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Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records

Creator:
Perls, Frank  Search this
Names:
Curt Valentin Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
M. Knoedler & Co.  Search this
Amato, Sam, 1924-  Search this
Brice, William, 1921-  Search this
Chuey, Robert  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954  Search this
McGarrell, James, 1930-  Search this
Peake, Channing, 1910-  Search this
Perls, Klaus  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Strombotne, James  Search this
Warsaw, Howard  Search this
Extent:
23.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Short stories
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Sales records
Gallery records
Date:
circa 1920-1983
bulk 1949-1975
Summary:
The Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records measure 23.8 linear feet and date from 1920-1983, with the bulk dating from 1949-1975. Personal papers include writings, military records, appointment calendars, and photographs. Gallery records date from its opening in 1939 until its closure in 1981 and consist of financial, sales, and legal records; exhibition files; exhibition catalogs and announcements; subject files that contain a variety of correspondence with artists, dealers, galleries, museums, and friends and family, as well as reference materials and photographs; and scrapbooks.
Scope and Content Note:
The Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records measure 23.8 linear feet and date from 1920-1983, with the bulk dating from 1949-1975. Personal papers include writings, military records, appointment calendars, and photographs. Gallery records date from its opening in 1939 until its closure in 1981 and consist of financial, sales, and legal records; exhibition files; exhibition catalogs and announcements; subject files that contain a variety of correspondence with artists, dealers, galleries, museums, and friends and family, as well as reference materials and photographs; and scrapbooks.

Personal papers contain biographical materials, including military records from Perls' service in the army during World War II, personal photographs, documentation on his estate settlement, and numerous short stories. Of particular interest are Perl's stories about his interactions with Pablo Picasso and his work to uncover fraud, fakes, and corruption in the art world. There are also many photographs of Picasso, photographs of family, the war, and Perls, including two original photographs of Perls by Man Ray.

Gallery sales, purchases, consignments, insurance appraisals, loans, provenance research, and general business expenses are well documented in the General Business and Financial Records. Perls jointly owned artwork with several galleries in New York, including the Curt Valentine Gallery and M. Knoedler Gallery, and these consignment and joint sales are documented in the invoices. A complete accounting of the Gallery's income and expense reports from 1950-1971 is also be found in this series. Artists extensively documented through financial transactions are William Brice, James Strombotne, and Howard Warsaw.

Extensive exhibition files document the gallery's exhibitions and Perl's curatorial work. Files contain varied documentation, such as photographs, catalogs, announcements, and publicity for Frank Perls Gallery shows from 1939 through 1971. Artists represented in this series include Sam Amato, Robert Chuey, Jaques Lipchitz, Pablo Picasso, James McGarrell, and James Strombotne. Files are also found for the two major retrospective exhibitions Perls organized and curated, Matisse Retrospective at University of California, Los Angeles and Sixty Years of Picasso Prints at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, both in 1966. Additional information about these exhibitions is also found in the Subject Files.

Subject Files are extensive and varied in name, content, and topic. They consist mostly of correspondence with friends, family, colleagues, artists, critics, galleries and dealers, clients, arts organizations and associations, publications, and others. There are also reference files and exhibition files for exhibitions held at other galleries and museums in which Perls was interested, guest curated, or loaned artwork. The contents of each file unit varies, but many include correspondence, photographs, appraisal records, sales records, invoices, reports, and membership records. The files highlight his close personal relationship with many artists, including William Brice, Rico Lebrun, James McGarrell, Channing Peake, Pablo Picasso, and James Strombotne. Subject Files also contain abundant correspondence with colleagues and family members, including his brother Klaus, who owned and operated the Perls Gallery in New York. Many of the files concern Perl's work with art documentation and authentication. Subject Files have been arranged according to Frank Perls original order.

Finally, scrapbooks contain newspaper articles, catalogs, and announcements about exhibitions at the Perls Gallery in New York during the late 1930s and the Frank Perls Gallery in Los Angeles during the 1950s.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 5 series:

Series 1: Frank Perls papers, circa 1920-1981 (Box 1-2, 28; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 2: General Financial and Business Records, 1949-1975 (Box 2-4, 23-27; 3.4 linear feet)

Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1937-1975 (Box 5-6; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Subject Files, circa 1939-1983 (Box 6-22; 16.5 linear feet)

Series 5. Scrapbooks, 1937-1957 (Box 28; 0.3 linear feet)
Historical Note:
Frank Perls (1910-1975) was founder and sole owner of the Frank Perls Gallery in Beverly Hills, California.

Frank Perls was born in Germany on October 23, 1910. His parents, Hugo and Kaethe Perls, owned one of the leading art galleries in Berlin, and sold the work of many well-known artists. Artists works included in the gallery inventory were pieces by Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Cézanne, among others. His parents enjoyed a close friendship with Picasso, a relationship Perls maintained until Picasso's death in 1973. After his parents divorce in 1931, his mother left Germany and eventually opened the Galerie Kaethe in Paris.Frank Perls studied art history at the Universities of Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt and joined his mother at the Galerie Kaethe in 1932.

Frank Perls immigrated to the United States in 1937 and partnered with his brother, Klaus Perls, to open the Perls Galleries in New York. Two years later he moved to California and opened the Frank Perls Gallery on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. During those first years, the Gallery hosted exhibitions by Man Ray, Eugene Berman, and John Decker.

Perls closed his gallery in 1942 when he enlisted in the United States Army. Because he was fluent in both French and German, Perls served as an interpreter at the Military Intelligence Service, European Theater of Operations. He landed in Normandy with the 30th Infantry Division and was awarded the Bronze Star in 1944. In 1945, Perls was assigned to the Arts and Monuments Section of Allied Military Government in Germany. He was honorably discharged in September, 1945.

After the war, Perls returned to Los Angeles and managed the recently opened Associated American Artists Gallery in Beverly Hills. The gallery was organized in 1934 and marketed art to the middle classes with the opportunity to purchase prints at affordable prices. Perls made significant contacts during his tenure at the gallery and eventually opened his own Beverly Hills gallery in 1950.

The Frank Perls Gallery on Camden Drive was closely associated with the Pierre Matisse Gallery and the Curt Valentin Gallery in New York, both major sources of exhibition materials for the early years. Perls introduced southern California to artists he believed represented the best modern art of America and Europe - Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keeffe, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, and Jean Dubuffet. Between 1950 to 1954, Frank Perls Gallery organized the first West coast exhibitions of Joan Miro, Marino Marini, and Alberto Giacometti. Perls also gave exhibitions to newly emerging artists of Southern California artists, including William Brice, Robert Chuey, Rico Lebrun, James McGarrell, Channing Peake, and Howard Warsaw.

Perls moved his gallery to Wilshire Boulevard in 1965 and stopped representing California artists at that time to focus primarily on major exhibitions of Henri Matisse and Picasso. In 1966, he helped organize an extensive traveling Henri Matisse exhibition at UCLA called Matisse Retrospective. Perls worked with Matisse's children, Pierre, Jean, and Marguerite Duthuit, to identify 345 prints and sculptures and attach family inventory numbers to them.

Frank Perls also organized several large Picasso exhibitions, including the Bonne Fete Monsieur Picasso exhibit at UCLA in 1961 and the 45 Selected Picasso Graphics exhibition at Frank Perls Gallery in 1971. For his work in preparing these major exhibitions in California of Matisse and Picasso, Perls was made a life fellow of the Los Angeles County Museum.

Perls was a member of the Art Dealers of America, serving for several years on the Board of Directors and as director. He was also dedicated to exposing art fakes and forgeries, earning a reputation for discovering, exposing, and pursuing disreputable art appraisers and dealers. Perls wrote extensively about modern art and artists, as well as his experiences in short stories that often appeared in print.

Frank Perls died on February 8, 1975 from complications following open-heart surgery. The Gallery remained open until 1981 while his executor and family distributed the gallery inventory.
Provenance:
The Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records were donated by Joan Hazlitt, one of the executors of the Perls' estate, from 1976-1988.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- California -- Beverly Hills  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Curators -- California  Search this
Art -- Forgeries  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- California
Genre/Form:
Short stories
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Sales records
Gallery records
Citation:
Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records, circa 1920-1983, bulk 1949-1975. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.perlfran
See more items in:
Frank Perls papers and Frank Perls Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-perlfran
Online Media:

Perls Galleries records

Creator:
Perls Galleries  Search this
Names:
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Fujikawa Gallery  Search this
Galerie Maeght  Search this
James Corcoran Gallery  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Austin, Darrel, 1907-  Search this
Cafritz, Gwendolyn  Search this
Cafritz, Morris, 1886?-1964  Search this
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Canaday, John, 1907-1985  Search this
De Menil, Adelaide  Search this
Dudensing, F. Valentine, 1892-1967  Search this
Ford, Henry, 1917-1987  Search this
Garbo, Greta, 1905-1990  Search this
Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-  Search this
Luce, Claire  Search this
Luce, Henry, III, 1925-2005  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Perls, Klaus  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Priebe, Karl J., 1914-1976  Search this
Streisand, Barbra  Search this
Extent:
79.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Illustrated letters
Drawings
Photographs
Date:
1937-1997
Summary:
The records of the Perls Galleries measure 79.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1997. Founded by Klaus Perls in 1937 and operating until 1997, the gallery dealt primarily in modern French art and the artwork of Alexander Calder. Found within the records are extensive correspondence (circa 44 linear feet) with artists, dealers, galleries, museums, and collectors; photographs and negatives of inventory and other artwork; exhibition files, scattered financial records; and exhibition catalogs and clippings.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Perls Galleries measure 79.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1997. Founded by Klaus Perls in 1937 and operating until 1997, the gallery dealt primarily in modern French art and the artwork of Alexander Calder. Found within the records are extensive correspondence (circa 44 linear feet) with artists, dealers, galleries, museums, and collectors; photographs and negatives of inventory and other artwork; exhibition files, scattered financial records; and exhibition catalogs and clippings.

Correspondence primarily discusses sales (and includes invoices), loans, and exhibitions, as well as more routine activities such as gallery maintenance, the printing of exhibition catalogs and letterhead, and the shipment, framing, or restoration of artwork. Many letters enclose photographs, negatives, or slides of artwork, and clippings. A few letters contain oversize architectural or engineering drawings, and a small handful of letters are illustrated.

Correspondents include artists such as Darrell Austin, Joan Mir, Pablo Picasso, and Karl Priebe; galleries such as the Corcoran Gallery, Fujikawa Galleries, Galerie Maeght, and the Pierre Matisse Gallery; museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; collectors such as Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, Adelaide de Mnil, Valentine Dudensing, and Henry Ford, II; and celebrity clients such as Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry and Clare Booth Luce, and Barbra Streisand.

The records contain nearly thirty-two linear feet of photographs and negatives. Photographs are of artists and the inventory of the gallery's artwork. Additional photographs represent artwork either by artists not represented by the gallery or not included in the gallery's inventory. Most of the photographs are black and white. Over fifteen linear feet of negatives are of gallery stock. Photographs are also found in the exhibition files.

There is a relatively small amount of records relating to exhibitions, loans, and sales. Found are exhibition lists, schedules, invitations and announcements, photographs of exhibition installations, press releases, and records of loans to other institutions and galleries. Sales records include artist lists, inventory lists, invoices, pick up and delivery receipts, and price lists.

Printed materials include a large number of clippings and an incomplete run of catalogs from Perls Galleries exhibitions between 1939 and 1980.

The collection also includes ten original pencil drawings from John Canaday's series entitled My Beautiful Girls and a reproduction of eight drawings from the same series
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1937-1995 (Boxes 1-44, OV 81-83; 43.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Negatives, circa 1937-1995 (Boxes 44-59; 15.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1937-1995 (Boxes 60-75, OV 84; 16.1 linear feet)

Series 4: Exhibition, Loan, and Sales Records, 1937-1995 (Boxes 76-78; 2.1 linear feet)

Series 5: Clippings Files, 1943-1989 (Box 78; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Exhibition Catalogs, 1939-1980 (Boxes 78-79; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Drawings by John Canaday, circa 1967-1972 (Box 80; 0.3 linear feet)
Historical Note:
Klaus Perls (b. 1912, d. 2008) formally opened Perls Galleries in New York in 1937, and ran it with his wife Amelia until its closing in 1997. The gallery dealt in contemporary French artists of the School of Paris, such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, but also acted as the primary representative of Alexander Calder beginning in 1954. In the 1970s Mr. Perls developed an interest in art from Benin and built an important collection of African sculpture, some of which was later donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amelia Perls died in 2002, and Klaus Perls died in 2008.

Klaus Perls was born in 1912 in Berlin in a house Mies van der Rohe designed for his parents, who owned an art gallery specializing in Impressionists, post-Impressionists, Old Master paintings, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and African sculpture. Perls studied Art History in Hamburg and Munich but completed his PhD in Basel, Switzerland in 1933 after the Nazi government stopped awarding degrees to Jews. His dissertation covered the complete works of 15th-century French painter Jean Fouquet.

Before moving to New York in 1935, Perls worked for his mother, Kaethe Perls, in her Paris gallery that she opened in 1932 after splitting up with Klaus' father Hugo. He spent his first two years in New York selling paintings through other art dealers, primarily paintings shipped or recommended to him by his mother from Paris that were not selling well in the Depression-era French art market. These were primarily the work of Maurice Utrillo, Marie Laurencin, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck. In 1937 he formally established his own gallery, the Perls Galleries, on East 58th Street and continued to specialize in French and European contemporary art. Around the same time, his older brother Frank opened a gallery in Beverly Hills, California.

Klaus Perls was familiar with other New York dealers specializing in modern European art such as Valentine Dudensing and Pierre Matisse, but he tried to distinguish himself by catering to young collectors. When the war restricted the international art trade and his mother was forced to flee France during the Occupation, Perls began dealing in contemporary American artists such as Darrel Austin and Karl Priebe.

Perls married Amelia Blumenthal, fondly known as "Dolly," in 1940, and she became his business partner.

After the war, the international art market exploded, and the Perls made frequent buying trips to Europe. The Perls Galleries continued to sell primarily contemporary French art and gained an early reputation as a staunch defender of modern art by European artists such as Picasso, Modigliani, Braque, Lger, Soutine and Pascin. Perls prepared catalogues raisonns on Soutine and Pascin.

Klaus Perls was one of the founding members of the Art Dealer's Association, whose initial mission was to clean up the reputation of the art market following a series scandals involving fake antiquities that flourished in the 1960's. Perls was the Association's second president, after Pierre Matisse.

In 1954 Perls Galleries moved to 1016 Madison Avenue, a building that served as both gallery and home for the Perls. The same year Perls became Alexander Calder's dealer after the death of Calder's previous dealer, Curt Valentin. Perls explained his inclusion of Calder, a rare American among his stable of European artists, by saying that Calder's roots lay in France and that Calder bridged Europe and America the way Perls felt he did himself. In 1970, Calder designed the terrazzo sidewalk in front of the gallery and often resided in the Perls' home during long visits to New York City. Perls Galleries later handled Calder's estate and functioned as a quasi-archives of Calder's works, holding more than 7,000 negatives depicting Calder's art and preparing a Calder catalogue raisonn.

Klaus was named as a third-party defendant in the 1969 World War II looted art case Menzel v. List. When Erna Menzel sued Albert List for ownership of a Chagall painting confiscated from Menzel by the Nazis, List in turn sued Perls, who had sold him the painting in 1955, having purchased it himself from a Paris art dealer. The court awarded the Chagall painting to Menzel and ordered Perls to pay List the appreciated value of the painting.

Perls began building an important collection of African artwork and fell in love with art from Benin in the 1970's. In 1991 he donated more than 150 pieces of royal art from Benin to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Perls closed their gallery in 1997; Amelia Perls died in 2002, and Klaus Perls died in 2008.
Related Material:
Among the resources relating to the Perls Galleries in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Klaus Perls done by Mona Hadler on January 19, 1993.
Provenance:
The records were donated in 1997 by Douglas Mayhew, associate and legal representive of Klaus G. and Amelia B. Perls.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Art, Modern  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York
Genre/Form:
Illustrated letters
Drawings
Photographs
Citation:
Perls Galleries records, 1937-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.perlgall
See more items in:
Perls Galleries records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-perlgall
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Patricia Faure

Interviewee:
Faure, Patricia, 1928-2008  Search this
Interviewer:
Ehrlich, Susan, 1942-  Search this
Names:
Asher & Faure  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Sound recording, master: 6 sound discs (5 hrs. and 20 min.) : digital ; 2 5/8 in)
104 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 Nov. 17-24
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Patricia Faure conducted 2004 Nov. 17-24, by Susan Ehrlich, for the Archives of American Art, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Faure spoke about her early childhood in Wisconsin and the family's move to California; attending Hollywood High and meeting young stars; modeling; working for Vincent Price on Saturday's during high school; moving to New York for her modeling career; her first husband Philip Peyton; classes at the New School of Social Research, New York; meeting Joseph Cornell; her return to Los Angeles in the early 1950s; Riko Mizuno and other galleries in operation before she opened Asher-Faure;photography; her marriage to Jacques Faure and living in France; her daughter Zazu, born 1965; working for Nick Wilder, and the numerous artists and actors she met through his gallery; opening Asher-Faure with Betty Asher; the growth of galleries and art museums in Southern California; collectors; art writers, including Christopher Knight, Suzanne Muchnic, David Pagel, Leah Ollman, and Holly Meyers; her shows that combine a New York gallery and an artist from that gallery, for example the André Emmerich Gallery and Franz Kline or Philip Guston; the other businesses in Bergamont Station; her enjoyment of putting up a show; dogs bringing their owners into her gallery space; the independence of the art market from the stock market; and how she has profited in many ways from this journey. Faure also recalls Man Ray, Rico Lebrun, Frank Sinatra, Larry Rivers, Ed Moses, Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, Sam Francis, Irving Blum, Peggy Moffit, Bill Claxton, Felix Landau, Everett Ellin, Maurice Tuchman, Rona Pondick, Jo Baer, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Patricia Faure (1928-2008) was a gallery owner from Los Angeles, Calif. Interviewer Susan Ehrlich: Art historian, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- California  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial
Art museums
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.faure04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-faure04

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