Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Collection, Acc. 1992.0023, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
The papers of art critic Emily Genauer measure 11.4 linear feet and date from circa 1920 to 1990. Found within the papers are correspondence with artists, gallery owners, and friends; extensive writings; research and reference files; personal business records; and photographs. Notable correspondents include David Aronson, Mrs. Max Beckman, Isabel Bishop, Dorothy Carnegie, Marc Chagall, Salvatore Dali, Stuart Davis, Martha Graham, Harry F. Guggenheim, Irene Rice Pereira, Clyfford Still, Rufino Tamayo, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among many others.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art critic Emily Genauer measure 11.4 linear feet and date from circa 1920 to 1990. Found within the papers are correspondence with artists, gallery owners, and friends; extensive writings; research and reference files; personal business records; and photographs.
Notable correspondents include David Aronson, Mrs. Max Beckman, Isabel Bishop, Dorothy Carnegie, Marc Chagall, Salvatore Dali, Stuart Davis, Martha Graham, Harry F. Guggenheim, Irene Rice Pereira, Clyfford Still, Rufino Tamayo, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among numerous others. Extensive writings consist largely of drafts of columns written by Genauer and supporting research notes, as well as essays, speeches, lectures, book manuscripts, and memoirs. Research and reference files include source material for columns and essays. Personal business records document Genauer's work on committees and arts organizations, juries, awards, honors and also include interview transcripts and other personal scattered files. There is material regarding her leaving the New York World-Telegram. Printed material includes two of Genauer's books, magazines, newspaper clippings, and exhibition catalogs. Photographs are portraits of Genauer and of artwork.
This collection is arranged as 6 series.
Series 1: Correspondence and Letters, 1938-1991 (Box 1, 12, 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Writings, circa 1930s-1990s (Box 1-3, 2.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Research and Reference Files, circa 1920s-1990s (Box 4-6, 2.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1933-1992 (Box 6-7, 0.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1920s-1990s (Box 7-9, 12, 1.6 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1930s-1970s (Box 9-11, 12, 1.8 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Emily Genauer (1911-2002) was a modern art critic and columinst working in New York City from 1932 until well into the 1980s. In 1974, she won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished art criticism.
Genauer was born in 1911 in Staten Island. She attended Hunter College and Columbia University, majoring in Journalism. She began her writing career in 1929 with the New York World, which later became the New York World-Telegram. She became a strong advocate for modern art and sculpture and introduced modern artists like Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera to the newspaper audience. She also followed lesser known artists and often visited their studios, and they, in return, regularly read her articles and reviews of their shows.
Genauer left the New York World-Telegram in 1949 after a dispute with the owner who accused her writing as overly sympathetic to "Communists and left-wingers" and told her she could no longer write about Picasso. She immediately went to work as the art critic for the New York Herald Tribune, where she worked until 1967, when it folded. She then wrote a regular column for the Newsday Syndicate until the mid-1970s. She also worked for Harper's and in television and served on the council for the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1966 to 1970. Genauer was the author of a number of books, including The Best of Art, Chagall at the Met, and Rufino Tamayo.
Genauer passed away in 2002 in New York City at the age of 91.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel NG1) including 300 letters, photographs, and printed material. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Emily Genauer lent letters on reel NG1 for microfilming 1959. Constance Roche, daughter of Emily Genauer, donated additional papers in 2000 and 2003.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Emily Genauer papers, circa 1920s-1990s. Archives of American art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Pool Fund.