The Gross McCleaf Gallery selected artists' files measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1947 to 1986. The files consist of price lists, printed material, correspondence, exhibition catalogs and announcements, biographical summaries, newspaper clippings, and some photographs. Artists include Neil Welliver, Hobson Pittman, Edith Emerson, Humbert Howard, Jane Piper, and Fairfield Porter among others.
Scope and Contents:
The Gross McCleaf Gallery selected artists' files measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1947 to 1986. The files consist of price lists, printed material, correspondence, exhibition catalogs and announcements, biographical summaries, and clippings. Some of the files include photos of the artist, works of art, and exhibition installations. Artists represented in the collection are Arthur B. Carles, Larry Day, Edith Emerson, Humbert Howard, Jimmy Lueders, Violet Oakley, Jane Piper, Hobson Pittman, Fairfield Porter, Carroll S. Tyson, Roswell Weidner, Neil Welliver, and Harold Weston.
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
Biographical / Historical:
The Gross McCleaf Gallery was founded in 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Marlin McCleaf and Estelle Shane Gross. The gallery was originally named the Marlin McCleaf Gallery. After McCleaf's departure from the gallery in the early 1970s, Gross became the sole owner and changed the gallery's name to Gross McCleaf Gallery. Early artists exhibited at the gallery include Fairfield Porter, Neil Welliver, Rackstraw Downes, Red Grooms and his wife Mimi Gross, Jane Piper, and Larry Day. After Estelle Gross' death in 1992, Sharon Ewing became the gallery owner and director. Ewing retired in 2020 and Rebecca Segall took over as the gallery's owner and director.
The collection was donated by Estelle and Jay Gross in 1988.
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.
Gross McCleaf Gallery selected artists' files, 1947-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
A panel discussssion, an interview and 5 lectures sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Included are a panel discussion "Is it just paint? The Figure in Contemporary Painting," with participants Rackstraw Downes, Frank H. Goodyear, Alex Katz, Kenworth Moffett, Linda Nochlin and Neil Welliver; an interview "Drawing Confronts Modernism: A Conversation with Jim Dine," conducted by Clifford Ackley; two lectures delivered for the "American Artists & the Advant Garde" series, including Theodore Stebbins' "Arthur G. Dove: An American Master" and John Paul Driscoll's "The Art of Charles Sheeler: To Make a Poem Again"; and 3 lectures delivered by Paula Cooper, Alan Fink, and Arnold Glimcher as part of "The Dealer's Eye" lecture series, moderated by William J. Burback.
Donated 1983-1984 by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Stebbins lecture: ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required.
Dine interview: ACCESS RESTRICTED written permission required.
1 Item (Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 39 min)
1964 April 28
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Joan Ankrum conducted by Betty Hoag on 1964 April 28 for the Archives of American Art.
Ankrum discusses the career of Morris Broderson, her deaf nephew, including his exhibitions, and his painting, "The Death of Christ."
Biographical / Historical:
Joan Ankrum (1913-2001) was an art dealer in Los Angeles, California.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel.
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 Joan Ankrum conducted 1997 November 5-1998 February 4, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Pasadena, California.
Ankrum discusses her status as a role model for women due to her independence in leaving a difficult marriage and establishing a new career; her theater and film career and association with the Pasadena Playhouse; her discovery of Morris Broderson, the hearing-impaired nephew of her husband Morris Ankrum; encouraging Broderson's artistic talent and efforts to help him learn to speak and interact socially; her career as director of the Ankrum Gallery in Los Angeles and the artists, collectors and dealers she became involved with, among them Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg, Joseph Hirshhorn, Martha Jackson and Jake Zeitlin.
Biographical / Historical:
Joan Ankrum (1913-2001) was a gallery owner from Los Angeles, California.
Originally recorded on 6 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 24 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hrs., 50 min.
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.
The Ankrum Gallery records measure 41.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 1990s, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1990. The papers include over 395 artists files, general gallery correspondence, project files, administrative records, exhibition files, collector and client files, financial material, printed material, 1 unbound scrapbook, and photographs. Also included are personal papers of gallery founder Joan Ankrum and her nephew, artist Morris Broderson.
Scope and Contents:
The Ankrum Gallery records measure 41.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 1990s, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1990. The papers include over 395 artists files, general gallery correspondence, project files, administrative records, exhibition files, collector and client files, financial material, printed material, 1 unbound scrapbook, and photographs. Also included are personal papers of gallery founder Joan Ankrum and her nephew, artist Morris Broderson.
General correspondence is with artists, museums, collectors, and clients, and generally concerns sales, exhibitions, and consignments. Correspondents include Irving Block, Morris Broderson, Naomi Caryl, Suzanne Jackson, Joseph and Olga Hirshhorn, among many others. Correspondence is also found in the artists files and the collector/client files.
Project files document various events, benefits, and projects undertaken by the gallery, including a UNICEF benefit, "Up Against Hunger," the Exceptional Children's foundation, and the Young Art Patrons.
Administrative files document many activities of the gallery, such as the gallery's and Joan Ankrum's membership in the Black Arts Council, the California Arts Council, and the Art Dealers Association of California of which Joan Ankrum was a primary organizer. Also found are publicity files, a file on the history of the gallery, leases, floor plans, insurance documents, lists of graphics for sale, and other miscellany.
Exhbition files appear to be incomplete, but do include files for Huichol Indian's art, "The Art of African Peoples" (1973), "Five Contemporary Mexican Painters" (1977), Ethiopian Folk Painting (1978), San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild All Media Exhibition (1982), "25th Anniversary Exhibition" (1985), among several others.
Extensive artists' files include correspondence, price lists, photographs and slides,resumes and biographical material, and sales invoices. Files are found for Benny Andrews, Carlos Almaraz, Richard Bauer, Irving Block, Naomi Caryl, Bernie Casey, Frank Duveneck, Lorser Feitelson, Bruno Groth, David Herschler, Jessie Homer, Suzanne Jackson, Buffie Johnson, Samella Lewis, Helen Lundeberg, Arnold Mesches, Henry Miller, Melvin Schuler, Arthur Secunda, Ken Shores, Jean Varda, and Zev, among many others. The Pat Alexander and Andy Nelson files also contain motion picture film.
Collector and client files document the gallery's relationship with over 115 collectors, museums, and art centers. Files may include correspondence and sales records and are found for Edith Halpert, Olga and Joseph Hirshhorn and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Krannert Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Palm Spring Desert Museum, Paramount Pictures, San Diego Museum of Art, Staempfli Gallery, and Storm King Art Center, among many others.
Financial material documents sales through numbered invoices, consignments, loans, and insurance valuations. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, bulletins, periodicals, and newspaper clippings. One unbound scrapbook contains clippings and exhibition materials.
Photographs are of artwork, artists, and gallery openings. Additional photographs are found in the artists' files.
Joan Wheeler Ankrum personal papers document her personal and professional relationship with family, artists, and collectors. They include correspondence, personal writings, personal financial materials, printed material and loose scrapbook materials, family photographs and photographs of her as an actress, and artwork from various artists.
The papers of artist Morris Broderson, nephew of Joan Ankrum, document his professional relationship with the gallery as his primary dealer. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, publicity files, travel files, projects, exhibitions, collector/client files, financial material, printed material, photographs, and artwork.
This collection is arranged as 12 series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1961-1994 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Project Files, 1965-1987 (0.25 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Administrative Records, 1961- circa 1990s (1 linear foot; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1961-1991 (1 linear foot; Boxes 2-3)
Series 5: Artists' Files, 1957-1994 (22.5 linear feet; Boxes 3-25, 41-42, FC 43-45)
Series 6: Collector and Client Files, 1960-1994 (3.2 linear feet; Boxes 25-28)
Series 7: Financial Material, 1962-1990 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 28-30)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1957-1994 (2 linear feet; Boxes 30-32, 41)
Series 9: Scrapbook, 1960-1988 (3 folders; Box 32)
Series 10: Photographs, circa 1960s-circa 1990s (0.35 linear feet; Boxes 32, 42)
Series 11: Joan Ankrum Personal Papers, circa 1900-1993 (2 linear feet; Boxes 32-34, 41)
Series 12: Morris Broderson Papers, 1941-1989 (7.2 linear feet; Boxes 34-42)
Biographical / Historical:
The Ankrum Gallery was established 1960 in Los Angeles by American film actress Joan Wheeler Ankrum and William Chalee. The gallery closed in 1989.
Joan Wheeler Ankrum and William Challee opened Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1960 with a one-man show of Ankrum's nephew Morris Broderson. With a focus on contemporary California artists, Ankrum Gallery represented over 395 artists during its 30 years in operation, including Benny Andrews, Carlos Almaraz, Richard Bauer, Irving Block, Naomi Caryl, Bernie Casey, Frank Duveneck, Lorser Feitelson, Bruno Groth, David Herschler, Jessie Homer, Suzanne Jackson, Buffie Johnson, Samella Lewis, Helen Lundeberg, Arnold Mesches, Henry Miller, Melvin Schuler, Arthur Secunda, Ken Shores, Jean Varda, and Zev. In addition, the gallery was among the earliest to exhibit the work of black artists. The gallery also held exhibitions of world artists, which included "Art of African Peoples" (1973), "Yarn Paintings of the Huichol Indians" (1973), "Five Contemporary Mexican Painters" (1977), and "Ethiopian Folk Painting" (1978). Ankrum Gallery closed in 1989.
Art dealer and gallery owner, Joan Wheeler Ankrum was an actress before establishing the Ankrum Gallery primarily to showcase the work of her deaf nephew, Morris Broderson. Born in 1913 in Palo Alto, California, she began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse where she met her first husband Morris Ankrum with whom she had two sons, David and Cary Ankrum. She married gallery co-owner and partner William Challee in 1984. She helped organize the Los Angeles Art Dealers Association and the Monday Night Art Walks on La Cienega Boulevard. She was a member of the relatively short-lived Black Arts Council. Joan Wheeler Ankrum died in 2001 at the age of 88.
Morris Broderson (1928-2011) was a deaf painter. His first one-man show was at the Stanford Museum in 1957, followed by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. By 1959 he'd won two awards from the Los Angeles County Museum, and appeared in the Whitney Museum's "Young America" show in 1960. His travels influenced his work, including the hand gestures of Kabuki art in Japan. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among others. Following Joan Ankrum's death in 2001, Broderson was represented by her son David Ankrum.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Joan Ankrum, one conducted by Betty Hoag, April 28, 1964, and a second by Paul Karlstrom, November 5, 1997-February 4, 1998. Additionally, there is an oral history interview with Morris Broderson conducted by Paul Karlstrom, March 11-13, 1998.
The Ankrum Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Joan Ankrum in 1995.
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 Morris Broderson conducted 1998 March 11 and 13, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at Broderson's home, in Los Angeles, California.
Broderson discusses his childhood and family background and the way in which he saw the world as a congenitally hearing impaired person; his first meeting with Joan Ankrum, who was married at the time to Broderson's uncle, Morris Ankrum; Ankrum's special interest in him, recognizing a talent for drawing, encouraging his learning to speak, and arranging art lessons at an early age; his recognition of Ankrum's marital unhappiness and encouragement for her to leave her husband; his art education through private lessons with Francis De Erdely; enrollment at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; his perspective on events in his relationship with Ankrum that led her to abandon her career as an actress and become an art dealer in order to show Broderson's work; exhibitions at the Ankrum Gallery; his favorite themes and subjects in his work and why he used them; his homosexuality and its possible reflection in his art; credit to Ankrum for her key role in his development as an artist; the role of his deafness in his interaction with the world and to a lesser extent, his artistic expression, but rejecting the idea that it was a determining factor; and his current series of paintings and hopes for the future.
Biographical / Historical:
Morris Gaylord Broderson (1928-2011) was a painter from Los Angeles, California.
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 8 min.
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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
The records of the Downtown Gallery date from 1824 to 1974 (bulk 1926-1969) and measure 109.56 linear feet. The records present a comprehensive portrait of a significant commercial gallery that operated as a successful business for more than forty years, representing major contemporary American artists and engendering appreciation for early American folk art. There is an unprocessed addition to this collection dating circa 1970 of a single financial/legal document.
Scope and Content Note:
The Downtown Gallery records constitute 109.56 linear feet on 167 reels of microfilm. The records are dated 1824 to 1974 with bulk dates from 1926 to 1969. There is an unprocessed addition to this collection dating circa 1970 of a single financial/legal document.
The Downtown Gallery was established in 1926 as Our Gallery and operated under the name Downtown Gallery from 1927 until 1973. Nineteenth-century material consists of items acquired by Edith Gregor Halpert for research purposes or to document works of art in the gallery's inventory. The few records postdating the closing of the gallery relate to the estate of Edith Gregor Halpert.
The extensive records of the Downtown Gallery present a comprehensive portrait of a significant commercial gallery that operated as a successful business for more than forty years, representing major contemporary American artists and engendering appreciation for early American folk art. Edith Halpert, the gallery's founder and director, was an influential force in the American art world for a large part of the twentieth century.
Personal papers are intermingled with the business records of the Downtown Gallery. Many of the artists represented by the gallery were Halpert's personal friends, and over the years she developed social relationships and friendships with many clients. These relationships are reflected by the contents of the records, especially the correspondence, some of which is purely personal. In addition, there are a small number of letters from relatives, photographs of Halpert's family, home and friends, and limited information about her country house and personal finances.
The Downtown Gallery records consist largely of correspondence with collectors, including Edgar and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Preston Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Maxim Karolik, William H. Lane, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Beram K. Saklatwalla, Robert Tannahill, and Electra Havemeyer Webb; with dealers, including robert Carlen, Landau Gallery, Leicester Galleries, Mirski Gallery, and Isabel Carleton Wilde; and with large numbers of curators and museum directors, including many affiliated with university museums. In addition, there is correspondence concerning routine gallery business and administrative affairs.
Artist files and an extensive series of notebooks (American Folk Art Gallery notebooks, artist notebooks, and publicity notebooks) compiled by gallery staff contain a wide variety of material and are a rich source of information about individual artists and the Downtown Gallery's exhibition history.
Business records include exhibition records, stock records, sales records, transit records, financial records, lists of artwork and clients, legal documents, minutes, insurance records, research files, and architectural plans.
Writings by Edith Gregor Halpert consist of articles on American folk art, speeches, and short stories; also included are her school notebooks and "Daily Thoughtlets" compiled at age seventeen. All writings by other authors are on art subjects, and most are texts or introductions for exhibition catalogs.
Among the miscellaneous records are biographical material on Edith Gregor Halpert and Samuel Halpert, works of art by Edith Gregor Halpert and other artists, artifacts, and audiovisual materials. The artifacts include wooden weather vane molds and supporting documentation as well as awards presented to Halpert. Audiovisual materials are 16-mm motion picture films of the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation television series, America: The Artist's Eye, produced between 1961 and 1963 in association with Jensen Productions. An additional 16-mm motion picture film includes "tails out" footage of Charles Sheeler at home and at work, circa 1950. A copy of the program about Sheeler, along with the "tails out" material, is also on videocassette. In addition, there is a sound recording of a talk on collecting given by Halpert's client, folk art collector Maxim Karolik, in 1962.
Printed matter consists of items produced by the Downtown Gallery, including exhibition catalogs, checklists, invitations, announcements, and press releases. There are also news clippings about Halpert, the Downtown Gallery, and the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection; other art-related clippings are arranged topically. Miscellaneous printed matter not produced by the Downtown Gallery includes newsletters, press releases, publications of art organizations, and reproductions of artwork. A selection of twenty-five volumes from the personal library of Edith Gregor Halpert has been retained.
The photographs series includes images of people: Edith Gregor Halpert, family, friends, also many images of her dog, Adam, and views of her country home in Newtown, Connecticut. Other photographs of people include portraits of artists, most of whom were affiliated with the Downtown Gallery. There are also photographs of works of art (with a large number of black-and-white negatives, 35-mm color slides, and glass plate negatives) and of exhibitions, of the exterior and interior of the Downtown Gallery, and of an award presented to Halpert.
See Appendix B for a chronological list of Downtown Gallery exhibitions.
It is not certain how well arranged the files were while still the property of the gallery, though Halpert's background as an efficiency expert and her talents as an organizer suggest that the gallery's records were well maintained. It is clear, however, that much of the original order has been lost; Halpert is known to have removed files, including many records concerning the Harnett-Peto controversy.
Correspondence (Series 1) is arranged chronologically, and Artist Files (Series 2) is arranged alphabetically. The remaining series are organized into subseries that reflect either a function or specific record type, and the arrangement of each is explained in the detailed series descriptions. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
The Downtown Gallery records are arranged into eight series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1926-1974, undated (Boxes 1-22; 22 linear ft.; Reels 5488-5545)
Series 2: Artist Files, A - Z, 1917-1970, undated (Boxes 23-27; 5 linear ft.; Reels 5545-5558)
Series 3: Notebooks, 1835, 1874, circa 1880-1969, undated (Boxes 28-59; 32.5 linear ft.; Reels 5558-5603)
Series 4: Business Records, 1925-1974, undated (Boxes 60-94, OV 95, OV 96, OV 97; 34.5 linear ft.; Reels 5603-5636)
Series 5: Writings, 1917-1968, undated (Box 98; 1 linear ft.; Reels 5636-5638)
Series 6: Miscellaneous Material, circa 1835, 1883, 1913-1970, undated (Boxes 99-101, 103, OV 102, OV 104, FC 120-124; 3.25 linear ft.; Reels 5638-5639)
Series 7: Printed Matter, 1824-1865, 1920-1969, undated (Boxes 105-108; 4 linear ft.; Reels 5640-5647)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1880-1960s, undated (Boxes 109-118, OV 119, MGP 4; 8.75 linear ft.; Reels 5647-5654)
As a very young woman, Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970) attended art school sporadically while pursuing a business career that began in advertising and included work as a personnel manager and efficiency expert. She continued her business career after marrying artist Samuel Halpert (1884-1930) in 1918 and eventually became a highly paid executive with an investment firm. Well-invested bonuses provided the capital for Halpert to open her own business.
In November 1926, Halpert and business partner Berthe (Bea) Kroll Goldsmith opened Our Gallery at 113 West 13th Street for the purpose of promoting a group of progressive American artists, many of whom were friends of Edith and Samuel Halpert. The following year, at the suggestion of William Zorach, the gallery changed its name to Downtown Gallery--emphasizing its Greenwich Village location, unique for the time--and the name survived despite relocation to midtown Manhattan (to 43 East 51st Street in 1940, to 32 East 51st Street in 1945, and to the Ritz Tower Concourse at 465 Park Avenue in 1965).
The Downtown Gallery specialized in contemporary American art. An early gallery brochure states: "The Downtown Gallery has no prejudice for any one school. Its selection is driven by quality--by what is enduring--not by what is in vogue." Some of the artists affiliated with the Downtown Gallery from its early years were Stuart Davis, "Pop" Hart, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Charles Sheeler, Max Weber, and William and Marguerite Zorach. In its original location, the gallery served as a place where artists (many of whom lived and worked in the neighborhood), collectors, and others interested in American art met in the evenings for coffee, conversation, and sometimes lectures or other formal programs. Holger Cahill (1887-1960) entered into a partnership with Halpert and Goldsmith in 1929 when they founded the American Folk Art Gallery, the first ever of its kind; the American Folk Art Gallery opened on the second floor of the Downtown Gallery in 1931. Folk art was an important feature of the gallery throughout its history, though the name American Folk Art Gallery does not appear to have been used consistently. Because the profit margin was high and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller bought avidly for her growing collection, folk art revenues subsidized contemporary art exhibitions and helped the gallery survive the Depression. The Daylight Gallery, also run by Halpert and Goldsmith, opened in 1930 in a separate structure behind the main gallery, and continued until the Downtown Gallery moved to East 51st Street in 1940. Its purpose was to exhibit painting and sculpture to best advantage in a gallery designed to diffuse light perfectly and to demonstrate how works of art may be used as architectural embellishments in a modern building. Other subsidiary galleries operated by the Downtown Gallery were the John Marin Room, opened in 1950 and run by John Marin, Jr., and the Ground-Floor Room, 1951, "dedicated to the adventurous, less experienced collector willing to gamble on his taste and ours."
From the beginning, Halpert endeavored to hold prices at reasonable levels; she employed aggressive marketing and advertising techniques learned from her career in business and banking, offering extended payment plans without interest to buyers of modest means. She recognized the value of placing representative works by Downtown Gallery artists in important art museums and public collections, even if a price reduction was necessary to achieve this goal.
After purchasing Goldsmith's share of the business in 1935, Halpert, needing to earn a profit, reorganized the gallery as a more overtly commercial venture. The roster of artists was reduced to twelve. Those eliminated tended to be younger artists, most of whom were supported by WPA work. Eventually, the roster expanded; new additions were usually artists not based in New York, whom Halpert learned of through her work as an adviser to the WPA Federal Art Project. Halpert had long courted Alfred Stieglitz's artists, and in the years following his death in 1946 a number of them affiliated with the Downtown Gallery. Another change was that the Downtown Gallery no longer represented only living American artists; the gallery began handling a number of estates, most notably that of Arthur Dove. In 1953, the roster of Downtown Gallery artists shifted dramatically when Halpert entered into an agreement with Charles Alan. Alan had been hired in 1945 with the understanding that he was being trained to run the Downtown Gallery upon Halpert's retirement five years in the future. Eight years later, it became apparent that Halpert was not going to retire; without consulting the artists, she transferred representation of all artists who had joined the Downtown Gallery since 1936 to the newly established Alan Gallery.
Exhibitions at the Downtown Gallery included both solo exhibitions and group shows usually built around a theme; most lasted about a month. Annual exhibitions (sometimes titled anniversary exhibitions) opened the exhibition season each fall and showcased the gallery's artists. The Downtown Gallery's Christmas show, a long-standing event that encouraged purchases of original art for holiday gift giving, was eagerly anticipated as it featured fine artwork at very reasonable prices. Between 1927 and 1935, the Downtown Gallery was the site of the American Print Makers Society annual exhibitions. During its forty-seven years in operation, the Downtown Gallery organized many important, influential exhibitions. American Ancestors (1931) presented American folk art as the precursor to and direct influence on the contemporary art featured by the Downtown Gallery. The title was used for a number of subsequent exhibitions and became a synonym for folk art. American Folk Art Sculpture: Index of American Design, Federal Art Project (1937) featured drawings by WPA artists recording objects that documented America's material culture and artistic heritage. Along with the Index of American Design drawings, the exhibition included a number of the original sculptures from the Downtown Gallery's inventory and borrowed from folk art collector Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
William Harnett: "Nature-Vivre" (1939) reintroduced the nineteenth-century artist whose trompe l'oeil paintings had been collected by Halpert over a period of years expressly for this purpose. Between 1947 and 1949, a controversy ensued over paintings--some of which had been sold by the Downtown Gallery--with the signature of William Harnett but discovered by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Alfred Frankenstein to be the work of Harnett's student, John Peto. Halpert had purchased the questionable pieces in good faith, completely unaware of the added signatures, and she defended her attributions, despite evidence to the contrary. Frankenstein publicized his discovery widely; while neither Halpert nor the Downtown Gallery were named directly, their identity was apparent to his well-informed readers. The situation was further inflamed when additional articles by Frankenstein failed to include new evidence favorable to Halpert and the Downtown Gallery.
Another major exhibition was American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Centuries (1941-1942), the first show of its kind held at a commercial gallery. Held at the Downtown Gallery, the exhibition was sponsored by a committee of prominent citizens including Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Archibald MacLeish, A. Philip Randolph, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Among its aims were to raise money for the Negro Art Fund, to promote museum acquisitions of work by black artists, and to encourage galleries to represent the living participants. In addition to providing its facilities, the Downtown Gallery donated all sales commissions to the Negro Art Fund and added Jacob Lawrence to its roster of artists.
Edith Gregor Halpert played important roles in a number of exhibitions and major art projects that were not connected with the Downtown Gallery. She served as organizer and director of the First Municipal Exhibition of American Art, Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1929. Beginning in 1932, Halpert was extensively involved with Radio City Music Hall arts projects. She conceived, organized, and handled publicity for the First Municipal Art Exhibition (also known as the Forum Exhibition) sponsored by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and held at Radio City Music Hall in 1934. As an adviser to the WPA Federal Art Project, Halpert spent the summer of 1936 in Washington, D.C., developing its Exhibition and Allocation Program, which registered works of art arriving from regional project centers and selected pieces for traveling exhibitions that circulated throughout the country. In 1937, she formed the Bureau for Architectural Sculpture and Murals, a central clearinghouse from which architects could review and select work by artists and sculptors experienced in working in architectural settings. Halpert served as curator of the art section of the American National Exhibition, sponsored by the United States Information Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce; she traveled to the Soviet Union with the exhibition, installed the show, and gave daily gallery talks in Russian. In 1952, to promote art history, Halpert established the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation. Its activities included assisting universities to fund scholarships for the study of contemporary American art and championing the rights of artists to control the sale and reproduction of their work. For her "outstanding contribution to American art," Halpert received the Art in America Award in 1959. She also received a USIA Citation for Distinguished Service in 1960, and the University of Connecticut awarded her its First Annual International Silver Prize for "distinguished contribution to the arts" in 1968.
In addition to being an art dealer, Edith Gregor Halpert was also a collector of contemporary American art and American folk art. For many years, Halpert and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., discussed a gift of a substantial number of paintings to form the nucleus of a new wing to be called the Gallery of 20th-Century American Art. After numerous disagreements and misunderstandings by both parties, the plan was abandoned. While negotiations were still in progress, the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection was exhibited in two installments, 1960 and 1962, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. During the following two years, portions of her collection traveled to Santa Barbara, Honolulu, and San Francisco. Other exhibitions, drawn completely from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, include American Modernism: The First Wave, Painting from 1903-1933, presented at Brandeis University Museum of Art, 1963; Six Decades of American Art, shown at Leicester Galleries, London, 1965; Image to Abstraction, held at Amon Carter Museum, 1967; and Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery, exhibited at the University of Connecticut, 1968. The Edith Gregor Halpert Collection was eventually sold at auction by Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 1973.
Dr. Dianne's Tepfer's dissertation (1989) on Edith Gregor Halpert was an invaluable resource in arranging and describing the records of Downtown Gallery; her chronology was consulted often in constructing this Historical Note.
1900 -- born Edith Gregoryevna Fivoosiovitch to Gregor and Frances Lucom Fivoosiovitch, Odessa, Russia
1906 -- arrived in New York City with recently widowed mother and older sister; family name changed to Fivisovitch
1916 -- employed as a comptometer operator at Bloomingdale's department store; studied drawing with Leon Kroll and Ivan Olinsky at the National Academy of Design; further shortened name to Fein
1916-1917 -- attended life drawing and anatomy classes taught by George Bridgeman at the Art Students' League; employed in foreign and advertising offices, R. H. Macy department store
1917 -- met artist Samuel Halpert at John Weichsel's People's Art Guild
1917-1918 -- employed as advertising manager, Stern Brothers department store
1918-1919 -- employed as systematizer (efficiency expert), investment firm of Cohen, Goldman
1918 -- married Samuel Halpert
1919-1920 -- employed as systematizer, investment firm of Fishman & Co.; attended writing courses, Columbia University
1921-1925 -- employed as personnel manager, systematizer, and head of correspondence at investment banking firm of S. W. Strauss & Co.; eventually appointed to the board of directors
1924 -- first exposed to folk art at the home of sculptor Elie Nadelman
1925 -- visited Paris with Samuel Halpert (June-September)
1926 -- visited Ogunquit, Maine, with Samuel and was further exposed to antiques and folk art; other summer guests included artists Stefan Hirsch, Bernard Karfiol, Walt Kuhn, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Robert Laurent, Katherine Schmidt, Niles Spencer, and Marguerite and William Zorach; opened Our Gallery, devoted to modern American art, at 113 West 13th Street with business partner Berthe Kroll Goldsmith
1927 -- separated from Samuel, who moved to Detroit to teach at the Society for Arts and Crafts; changed name of Our Gallery to Downtown Gallery, at the suggestion of William Zorach
1928 -- Abby Aldrich Rockefeller first visited the Downtown Gallery; published George O. "Pop" Hart: 24 Selections from His Work by Holger Cahill, first of a projected series of ten Downtown Gallery monographs
1929 -- initiated divorce proceedings in Detroit; founded the American Folk Art Gallery, the first of its kind, with business; partners Berthe Kroll Goldsmith and Holger Cahill; served as organizer and director of the First Municipal Exhibition of American Art, Atlantic City
1930 -- divorce granted; present at the death of Samuel Halpert; opened the Daylight Gallery in a separate structure behind the Downtown Gallery specially designed to display works of art under optimal conditions; published Max Weber by Holger Cahill, second (and last) of the Downtown Gallery monographs
1931 -- opened the American Folk Art Gallery on second floor of the Downtown Gallery
1932 -- purchased house in Newtown, Connecticut; became extensively involved with Radio City Music Hall arts projects
1934 -- conceived, organized, and handled publicity for the First Municipal Art Exhibition, also called the Forum Exhibition, sponsored by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and held at Radio City Music Hall
1935 -- bought Goldsmith's share of the business and, as sole owner, reorganized the gallery
1936 -- served as adviser to WPA Federal Art Project, charged with developing the Exhibition and Allocation Program
1937 -- formed Bureau for Architectural Sculpture and Murals
1939 -- organized Nature-Vivre; exhibition of paintings by the rediscovered William Harnett, rekindling interest in trompe l'oeil painting
1940 -- Downtown Gallery moved to 43 East 51st Street; cataloged and installed the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Collection of American Folk Art at Williamsburg, Virginia
1941 -- American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Centuries
1945 -- Downtown Gallery moved to 32 East 51st Street; hired Charles Alan as assistant director
1946 -- Downtown Gallery began representing former Alfred Stieglitz artists Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Georgia O'Keeffe
1947-1949 -- embroiled in controversy over paintings with the signature of William Harnett but discovered to be the work of Harnett's student John Peto
1950 -- opened the John Marin Room, operated by John Marin, Jr.
1951 -- opened the Ground-Floor Room, for works by new artists
1952 -- established the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation
1953 -- transferred representation of newer Downtown Gallery artists to the Alan Gallery
1954 -- published The ABCs for Collectors of Contemporary Art by John I. H. Baur
1959 -- traveled to Moscow as curator of the art section, "American National Exhibition," and gave daily gallery talks in Russian; received Art in America Award
1960 -- exhibited selections from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; awarded USIA Citation for Distinguished Service and the Merit Award Emblem
1962 -- second exhibition of the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; began discussions, ultimately abandoned, for the transfer and installation of a large gift of paintings from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection to a special wing of the Corcoran Gallery of Art
1963 -- American Modernism: The First Wave, Painting from 1903-1933, an exhibition based entirely on the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Brandeis University Museum of Art
1965 -- Downtown Gallery moved to smaller quarters, Ritz Tower Concourse, 465 Park Avenue; open by appointment only; Six Decades of American Art, from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Leicester Galleries, London
1967 -- Image to Abstraction, an exhibition based entirely on the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
1968 -- the Downtown Gallery ceased to be the exclusive representative of Abraham Rattner, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keffe, and Max Weber, and the estates of Stuart Davis, and Marguerite and William Zorach were withdrawn from the gallery; Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery exhibition at the Museum of Art, the University of Connecticut; awarded the First Annual International Silver Prize medal for "distinguished contribution to the arts," University of Connecticut
1970 -- died, New York City
1970-1973 -- the Downtown Gallery continued limited operation under the direction of niece, Nathaly Baum
1972-1978 -- the Downtown Gallery records donated to the Archives of American Art by Nathaly Baum, executor of the Edith Gregor Halpert estate
1973 -- Sotheby Parke-Bernet auction sale of the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection
1997-1999 -- arrangement, description, and microfilming of Downtown Gallery records and publication of this finding aid funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.
Appendix B: Chronological List of Downtown Gallery Exhibitions:
Below is a chronological listing of Downtown Gallery exhibitions, culled from catalogs and checklists, invitations and announcements, press releases, newspaper reviews, advertisements, lists compiled by gallery staff, and The Archives of American Art Collection of Exhibition Catalogs (1979). Exhibition titles indicated on the announcement or used in a published review sometimes differ from the title of the corresponding exhibition catalog or printed checklist. Catalogs or announcements for most shows will be found with the printed matter produced by the Downtown Gallery (Series 7.1), in the publicity notebooks (Series 3.3.), and/or with artist files (Series 2). Microfilm reel and frame number(s) are noted in parentheses for catalogs or exhibition announcements recorded in The Archives of American Art Collection of Exhibition Catalogs that are not among the Downtown Gallery records.
Undated -- Jan. 24-Feb. 12: American Landscapes: Paintings and Water Colors Mar. 3-28 [1964?]: Abraham Rattner: New Paintings, 1961-1963 June: Art for 13,000,000 Sept. 17-27: Abraham Rattner: Stained Glass Window Designed for the De Waters Art Center, Flint, Michigan
1926 -- Nov. [6-?}: Opening Exhibition: Small Works by Leading American Contemporary Artists Dec. [4-?]: The Christmas Exhibition, $10-50
1927 -- Jan. 8-Feb. 4: American Marines Jan. 8-Feb. 4: Print Room Selection Nov. 26-Dec. 9: Frank Osborn: Sculpture Lamps Nov. 26-Dec. 9: Stuart Davis May [10-?]: Portfolio Selection, $5-25 Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers Exhibition Nov. 3-23: "Pop" Hart: One-Man Show Oct. 13-Nov. 3: Ogunquit Exhibition: Summer Work by 12 Ogunquit Residents Mar. 1-19: George C. Ault: Water Colors and Drawings Feb. [5-?]: George Overbury "Pop" Hart Apr. [11-?]: Spring Exhibitions: Pictures Suggestive of the Season Mar. 21-Apr. 9: Walt Kuhn Lighographs: `New Trapeze Ladies'
1928 -- Feb. 14-Mar. 4: Walt Kuhn: Recent Works Jan. 24-Feb. 12: 75 Years of American Landscapes Mar. 6-25: Samuel Halpert: Recent Work Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers 2nd Annual Exhibition Jan. 3-22: Joseph Pollett: Recent Paintings and Watercolors Oct. 7-28: Paris by Americans Oct. 29-Nov. 17: Max Weber: New Lithographs, $10-50 Nov. 19-Dec. 8: George C. Ault: Paintings, $30-300 Apr. 23-May 13: May Flowers May 19-June 13: Art for Everybody, $10-50 Mar. 26-Apr. 15: Ernest Fiene: Lithographs Apr. 2-22: Marguerite Zorach: Paintings and Drawings
1929 -- Nov. [19-?]: Glenn Coleman: Temperas June 3-14: Oils, Sculpture, Water Colors, Monotypes, Drawings, Pottery May [14-?]: Joseph Pollet: Watercolors May [14-?]: Lithographs by A. Walkowitz Mar. 26-Apr. 14: José Orozco: Paintings of New York City Apr. 23-May 14: Walt Kuhn: Loan Paintings Feb. 12-Mar. 23: Stefan Hirsch: Paintings Mar. 4-Apr. 14: Duncan Ferguson: Sculpture Jan. 21-Feb. 10: Drawings by 8 American Artists (Hart, Karfiol, Kuhn, Pascin, Walkowitz, Weber, M. Zorach, and W. Zorach) Jan. 2-20: Ann Goldthwaite: Recent Work Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers 3rd Annual Exhibition Oct. 29-Nov. 17: Joseph Pollet: Recent Paintings Oct. 7-28: Americans Abroad (Davis, Fiene, Ganso, Hart, Hirsch, Pascin, and Wilenchick)
1930 -- Oct. [25-?]: Reuben Nakian: Sculpture Nov. 18-Dec. 16: Glenn Coleman: Paintings Sept. 30-Oct. 25: Summer Landscapes, 1930: Paintings by American Contemporary Artists Summer: Important Painting and Sculpture by Leading American Artists in the Daylight Gallery May 26-July 1: Small Painting, Sculpture, and Drawings by Leading American Contemporary Artists, $100 or Less Apr. 19-May 10: Daylight Gallery Opening Exhibition Oct. [25-?]: Julia Kelly: Painting Apr. [8-?]: Ben Shahn: Paintings and Drawings Mar. 11-30: Wood Gaylor: Paintings Feb. [11-?]: Marguerite Zorach: Recent Paintings of New England and New York Jan. 28-Feb. 15: 33 Moderns: The Downtown Gallery Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture, Watercolors, Drawings, and Prints by 33 American Contemporary Artists [at the Grand Central Galleries] Jan. [25-?]: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Dec. 8-31: American Print Makers 4th Annual Exhibition Jan. [2-?]: Abraham Walkowitz: Heads and Flowers May [10-?]: "Pop" Hart: Paintings from Africa and Europe
1931 -- Jan. 3-25: Jules Pascin Memorial Exhibition Jan. [27-?]: William Zorach: New Sculpture Feb. [14-?]: Joseph Pollett: Paintings Feb. 2-16: Isabella Howland: Paintings Dec. 14-31: American Ancestors: Masterpieces by Little Known and Anonymous American Painters, 1790-1890 Mar. 16-30: 7 Masters of Water Color (Demuth, Dickinson, Hart, Marin, Sheeler, Walkowitz, Zorach) Apr. [29-?]: Peggy Bacon: Caricature Portraits Mar. 31-Apr. 9: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Nov. [18-?]: Charles Sheeler: Recent Paintings May 12-31: Flowers: Paintings in Oil and Water Color by American Contemporary Artists Oct. 5-25: `Artists' Models,' Figure Paintings by Leading Contemporary American Artists June 2-22: Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings, Sculpture by Leading Contemporary American Artists Oct. 28-Nov. 17: Karl Knaths: Paintings Dec. 7-31: American Print Makers 5th Annual Exhibition
1932 -- May 31-June 30: Paintings and Sculpture by Outstanding American Artists Dec. 28-Jan. 14: William Zorach: Spirit of the Dance in Original Plaster Dec.: Christmas Exhibition: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, $10-100 Feb. 20-Mar. 3: Peggy Bacon: Recent Paintings (N433: 515) Jan. 5-18: American Modern Art [arranged by the Downtown Gallery at Knoedler & Co., Inc., Chicago] Oct. 4-22: Prelude to the Season: New Paintings and Sculpture by American Contemporaries Dec. 9-31: Carl Walters: Sculpture and Pottery in Ceramic Jan. 5-24: Alexander Brook: Recent Paintings Jan. [24-?]: Paintings by Contemporary American Painters Feb. 23-Mar. 7: Wood Gaylor: Recent Paintings Oct. 4-22: Bernard Sanders: Graphics Dec. 5-31: American Print Makers 6th Annual Exhibition Feb. [24-?]: Winter in Maine: Recent Watercolors by William Zorach Mar. 22-Apr. 3: Joseph Pollet: Recent Paintings Nov. 18-Dec. 9: Stefan Hirsch: Recent Work--New York and Mexico Apr. 5-17: The Passion of Sacco-Vanzetti: Gouaches by Ben Shahn Apr. 19-May 15: Pictures of New England by a New Englander: Recent Paintings of Dogtown, Cape Ann, Mass., by Marsden Hartley [errata slip stapled to cover of the copy filmed on Br10: 660-663 indicates the dates were changed to Apr. 26-May 15, 1932] May 17-29: 3 Painters: Baum, Botkin, Schultz Oct. 25-Nov. 13: Dorothy Varian: Recent Paintings
1933 -- Jan. 17-Feb. 4: Bernard Karfiol: Paintings and Drawings Mar. 21-Apr. 8: Major Works by Distinguished American Artists Feb. [28-?]: Watercolors by Stuart Davis Feb. 27-Mar. 18: Reuben Nakian: Sculpture Portraits of 10 Artists Feb. 7-25: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Recent Paintings Oct. 3-14: American Ancestors, 2nd Exhibition: Masterpieces by Little Known and Anonymous American Artists: 1720-1870 May 23-June 30: Paintings and Sculpture: Recent Works by Leading American Contemporaries, at $100 May 2-20: Ben Shahn: The Tom Mooney Case Apr. 11-29: Nicolai Cikovsky: Recent Paintings Nov. 14-Dec. 14: Drawings and Rare Prints by "Pop" Hart Dec. 5-31: American Print Makers 7th Annual Exhibition Oct. 24-Nov. 11: Painting and Sculpture by Leading Contemporaries
1934 -- Jan. 23-Feb. 10: Alexander Brook: Recent Paintings Feb. 13-Mar. 3: Babe Ruth by Reuben Nakian Jan. 3-20: Ernest Fiene: Painter of the American Scene Dec. 13-31: Practical Manifestations in American Art Apr. 3-21: Katherine Schmidt: Paintings Apr. 25-May 12: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Dec. [3-?]: Group Show Mar. 13-31: Recent Paintings by Joseph Pollet Oct. 1-14: Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection of Paintings and Sculpture Oct. 23-Nov. 3: Marguerite Zorach: Paintings and Drawings May 15-June 15: Paintings and Sculpture: Selected Works by Leading American Contemporaries, Extraordinary Values at $100 Dec. 3-29: American Print Makers 8th Annual Exhibition Feb. 20-Mar. 3: Recent Work by Peggy Bacon Nov. 20-Dec. 8: Peggy Bacon: `Off with Their Heads,' Caricature Portraits of 38 Contemporary American Celebrities Nov. 6-17: American Drawings: Recent Work by Charles Sheeler, John Marin, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Charles Locke, Stuart Davis, Alexander Brook
1935 -- May 1-18: Nakian: The New Deal in Portraiture Apr. 13-28: Reuben Nakian: Portrait Heads of the Present Administration May 21-June 14: Paintings and Sculpture by Leading American Artists Dec.: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture and Pottery Mar. 12-30: Exhibition of 14 Paintings by 14 American Contemporaries Feb. 20-Mar. 9: Nicolai Cikovsky: Recent Paintings Apr. 10-27: Watercolor and Pastels by 14 American Artists Dec. 2-28: American Print Makers 9th Annual Exhibition Nov.: Ernest Fiene: Paintings Nov. [5-?]: American Folk Art: Recently Acquired Paintings and Sculpture Jan. 16-Feb. 2: Charles Burchfield and Charles Sheeler Dec. 11-28: Anne Goldthwaite: Murals of the South Jan. 16-Feb. 9: Bernard Karfiol: Watercolors and Drawings Oct. 22-Nov. 9: Opening Exhibition: Important Recent Painting and Sculpture May 21-June 14: $100 Exhibition: Extraordinary Values for Discriminating Collectors
1936 -- Oct. [28-?]: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition: American Art, 1800-1936 Dec. 13-24: American Print Makers 10th Anniversary Annual Exhibition (N428:304-305) Dec.: Christmas Gift Show Dec.: Ceramics by Carl Walters Feb. [25-?]: Watercolors by William Zorach Mar. 17-Apr. 4: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Paintings May [5-?]: Joseph Pollet: Paintings May 26-June 12: Paintings and Sculpture: Recent Work by Leading American Contemporaries, Extraordinary Values at $100 Apr. 14-May 2: Portraits by 6 Contemporary and Early American Artists Jan. 30-Feb. 15: American Birds in Sculpture, 1785-1935 Jan. 6-25: Alexander Brooke: Paintings Dec. 2-31: Vital Statistics
1937 -- Dec. 7-31: Christmas Exhibition: Fine Works of Art as Original Gifts through June 25: Paintings and Sculpture, 1800-1937 Oct. 5-23: Paintings by 12 Younger Artists Oct. 19-Nov. 6: Fall Exhibition May 18-June 5: Joseph Steig: Watercolors May 5-29: Major Examples by Major Artists Apr. 13-May 1: Children in American Folk Art, 1725-1865: Children's Art, Their Portraits, and Their Toys Apr. [10-?]: Contemporary Americans Sept. 28-Oct. 9: American Folk Art Sculpture: Index of Design, WPA Federal Art Project Sept.: Drawings by the Index of American Design Oct. 20-Nov. 10: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art from the Downtown Gallery of New York, Sponsored by the Atlanta Georgian and Sunday American at the High Museum of Art Mar. 9-27: The 1920s: Oils, Sculpture, Watercolors, and Drawings by 18 American Contemporaries Mar. 30-Apr. 10: Younger Artists Nov.: Dorothy Varian: Paintings Feb. 9-27: American Dogs: Recent Portraits in Oil of Champion Dogs by Fenelle and Paintings and Sculpture Portraying Dogs of the Period 1820-1860 from the American Folk Art Gallery Jan. [15-?]: David Fredenthal Feb.: Group Show
1938 -- Oct. 4-22: Americans at Home: 32 Painters and Sculptors Sept. 4-22: Folk Art Apr. [27-?]: David Fredenthal: Paintings May 25-June 17: Art for the Summer House, $15-100 Apr. 5-23: Preston Dickinson, 1891-1930: 13 Pastels Dec. 6-30: Christmas Exhibition Mar. 16-Apr. 2: Paintings by Americans: New Paintings by Karfiol, Kuniyoshi, Sheeler, and Recent Oils by Marin and O'Keeffe Nov. [15-?]: Louis Guglielmi: Paintings Feb. 15-Mar. 5: 50 American Watercolors and Pastels, 1800-1938 Dec. 6-30: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture Jan. 18-Feb. 15: American Genre Paintings, 1785-1887 Nov. 2-20: John Stenvall: Paintings Jan. 5-22: Isabella Howland: 25 Sculpture Heads Jan. 25-Feb. 11: Nicolai Cikovsky: Paintings Nov. 1-12: American Ancestors: Masterpieces in American Folk Art, 1720-1860 Nov. [2-?]: Georgia O'Keeffe: Paintings
1939 -- Oct. 3-14: Paintings on Velvet, 1800-1840 Feb. [14-?]: Nathaniel Kaz: Sculpture Nov. 7-25: Contemporary American Genre: 27 Painters and Sculptors Mar. [7-?]: Katherine Schmidt: Paintings May [8-?]: Group Show Jan. 24-Feb. 11: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Paintings Dec. 6-30: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture Jan. [24-?]: Jack Levine: Paintings Mar. 28-Apr. 15: William Steig: Sculpture June 7-30: American Art, Past and Present Apr. 18-May 16: William Harnett: `Nature-Vivre' Oct. [17-?]: John Marin: 20 Drawings Jan. 4-21: Important New Paintings by American Artists: Cikovsky, Karfiol, Marin,, O'Keeffe, Sheeler, and Varian Dec. 6-30: Christmas Exhibition: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, $100 or Less May [16-?]: Raymond Breinin: Paintings
1940 -- Jan. [3-?]: Mitchell Siporin: Paintings Jan. [23-?]: Rainey Bennett: Paintings Dec. 2-21: Charles Sheeler: `Power,' 6 Original Paintings Commissioned for Reproduction in the December 1940 Issue of Fortune(N433:550 551) Mar. [25-?]: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Lithographs Mar. [25-?]: Group Show: Paintings Feb. [20-?]: Julien Levi: Paintings Mar. [18-?]: Gallery Group Dec. [9-?]: Christmas Exhibition Oct. 17-Nov. 16: Opening Exhibition [43 East 51st Street] May 13-24: Artist's Fund Exhibition Apr. 23-May 11: Review of the Season: Paintings by Leading American Artists
1941 -- Dec. 9-Jan. 3, 1942: American Negro Art: 19th and 20th Centuries Sept. 16-Oct. 11: American Folk Sculpture: Weather Vanes in Metal and Wood: 18th and 19th Centuries [?]-June 27: Summer Exhibition and William Harnett May 6-30: What Is Wrong with This Picture? Nov. 13-Dec. 6: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Recent Paintings (Br10: 699-700) Nov. 11-Dec. 6: Bernard Karfiol Oct. 21-25: American Folk Art Sale Oct. 7-Nov. 1: New Examples by Leading American Artists Apr. 8-26: Spring: New Paintings by Outstanding Americans Feb. 25-Mar. 22: Masterpieces in American Folk Art Jan. 7-Feb. 1: The Painter Looks at Music Feb. 4-21: 13 American Paintings
1942 -- Oct. 13-31: Paintings, Cartoons, Photographs of the St. Louis Post Office Murals by Mitchell Siporin and Edward Millman Dec. 22-Jan. 9, 1943: Inter-American Folk Arts, 1700-1900: Paintings and Sculpture by Little Known and Anonymous Artists of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, U.S.A. Jan. 7-24: Watercolors and Drawings by Leading American Artists Feb. 3-28: Julian Levi Mar. 3-28: Battles & Symbols of the U.S.A.: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by American Folk Artists Apr. 7-May 2: Spring Exhibition: New Paintings and Newly Discovered Paintings by William M. Harnett Apr. 7-May 2: American Folk Art May 5-29: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Retrospective Loan Exhibition, 1921-1941 (Br10: 703-705) June 10-26: Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings by Leading American Artists Sept. 22-Oct. 10: Opening Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture
1943 -- Jan. 12-30: Breinin: Recent Paintings (D55: 77) Mar. 2-27: William Zorach: Selected Sculpture (D57: 632-634) Mar. 31-Apr. 24: Spring Exhibition and American Folk Art June 8-25: Summer Exhibition: American Art Oct. 5-30: 18th Annual Exhibition: American Art Oct. 27-Nov. 20: Recent Paintings in Encaustic by Karl Zerbe Nov. 23-Dec. 11: Demuth, Dickinson, "Pop" Hart, Pascin
1944 -- Nov. 14-Dec. 2: Ben Shahn: Paintings in Tempera (Br10: 707-708) Feb. 1-12: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Apr. 11-May 6: Spring: New Important Paintings & Sculpture by Leading Americans Feb. 15-Mar. 11: Horace Pippin May 31-June 30: Summer Exhibition May 9-27: William Zorach Oct. 3-28: 19th Annual Exhibition: American Art Sept. 13-30: American Folk Art from the Collection of Mrs. Isabel C. Wilde
1945 -- Jan. 3-20: Suba: First One-Man Exhibition of Paintings Mar. 6-31: Julian Levi Feb. 13-Mar. 3: George L. K. Morris: Paintings, 1944 and 1945, and Sculpture, 1934-1945 (Br10: 712-714) May 1-26: 19th Annual Spring Exhibition Apr. 3-28: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: New Paintings and Drawings Oct. 15-Nov. 3: Loan Exhibition Oct. 15-Nov. 3: 20th Anniversary [opening of new quarters on East 51st Street] Dec. 4-29: Christmas Exhibition Nov. 6-Dec. 1: 20th Annual Exhibition: American Art Dec. 4-29: Jacob Lawrence: John Brown, A Series of 22 Paintings in Gouache
1946 -- Dec. 3-31: Christmas Exhibition Sept. 4-21: Masterpieces in American Folk Art: Recently Discovered Examples Sept. 24-Oct. 19: 21st Annual Exhibition: New Paintings by Leading American Artists June: New Important Paintings by Leading Americans July 2-Aug. 30: Summer Exhibition: Recent Paintings and Sculpture... Combined with a Selection of Important American Folk Art Mar. 26-Apr. 13: Paul Burlin May 7-25: 6 Artists Out of Uniform: New Post-War Paintings by 6 Important Americans Jan. 29-Feb. 16: Stuart Davis Retrospective Exhibition: Gouaches, Watercolors, Drawings, 1912-1941 (N126: 369-370)
1947 -- Apr. 1-26: Spring 1947 Apr. 29-May 17: Boston/New York: First Exchange Exhibition [Boston portion at Downtown Gallery and New York portion at Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston] Feb. 4-Mar. 1: Important New Drawings Mar. 4-29: William Zorach Jan. 7-25: Arthur Dove Nov. 11-29: Niles Spencer Dec. 2-27: Christmas Exhibition Sept. 23-Oct. 18: 22nd Annual Exhibition Sept. 3-20: 20th-Century American Watercolors Aug. 12-29: Exhibition of American Folk Art: Recent Acquisitions June 10-Aug. 8: American Art, 1800-1947 and American Folk Art May 20-June 7: National Parks: A Fortune Portfolio
1948 -- Sept. 28-Oct. 23: 23rd Annual Exhibition Sept. 8-28: The American Family: Folk Paintings, 1750-1850 Aug. 10-Sept. 2: Marin - New York (N126: 407-408) June 29-Aug. 6: Art for the 8,060,000 May 10-20: Mexican Folk Art Apr. 13-May 1: William Harnett Centennial Exhibition Mar. 22-Apr. 3: American Art: A Multiple Exhibition Arranged by the Association of Dealers in American Art [Downtown Gallery participating] Jan. 20-Feb. 7: Paintings by Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jack Levine, John Marin, Ben Shahn Dec. 7-31: Christmas 1948 Nov. 16-Dec. 14: Jacques Maroger: Recent Paintings (N126: 411-412) undated: American Art... 20th Century Image to Abstraction [Amon Carter Museum; entire exhibition drawn from the collections of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery] Dec. 7-31: William Zorach
1949 -- Nov. 15-Dec. 3: Reuben Tam Dec. 6-24: Christmas Exhibition May 10-28: Mexican Folk Art July 6-29: Art and/or Money Sept. 7-24: Important Paintings and Sculpture by Little Known and Unknown Artists of the 18th and 19th Century Oct. 3-22: 24th Annual Exhibition Mar. 15-Apr. 2: Paul Burlin Apr. 5-23: The Artist Speaks Apr. 25-10: 26 Teenage Artists Presented by Seventeen Magazine May 3-21: Arthur G. Dove: Watercolors, 1929-1946 (N126: 424) Sept. 7-24: American Folk Art
1950 -- Apr. 25-May 13: In 1950... Jan. 23-28: Creative Art for Commerce Dec. 5-23: Christmas Exhibition Oct. 24-Nov. 11: Jacob Lawrence (D56: 298-300) May 16-June 2: A Museum Collection: American Folk Sculpture Apr. 4-22: Yasuo Kuniyoshi Sept. 26-Oct. 21: 25th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture June: Art for 13,000,000 Jan. 31-Feb. 18: Ralston Crawford Dec. 27-Jan. 27, 1951: John Marin Mar. 14-Apr. 1: In 1940... Feb. 21-Mar. 11: Aquamedia
1951 -- Dec. 11-29: Christmas Exhibition May 1-19: Newcomers: Paintings by Artists from 15 States Nov. 20-Dec. 8: O. Louis Guglielmi Apr. 3-28: Spring 1951 Oct. 2-27: 26th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture by Leading American Artists July 10-Aug. 17: Summer Exhibition: American Art Sept. 5-22: Contemporary American Drawings June 12-29: Masterpieces in American Folk Art Mar. 13-31: Charles Sheeler: Paintings, 1949-1951 Feb. 20-Mar. 1: William Zorach: Sculpture, 1947-1951
1952 -- Oct. 28-Nov. 15: Niles Spencer Oct. 14-Nov. 15: The Ground-Floor Room 2nd Annual Exhibition Dec. 9-27: Stuart Davis and Yasuo Kuniyoshi Mar. 11-29: Ben Shahn: Paintings (D56: 1075-1076) Mar. 4-20: Recent Arrivals Jan. 2-26: John Marin: Oils and Watercolors June 3-27: Art for the 67% May 12-29: Lithographs, Woodcuts, Theorems, Serigraphs, and Other Prints by Leading American Artists Apr. 22-May 10: Arthur G. Dove Apr. 1-19: Spring '52 Oct. 1-25: 27th Annual Exhibition Nov. 18-Dec. 16: Shop for Art Early at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 9-27: American Amateur Art of 100 Years Ago July 1-Aug. 1: Pertaining to Summer: An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Leading American Artists
1953 -- Jan. 7-Feb. 14: Performance: A New Series of Paintings in Tempera by Jacob Lawrence Feb. 17-Mar. 7: Celebrating the Tercentenary of New York, MDCLIII - MCMLIII: Paintings of New York by Leading American Artists Apr. 21-May 9: David Aronson May 12-29: 8 Younger Artists Mar. 10-28: Paul Burlin Mar. 31-Apr. 18: Reuben Tam Nov. 17-Dec. 7: Art in the Office Dec. 8-31: Art Gems for Christmas Sept. 22-Oct. 17: 28th Annual Exhibition: Recent Paintings and Sculpture Oct. 20-Nov. 14: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Ink Paintings
1954 -- Sept. 14-Oct. 2: Artists of Chicago May 25-June 25: Summer 1954 Nov. 9-20: Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: A Benefit Exhibition by Its Faculty and Visiting Artists for the Scholarship Fund Oct. 5-30: 29th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture Nov. 23-Dec. 24: Christmas Exhibition Apr. 6-May 1: Dove and Demuth: Watercolor Retrospective May 4-22: American Folk Art: Painting and Sculpture Feb. 2-27: International Exhibition: American, Belgian, British, Canadian, French, Italian, Mexican Painters under 40 Mar. 2-31: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings
1955 -- Mar. 20-Apr. 23: Georgia O'Keeffe May 24-June 11: Gallery Purchases: Contemporary Art Apr. 26-May 21: Spring 1955 Sept. 13-Oct. 1: Painters of Los Angeles June 14-30: Gallery Purchases: American Folk Art Nov. 1-26: Arthur Dove: Collages Oct. 4-29: 30th Annual Exhibition Dec. 28-Jan. 21, 1956: William Zorach: A Selection, 1914-1955
1956 -- May 1-26: Bernard Karfiol: The Figure (N126L529-531) May 29-June 29: Spring 1956 Sept. 5-29: Americans in Europe Oct. 9-Nov. 3: 31st Annual Exhibition Nov. 6-Dec. 1: Stuart Davis: Exhibition of Recent Paintings, 1954-1956 Dec. 4-22: 31st Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Jan. 31-Feb. 25: The Recurrent Image Apr. 3-28: Charles Sheeler: Selections from the Collection of the William H. Lane Foundation Feb. 28-Mar. 24: Arthur Dove: Paintings
1957 -- Dec. 31-Jan. 25, 1958: 32nd Annual Exhibition [?]-May 4: Spring Exhibition Dec. 9-21: Art Our Children Live With: A Loan Exhibition of American Art Jan. 8-Feb. 7: Max Weber Feb. 12-Mar. 2: New Acquisitions: Wm. M. Harnett (1848-1892) Feb. 12-Mar. 2: American Folk Art: Paintings and Sculpture Mar. 2-30: New Mexico as Painted by Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Sloan May 7-31: Important Drawings by Leading American Artists June 4-28: Summer 1957 Oct. 7-Nov. 2: Group Show Nov. 5-27: Last Judgments by Abraham Rattner (D203: 76) Nov. 25-Dec. 7: 32nd Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery
1958 -- Sept. 30-Oct. 11: Arthur Dove: Watercolors June 9-27: 100 Church Street, `Portrait of a Building' by 10 American Artists May 20-June 7: Charles Demuth Apr. 29-May 10: Spring 1958 Mar. 5-Apr. 19: Charles Sheeler Jan. 28-Feb. 21: C. S. Price Dec. 8-27: 33rd Annual Christmas Exhibition Nov. 11-Dec. 6: Max Weber: The Figure in Retrospect, 1906-1958 Oct. 14-Nov. 8: 33rd Annual Exhibition
1959 -- Dec. 8-24: Ben Shahn: Silk-Screen Prints Dec. 29-Jan. 23, 1960: New Acquisitions Oct. 20-Nov. 14: 34th Annual Exhibition Nov. 17-Dec. 5: 34th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 22-Oct. 17: The Dial and the Dial Collection: A Special Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture & Graphics by 30 American Artists Apr. 29-June 2: Spring 1959 Apr. 7-25: Robert Osborn Mar. 3-28: Ben Shahn Jan. 6-31: New Acquisitions: American Folk Art Painting and Sculpture
1960 -- Feb. 23-Mar. 19: Gallery Group Mar. 22-Apr. 9: Jack Zajac Mar. 11-[?]: Signs & Symbols, U.S.A., 1760-1960 Jan. 21-Feb. 20: 7 Artists in Hawaii Dec. 5-24: Robert Osborn: Paintings and Drawings from `The Vulgarians' Nov. 8-Dec. 3: Abraham Rattner Dec. 5-24: 35th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery through June 30: Summer 1960 Oct. 11-Nov. 5: 35th Annual Exhibition Apr. 19-may 7: Tseng Yu-Ho May 10-June 4: Stuart Davis
1961 -- June 13-30: Selections 1961 May 16-June 9: Spring 1961 Dec. 4-23: 36th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 12-Oct. 7: New Acquisitions Feb. 15-Mar. 11: Aquamedia in American Art Jan. 25-Feb. 11: Yasuo Kuniyoshi Apr. 11-May 2: Gallery Group Mar. 15-Apr. 8: Alfred Duca Jan. 9-Feb. 6: New Acquisitions
1962 -- Nov. 3-28: Robert Osborn Dec. 3-22: 37th Annual Christmas at Downtown Gallery May 22-June 15: 36th Annual Spring Exhibition: The Figure Apr. 24-May 19: Stuart Davis Oct. 16-Nov. 10: 37th Anniversary Exhibition Sept. 25-Oct. 13: American Roots: Folk Art in Painting and Sculpture Feb. 27-Mar. 17: Robert Osborn: Clowns and Non-Clowns Jan. 9-27: Tseng Yu-Ho: 18 Dsui Paintings Mar. 27-Apr. 21: Abstract Painting in America, 1903-1923 Mar. 10-31: Max Weber Memorial Exhibition
1963 -- Mar. 12-Apr. 16: Signs & Symbols * U.S.A., 1780-1960 May 7-[?]: Max Weber Dec. 2-21: 38th Annual Christmas at Downtown Gallery June 11-July 3: Summer 1963 Apr. 9-May 3: Spring 1963 Jan. 8-Feb. 2: John Marin Oct. 1-26: 38th Anniversary Exhibition Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Ben Shahn: Retrospective Exhibition, Paintings and Drawings, 1901-1958 Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Homage to e. e. cummings Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Gallery Group Aug. 6-Sept. 15: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [Santa Barbara Museum of Art] Nov. 7-Dec. 8: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [Honolulu Academy of Arts] Sept. 9-14: Visual Art by Performing Artists Dec. 3-Jan. 7, 1964: American Signs and Symbols
1964 -- Sept. 9-Oct. 3: 20th Century American Drawings Oct. 6-31: 39th Anniversary Exhibition Dec. 1-24: 39th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Jan. 11-Feb. 9: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco] Jan. 28-Feb. 21: George L. K. Morris Mar. 3-28: Supplement to the Rattner Exhibition May 12-June 5: New York City: Paintings, 1913-1963, by American Artists
1965 -- Jan. 5-23: Charles Sheeler and Yasuo Kuniyoshi Nov. 30-Dec. 18: Warner Brothers Co. Mural by Willard Cummings and Emilio A. Serio Mar. 23-Apr. 17: John Storrs Sept. 8-Oct. 2: A Gallery Survey of American Art [inaugural show, Ritz Tower Concourse, 465 Park Avenue] Nov. 3-20: Edward Stasack Nov. 30-Dec. 18: 40th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery
1966 -- Nov. 5-Dec. 12: Morris Broderson Oct. 18-Nov. 12: 41st Anniversary Exhibition: Contemporary American Art Mar. 1-26: Balthus: New Paintings, 1963-1966 May 3-27: Charles Sheeler Sept. 20-Oct. 8: "Popular Art" in America, 18-19th Century
1967 -- Apr. 18-May 13: John Storrs Mar. 15-Apr. 8: Arthur Dove Nov. 7-25: O. Louis Guglielmi Sept. 26-Oct. 21: 42nd Anniversary Exhibition Feb. 14-Mar. 11: George L. K. Morris Jan. 10-Feb. 14: William Zorach: The Last Decade Dec.: Gallery Group
Berman, Avis. Pioneers in American Museums: Edith Halpert. Museum News 54, no. 2 (November/December 1975): 34-37, 61-64.
Bragazzi, Olive. The Story Behind the Rediscovery of William Harnett and John Peto by Edith Halpert and Alfred Frankenstein. American Art Journal 15, no. 3 (Spring 1984): 51-65.
Tepfer, Diane. Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery/Downtown, 1926-1940: A Study in American Art Patronage. Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1989.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, 1962-1963. Oral History Program, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, January 20, 1965. New Deal and the Arts Project, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, lecture delivered at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, October 19, 1959, on the 1959 American National Art Exhibition in Moscow. Tape-recorded by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and transcribed by the the Downtown Gallery staff.
In addition, the Archives of American Art has among its collections personal papers and oral history interviews of artists and collectors associated with the Downtown Gallery. Researchers are advised to conduct a name search in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS).
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (ND-1- ND-71), the mojority of which was subsequently donated. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Between 1957 and 1967, the Downtown Gallery loaned portions of its records to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. Because the microfilming was done in increments, the material was not always filmed in logical sequence, and overlapping and duplication of records occurred. Since files loaned for microfilming were, for the most part, still working records used to conduct ongoing gallery business, their contents changed and shifted over time. After Edith Halpert's death in 1970, the records of the Downtown Gallery were received by the Archives of American Art, 1972-1978, as a gift from her niece and executor, Nathaly Baum. In addition to the previously microfilmed material, the gift includes correspondence, inventories and sales records, financial records, photographs, and printed matter, as well as artifacts.One additional document received 2016 by Karen Freeman, daughter of Arthur H. Freeman, who did business at L.D. Landau and Co. Freeman represented halpert as an insurance agent.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 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. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
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Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.