The papers of New York painter and art critic William Anderson Coffin date from 1886-1924 and measure 1.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence, project files for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artist's Committee of One Hundred, and the exhibition of works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, three additional scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of New York painter and art critic William Anderson Coffin date from 1886 to 1924 and measure 1.6 linear feet. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence; project files for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artist's Committee of One Hundred, and the exhibition of works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris; three additional scrapbooks; printed material; and photographs.
Scattered biographical material includes membership cards and an autobiographical essay. Correspondence is with colleagues and related generally to receptions and events, including an invitation to the launch of the U. S. Battleship Arizona. There are one or two letters each from Frank W. Benson, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Royal Cortissoz, Walter Gay, and Whitney Warren.
Three series of project files document Coffin's work for the Fine Arts Division of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred that established a relief fund for families of French soldier-artists, and an exhibition of artwork by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris. Files contain a variety of materials, such as letters, drafts of reports, meeting minutes, photographs, catalogs and brochures, and other materials. There are two oversized scrapbooks for the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition. The files for the Luxembourg Museum exhibition include a letter signed by Louis Bouché, Bernard Gussow, Alfred H. Maurer, Joseph Stella, and William Zorach protesting the exclusion of their work.
Three additional scrapbooks contain clippings of articles written by Coffin when he was employed as an art critic for The New York Evening Post, Harper's Weekly, and The New York Sun.
Printed material consists of miscellaneous clippings primarily about Coffin, programs from American Rights Committee exercises, a Dixie Club of New York concert, a Lotos Club concert, the Lafayette-Marne Anniversary exercises, and souvenir tickets to various art-related events including several Paris Salon Vernissage events sponsored by the Société des Artistes Francais.
Photographs include an album of photographs of Coffin, various family members, and residences; a photograph of Coffin posing with an unidentified group of his colleagues; and photographs of family friends. Project files also contain photographs.
The collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1916-1922 (2 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1924 (8 folders; Box 1)
Series 3: Project File for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, 1900-1901 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 4: Project File for the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred, 1914-1923 (14 folders; Box 1)
Series 5: Project File for the Exhibition of Works by American Artists at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, 1919-1920 (11 folders; Box 1)
Series 6: Scrapbooks of Clippings of Articles Written by Coffin, 1886-1913 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1912-1924 (6 folders; Box 1)
Series 8: Photographs, 1905-1923 (10 folders; Box 1)
William Anderson Coffin (1855-1925) of New York City was a landscape and figure painter and art critic. He organized several notable exhibitions and art-related charitable events for relief work in post-World War I France.
William Anderson Coffin was born near Pittsburgh in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on January 31, 1855, the son of Isabella C. Anderson and James Gardiner Coffin. Coffin studied art and graduated from Yale University in 1874. Three years later, he left for Paris and studied with academic artist Léon Bonnat. Coffin exhibited in the Paris Salons of 1879, 1880, and 1882.
In 1882, Coffin moved to New York City, participating in many exhibitions, including at the National Academy of Design. He also wrote as an art critic for Scribner's and Harper's Weekly, among other publications. From 1886 to 1891, he was art critic for The New York Evening Post, and was art editor at the New York Sun from 1896 to 1901.
Coffin directed the Fine Arts Division of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo from 1900 to 1901, and participated as a member of the New York Advisory Board of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. Coffin was also president of the American Artists' Committee of One Hundred that established a relief fund for families of French soldier-artists. For this charitable work, Coffin received the medal of the Legion of Honor from the French government in 1917.
Coffin was a member of various arts organizations including the Lotos Club, the Architectural League of New York, and the National Academy of Design. His artwork is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Municipal Gallery of Venice, Italy, the Albright Art Gallery, and the Brooklyn Museum.
William Anderson Coffin died on October 26, 1925 in New York City.
The William Anderson Coffin papers were donated in 1970 by Stewart Klonis to whom the papers were given by Mrs. DeWitt M. Lockman of Manorville, Long Island, New York.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
2.4 Linear feet (ca. 4500 items (partially microfilmed on 7 reels))
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence; biographical data; photographs; sketches; notes and writings; calendars; teaching materials; exhibition catalogs and announcements; and clippings.
REELS N70-3-N70-4: Biographical data; a photograph of Calcagno; notes and writings; sketches; writings about Calcagno; a list of his paintings; correspondence with galleries, museums, universities, art organizations, friends and colleagues; teaching material; exhibition catalogs and announcements; and clippings.
REELS N70-43-N70-45: Letters to Calcagno's family, written from Madrid, Florence, Rome and Paris; correspondence with galleries, museums, art organizations, friends, artists, and buyers, including Charles Boggs, Richard Brewer, Adele Cohen, Beauford Delaney, Marilyn Einhorn, Rufus Foshee, Calcagno's sister Virginia Gibson, Alberto Gutierrez, Martha Jackson, Nesta Obermer, Mark Rothko (one letter), Clay Spohn, Hyde Solomon, Yaddo and others; an annotated calendar, 1969; and financial material.
REELS N69-120-N69-121: Correspondence with galleries, museums, artists, art organizations and friends, including: The Gallery of Modern Art, Scottsdale, Arizona, Martha Jackson Gallery, Tirca Karlis Gallery, McRoberts and Tunnard, Ltd, London, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogata, Columbia, The New Arts Gallery, Houston, Texas, Zuni Gallery, Buffalo, New York, and others; exhibition catalogs and correspondence regarding their publication.
UNMICROFILMED: Biographical data; correspondence with galleries, universities, museums, friends and others; writings and notes; annotated calendars; teaching notebooks; exhibition catalogs, announcements; press releases and invitations; price lists; photographs of Calcagno, his family, studios, and paintings, some which are now destroyed; and slides of paintings.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter; New York, N.Y. Died 1993.
Material on reels N70-43-N70-45 and unfilmed material donated 1970-1980 by Lawrence Calcagno. Material on reels N70-3-N70-4 and N69-120-N69-121 lent 1969 for microfilming by Lawrence Calcagno.
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.
An interview of Gordon Bailey Washburn conducted 1977 March 1, by Virginia Field, for the Archives of American Art. Washburn speaks of his career in museums, with emphasis on his work as director of the Asia House Gallery.
Biographical / Historical:
Gordon Bailey Washburn (1904-1983) was an art museum director from New York, N.Y. He was the director of Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y., 1931-1942; director of Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1942-1949; director of the Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1950-1962; and director, Asia House Gallery, New York, N.Y., 1961-1974.
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 5 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.
An interview of Gordon Bailey Washburn conducted 1970 March 4-18, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Gordon Bailey Washburn (1904-1983) was an art museum director from New York, N.Y. Director of Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y., 1931-1942. Director of Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1942-1949. Director of the Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1950-1962. Director, Asia House Gallery, New York, N.Y., 1961-1974.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 41 min.
These interviews are 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.
Journals, correspondence, writings, sketchbooks, interview, photographs and printed material document Rubenstein's painting career. A series of files relate to Rubenstein's longtime friendship with his teacher, Rico Lebrun.
The bulk of the collection consists of 60 v. of journals, 1930-June 1993, in which Rubenstein writes and sketches about his ideas for "time paintings," scrolls, films, his travels as a Fulbright scholar with his wife, Erica, his summers spent in Provincetown, Mass., "gallery pounding" in New York City trying to sell his work, inspirational biblical quotes, and various artist friends and colleagues, including Rico Lebrun, Walter Pach, Hans Hofmann, Ben Shahn, Karl Knaths, Olin Dows, Philip Guston, and Lloyd Goodrich.
Correspondence (0.2 ft.) relates to Rubenstein's nomination to the National Academy of Design, 1963, his murals in the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the publication of an article by his wife Erica, regarding their stints as Fulbright scholars in Tokyo, illustrated by Lewis, and correspondence of a general nature from friends, colleagues, and admirers. Among the correspondents are Lynd Ward (Rubenstein's sponsor for the N.A.D. nomination), Derek Bok, president of Harvard, Olin Dows, and Edward Rowan, whose 1940 letter concerns Rubenstein's designs for murals for the Wareham, Mass. Post Office for the Section of Fine Arts.
Files on Rico Lebrun (ca. 0.8 ft.), contain several original and extensive photocopies of letters from Lebrun to Rubenstein, and a few letters from Constance Lebrun after her husband's death; a photograph of Lebrun with Constance and photographs of Lebrun's work, 39 drawings, 1933-1949, including studies for "The Cruxifixion" and "Portia"; a caricature of Diego Rivera working on a mural, and of John Steuart Curry by Lebrun, exhibition catalogs, clippings, and other printed material, and writings on Lebrun.
Art work by Rubenstein includes 9 v. of sketchbooks, 1930-1975, containing ink, pencil and charcoal drawings, and a caricature of Walter Pach.
The interview is a partial transcript (7 p.) of Rubenstein conducted by art historian Stanton L. Catlin, 1993, regarding Jose Clemente Orozco and a mural by him commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, 1940, on which Rubenstein assisted. Also related to Orozco is a notebook containing technical details about the mural.
Photographs are mainly of Rubenstein's murals and paintings, but include several of him, and an album of snapshots of the Rubensteins and Lebruns in Europe, 1930-1932.
Printed material (1.2 linear ft.), documents exhibitions, awards, and works of art, and consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, newsletters, Foreign Service journals, news releases, cartoons by Rubenstein, and postcards of Rubenstein's work. Two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, 1935-1955, cover exhibitions.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, printmaker, educator. Professor of painting at Vassar College. Rubenstein trained in frescoe painting with Rico Lebrun in Italy, and retained a lifelong friendship with him. His mural commissions include the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Fogg Museum at Harvard, the Jewish Center in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., and the Wareham, Mass. Post Office for the WPA's Section of Fine Arts in 1940. Rubenstein attended Harvard University. He began his long teaching career at Vassar College in 1939. He began doing "Time Paintings" in late 1940s, executed on long canvases and viewed on special scrolled frames, merging Western and Far Eastern scroll painting styles.
Rubenstein donated the Lebrun drawings 1982-1987, and the remainder in 1993.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The papers of arts administrator, museum director, collector, dealer, and editor Charles M. Kurtz (1855-1909), measure 27.74 linear feet and date from 1843-1990 (bulk dates 1884-1909). The bulk of the collection consists of detailed chronological correspondence between Kurtz and his wife and family, friends, colleagues, and business associates that documents many notable exhibitions, galleries, museums, private collections, as well as cities, people, and events of the period. Also found in the collection are Kurtz's diaries, scrapbooks, printed materials, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The Charles M. Kurtz papers measure 27.74 linear feet and date from 1843 to 1990 with the bulk of the material dating from 1884 to 1909. The bulk of the collection consists of chronological correspondence between Kurtz and his family, most notably his wife, friends, colleagues, and business associates. Kurtz's letters are amazingly detailed and document many notable exhibitions, galleries, museums, private collections, as well as cities, people, and events of the period. The letters between Kurtz and his wife are most interesting for their descriptive commentary on late 19th century life and offer a complete picture of Kurtz's activities. Many of Kurtz's letters to Halsey C. Ives can be found in the Halsey C. Ives Papers. Some of the letters in the collection are illustrated. Also found in the collection are Kurtz's diaries, scrapbooks, printed materials, and photographs.
The collection is organized into twelve series.
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1885-1931, undated
Series 2: Correspondence, 1843-1940, undated
Series 3: Circulars/Requests for Submissions of Works of Art, 1886-1905
Series 4: Legal Records, 1881-1928
Series 5: Financial Records, 1870-1989, undated
Series 6: Diaries, 1894-1901
Series 7: Notes and Writings, 1872-1980, undated
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1878-1909
Series 9: Printed Material, 1873-1990, undated
Series 10: Photographs, 1898-1990
Series 11: Photographs of Works of Art, undated
Series 12: Miscellany, undated
Charles M. Kurtz's name is known to many scholars and students of American art history. To some he is important for his critical writings, others are interested in his management of exhibitions for the Art Union and the American Art Association. Many are aware of him because of his publication of National Academy Notes, which continued for nine years. Still others are familiar with Kurtz in his role as an art administrator for late 19th century art exhibitions like those at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the St. Louis Fair, or for his accomplishments as the first director of the Albright Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Sometimes researchers have become familiar with his name through the sale catalogue for his considerable collection, which was sold at auction after his death in 1909. His career, which encompassed the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, touched on virtually every aspect of art in America during that period.
Born in 1853 to Davis Brook Kurtz (1826-1906), an attorney, and Julia Wilder, Charles Kurtz enjoyed a genteel upbringing. The Kurtz family originated in Darmstadt, Germany, and migrated to America in the eighteenth century. D.B. Kurtz, a leading member of the Lawrence County bar, was also a vice-president of the National Bank of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. As a local representative of many important railroad and business interests, he accumulated assets estimated at one million dollars by the time of his death, just three years before that of his son, Charles, the eldest of his five children. Unlike his brothers Louis, who also became an attorney, and Edward, a professor at Columbia University, Charles eschewed a professional career to enter the art world, as did his sisters Emily, an artist, and Catherine, a musician.
After his graduation from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, Kurtz visited the Centennial Exposition, held in 1876 in Philadelphia, before coming to New York to study art at the National Academy of Design. These two activities foreshadowed the direction that his career would eventually take. As the chronology indicates, his early efforts revolve around writing for a variety of publications, most notably, his own National Academy Notes. In 1881 he took what was to be the first of many trips abroad to survey the art scene in Europe. Later in his career, his fascination with foreign art and his own entrepeneurial interests led him to become an outspoken opponent of tariffs on imported art.
Kurtz's personal life changed significantly in 1884 when he met Julia Stephenson, a physician's daughter and fledging art student from Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Throughout their courtship and after their marriage the couple was frequently separated. Consequently, they wrote lengthy letters which document not only their personal relationship but also Kurtz's aspirations and activities in the art world.
With his appointment as one of Halsey C. Ives's (1847-1911) chief assistants of the Fine Arts Department of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1891, Charles Kurtz's career achieved international stature. Among the most notable European artists he introduced into this country through circulating exhibitions were the Glasgow School, the Danish School, the Hungarian artist, Mihaly Munkacsy, and the subject of his final exhibition, the Spanish artist, Sorolla.
Throughout his life, Kurtz was plagued by health problems and, in 1899, illness forced him to resign as Assistant Director of Fine Arts for the United States for the Paris Exposition of 1900. Throughout the following decade, his work was increasingly interrupted by ill health. His death in 1909 at the age of 54, while sudden, was not entirely unexpected. However it most certainly cut short a cosmopolitan career that encompassed virtually every aspect of the art world and the pertinent issues of the day.
Kurtz is remembered for his editorial work with the National Academy of Design; as Art Director for the Southern Exposition, 1883-1886, and the St. Louis Exposition, 1894-1899 (where he introduced the Glasgow School of Painting); and as Assistant Chief/Director for the World's Columbian Exposition, the 1900 Paris Exposition, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He was also director of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.
1855 -- Charles McMeen Kurtz born
1876 -- receives B.S. degree from Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania
1876-78 -- studies at the National Academy of Design, N.Y. with Lemuel Wilmarth and William Morgan; writes a column, "New York Letters," for The Courant published in New Castle, Pennsylvania
1878 -- edits a small daily paper published during a "National Camp Meeting for the promotion of Holiness" held that summer in New Castle, Pa.; its critical stance resulted in his public denouncement and earned him a reputation as a journalist in western Pennsylvania; receives M.A. from Washington and Jefferson College
1878-79 -- becomes the local editor of The Guardian of New Castle
1879 -- publishes The Daily Reporter, a financial success
1881 -- publishes the first issue of National Academy Notes; travels in Europe, spending time in England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France (Paris)
1881-82 -- prepares Illustrated Notes for Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition
1882 -- writes "Art Notes" in The New York Tribune and resigns Dec. 23rd
1882-83 -- accepts position to write for Music and Drama, a new daily paper
1883 -- becomes the general manager of the American Art Union; exhibits a large collection of Art Union paintings in Buffalo, N.Y. and Louisville, Ky., where they became part of the Southern Exposition's first great art display
1883-86 -- accepts offer to become Director of the Art Department, Southern Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky
1884 -- edits Art Union magazine until December; applies for position to head the Art Department of the New Orleans World's Fair in September
1884-86 -- accepts a position offered by the American Art Association; terminates uncongenial relationship in March, 1886
1885 -- writes catalogues for the sale of the George Seney Collection and for the Watts exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; October 1, marries Julia Stephenson (1861-1931), daughter of Dr. A. T. Stephenson of Harrodsburg, Kentucky; they had two daughters who survived them: Julia Wilder Kurtz (1889-1977), and Isabella Starkweather Kurtz (1901-1991); another daughter, Elizabeth Stephenson Kurtz (1886-1897), predeceased them
1886 -- terminates employment with the Art Association; daughter, Elizabeth Stephenson Kurtz, born
1886-87 -- manages the circulation of Mihaly Munkacsy's Christ Before Pilot for Charles Sedelmeyer to American venues: New York, Boston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Nashville, Phildelphia, Indianapolis; tour generates $90,000 in ticket receipts
1889-91 -- February 24, appointed art critic ("Art Notes") and book reviewer for New York Daily Star; later literary and art editor of the Sunday Star
1890 -- writes for the Sunday edition The Press, a New York paper
1891 -- writes for The World; art editor for The New York Recorder; contributes to the New York Truth
1891-93 -- contributes to Chicago Evening Post ; writes artist biographies for The Chicago Graphic, a regional magazine; appointed Assistant Chief of the Department of Fine Arts of the World's Columbian Exposition
1894 -- contributes column, "Art at the Exposition" to St. Louis Life
1895 -- tours Denmark, Scotland, and France during the summer on behalf of the St. Louis Exposition
1894-99 -- appointed Director of the Art Department of the St. Louis Annual Exposition
1896 -- elected member of The Japan Society, London
1897 -- daughter, Elizabeth (Daisy), dies
1898 -- receives a diploma and medal "in recognition of valuable services in connection with the Fine Arts Exhibit" from the directors of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition, Omaha
1899 -- appointed Assistant Director of Fine Arts for the United States Commission to the Paris Exposition of 1900; resigned in July due to ill health
1901-04 -- appointed Assistant Chief of the Department of Art of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, August
1901 -- daughter, Isabella Starkweather Kurtz, born
1902 -- receives honorary Ph.D from Washington and Jefferson College "in recognition of distinguished ability and services as an art critic and writer"
1905 -- receives the cross of the Order of Merit from Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria; appointed Director, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, in January; exhibits Glasgow paintings at Albright Art Gallery from November until the following April
1906 -- writes Academy Notes, a bulletin pubished by the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and the Albright Art Gallery; father, D.B. Kurtz, dies in Newcastle, Pennsylvania
1907 -- accused of importing German pictures free of duty for exhibition purposes and then selling some for profit
1908 -- Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree conferred by Washington and Jefferson College
1909 -- Charles M. Kurtz dies in Buffalo, New York on March 21
1910 -- Sale of the private collection of Charles M. Kurtz at auction, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, February 24-25
1931 -- Widow, Julia Stephenson Kurtz dies October 30
1977 -- Daughter, Julia Wilder Kurtz, dies
1991 -- Daughter, Isabel Starkweather Kurtz, dies in Buffalo, N.Y.; remaining Charles M. Kurtz Papers bequeathed to the Archives of American Art and the National Academy of Design, New York
The St. Louis Exposition/Halsey C. Ives papers in the Archives of American Art contain material relating to Charles M. Kurtz.
Additional Charles Kurtz papers, 1870-1910, including 340 letters which discuss exhibitions, sales of art, patronage, atelier visits, and submissions to publications, and letters to his parents in which he discsses the art market and art world new; as well as manuscripts, notebooks, a diary, and printed ephemera relating to exhibitions and publications, are available at the Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Los Angeles, California.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel 4912) including Charles Kurtz's Glasgow painting diary. The loaned diary was returned to the lender and can now be found at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. This material is not described in the collection container inventory.
For many years, the Kurtz Papers were thought to have been destroyed in a fire. Isabel Kurtz, a school teacher who lived with her older sister in Buffalo, New York, was vague when initially approached about her father's papers by Archives Regional Director, Robert Brown in the mid-1980s. However upon her death in 1991, her will revealed that the papers were indeed in her house in Buffalo and the bulk of them were bequeathed to the Archives of American Art. Paintings and a diary relating to the Glasgow School were given to the Yale Center for British Art. That diary has subsequently been duplicated on microfilm and is now also available in the Archives. Scorch marks on some of the papers and also on the paintings given to Yale suggest that there was indeed a fire. The material that was not bequeathed to the Archives included duplicates of printed documents along with books from the Kurtz library and a coin collection, all of which were dispersed in an estate auction that was held in Buffalo in 1991.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Glasgow painting diary, Microfilm reel 4912: Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Yale Center for British Art. Contact Reference Services for more information.