The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of modernist painter and printmaker George Constant measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1912-2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932-1978. They consist of biographical material, inventories of artwork, audio interviews and recorded statements on art, personal and business related correspondence, holiday cards, printed material, an exhibition related video recording, and photographs of Constant, his family and friends, and his work. A small portion of the correspondence and printed materials are written in Greek.
Biographical material includes artist statements written and recorded by Constant, two audio interview recordings discussing his philosophies on art and his work, inventories of artwork, personal property deeds and legal correspondence, and other miscellaneous material.
Correspondence is predominantly in the form of business and personal letters, postcards, and holiday cards received from family and friends. These include correspondence from Constant's daughter, Georgette Preston, and extended family members. Other frequent personal correspondents include Milton and Sally Avery, Lewis Balamuth, Margaret Brunning, David Burliuk, Nathaniel Burwash, Rhys Caparn, Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell, Phillip Cavanaugh, Morris Davidson, Charles Eaton, Vilko Gecan, Marchal Landgren, Roy Neuberger, Walter Pach, Nell Perret, Constantine Pougialis, Wallace Putnam and Consuelo Kanaga, Hi Simons, and Helen Slosberg. Business related correspondents include Audubon Artists, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute, Dayton Art Institute, Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Ferargil Galleries, Guild Hall, Heckscher Museum, Lyman Allyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Spanish Refugee Appeal, and the Whitney Museum. Other business correspondence related to Constant's work with the WPA are also included in the series.
Printed material includes books and booklets on American and Greek art, including a limited print edition of George Constant by George Constant, clippings and articles reviewing Constant's work, exhibition announcements and catalogs of Constant's shows, periodicals profiling his artwork, and dance and theater related programs that Constant consulted on.
Photographs include black and white prints of Constant and his family and friends in St. Louis, Missouri, Dayton, Ohio, and in and around his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York. The collection also includes photo stills from his 1965 exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum and a comprehensive set of black and white prints, a handful of color prints, and several color slide sheets of Constant's artwork from the 1920s to 1978.
The collection is arranged into 4 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-2007 (Box 1; 17 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1930-1979 (Box 1-2; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1927-2005 (Box 2-3; 2 linear feet)
Series 4: Photographic Material, 1912-1978 (Box 4-6; 1 linear foot)
Greek American George Zachary Constant (1892-1978) worked from his studios in Shinnecock Hills, and New York City, New York as a painter and printmaker. A founder and lifelong member of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Constant worked for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) during the Depression and early years of World War II, and exhibited regularly at major galleries and museums from the 1920s to 1970s.
Born in Arahova, Greece, Constant was raised by his two uncles after the death of his parents in 1896. In school and at the monestary one of his uncles led, Constant showed an early interest in classical Greek aesthetics. At the age of eighteen, he immigrated to the United States and continued his art studies at Washington University before transferring to the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1918 to 1922, Constant taught at the Dayton Art Institute and continued to produce and exhibit his work locally. In 1922, he moved to New York, joined the Society of Independent Painters, and became close friends with Society founder and art critic Walter Pach. During the 1920s, his etchings were shown at the Valentine and Downtown Galleries, and at the New Art Circle of J.B. Neumann, where he presented his first one man gallery show in 1929.
From the 1930s to 1940s, Constant produced prints, watercolors, and oil paintings for the WPA, many of which were purchased by museums and public institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum. During this same period, Constant exhibited his work at the Boyer Gallery in the late 1930s, and at the Ferargil Gallery from the 1940s to early 1950s. In the decade between 1955 and 1965, Constant also worked on color and set design for seventeen dance productions created by the choreographer Alwin Nikolais. In the last two decades of his career, Constant produced works from his studio in Shinnecock Hills, New York and continued to exhibit at numerous galleries, including Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Guild Hall, Mari Galleries, Tirca Karlis Gallery, and Artium Gallery.
The papers of George Constant were donated by the artist in 1969 and 1978. Additional materials were donated in 2001 and 2007 by his daughter Georgette Preston.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
An interview of Joseph H. Hirshhorn conducted 1976 Dec. 16, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Hirshhorn discusses his childhood; working as a stockbroker; his first art acquisition of two Durer engravings; buying Barbizon paintings; his relationship with the A.C.A. Gallery, Milton Avery, David Burliuk, the Collectors Club, Willem de Kooning, Louis M. Eilshemius, Lloyd Goodrich, Edith Gregor Halpert, Abram Lerner, Louise Nevelson, and others. Hirshhorn also describes the alternative plans he considered before giving his collection to the Smithsonian Institution.
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1889-1981) was an art collector from New York, N.Y. Hirshhorn agreed to donate his collection of modern and contemporary art to the Smithsonian in 1966. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opened in 1974.
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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- Interviews Search this
An interview of Louis Kaufman conducted 1985 Feb. 15, by Ruth Howard Cloudman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kaufman, a great friend and patron of Milton Avery, recalls introducing Mark Rothko to Avery. He describes his memories of Rothko, including a discussion of Rothko's knowledge of art history and his interest in the French avant-garde. Much of the interview concerns Milton Avery, including Kaufman's interest in his work as a collector, the group of artists surrounding Avery, and Avery's influence upon Kaufman as a musician. He also recalls visits to Louis Eilshemius. Kaufman recalls Mary Kumpt, Aaron Berkman, Sally Avery, David Burliuk, John Graham, Zborowski, Adolf Gottlieb, Louis Elishemius, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Louis Kaufman (1905-1994) was an art collector and musician.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Jacob Kainen, Jack Kufeld, Katharine Kuh, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Interviews Search this
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Funding for the interview was provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
1 Linear foot ((partially microfilmed on 3 reels))
Scope and Contents:
Photographs of artists; letters; printed material; and a motion picture film.
REEL D284: Exhibition catalogs, 1941-1952, from the Valente Gallery, and clippings; a letter and a sketch from Henry Miller; and a scrapbook containing photographs by Valente of 41 artists, their art work and clippings. Photographs of artists include Boris Aronson, Milton Avery, Arbit Blatas, David Burliuk, Mario Carreño, Joseph DeMartini, Alexander Dobkin, Philip Evergood, Jose Ferrer, Adolph Gottlieb, Marion Greenwood, William Gropper, Chaim Gross, George Grosz, Robert Gwathmey, Lily Harmon, Marsden Hartley, Frederick Haucke, Frank Kleinholz, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Lassen,Sigmund Menkes, Jose Clemente Orozco, Abraham Rattner, Iver Rose, Sally Ryan, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Margaret Stark, Sabina Teichman, Anthony Toney, Nahum Tschacbasov, Abraham Walkowitz and Ben Wilson.
REEL 2802: A letter from the National Gallery of Art regarding Valente's film "Art Discovers America"; exhibition catalogs on and written by Valente; clippings; and 30 photographs by Valente of 20 artists.
REEL 3480: Two letters from Henry Miller, dated 1943 and 1945. The letters refer to a "watercolor pad and brushes", and Miller also thanks Valente for a portrait of Abe Rattner.
UNMICROFILMED: Photographs by Valente of artists, each accompanied with the artists' self-portrait. Included are Milton Avery, Arbit Blatas, David Burliuk, Mario Carreño, Alexander Dobkin, Philip Evergood, Chaim Gross, Lily Harmon, Frank Kleinholz, Ben Lassen, David Lax, Lawrence H. Lebduska, Jean Liberte, Jose Orozco, Harold Rome, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Margaret Stark, Sabina Teichman, Anthony Toney, Nahum Tschacbasov, Abraham Walkowitz, and Ben Wilson and 4 photographs of composer Eugene Ormandy which are on the back of the Blatas portraits.
UNMICROFILMED: "Art Discovers America" (MGM shorts), ca. 1945, a 16mm b&w, 400 ft. film regarding the "new public interest" in American art. The film traces the trend back to the exhibition of The Eight, and shows various artists at work, including John Sloan, Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh, and Abraham Walkowitz. The film was produced by Regency Pictures. Valente was the photographer and co-director along with Hal Frater.
REEL 439-441 AND SCANNED Photos of artists, previously microfilmed under Photos of Artists I, have subsequently been scanned and returned to the Valente papers.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer; New York City.
Material on reel D284 lent for microfilming by Valente, 1966; Mrs. Valente subsequently donated the scrapbook, 1979. Material on reels 2802, and 3480 donated by Mr. & Mrs. Valente, 1966 through 1979. Unmicrofilmed material donated by Harold Rome, 1988. An additional 35 photos of artists were donated by Valente ca. 1966, and microfilmed on reels 439-441 with AAA's Photographs of Artists Collection I; search under Valente for more information. Many of the photographs are duplicates.
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.
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art and photography -- New York (State) -- New York Search this