviews with Chryssa, Marcel Duchamp, Adolph Gottlieb, and Louise Nevelson. A few of the recordings of Marcel Duchamp were not created by Roberts. In all, over 100 artists are represented in Roberts' interviews. Other recordings found include lectures and interviews conducted by people other than Roberts.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 8 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1918-1971 (Box 1, 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Notes and Writings, 1936-1970 (Box 1, 0.3 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Records, 1944-1971 (Box 1-2, 11; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 4: Grand Central Moderns Gallery Records, 1952-1970 (Box 2-3, 11; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1938-1971 (Box 3-5, 11-12; 2.0 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, 1930-1971 (Box 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1940-1969 (Box 5; 4 folders)

Series 8: Interviews with Artists, 1959-1971 (Box 5-10; 5.5 lienar feet)
Biographical Note:
Colette Roberts was a French artist, curator, gallery director, and scholar who emigrated to the United States in 1939, settling in New York City and remaining there until her death in 1971.

Roberts was born in Paris, France in 1910. She studied art with Roger Bissière at the Académie Ranson and with Henry Focillon at the Ecole du Louvre, and she later attended the Institut d'Art et Archeologie at the Sorbonne. Roberts came to the United States in 1939, settling in New York City, and became an American citizen three years later. In her early years in the United States, Roberts lectured and wrote on art and literature, and was active in various war-relief organizations, raising money and organizing benefits for organizations such as the American Red Cross and UNICEF. She was the gallery director for the National Association of Women Artists' Argent Galleries from 1947 to 1949, secretary to the curator of Far Eastern Art at New York's Metropolitan Museum from 1950 to 1951, and art editor for "France Amérique," the French-language newspaper in New York, beginning in 1953.

Roberts became gallery director of the Grand Central Moderns Gallery (New York, NY) in 1952 and remained in that position until 1968, when the gallery closed. The gallery was opened in 1946 by Erwin S. Barrie of the Grand Central Galleries for the promotion of living American artists. Among the artists represented there were Jennett Lam and Seong Moy. During this period she was also an instructor at New York University and Queens College, teaching art history and contemporary art. In 1957, she began a course at New York University called "Meet the Artist," for which she took her classes to the studios of working artists to see and discuss their work. In the early 1960s, she began to tape record her interviews of artists for this course, a practice which continued until her death in 1971. In 1968, Roberts worked briefly as Gallery Director for the A.M. Sachs Gallery (New York, NY), and as an oral history interviewer for the Archives of American Art.

Roberts wrote extensively on contempoary art, including articles and monographs on Mark Tobey (1960, Grove Press), Louise Nevelson (1964, The Pocket Museum), and Marcel Duchamp. She was a regular contributor to Aujourd'hui and Art and Architecture magazines.
Related Material:
Additional papers and recordings of Colette Roberts are held by Syracuse University Library Special Collections Research Center.
Separated Material:
A copy of a 1967 oral history with Adolf Gottlieb conducted by Dorothy Seckler for the Archives of American Art oral history program, which was found in Roberts' papers, has been returned to the Archives' oral history collection.
Provenance:
The sound recordings and transcripts of interviews with artists, were donated by Colette Roberts in 1970. The remaining papers were donated by her son, Richard B. Roberts, in 1973.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists 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
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Fluxus (Group of artists)  Search this
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Reviews (documents)
Interviews
Articles
Notes
Manuscripts
Photographs
Sound recordings
Citation:
Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, circa 1930-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.robecoli
See more items in:
Colette Roberts Papers and Interviews with Artists
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-robecoli
Online Media:

Collection Access Survey Records

Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Registrar  Search this
Extent:
1.5 cu. ft. (1 record storage box) (1 document box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Date:
1970-1975
Descriptive Entry:
This collection consists of materials pertaining to a collections access survey conducted by the Office of the Registrar, primarily by Richard H. Lytle and Dagobert Soergel, and headed by Paul N. Perrot, Assistant Secretary for Museum Programs. It consists of completed survey forms and information relating to accession information and collection management projects conducted by Smithsonian registrars and collection managers, correspondence regarding the survey project, and computer printouts. Some of this data may be summarized in reports found in Record Unit 568.
Topic:
Museums -- Collection management  Search this
Museum registrars  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession T90021, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Registrar, Collection Access Survey Records
Identifier:
Accession T90021
See more items in:
Collection Access Survey Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-fat90021

Secretary's Files

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Registrar  Search this
Container:
Box 5 of 18
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 568, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Registrar, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Box 5
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0568-refidd1e2642

Office of the Secretary (OS) - Board of Regents

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Registrar  Search this
Container:
Box 9 of 18
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 568, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Registrar, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Box 9
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0568-refidd1e5039

SI/OR Chronological - Secretary Adams, 1987-1988

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Registrar  Search this
Container:
Box 11 of 18
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 568, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Registrar, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Box 11
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0568-refidd1e6093

SI/OR Chronological - Under Secretary Anderson, 1987-1988

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Registrar  Search this
Container:
Box 11 of 18
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 568, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Registrar, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Box 11
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0568-refidd1e6104

Correspondence

Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Extent:
65.91 cu. ft. (98 document boxes) (6 12x17 boxes) (1 16x20 box) (88 3x5 boxes) (1 tube box) (oversize material)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Architectural drawings
Photographs
Manuscripts
Date:
1866-1906, with related records to 1927
Descriptive Entry:
These records document the history of the Smithsonian from 1872-1927. Most of the records concern the tenure of Samuel P. Langley, the third Secretary, who served from 1887-1906. There is also some material dating from as early as 1866 to as late as 1927 in the collection. This record unit is the last to be based on a distinction between incoming and outgoing records, for, beginning in 1907, unified filing systems were employed. Users should therefore be careful to consult the Archives' collections in order to have access to parallel outgoing records series. Users should also consult the collections to identify important separate record units for the United States National Museum. The records document both the Institution's history and the personal research interests of Secretary Langley.

In addition to Langley's research, records of particular interest document the creation of the Astrophysical Observatory and the National Zoological Park, as well as the consolidation of the Bureau of American Ethnology within the Smithsonian after the death of John Wesley Powell.
Historical Note:
Even before Joseph Henry's death, the Smithsonian had taken on a double identity. On the one hand it exercised the usual powers associated with a private body. At the same time it acted as a sort of agent to accomplish various objectives for the federal government. This duality of function was elaborately preserved under the administration of Samuel P. Langley, the Smithsonian's third Secretary. During his tenure (1887-1906) the Bureau of American Ethnology, the National Gallery of Art (now the National Museum of American Art), and the National Zoological Park were all added to the Smithsonian's federal side. Langley created the Astrophysical Observatory, using endowment income and private gifts. It, too, began to receive federal funds before he died in 1906. These records illustrate the peculiar but powerful role which the Smithsonian's Secretary played in forming national scientific policy at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Astrophysics  Search this
Aerodynamics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Architectural drawings
Photographs
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
Identifier:
Record Unit 31
See more items in:
Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0031
Online Media:

Folders 12-13 Sherzer, W. H., 1904-1906. Concerning publication of his study of glaciation.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10043

Folder 14 Shiels, S., 1891-1896

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10054

Folder 15 Shinn, Charles H., 1900-1901

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10065

Folders 16-18 Shipley, Marie Brown, 1898-1899. On her theories of the Viking discovery of North America.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10076

Folder 19 Shipman, Asa L. - Shunk, William F.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10087

Folder 20 Sickels, F. E. - Simonds Rolling Machine Co.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 60 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 60
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10099

Box 61

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically.
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10111

Folder 1 Simpson, Charles T. - Simpson, William E.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10118

Folder 2 Sinclair, A. T., 1899-1906

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10129

Folder 3 Sinclair, C. H. - Slocum, Joshua

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10140

Folders 4-5 Smillie, Thomas W., 1891-1904. Smillie was, it seems, the Smithsonian's first official photographer and assisted Langley in the Astrophysical Observatory as well as his studies of bird flight.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10151

Folder 6 Smith, Alfred - Smith, C. Michie

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10163

Folder 7 Smith, Donald A. - Smith, Frank

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Container:
Box 61 of 192
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 31, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence
See more items in:
Correspondence
Correspondence / Series 1: General Incoming Correspondence, 1888-1927. Arranged Alphabetically. / Box 61
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0031-refidd1e10174

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