The Lena Gurr (1897-1992) papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Gurr was a painter and printmaker who studied under John sloan and Maurice Sterne at the Art Students League between 1920-1922. She also studied in France and married painter and photographer Joseph Biel in 1931. The papers document both Gurr and Biel's careers through correspondence, notes, art work, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs. The collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
Scope and Content Note:
The Lena Gurr papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of Gurr's career as a painter and printmaker, and her relationship with her husband, painter Joseph Biel. Through biographical material, correspondence, notes, an interview with Lena Gurr, original artwork by Gurr and others, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs of Gurr, family, and friends, and photographs of artwork by Gurr and others, the collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
The collection is arranged into eight series. Material within each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1968, undated (box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1979, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.1 linear ft.)
Series 3: Notes, 1926-1972 (box 4; 4 folders)
Series 4: Interview, 1950 (box 4; 1 folder)
Series 5: Artwork, circa 1908-1951 (box 4; 36 folders)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1912-1948 (boxes 4-5, 8-11; 1.45 linear ft.)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1926-1978 (box 5; 21 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, 1912-1978 (boxes 5-7; 1.05 linear ft.)
Born October 27, 1897, in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Gurr was the daughter of Hyman and Ida (Gorodnick) Gurr. She attended the Maxwell Training School for Teachers from 1915 to 1917, then turned her energies toward art. She studied painting and printmaking at the Educational Alliance Art School in 1919, and at the Art Students League (1920-1922), where she was a student of John Sloan and Maurice Stern. She also studied art in Paris, Nice, and Mentone, France. Her first solo exhibition was in 1932 at the Brooklyn Museum.
On November 24, 1931, Gurr married painter and photographer Joseph Biel. He was born October 27, 1891 in Russia, studied at the Russian Academy in Paris, and at the Workman's College, Melbourne, Australia. He also established the first Jewish Library in Melbourne. Upon his arrival in the United States, he studied under George Grosz at the Art Students League. Biel died in April 1943 of a heart ailment.
The Lena Gurr papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Lena Gurr from 1966 to 1979.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
The Lena Gurr 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.