Avis Berman research material on art and artists consists of interviews conducted by Berman and scattered correspondence in preparation for various books, articles and exhibitions. Subjects include Romare Bearden, Adelyn Breeskin, Chaim Gross, Jacob Lawrence, Reuben Nakian, and Helen Farr Sloan regarding John Sloan.
Material on art historian and museum director Adelyn Breeskin (microfilm reel 2786) includes an interview conducted by Berman September 8 and November 2, 1976. Breeskin speaks of her educational background; working at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum; her early interest in reading and illustrated books; her role as Curator of Prints and Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Sadie May, Claghorn, Garrett, and Cone Collections; the financial management of the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Venice Biennale, 1960; and her research concerning Mary Cassatt and Romaine Brooks. She recalls Katherine B. Child, Claribel and Etta Cone, William Ivins, Jr., Gertrude Stein, Alicie B. Toklas and others. Also included are transcripts of interviews with Gertrude Rosenthal, January 14, 1977, and James Foster, December 10, 1976, in which they discuss working with Breeskin, and a copy of Berman's article "Adelyn Breeskin: 50 Years of Excellence, Part I," which appeared in the Feminist Art Journal, Summer 1977; and a manuscript draft and photocopied pages of "Profile of Adelyn Breeskin, Part 2" by Berman. (An abbreviated version of this article appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Oct. 30, 1977).
Berman's interview of painter Romare Bearden (2 cassettes, 45 page transcript) was conducted 1980 July 31 in Bearden's studio, Long Island City, New York. Bearden discusses his mural commissions; his youth; his time in Paris; working out of the blues tradition; the influence of the South; and changes in his work. He recalls Constantin Brancusi, Jacob Lawrence, Henri Matisse, Duke Ellington, Stuart Davis, and others.
The interview with painter Jacob Lawrence was conducted 1982 July 20-August 4th (3 sound cassettes, 81 page transcript). Also present is Gwendolyn Knight.
The interview with Helen Farr Sloan, widow of painter John Sloan, was conducted by Berman on 1988 July 17 for an audience at the Delaware Art Museum. The interview primarily concerns her husband, painter John Sloan including their marriage and life together as well as his life and work before they married, Farr Sloan's education including being a student of John Sloan's, as well as her own experience as a teacher. She briefly discusses art collecting.
The interview of sculptor Reuben Nakian was conducted 1981 April 1 (1 sound cassette, untranscribed).
The interview of sculptor Chaim Gross and Renee Gross was conducted 1981 March 7 (2 sound cassettes, untranscribed).
The collection also includes 13 letters to Berman from art historians and critics, and copies of 2 letters sent, in response to her query about what books they find indispensable to their work. Berman used the information in an article in ARTnews (Nov. 1983). Correspondents include John Szarkowski, Milton Brown, John Canaday, Robert Rosenblum, Julius Held, Theodore Reff, Linda Nochlin, Albert Elsen, James R. Mellow, Lewis Mumford, Dore Ashton, John Walker, and Robert Rosenblum. This material is on microfilm reel 4909.
Biographical / Historical:
Avis Berman (1949- ) is an art historian, writer, and curator from New York, N.Y.
Also in the Archives are the Avis Berman research material on Katharine Kuh, 1939-2006 and an interview of Reuben Nakian conducted by Berman for the Archives Oral History Program, June 1981.
The collection was donated incrementally by Avis Berman 1981-1993.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Interviews with Gross, Lawrence, and Nakian: Authorization to quote or reproduce for purposes of publication must be obtaind from Avis Berman.
Art historians -- United States -- Interviews Search this
The papers of photographer and teacher Imogen Cunningham, date from 1903 to 1991. The collection measures 5.9 feet of material, including correspondence, business and financial records, writings, printed matter, and photographs, and provides a good overview of Cunningham's life and career.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of photographer and teacher Imogen Cunningham, date from 1903 to 1991. The collection measures 5.9 feet of material, including correspondence, business and financial records, writings, printed matter, and photographs, and provides a good overview of Cunningham's life and career. 3.6 linear feet of correspondence comprise the bulk of the collection.
The collection is arranged into ten series according to material type:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1907-1981, undated (box 1; 4 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1991, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.6 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1944-1976 (box 4; 15 folders)
Series 4: Notes, 1959-1968 (box 4; 10 folders)
Series 5: Teaching Files, 1964-1971 (box 5; 4 folders)
Series 6: Writings, circa 1910-1976 (box 5; 21 folders)
Series 7: Interview Transcripts, 1951, undated (box 5; 2 folders)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1903-1991 (boxes 5-7; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, 1916-1976 (box 7; 12 folders)
Series 10: Oversized Material, 1947-1948, 1967, undated
Born in Portland, Oregon on April 12, 1883, Cunningham's family moved to Seattle in 1889. Inspired by Gertrude Kasebier's work, she purchased her first camera in 1901. After studying chemistry and botany at the University of Washington, she worked for the Edward S. Curtis Studio, Seattle, from 1907 to 1909. Receiving a scholarship, Cunningham studied for a year at the Technische Hochschule, Dresden.
Upon her return to Seattle in 1910, she opened a studio and had the first major exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in 1912.
In 1915, Cunningham married printmaker Roi Partridge and gave birth to her first son, Gryffyd. Two years later, her family moved to California, where she gave birth to twin sons, Padraic and Rondal. In 1920, the family moved to Oakland, where her husband taught at Mills College. During the 1920s, she exhibited her art work and began photographing plant forms.
Along with Ansel Adams, John Paul Edwards, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston, Cunningham formed the f/64 Group, a society of purist photographers in 1932. During the same year she began working for Vanity Fair and other magazines and began a career as a portrait photographer, including Martha Graham, Cary Grant, Morris Graves, Alfred Stieglitz, and Spencer Tracy as her subjects. She divorced her husband in 1934.
In 1947, Cunningham established a studio in her San Francisco home, and continued to exhibit extensively until her death on June 24, 1976.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Imogen Cunningham in 1974 and 1976, and by her son, Gryffyd Partridge, in 1991.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
The Imogen Cunningham 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.