The papers of art critic, author, and lecturer Clement Greenberg measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1983. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from art critics, artists, family, friends, galleries, and museums. Notable correspondents include Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Richard Diebenkorn, Friedel Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Charles Pollock, Jules Olitski, David Smith, and Anne Truitt among others. Also found are biograpical materials, personal business and financial records, an etching by Kurt Wisneski, printed materials, and two reports by Greenberg concerning his travels.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1983. The bulk of the papers (7 feet) consists of letters from art critics, artists, family, friends, galleries, and museums, with some letters from Greenberg. Correspondents include Edward Avedisian, Darby Bannard, Ethel Baziotes, Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Gene Davis, Richard Diebenkorn, Piero Dorazio, Friedel Dzubas, Andre Emmerich, Paul Feeley, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Goodnough, Adolf Gottleib, Hans Hofmann, Philippe Hosiasson, Jacob Kainen, Rosalind Krauss, Robert Motherwell, Ken Moffett, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Beverly Pepper, Ludwig Sander, David Smith, Kimber Smith, Clyfford Still, Anne Truitt, and Leslie Waddington.
Biographical materials include a transcript of an interview with Greenberg conducted by Deborah Solomon in 1983. Greenberg's personal business and financial records include correspondence regarding his lectures and seminars, requests for his writings, student queries, documents regarding his television and radio appearances, royalty statements, and receipts for gifts of works of art. Also found within business records are documents relating to Greenberg's testimony at the Mark Rothko Trial in 1974.
Artwork consists of one etching by Kurt Wisenski entitled "Spring." The papers contain very few of Greenberg's writings about art. Found are lists of artists, and reports written by Greenberg on the state of art in Japan and India in 1967, likely related to his membership in the American Committee for Cultural Freedom. Printed material includes scattered clippings concerning art and exhibition announcements.
One series of ACCESS RESTRICTED papers contains documents relating to Greenberg's role as a trustee in the David Smith estate; correspondence between Greenberg with Andre Emmerich and Peter Fuller, Nuala O'Faolain, and the Greenberg family; and some financial materials regarding the sale and loan of Greenberg's art collection.
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1950s-1983 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 2: Business and Financial Records, 1940-1983 (Box 1; 12 folders)
Series 3: Correspondence, 1937-1983 (Boxes 1-8; 7 linear feet)
Series 4: Artwork, 1973 (Box 8; 1 folder)
Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1967-1983 (Box 8; 3 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-1982 (Box 8; 2 folders)
Series 7: Restricted Material, 1963-1983 (Boxes 9-11; 1.2 linear feet)
Clement Greenberg was a highly influential art critic working in New York City from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was an advocate of modern art, particulary the abstract expressionist movement, and one of the first critics to recognize the significance of Jackson Pollock's work.
Greenberg was born in 1909 to Russian immigrants in Bronx, New York. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1930, he married and had a child, David. He settled in New York City while working at the United States Customs Department as an appraiser.
In the late 1930s, Clement Greenberg attended a meeting of the U.S. Works Progress Administration and heard Hans Hofmann speak of avant-garde art. In 1939, he wrote one of his first important critical pieces "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" for the Partisan Review. Greenberg argued that the avant-garde art movement rose out of the need to defend and maintain high art standards against the decline in taste brought about by America's consumerism and capitalist culture.
In 1940, Greenberg joined Partisan Review as an editor. He became art critic for the Nation in 1942, and was associate editor of Commentary from 1945 until 1957. In December 1950, he joined the CIA-fronted American Committee for Cultural Freedom.
Throughout the 1940s through the 1960s Greenberg continued to write and, in his essays and articles, he promoted the work of Abstract Expressionists, among them Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, and Clyfford Still. He particularly championed Jackson Pollock. Greenberg wrote several seminal essays that defined his views on art history in the 20th century. "Greenberg on Collage" was one one of his most important.
Greenberg's views on pop art were mixed. He also became less enamored with Abstract Impressionism, particularly the second generation. However, he became very interested in the Color-Field and Hard-Edge painters.
Through the 1960s Greenberg's views informed a younger generation of art critics including Michael Fried and Rosalind E. Krauss. Some writers maintain that Greenberg's views were so well-respected that he had too much of an influence on the world of art. In time, Greenberg's antagonism to Postmodernist theories and other modern art movements caused him to lose much of his credibility among both artists and art critics.
Greenberg died at the age of eighty-five in 1994.
Since his death, letters edited by his widow, Janice Van Horne and a re-evaluation of his writings have helped to restore his reputation within the art world.
The Portland Art Museum holds Clement Greenberg's private art collection as well as a library of exhibition catalogs.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels N69-91, N70-7, and N737). Most, but not all, of these papers were later donated by Greenberg. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Clement Greenberg initally lent material for microfilming in 1968-1969. He donated most of this material with additional papers in several accretions between 1984 to 1991.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Some of the collection is ACCESS RESTRICTED: documents relating to the estate of David Smith; some correspondence with Peter Fuller, Nuala O'Faolain, and the Greenberg family; and sale and loan agreements. Contact the reference staff for more information about permission to use this portion of the collection.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art criticism -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Ca. 600 letters, 1961-1990, from artists, authors, poets, editors, curators, publishers, critics and others, primarily in response to Taylor's reviews, columns, and books, and some supplying information for his columns. Among the correspondents are Darby Barnard, Claire Leighton, Will Davenport, Fritz Eichenberg, Clement Greenberg, Jack Levine, Patrick McGilligan, Henry Schwartz, Beverly Swan, William Styron, John Updike, and Tom Wolfe. A 1983 letter from Davenport encloses a mss. of a paper he wrote in 1956, "Search for the Most American of American Painters." Also included are 5 scrapbooks, 1952-1957, containing clippings of Taylor's reviews and columns, and letters of appreciation; and loose reviews and articles by Taylor written for various Boston area arts magazines.
Enclosed in the correspondence are a few photographs, including two of Taylor, 3 of Carl Nelson, one of G.D. Hackett and Andre Kertisz, and one of Fred Allen and Herman Wouk.
Biographical / Historical:
Art, literary, and music critic; author; educator; lecturer, Boston, Mass. Wrote for the Boston Herald, 1952-1967, Boston Globe, 1968-1989. Columns for New Boston Review, later appearing in Atlantic Monthly, were written under pseudonym Count Bibesco.
Donated 1984 and 1990 by Robert Taylor.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
An interview of Frank Stella conducted in 1969, by Sidney Tillim, for the Archives of American Art.
Stella speaks of his expectations and ambitions regarding his painting career; the development of his artistic ability as a child; his early tendencies to rebel against convention in art; the influence of other abstract expressionists, particularly Kenneth Noland; his education at Princeton; studying under William Seitz; and the present status of figurative painting. He recalls Walter Darby Bannard and Michael Fried.
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Stella (1936- ) is a painter from New York, New York.
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 others.
The Barbara Rose papers date from 1962 to circa 1969 and measure 1.4 linear feet. Papers include letters, writings, printed material, interviews with artists, panel discussions, and lectures relating to Barbara Rose's research as an art historian.
Scope and Contents:
The Barbara Rose papers date from 1962 to circa 1969 and measure 1.4 linear feet. Papers include letters, interviews with artists, panel discussions, lectures, writings, and printed material relating to Barbara Rose's work as an art historian and critic.
Letters consist of responses to queries and questionnaires Rose and Irving Sandler sent to contemporary artists as research for writing projects. Questionnaires were sesnt in preparation for an article in Art in America on artists' sensibility of the 1960s, with responses from Robert Motherwell, Robert Craig Kauffman, Len Lye, Robert Morris, George Segal, David Hare, and others. A separate query asked sculptors for their assessment of contemporary sculptor's needs and the potential for patronage, and responses are found from Carl Andre, Charles Frazier, Robert Murray, Anthony Padovano, Ron Bladen, Roy Lichtenstein, Len Lye, Sol LeWitt, Heinz Mack, Otto Peine, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd.
Interviews conducted by Rose between 1965 and circa 1969 are found with Richard Bellamy, Leo Castelli, James E. Davis, Henry Geldzahler, Ivan Karp, Lee Krasner, John Lefebre, John Myers, Donald Judd with Frank Stella, and Tom Wesselmann. All interviews include original sound recordings, and the Judd and Stella, Krasner, and Myers interviews include transcripts. Panel discussions and lectures include sound recordings and transcripts of seven events on a variety of contemporary art and architecture subjects held between 1962 and 1968. Sound recordings are present for five of the events on 10 sound tape reels, and transcripts are present for all events. Participants in the panel discussions and lectures include Barbara Rose, Ronald Davis, Dan Flavin, Robert Kauffman, John Harvey McCracken, Friedel Dzubas, Ansel Adams, Arthur Bierman, Kenneth Rexroth, Edward Taylor, Ernst Karl Mundt, John Bowles, Roy Dean De Forest, Seymour Locks, Walter Hopps, Mark Di Suvero, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Kynaston McShine, Walter Darby Bannard, Donald Judd, Larry Poons, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Meier, Paul Rudolph, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Murray.
Writings include photocopied typescripts of "Myth, Symbol, or Me," by Emily Wasserman and "Excerpts from a Work Journal on Flying Sculpture," by Charles Frazier. Printed material consists of two copies of the premiere issue of the 57th Street Review, from Nov. 15, 1966.
This collection is arranged as 4 series.
Series 1: Letters (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Interviews (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Panel Discussions and Lectures (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Writings and Printed Material (0.1 linear feet; Box 2)
Biographical / Historical:
Barbara Rose is an American art historian and critic who has published widely in the field of modern American art. Born in 1938 in Washington, DC, Rose studied at the Sorbonne, Smith College, Barnard, and finally, Columbia University under Meyer Shapiro. Rose became immersed in the New York-based circle of modernist artists and curators in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and made her substantial contribution to the discourse on contemporary art with the insider's perspective this afforded her. In 1961, she married the painter Frank Stella and they had two children before their divorce in 1969.
Rose taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence, University of California at Irvine and San Diego, and the American University Art in Italy program, and was senior curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1981-1985. A prolific writer, Rose is the author of American Art Since 1900 (1967), The Golden Age of Dutch Painting (1969), American Painting: The 20th Century (Skira, 1969), and monographs on the artists Magdalena Abankawicz, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexander Liberman, Larry Rivers, and others, as well as dozens of exhibition catalog essays. She held editorial positions at Art in America, Vogue, Artforum, Partisan Review, and Journal of Art, and her writing has also appeared in Art International, Studio International, Arts Magazine, and ARTnews, among many others.
Barbara Rose papers, 1940-1993 (bulk 1960-1985) are located at The Getty Research Institute Special Collections.
Additional papers of Barbara Rose are held by The Getty Research Institute.
Donated 1971-1977 by Barbara Rose.
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 historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Hans Hofmann : a retrospective exhibition, cosponsored by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, October 14, 1976-January 2, 1977, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 4-April 3, 1977 / by Walter Darby Bannard