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Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection

Artist:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Names:
Benton, Elizabeth Cornell  Search this
Cornell, Robert  Search this
Extent:
196.8 Linear feet
186 Nitrate negatives
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Nitrate negatives
Photographs
Place:
New York, New York
Date:
1750-1980, bulk 1930-1972
Summary:
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection measures 196.8 linear feet and dates from 1750 to 1980, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1972. Documenting the artistic career and personal life of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), the collection is primarily made up of two- and three-dimensional source material, the contents of the artists' studio, his record album collection, and his book collection and personal library. The collection also includes diaries and notes, financial and estate papers, exhibition materials, collected artifacts and ephemera, photographs, correspondence, and the papers of Robert Cornell (1910-1965) and Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), the artist's brother and mother.
Scope and Contents:
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection measures 196.8 linear feet and dates from 1750 to 1980, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1972. Documenting the artistic career and personal life of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), the collection is primarily made up of two- and three-dimensional source material, the contents of the artists' studio, his record album collection, and his book collection and personal library. The collection also includes diaries and notes, financial and estate papers, exhibition materials, collected artifacts and ephemera, photographs, correspondence, and the papers of Robert Cornell (1910-1965) and Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), the artist's brother and mother.

Correspondence is with collectors, museums, galleries, artists, friends, family, charity organizations, admirers and those admired by Cornell, and World War II European pen pals. Discussions about the appreciation, donation, sale, purchase, and exhibition of Cornell's works are frequent, with the inclusion of shipping and loan documentation or notices of payment installments. Galleries and museums frequently request that Cornell agree to an exhibition, which he often declines, and fans request free works be mailed or affordable works be sold to them. With friends, artists, and those he admired, Cornell discussed topics that fascinate him, included bits of poetry or philosophical musings, sent clippings or a collaged letter, and occasionally discussed a project or work in process. After World War II, when so many were displaced by the war in Europe, Cornell answered ads for pen pals in the "Christian Science Monitor," often responding to requests for clothing or other goods, and sometimes exchanging many letters over several years. Family correspondence is with his mother, sisters, brother, and others, and often notes activities of the day, foods eaten, and general musings, as well as occasionally mentioning a project or artwork. Correspondents of note include Stan Brakhage, Betty Freeman, Charles Henri Ford, Allegra Kent, Yayoi Kusama, Roberto Matta, Marianne Moore, Octavio Paz, Sonia Sekula, Pavel Tchelitchew, Parker Tyler, Dorothea Tanning, and Betsy von Furstenberg, among others.

Cornell was often preoccupied with his thoughts, feelings, memories, a project or thematic "exploration," and jotted notes on seemingly any surface available. Notes and musings are on napkins, the backs of envelopes, newspaper clippings, and paper bags from record and magazine stores. Frequently, an observation would trigger a lengthy nostalgic moment, or a "feé," fairy-like child or girl, would capture his imagination and lead him to thoughts of 18th-century ballerinas and silent film stars. Cornell wrote longer diary notes, sometimes expanding on an earlier notation or emotion, and often wrote when he experienced trouble sleeping or woke early. Drafted letters to imaginary muses or admired individuals are interspersed among diaries, often revealing Cornell's yearnings to find emotional intimacy and human connection. Over time, Cornell revisited his notes and occasionally made further notations about renewed thoughts on a topic, dating the note with "revisited" or "reviewed." Notes are often written in a stream-of-consciousness style, for example, jumping from the mention of a record album or composer, to a ballerina of the same period, a note about a French poet, the memory of childhood, or an observation made earlier in the day, all in the space of a few lines. Notes about artistic processes or meanings behind works or images do occasionally emerge from the tangled, poetic notations. Notes also often provide insights into Cornell's internal emotional state and give clues about his intentions behind an artwork or a particular thematic fixation.

Financial materials document Cornell's professional and personal business activities, including the sale of artworks, annual expenses for supplies and household incidentals, payments and schedules for personal assistants, receipts for donations to charities and nonprofits, and tax documents. There is also information about who worked as assistants, or "helpers," in his later years and where Cornell purchased art supplies. Additionally, specific details are documented through receipts and invoices, such as what kind of paint he purchased. Estate records include preparations made for Cornell's artworks after his death, and clippings about other deceased artist's estates show that he thought often about such arrangements in his later years.

Exhibition files highlight several select solo exhibitions for Cornell, as well as preparations and planning for the "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition" in honor of his brother in 1966. Also included are several early exhibition catalogs and announcements, including "Surréalisme" (January 9-29, 1932) and "Exhibition of Objects (Bibloquet) by Joseph Cornell" (December 6-31, 1939) at the Julien Levy Gallery, and "Romantic Museum: Portraits of Women, Constructions and Arrangements by Joseph Cornell" (December 1946) at the Hugo Gallery.

Film projects and collected film materials consist of files related to Cornell's various experimental film projects: "Aviary," "Cappuccino," "Centuries of June," "Fable for Fountains," "Nymphlight," "Serafina's Garden," and unrealized film scenario "Monsieur Phot." Files include film-making notes, correspondence, and photographs. Cornell's interest in film also led him to collect film-related materials, such as film stills, film posters, and screening programs. Scattered correspondence documents the interest other institutions and individuals had in purchasing and viewing his collection. Though most of his collected film stills and movie posters were donated to the Anthology Film Archives, film stills from "Escape Me Never" (1935) and "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928) are still within the collection, as well as film-screening programs for Cornell's collection of films.

Writing and design projects document Cornell's work authoring articles and designing issues of specialty dance magazine "Dance Index," and his layouts for popular magazines like "Good Housekeeping," "House and Garden," and "Mademoiselle." Other writing projects include brochures dedicated to opera singers Maria Malibran and Giulia Grisi, "Maria" and "Bel Canto Pet." Materials used for these brochures, such as copper photo engraving plates, are also found. Design work includes a series of Christmas cards created with The Museum of Modern Art as well as traced patterns ("textile tracings") and design clippings from Cornell's time working as a "textile designer" for Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio.

Cornell acquired troves of source material from bookstalls, antique stores, sporting good and department stores, hardware stores, and magazine and record shops. He kept boxes and files of material on admired individuals, such as actresses, artists, dancers, and singers, as well as on art projects or thematic "explorations." Files are on general topics such as American history, scientific phenomena, animals, plants, and humankind, as well as on series of artworks, such as "Castles," "Homage to the Romantic Ballet," and "Medici Slot Machines." Focused "exploration" projects include "Celestial Theatre," "Colombier," "GC 44," and "Switzerland," among others. Materials include photographs, photostats, maps, book fragments, autographed letters, notes, collage clippings and cutouts, collected prints and engravings, box and collage fragments, and scattered artifacts.

Collected ephemera includes large amounts of blank postcards and greeting cards, stamps, collected bus and train tickets, food labels and packaging, decals, and other materials. Artifacts are three-dimensional collected objects and source objects, which include found objects from the streets, dried flowers, and pieces of nature gathered from walks around his neighborhood. Cornell may have gathered materials because they inspired a memory or nostalgic feeling, or because they fit with a bin of other similar objects to select from for an artwork in progress.

Photographs found within the collection are of Cornell at work and as a child with family. Also found are assorted personal and family photographs, photographs of Cornell's attic and garage storage, and photographs of his Utopia Parkway house. Photographs of artwork include few installation photographs, in addition to photographs of Cornell's boxes and collages. Collected photographic materials include vintage photographs, such as tintypes, a cyanotype, stereoscopic glass slides, albumen prints, cabinet cards, and cartes-de-visite. Cornell also collected cased photographs, such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and one opalotype. Negatives and photostats were often produced from various prints and even other photographs and used in Cornell's boxes and collages. Images are of men and women, actors, authors, dancers, performers, well-known men and women, royalty, places, and artwork. Photographs of note include those by Hans Namuth of Willem and Lisa de Kooning and of Edward Hopper's bedroom; photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson; a photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron; photographs by Brassai; and a photogravure by Alfred Stieglitz from "Camerawork."

Also found in the collection are works of art by others, including a sketch by Pavel Tchelitchew, as well as artwork by Cornell, such as unfinished collages, Rorschach drawings or ink blots, and childhood artwork. Printed material includes assorted bulletins, flyers, exhibition materials for other artists, journals, and sent printed membership and charity materials. Magazines, including "View," are also included, and often have annotations by Cornell or a note to "cut" or "review" with page numbers. A large amount of magazine and newspaper clippings are in the collection, sometimes collected with a group of like material by Cornell, and at other times simply gathered in heaps. Occasional annotations are also found on the clippings.

Cornell's personal library and book collection includes over 2500 titles, ranging from fiction, poetry, and cinema, to history, science, and travel. Notable among the titles are "Baedeker's" travel guides that Cornell often sourced for his "Hotel" box series, as well as an influential publication by Max Ernst, "La Femme 100 têtes," which includes a typed letter and exhibition flyer tucked within. Books often have annotations, some fairly extensive, by Cornell, and assorted collected items, notes, and correspondence tucked between pages. Pages were often cut by Cornell, either to make photostats and use in a box, or to file with other thematic "explorations." A wide range of authors and topics provide insight into Cornell's interests and to ideas behind artwork and diary notes. Cornell's collection of record albums includes over 145 records. These contain inserted notes and clippings and are often referenced in diary notes Cornell made, noting a recent album or song listened to while at work in his studio.

The papers of Cornell's mother, Helen Storms Cornell, and his brother, Robert Cornell, are also included in the collection. Both lived with Cornell his whole life, spending the most time with him at their home at 3708 Utopia Parkway. Financial materials document shared responsibilities for billing, utilities, household fixes and chores, and expenditures, and Helen kept detailed financial records in a series of ledgers. Robert notes when he borrowed money from Cornell, or when he means to pay Cornell back for the purchase of a typewriter. Activities documented in diaries also occasionally cross paths with Cornell, noting his visitors or an exchange of letters continued after introductions through Cornell. Personal activities, such as Robert's interest in his train collection and his drawing projects and cartoon series, are also documented.
Arrangement:
The Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection is arranged into 15 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-1972 (Boxes 1, 98, OV118; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1813, 1934-circa 1973 (Boxes 1-8, 86; 6.5 linear feet)

Series 3: Diaries and Notes, 1940-1976 (Boxes 8-10, 98-99, 135, OV108, OV119; 3.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Personal Business and Estate Records, 1950-1978 (Boxes 10-14; 4.1 linear feet)

Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1932-1973 (Box 14; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Film Projects and Collected Film Materials, circa 1924-1972 (Boxes 14-16, 100, 133; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Writing and Design Projects, circa 1910s, 1936-1962 (Boxes 16-18, 86, 100, 131-132, OV109-OV111, OV120-OV122; 3.6 linear feet)

Series 8: Source Material, 1750-circa 1911, 1926-1972 (Boxes 19-49, 86-92, 96, 100-105, 126-130, 132-137, OV112-OV115, OV125; 42.2 linear feet)

Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera, 1768, circa 1839-1972 (Boxes 49-52; 3.2 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1800s-1972 (Boxes 52-56, 80-86, 93, 106, 128, 133, OV116, OV123-OV124; 7.5 linear feet)

Series 11: Artwork, circa 1810-1972 (Boxes 56-57, 107, OV117; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 12: Printed Material, 1855-1972 (Boxes 57-76, 94-96, 107; 16 linear feet)

Series 13: Book Collection and Personal Library, 1722-1980 (99.8 linear feet)

Series 14: Record Album Collection, circa 1925-1974 (3.2 linear feet)

Series 15: Cornell Family Papers, 1910-1980 (Boxes 77-79, 97, 107; 3.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a self-taught assemblage and collage artist, and filmmaker, active in New York City. He was born in Nyack, New York on December 24, 1903, and died of heart failure at his home in Queens, New York on December 29, 1972. The oldest of four children, he was born Joseph I. Cornell to his mother, Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), and his father, Joseph I. Cornell (1875-1917). Cornell had two younger sisters, Elizabeth ("Betty") Cornell Benton (1905-2000) and Helen ("Sissy") Cornell Jagger (1906-2001), as well as one brother, Robert Cornell (1910-1965), who had cerebral palsy.

Cornell attended the Phillips Academy, a preparatory boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, beginning shortly after his father's death in 1917. He attended for four years but did not receive a diploma, and soon began work as a textile salesman for the William Whitman Company in Manhattan. His work took him, by foot, through the city, visiting secondhand bookshops on Fourth Avenue, browsing music stores and magazine shops, and catching early shows at the Metropolitan Opera House. He would occasionally wait outside the stage doors for favorite singers and dancers to emerge, requesting signatures on photographs or bits of costumes.

Around 1926, Cornell joined the Christian Science Church, joined by his brother Robert shortly thereafter, and both continued to be lifelong members. Cornell kept a number of books in his personal library on Christian Science teachings and regularly subscribed to "The Christian Science Monitor."

After living in several rental houses in Bayside, New York, Cornell's mother purchased a house for the family in 1929 in Flushing, Queens. Cornell, along with his mother and brother, would live at 3708 Utopia Parkway, for the rest of their lives. His two sisters soon married and moved away, eventually settling in Westhampton, Long Island and in the poultry-farming business.

With no formal art training to speak of, Cornell's first work was a Max Ernst-inspired collage, "Untitled (Schooner)," created in 1931. He was especially inspired by Ernst's collage novel, "La Femme 100 têtes," published in 1929. French artist Odilon Redon was also among the few artists Cornell named as an influence on his art. His first sculptural works were small, cardboard pill boxes with bits of ephemera, costume adornments, and nature hidden inside. Cornell also created a series of glass bell jar works, placing small trinkets and Victorian-era-like compositions within. It was these early collages and bell jar works that were included in Cornell's debut exhibition, "Surréalisme" (January 9-29, 1932), a group show at the Julien Levy Gallery. Cornell designed the announcement for the show and exhibited alongside Max Ernst, Man Ray, Pierre Roy, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Eugène Atget, George Platt Lynes, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí. Months later, Cornell was invited to have his first solo show, "Objects by Joseph Cornell: Minutiae, Glass Bells, Shadow Boxes, Coups d'Oeil, Jouets Surréalistes" (November 26-December 30, 1932), also at the Julien Levy Gallery.

In 1932, after eleven years of work, Cornell was laid off from the William Whitman Company due to the Great Depression. Soon after, he took on more responsibility in the church, working part-time as an attendant in the Christian Science Reading Room in Great Neck, New York. Beginning in 1933, he taught Sunday school classes for three years and in 1935, became the Sunday school librarian. However, his religious activities and artistic ventures continued to remain separate.

In the early 1930s, Cornell progressed from movie lover to filmmaker. When Julien Levy began his New York Film Society in 1933, holding screenings of various experimental films in the gallery, Cornell began buying and collecting films and film stills in earnest. He set up a 16-millimeter projector in his home to screen favorites, such as those by Georges Méliès, D.W. Griffith, and Louis Feuillade. His collection quickly grew to over 2,500 film stills and several hundred films, and included silent era films, such as nature documentaries, goofy newsreels, travelogues, early cartoons, and slapstick comedies, as well as several feature films. In 1933, Cornell wrote a screenplay, or "scenario," entitled "Monsieur Phot." Between 1935 and 1937, Cornell also occasionally created publicity photomontages for Universal and Columbia studios. Of the nearly thirty films Cornell created, periods of activity can generally be separated into two areas: collage films of the late 1930s, consisting of combined elements from films in his own collection, and films he directed in the 1950s, which were collaborations with other filmmakers set in New York City. "Rose Hobart," Cornell's most celebrated collage film, was created and shown in the Julien Levy Gallery in 1936 and includes clipped footage from "East of Borneo." Later films were directed and filmed with cinematographers Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burckhardt, and Larry Jordan.

In 1934, Cornell began a job at the Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio as a "textile designer," a job he held for six years. Continuing to work at his kitchen table in the evenings, Cornell completed his first assemblage box construction, "Untitled (Soap Bubble Set)," in 1936. It was first exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art's show, "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism" (December 9, 1936-January 17, 1937). This work was also the first to be acquired by a museum, purchased for $60.00 by the Wadsworth Atheneum in Massachusetts in 1938. Cornell's European debut was also in 1938, as one of three Americans represented in the "Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme" (January 17-Febuary 24, 1938) at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris, alongside Man Ray and Anne Clark.

At the end of 1939, Cornell began corresponding with poet Charles Henri Ford, founder of avant-garde magazine "View," Pavel Tchelitchew, and Parker Tyler. After his "Soap Bubble Sets," this period saw the development of Cornell's homages to singers and actresses, including "Untitled (Fortune-Telling Parrot for Carmen Miranda)," the destroyed "Garbo (Greta Garbo in the Legendary Film 'The Crystal Mask,' c. 1845)," and "Dressing Room for Gilles." He also began using photostats of art reproduction prints, as with the print of Jean Antoine-Watteau's painting, "Pierrot" (circa 1719), used in his "Gilles" box.

In the 1940s, the Romantic ballet emerged as Cornell's new topic of interest. Through his friend Pavel Tchelitchew, Cornell was introduced to the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet founders, Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine. Cornell collected dance memorabilia and had a great love of the Romantic ballet. His favorite dancers were primarily ballerinas of the nineteenth century, including Fanny Cerrito, Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler, Lucille Grahn, and Carlotta Grisi. Cornell's "Homage to the Romantic Ballet" works largely took the shape of jewel-box style wooden boxes with glass overlays and included bits of velvet, tulle, sequins, crystals, and chiffon, occasionally collected from dancers themselves. His most well-known work of this series is "Taglioni's Jewel Casket" (1940). Cornell also admired several living ballet dancers, including Tamara Toumanova, Zizi Jeanmaire, and Allegra Kent, who would all make their way into Cornell's box works and/or collages. Collecting for the "exploration," "Portrait of Ondine," Cornell's cased portfolio dedication to Fanny Cerrito and her role in the ballet "Ondine," began in the 1940s, though not completed until around 1960.

In late 1940, Cornell quit his job at Traphagen to concentrate on freelance commercial magazine design and editorial work during the day and his artwork at night. That same year, Charles Henri Ford started "View" magazine to promote Surrealists and Neo-Romantics in New York City and often asked Cornell to contribute. Published in the December 1941-January 1942 issue, one of his early contributions was a collage dedication to stage actress Hedy Lamarr: "Enchanted Wanderer: Excerpt from a Journey Album for Hedy Lamarr" (1941). Along with writing the accompanying text, he created a photomontage of Lamarr with her face overlaying the painted portrait of a Renaissance boy by Italian painter Giorgione. Peggy Guggenheim, at the advice of Marcel Duchamp, purchased multiple Cornell works prior to opening her new gallery, Art of This Century. Cornell also befriended Roberto Matta Echaurren, another Surrealist living in exile, who introduced him to Robert Motherwell.

After deciding to fully dedicate his time to his art in early 1940, he set up a studio in his basement. Complete with floor-to-ceiling wooden shelving, he kept his large collection of boxed source material stacked with handwritten labels in cardboard boxes. Themed folders of materials such as "Stamps" or "Maps" were kept in stacks and works in progress and finished works were stored in the basement, garage, and attic. Entering a renewed period of productivity, Cornell embarked on many new and important box projects in 1942. One of the first boxes created in his new basement studio, and the first of the "Penny Arcade" or "Medici Slot Machine" series, was "Medici Slot Machine" (1942), which includes a photostat of "Portrait of Marquess Massimiliano Stampa" (1557) by Sofonisba Anguissola. Another work from this time is the first of his "Castle" or "Palace" series, "Setting for a Fairy Tale" (1942), which uses a photostat of a French building from Jacques Androuet du Cerceau's book, "Les Plus excellents bastiments de France" (1576). "Untitled (Pharmacy)" (circa 1942) was the first of his "Pharmacy" series and included twenty-two apothecary jars. Cornell tended to work in series and created thirteen "Palace" boxes between 1942 and 1951, and ultimately created six "Pharmacy" works.

In 1943, Cornell began working at an electronics company, the Allied Control Company, Inc., to do his part to contribute to the defense effort during the war. He also sent correspondence and care packages to displaced Europeans, who listed their needs in "The Christian Science Monitor." Influenced by World War II, one of his strongest works to emerge in 1943 was "Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery." Another notable work to come out of this period, "The Crystal Cage (Portrait of Berenice)," was an excerpt from one of his album "explorations" that was published in the January 1943 issue of "View."

Cornell left his job at Allied Control in 1944, but soon began working at the Garden Centre in Flushing, owned by a fellow Christian Scientist. Cornell was often nostalgic for this time in his life, devoting an entire "exploration" of material fondly remembered as "GC 44." He rode a bicycle to work and enjoyed collecting trips gathering dried grasses, driftwood, shells, and other relics of nature on the same bicycle as he rode through the streets of Queens. During this time, he continued to tend to his projects for "Dance Index," a magazine founded in 1942 by Lincoln Kirstein, but taken over by Donald Windham in 1944. Cornell designed several covers for the magazine and was given control of the entire summer 1944 issue, which he devoted to the Romantic ballet. He also devoted a special 1945 issue to Hans Christian Andersen, making great use of the New York Public Library Picture Collection.

Throughout the 1940s, Cornell continued to support himself with commercial design work for magazines like "Vogue," "Good Housekeeping," "Harper's Bazaar," "Town & Country," and "Mademoiselle." In 1946, after thirteen years at the Julien Levy Gallery, he joined the Hugo Gallery. In December 1946, Cornell's solo exhibition, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women by Joseph Cornell," celebrated his favorite movie stars, singers, and ballet dancers, and included his work created for the show, "Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)." Cornell's "Greta Garbo" box, as well as "Souvenir for Singleton," an homage to Jennifer Jones and her role in the film "Love Letters," were also included in the show. In late 1948, his West Coast debut was in the exhibition, "Objects by Joseph Cornell," held at the Copley Gallery. The end of the 1940s saw the final issue of "View" magazine in 1947, the closure of the Julien Levy Gallery in April 1949, and Cornell's departure from the Hugo Gallery after his last show in November 1949.

In late 1949, Cornell joined the Charles Egan Gallery, known primarily for showing Abstract Expressionists. At this time, Cornell was working on a new series of boxes known as his "Aviary" works, most of which include a white-painted box with cutouts of birds mounted on wood. Though he had worked on bird-related boxes before, including an "Owl" series in the mid-1940s, his "Fortune Telling Parrot" (1939), and "Object 1941" (1941), these newer works were stripped of French elements and left "clean and abstract" by design. His first show at the Egan Gallery, "Aviary by Joseph Cornell" (December 7, 1949-January 7, 1950), included twenty-six "Aviary" works, nearly all created in 1949. Donald Windham agreed to write the foreword for the exhibition catalog, a single folded sheet, and Cornell gave him one of the boxes in the show, "Cockatoo: Keepsake Parakeet," in appreciation. Through the Egan Gallery, Cornell became friends with a new group of artists, including Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov, and Willem de Kooning. Cornell also held two screenings of a selection of his collected films at Subjects of the Artist, an art school founded by Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, David Hare, and William Baziotes.

In 1950, Cornell's second show at the Egan Gallery, "Night Songs and Other New Work" (December 1, 1950-January 13, 1951), introduced his new "Observatory" series. These works are largely defined by stark, whitewashed spaces with astronomical charts and constellations replacing colorful birds. The Museum of Modern Art purchased its first Cornell work from this show in early 1951, "Central Park Carrousel, in Memoriam" (1950).

For three months in 1951, Cornell was beset by various ailments and had trouble finding the energy to create new work. He worried more for his aging mother and the health of his brother. After a monthlong vacation with his sisters in Westhampton, he returned with renewed interest in Emily Dickinson's poetry. His whitewashed boxes took on a new form in his newest "Dovecote" series, using grids and circular cutouts. The works then transformed into homages to Dickinson, notably "Toward the Blue Peninsula: For Emily Dickinson" (circa 1953), and then to his "Hotel" series. Cornell's "Hotel" boxes include photostats of vintage European ads for hotels collected from vintage travel guides, especially "Baedeker's," adhered to the back walls of the boxes. Another new series of work, his "Juan Gris" series, was dedicated to Cubist artist Juan Gris. Between 1953 and the mid-1960s, Cornell created at least fifteen "Juan Gris" boxes, which often include a cutout of a white cockatoo in a Cubist-collage habitat. Cornell's third and last show at Egan Gallery, "Night Voyage" (February 10-March 28, 1953), included some of these newest works. After leaving Egan Gallery, his work was introduced to Chicago collectors in a solo show at the Frumkin Gallery, "Joseph Cornell: 10 Years of His Art" (April 10-May 7, 1953), which included nearly thirty pieces. Cornell's first museum retrospective was this same show held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (July 12-August 30, 1953).

As New York City continued to change, Cornell grew more nostalgic for the city he had explored since the 1920s. The impending closure of the Third Avenue El train prompted him to dream up a film project to capture its last days, resulting in "Gnir Rednow," a reworking of Stan Brakhage's 1955, "Wonder Ring." During this time, Cornell joined the Stable Gallery, run by Eleanor Ward, interacting often with Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Joan Mitchell, remaining there until the end of the 1950s. His astronomy-themed exhibition, "Winter Night Skies" (December 12, 1955-January 13, 1956), included his "Night Skies" series of work with celestial chart fragments, Greek mythological figures, and paint-splattered "windows" representative of star-filled night skies. In 1956, he became aware of ballerina Allegra Kent, and began a series of work devoted to her, the first of which was "Via Parmigianino (Villa Allegra)" (1956), which included a photostat of a painting by Parmigianino, "The Madonna of the Long Neck" (circa 1540). In late 1957, after two years, Cornell had his last show at Stable Gallery, "Joseph Cornell: Selected Works" (December 2-31, 1957), consisting of a series of "Sand Fountain" boxes and "Space Object" or "Celestial Navigation" works. The "Sand Fountain" boxes included different colors of sand meant to flow within, often from the tops into cordial glasses. His "Celestial Navigations" included galaxy-like compositions set within the boxes, with rolling, painted cork balls, metal rings, and constellation charts, sometimes hovering over cordial glasses or clay pipes. This last Stable Gallery show earned him his first published profile, written by Howard Griffin for the December 1957 issue of "Art News." Also in 1957, he won the Kohnstamm Prize for Construction at the Art Institute of Chicago's 62rd Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture.

Towards the end of the 1950s, Cornell spent less time creating new bodies of work, and focused more on revisiting previous series and reviewing piles of collected source material. In 1959, Cornell returned to making collages, frequently sourcing popular magazines. In December 1959, Cornell was awarded $1,500 for his "Orion" collage, entered in the Art Institute of Chicago's "63rd American Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture." Also in December, he was offered a show at Bennington College in Vermont, which he titled, "Bonitas Solstitialis: Selected Works by Joseph Cornell and an exploration of the Colombier" (November 20-December 15, 1959). The show included one of his newest "explorations" of collected material related to "colombier," or pigeon houses.

By 1962, Cornell was working diligently on new collages, using Masonite boards and colorful magazine clippings. He also began creating collages using nude images interspersed with constellation clippings or hazy blue dyes. As in previous decades and art movements, Cornell became acquainted with new artists, spending less time in the city and more time hosting visitors at his Utopia Parkway home. Visitors included artists Walter De Maria, Robert Whitman, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Robert Indiana. Tony Curtis also became a frequent visitor and friend, introduced by Richard Feigen in 1964. The early 1960s was also the first time Cornell put out an advertisement for assistants in the "Long Island Star-Journal," employing a number of young men and women who helped organize clippings and run errands. Cornell also met Joyce Hunter, a young runaway waitress at a city coffee shop, who would occupy his thoughts and diary notes for the next several years. When she was murdered at the end of 1964, Cornell paid for her funeral. He went on to make several "Penny Arcade" collages in memoriam to her, including, "Penny Arcade (re-autumnal)" (1964).

In 1964, Cornell began friendships with several women including artist Carolee Schneeman, who was his first assistant in the early 1960s. He also met artist Yayoi Kusama through art dealer Gertrude Stein. After becoming friends, she visited him often and they exchanged letters and notes. As he did with other artist friends, Cornell supported her by purchasing several of her early watercolor paintings, and they stayed connected until his death in 1972.

Cornell's life greatly changed in 1965 with the death of his brother, Robert. By this time, his mother lived with his sister in Long Island, and Cornell was alone in the Utopia Parkway house for the first time. He exchanged frequent letters and phone calls with his mother and devoted much time to thinking about Robert and Joyce, often aligning them in his diary notations. Cornell also created a series of collages dedicated to his brother's memory, incorporating photostats of Robert's hundreds of drawings into Cornell's work, as with the later collage, "The Heart on the Sleeve" (1972). Cornell's "Time Transfixed" series of collages were also dedications to Robert's memory, referencing Magritte and Robert's love of trains. He mounted an exhibition, "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition" (January 4-29, 1966), at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, where he showed Robert's artwork alongside his newly created collage dedications.

After Robert's death, Cornell relied more heavily on assistants, going through many part-time "helpers." In October 1966, Cornell's mother died, adding her to his constant thoughts and diaries. Though he was still grieving, he was given two major retrospectives in 1967. The first was at the Pasadena Art Museum, put on by James Demetrion and Walter Hopps, "An Exhibiton of Works by Joseph Cornell" (January 9-February 11, 1967). The second retrospective was at the Guggenheim Museum just three months later, "Joseph Cornell" (May 4-June 35, 1967), organized by Diane Waldman. After these shows, he was highlighted in the December 15, 1967 issue of "Life" in the article, "The Enigmatic Bachelor of Utopia Parkway."

In 1968, Cornell was given an "award of merit," which included a medal and $1,000, by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He was also given a medal and $1,000 by the Brandeis University Creative Arts Awards in the painting category, along with an exhibition. Days later, "The New York Times" announced Cornell the winner, along with Donald Judd, of India's first Triennale of Contemporary World Art. The Brandeis exhibition, "Boxes and Collages by Joseph Cornell" (May 20-June 23, 1968), was organized by William Seitz and concentrated on Cornell's more recent 1960s collages. Cornell was also included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's hundredth anniversary show, "New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940 to 1970" (October 18, 1969-February 1, 1970), where twenty-two of Cornell's boxes were shown in their own gallery. At the end of 1970, Cornell was given a solo show at the Metropolitan, "Collages by Joseph Cornell" (December 10, 1970-January 24, 1971), which included forty-five of his newest collages.

Now preferring to stay closer to his home in Flushing, Cornell was more interested in sharing his art with young adults and children, than an adult audience. He hosted a group of high school students, sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's education department, at his home in conjunction with his collage show (1970-1971). He also showed his work in the art department of Queens College of the City University of New York. Cornell still hosted visitors on occasion, having Yoko Ono and John Lennon at his home at least once. Leila Hadley, Betsy von Furstenberg, and Anne Jackson also made frequent visits. With his deteriorating health, Cornell worried about what would happen to his work after his death and hired lawyer Harry Torczyner to help him plan his estate and get his affairs in order.

In 1972, Cornell had a show at the Cooper Union, a college in New York, specifically for children. He displayed his boxes and collages at child-height and had cherry soda and brownies at the opening reception on February 10. He then held a show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, also for children: "Children's Preview of the Exhibition of Joseph Cornell – Collages and Boxes (April 18-June 17, 1972). In the winter of 1972, at the request of the Phoenix House drug treatment and prevention program, Cornell contributed to a charity project compiling limited-edition lithographic prints for a portfolio, which included artists like David Hockney, James Rosenquist, and Ellsworth Kelly.

On December 29, 1972, a week after turning sixty-nine, Cornell died of heart failure at his home. He was cremated and interred near the graves of his mother, father, and brother, overlooking the Hudson River in Nyack, New York.

Works Cited:

1. Hartigan, Lynda Roscoe. "Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination." New Haven, Connecticut and London: Yale University Press, 2007. Exhibition Catalog.

2. McShine, Kynaston. "Joseph Cornell." New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1980.

3. San Francisco Cinematheque and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Joseph Cornell: Films." 2007. Exhibition Program. (Presented in conjunction with SFMOMA's exhibition of "Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination").

4. Schaffner, Ingrid and Lisa Jacobs. "Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery." Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The MIT Press, 1998.

5. Solomon, Deborah. "Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell." New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997.
Separated Materials:
The Smithsonian Archives of American Art houses the Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972.
Provenance:
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection was donated to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Joseph Cornell's sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth Cornell Benton and John A. Benton, in 1978, which prompted the creation of the Joseph Cornell Study Center. Additional materials were donated in installments by the artist's estate, the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, from 1985 to 1997. Elizabeth and John A. Benton originally donated 66 linear feet of three-dimensional and non-textual source material and 50 linear feet of books to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, which were subsequently transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Joseph Cornell Study Center in 1994 and 1995.
Restrictions:
Access to the collection requires an advanced appointment. Contact collection staff at least two weeks prior to preferred date, at AmericanArtCornellStudy@si.edu.

Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera, Series 13: Personal Library and Book Collection, and Series 14: Record Album Collection, are still undergoing processing and preservation and may not be available for research use. Record albums are unavailable for playback. Contact collection staff for full lists of publications and record albums.
Rights:
Unpublished materials are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
Occupation:
Collagists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Assemblage (Art)  Search this
Assemblage artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Found objects (Art)  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Celebrities  Search this
Filmmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1900-1950 -- Photoprints -- Silver gelatin
Photographs -- 1860-1870 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver albumen -- Cartes-de-visite
Photographs -- Daguerreotypes -- 1840-1860
Citation:
Joseph Cornell Study Center collection, 1750-1980, bulk 1930-1972. Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Identifier:
SAAM.JCSC.1
See more items in:
Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Research and Scholars Center
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ih7d97fc249-474d-41bf-953d-5305df1e4c06
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-saam-jcsc-1

Unidentified Woman Holding Child, Framed

Collection Artist:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Container:
Box OBJ
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents:
Note on verso by Joseph Cornell: "Patty Duke."
Collection Restrictions:
Access to the collection requires an advanced appointment. Contact collection staff at least two weeks prior to preferred date, at AmericanArtCornellStudy@si.edu.

Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera, Series 13: Personal Library and Book Collection, and Series 14: Record Album Collection, are still undergoing processing and preservation and may not be available for research use. Record albums are unavailable for playback. Contact collection staff for full lists of publications and record albums.
Collection Rights:
Unpublished materials are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
Collection Citation:
Joseph Cornell Study Center collection, 1750-1980, bulk 1930-1972. Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
See more items in:
Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection
Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection / Series 10: Photographic Material / 10.3: Collected Photographs and Source Images
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Research and Scholars Center
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ih79e8a3817-b33a-4c06-9b5f-d48707af5ec3
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-saam-jcsc-1-ref4295

Cornell, Joseph

Collection Creator:
Stable Gallery  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 28
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1954-1968
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk 1953-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Stable Gallery records
Stable Gallery records / Series 2: Artist Files
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9469f375b-3d7d-429f-8312-2d69d561306d
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-stabgall-ref29
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Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972

Creator:
Cornell, Joseph, 1903-1972  Search this
Subject:
Benton, Elizabeth Cornell  Search this
Cornell, Robert  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Citation:
Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Celebrities  Search this
Assemblage (Art)  Search this
Found objects (Art)  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Assemblage artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5790
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208629
AAA_collcode_cornjose
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208629
Online Media:

Dore Ashton papers, circa 1928-2014

Creator:
Ashton, Dore, 1928-2017  Search this
Subject:
Adley, James  Search this
Adams, Pat  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Albee, Edward  Search this
Hiss, Alger  Search this
Howes, Barbara  Search this
Guston, Philip  Search this
Hellman, Lillian  Search this
Lindner, Richard  Search this
Malamud, Bernard  Search this
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Licht, Fred  Search this
Moy, Seong  Search this
Mumford, Lewis  Search this
Miró, Joan  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Vasilikos, Vasilēs  Search this
Yunkers, Adja  Search this
Reuterswärd, Carl Fredrik  Search this
Sterne, Hedda  Search this
Tinguely, Jean  Search this
Borges, Jacopo Luis  Search this
Congdon, Dennis  Search this
Herbert, George  Search this
Oldenburg, Claes  Search this
Giacometti, Alberto  Search this
Guidieri, Remo  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard  Search this
Driskell, David C.  Search this
Berthot, Jake  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Arnheim, Rudolf  Search this
Avedon, Richard  Search this
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art  Search this
New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Yale University  Search this
Type:
Diaries
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Citation:
Dore Ashton papers, circa 1928-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Women art critics  Search this
Women art historians  Search this
Women authors  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Art criticism  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Artists -- United States  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Research and writing about art  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5858
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208698
AAA_collcode_ashtdore
Theme:
Women
Research and writing about art
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208698
Online Media:

Fritz Bultman papers, 1928-2010

Creator:
Bultman, Fritz, 1919-1985  Search this
Subject:
Kees, Weldon  Search this
Krasner, Lee  Search this
Hofmann, Maria  Search this
Windham, Donald  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Vevers, Tony  Search this
Simon, Sidney  Search this
Hofmann, Hans  Search this
Drexler, Sherman  Search this
Graham, John  Search this
Cicero, Carmen  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Boghosian, Varujan  Search this
Bultman, Jeanne  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Manso, Leo  Search this
Newman, Annette  Search this
Ponsold, Renate  Search this
Ossorio, Alfonso  Search this
Rothschild, Judith  Search this
Reynal, Jeanne  Search this
Smith, Tony  Search this
Fromboluti, Sideo  Search this
Sills, Thomas  Search this
Speyer, Nora  Search this
Newman, Barnett  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Interviews
Paintings
Drawings
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Citation:
Fritz Bultman papers, 1928-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6839
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208966
AAA_collcode_bultfrit
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208966
Online Media:

Allen Memorial Art Museum records, 1916-1967

Creator:
Allen Memorial Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard  Search this
Morris, Robert  Search this
Oldenburg, Claes  Search this
Olney, Charles F. (Charles Fayette)  Search this
Ward, Clarence  Search this
Wiley, William T.  Search this
Citation:
Allen Memorial Art Museum records, 1916-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art patronage  Search this
Theme:
Art organizations  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6949
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209078
AAA_collcode_allememo
Theme:
Art organizations
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209078

Eva Lee Gallery records, 1921-1973

Creator:
Eva Lee Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Hartley, Marsden  Search this
Simpson, Merton D. (Merton Daniel)  Search this
Loewe, Frederick  Search this
Neumann, J. B. (Jsrael Ber)  Search this
Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff  Search this
Valentin, Curt  Search this
Mommer, Paul  Search this
Feininger, Lyonel  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques  Search this
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Odets, Clifford  Search this
Weber, Max  Search this
Vasarely, Victor  Search this
Indiana, Robert  Search this
Christo  Search this
Hopkins, John  Search this
Lee, Eva  Search this
Magritte, René  Search this
Lieberman, Harry  Search this
Corinth, Lovis  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dalí, Salvador  Search this
Nesbitt, Lowell  Search this
Grosz, George  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Benn, Ben  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart  Search this
Marin, John  Search this
Calder, Alexander  Search this
New Art Circle (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Korvettes  Search this
Type:
Watercolor drawings
Photographs
Citation:
Eva Lee Gallery records, 1921-1973. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Theme:
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Art Market  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8866
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211051
AAA_collcode_evalee
Theme:
Art Gallery Records
Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211051
Online Media:

Rose Fried Gallery Records, 1936-1972, bulk 1945-1970

Creator:
Rose Fried Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Kandinsky, Wassily  Search this
Mondrian, Piet  Search this
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton  Search this
Xceron, Jean  Search this
Fried, Rose  Search this
Baertling, Olle  Search this
Hendler, Raymond  Search this
Torres-García, Joaquín  Search this
Cunningham, Ben  Search this
Richter, Hans  Search this
Delaunay, Sonia  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Morgan, Russell  Search this
Ferren, John  Search this
Picabia, Francis  Search this
Etrog, Sorel  Search this
Pinacotheca Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Rose Fried Gallery Records, 1936-1972, bulk 1945-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Hispanic American artists  Search this
Art, Abstract  Search this
Theme:
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Art Market  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5539
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211103
AAA_collcode_rosefrig
Theme:
Art Gallery Records
Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211103
Online Media:

William Nelson Copley papers, 1948-1967

Creator:
Copley, William Nelson, 1919-1996  Search this
Subject:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel  Search this
Ernst, Max  Search this
Magritte, René  Search this
Matta  Search this
Ray, Man  Search this
Tanguy, Yves  Search this
Copley Galleries (Beverly Hills, Calif.)  Search this
Citation:
William Nelson Copley papers, 1948-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Surrealism  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9393
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211590
AAA_collcode_coplwill
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211590

Robert Strong Woodward letters and papers, 1890-1985

Creator:
Woodward, Robert Strong, 1885-1957  Search this
Subject:
Woodward, Robert Strong  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Robert Strong Woodward letters and papers, 1890-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9535
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211734
AAA_collcode_woodrobe
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211734

Katharine Kuh papers, 1875-1994, bulk 1930-1994

Creator:
Kuh, Katharine, 1904-1994  Search this
Subject:
Johns, Jasper  Search this
Guggenheim, Peggy  Search this
Feitelson, Lorser  Search this
Falkenstein, Claire  Search this
Davis, Stuart  Search this
Elizabeth, Queen of Great Britain, II  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László  Search this
Millier, Arthur  Search this
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig  Search this
O'Higgins, Pablo  Search this
Nutting, Myron Chester  Search this
Nutting, Muriel Leone Tyler  Search this
Mérida, Carlos  Search this
Perkins, Frances  Search this
Ozbekhan, Hasan  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente  Search this
Calder, Alexander  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S. (Louise Stevenson)  Search this
Rich, Daniel Catton  Search this
Ray, Man  Search this
Biddle, George  Search this
Pollack, Peter  Search this
Seligmann, Kurt  Search this
Shackelford, Shelby  Search this
Sandberg, Carl  Search this
Putnam, Wallace  Search this
Sterne, Hedda  Search this
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Spaeth, Otto  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Winston, Harry Lewis  Search this
Barnet, Will  Search this
Still, Clyfford  Search this
Tanning, Dorothea  Search this
Woolf, Olga  Search this
Young, Victor  Search this
Goto, Joseph  Search this
Golub, Leon  Search this
Graves, Robert  Search this
Grabe, Klaus  Search this
Giacometti, Alberto  Search this
Friendly, Fred W.  Search this
Hirshhorn, Joseph  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William  Search this
Hélion, Jean  Search this
Hofmann, Hans  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr.  Search this
Hare, Denise Browne  Search this
Hare, David  Search this
Kandinsky, Wassily  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy  Search this
Kepes, Juliet  Search this
Inverarity, Robert Bruce  Search this
Johnson, Philip  Search this
Johnson, Ray  Search this
Le Corbusier  Search this
Lundeberg, Helen  Search this
Lye, Len  Search this
Léger, Fernand  Search this
Klee, Paul  Search this
Kline, Franz  Search this
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing)  Search this
Knox, Seymour H.  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander  Search this
Albright, Ivan  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Adams, Ansel  Search this
Guston, Philip  Search this
Arp, Jean  Search this
Arensberg, Walter  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Picasso, Pablo  Search this
Cox, Richard  Search this
Rothko, Mark  Search this
Chavez Morado, José  Search this
Chermayeff, Serge  Search this
Campoli, Cosmo  Search this
Chagall, Marc  Search this
Breuer, Marcel  Search this
Ernst, Jimmy  Search this
Dubuffet, Jean  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel  Search this
De Kooning, Willem  Search this
Dickinson, Edwin Walter  Search this
Day, Worden  Search this
Katharine Kuh Gallery (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Albright-Knox Art Gallery  Search this
Biennale di Venezia  Search this
Type:
Illustrated letters
Resumes
Travel diaries
Minutes
Calendars
Visitors' books
Photographs
Paintings
Awards
Drawings
Sound recordings
Collages
Scrapbooks
Lithographs
Prints
Wills
Watercolors
Poetry
Lecture notes
Lectures
Sales records
Citation:
Katharine Kuh papers, 1875-1994, bulk 1930-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art, Abstract -- United States  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Women art dealers  Search this
Women art historians  Search this
Women museum curators  Search this
Women authors  Search this
Women art critics  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Research and writing about art  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9951
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212503
AAA_collcode_kuhkath
Theme:
Women
Art Gallery Records
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Research and writing about art
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_212503
Online Media:

Patricia Jordan papers, 1870

Creator:
Jordan, Patricia M., 1937-1989  Search this
Subject:
Berman, Wallace  Search this
Jordan, Larry  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Jess  Search this
Duncan, Robert Edward  Search this
Brakhage, Stan  Search this
Snyder, Gary  Search this
Herms, George  Search this
Anger, Kenneth  Search this
Beattie, Paul  Search this
Type:
Illustrated letters
Mail art
Photographs
Citation:
Patricia Jordan papers, 1870. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Beat generation  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women photographers  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Photography  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10181
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213221
AAA_collcode_jordpatr
Theme:
Women
Photography
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213221
Online Media:

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991

Creator:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Andrejevic, Milet  Search this
Brassaï  Search this
Bell, Leland  Search this
Bailey, William  Search this
Aponovich, James  Search this
Nadelman, Elie  Search this
Myers, Ethel  Search this
Schoelkopf, Robert J.  Search this
Storrs, John Henry Bradley  Search this
Stella, Joseph  Search this
Wiesenfeld, Paul  Search this
Freund, Gisèle  Search this
Horton, William S.  Search this
Ito, Miyoko  Search this
Lachaise, Gaston  Search this
Laderman, Gabriel  Search this
Ligare, David  Search this
Matthiasdottir, Louisa  Search this
Matulka, Jan  Search this
Cameron, Julia Margaret Pattle  Search this
Cartier-Bresson, Henri  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dawson, Manierre  Search this
Driggs, Elsie  Search this
Erlebacher, Martha Mayer  Search this
Evans, Walker  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude  Search this
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Type:
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Citation:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Realism  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Theme:
Photography  Search this
Art Gallery Records  Search this
Art Market  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10988
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)214859
AAA_collcode_robeschg
Theme:
Photography
Art Gallery Records
Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_214859
Online Media:

Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-2015

Creator:
Burckhardt, Rudy  Search this
Subject:
Gross, Chaim  Search this
Frankenthaler, Helen  Search this
Kline, Franz  Search this
Judd, Donald  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy  Search this
Stella, Frank  Search this
Noguchi, Isamu  Search this
Nevelson, Louise  Search this
Rockefeller, David  Search this
Pettet, Simon  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
De Kooning, Willem  Search this
Flavin, Dan  Search this
Richard Green Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Leo Castelli Gallery  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Negatives
Citation:
Rudy Burckhardt papers, 1934-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Photographers  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Filmmakers  Search this
Theme:
Photography  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6366
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215188
AAA_collcode_burcrudy
Theme:
Photography
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215188
Online Media:

Marion Netter materials relating to Joseph Cornell, 1964-1968

Creator:
Netter, Marion  Search this
Subject:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Citation:
Marion Netter materials relating to Joseph Cornell, 1964-1968. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6027
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)236783
AAA_collcode_nettmari
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_236783

Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004

Creator:
Krasne, Belle  Search this
Subject:
Albee, Edward  Search this
Benn, Ben  Search this
Bloom, Claire  Search this
Chelimsky, Oscar  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Arp, Jean  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Bailey, William  Search this
Bazaine, Jean  Search this
Parsons, Estelle  Search this
Pearlstein, Philip  Search this
Lamos, Mark  Search this
Lebrun, Rico  Search this
Krautheimer, Richard  Search this
Salpeter, Harry  Search this
Shapiro, Karl Jay  Search this
Roszak, Theodore  Search this
Saarinen, Eero  Search this
Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff  Search this
Rosenborg, Ralph M.  Search this
Ribicoff, Abraham  Search this
Richardson, Edgar Preston  Search this
Foote, Horton  Search this
Fitzsimmons, James  Search this
Ferren, John  Search this
Dorazio, Virginia Dortch  Search this
Dorazio, Piero  Search this
De Vries, Peter  Search this
D'Harnoncourt, Rene  Search this
Kelly, Ellsworth  Search this
Kazan, Elia  Search this
Holty, Carl  Search this
Greene, Balcomb  Search this
Greenberg, Clement  Search this
Graham, John  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph  Search this
Geist, Sidney  Search this
Frankenthaler, Helen  Search this
Yunkers, Adja  Search this
Van Doren, Mark  Search this
Travers, P. L.(Pamela Lyndon)  Search this
Valentin, Curt  Search this
Soby, James Thrall  Search this
Skinner, Cornelia Otis  Search this
Smith, David  Search this
Morris, George L. K.  Search this
Matisse, Pierre  Search this
Wadsworth Atheneum  Search this
Storm King Art Center  Search this
Type:
Sketches
Drafts (documents)
Photographs
Prints
Illustrated letters
Postcards
Christmas cards
Citation:
Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Research and writing about art  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13705
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)279924
AAA_collcode_krasbell2
Theme:
Women
Research and writing about art
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_279924
Online Media:

Edwin and Lindy Bergman papers, circa 1950-1985

Creator:
Bergman, Edwin, 1917-1986  Search this
Bergman, Lindy, 1918-2014  Search this
Subject:
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Levy, Julien  Search this
Nutt, Jim  Search this
Lam, Wifredo  Search this
Toumanova, Tamara  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Video recordings
Citation:
Edwin and Lindy Bergman papers, circa 1950-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Theme:
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Patronage  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)17355
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)380894
AAA_collcode_bergedlin
Theme:
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Patronage
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_380894

Eve Propp papers regarding Joseph Cornell, 1966-1994

Creator:
Propp, Eve  Search this
Cornell, Joseph, 1903-1972  Search this
Citation:
Eve Propp papers regarding Joseph Cornell, 1966-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Assemblage artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Filmmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)17452
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)387665
AAA_collcode_propeve
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_387665
Online Media:

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records

Creator:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery  Search this
Names:
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Andrejevic, Milet, 1925-1989  Search this
Aponovich, James, 1948-  Search this
Bailey, William, 1930-2020  Search this
Bell, Leland  Search this
Brassaï, 1899-  Search this
Cameron, Julia Margaret Pattle, 1815-1879  Search this
Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dawson, Manierre, 1887-1969  Search this
Driggs, Elsie, 1898-1992  Search this
Erlebacher, Martha Mayer  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude, 1878-1961  Search this
Freund, Gisèle  Search this
Horton, William S., 1865-1936  Search this
Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983  Search this
Lachaise, Gaston, 1882-1935  Search this
Laderman, Gabriel, 1929-  Search this
Ligare, David  Search this
Matthiasdottir, Louisa  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Myers, Ethel  Search this
Nadelman, Elie, 1882-1946  Search this
Schoelkopf, Robert J., 1927-1991  Search this
Stella, Joseph, 1877-1946  Search this
Storrs, John Henry Bradley, 1885-1956  Search this
Wiesenfeld, Paul  Search this
Extent:
29 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Date:
1851-1991
bulk 1962-1991
Summary:
The collection comprises 29 linear feet of records that document the day-to-day administration of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery from 1962 to 1991, with additional items predating the founding of the gallery from 1851 to 1961. The collection records artist and client relations, exhibitions, and daily business transactions through artist files, correspondence, printed matter, and photographic material.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery comprise 29 linear feet of material from 1851 to 1991, with some items predating the founding of the gallery. The bulk of the records date from 1962 to 1991, providing researchers with fairly comprehensive coverage of the gallery's development and operations from its inception in 1962 until its closure in 1991. Items dated prior to 1962 relate principally to the period of transition during which Robert Schoelkopf ended his partnership with the Zabriskie Gallery and established his own business. There are also some items relating to artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The collection consists primarily of artist files documenting relations with contemporary artists, representation of deceased artists, and other works of art handled by the gallery. It also chronicles the gallery's exhibition schedule and the day-to-day administration of the business. The types of material that can be found here include correspondence, exhibition inventories, price lists, accounting and consignment records, shipping and insurance records, printed material, and photographs.

The collection is a valuable source of information on twentieth-century American art history, focusing primarily on early-twentieth-century modernists as well as an important group of American realist painters and sculptors from the latter half of the century. The collection illuminates, in detail, the developing market for these schools and, in the case of the latter group, provides personal insights from artists on the realist perspective.

The records also document the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery's significant contribution to the resurgence of interest in fine art photography during the 1960s and 1970s as reflected in an increase in the value of works by important American photographers such as Walker Evans.

Much of the outgoing correspondence from the gallery consists of copies of letters written by Robert Schoelkopf, with additional business being handled by assistant staff and, from the mid-1970s, Schoelkopf's wife, Laura Jane Schoelkopf. The records offer insight into the personalities of the Schoelkopfs and how their congenial and candid management style influenced their relationships with the contemporary artists they represented.
Arrangement:
Originally the collection was organized as one large file arranged alphabetically by folder title, with titles ranging from names of artists to general subject headings such as "Correspondence." During processing it became clear that the gallery delineated operations into three main functions: artist relations, client-dealer relations, and exhibitions. Consequently the collection is arranged as three main series based on these areas of concern. A small group of miscellaneous photographs of artists constitutes an additional series at the end of the collection.

Originally paper records throughout the collection were generally arranged chronologically, although this order was not strictly adhered to. Frequently, correspondence and memoranda were attached to related records going back several years. To preserve the relationship between such documents, records stapled together in this way have been left together. They are arranged in reverse chronological order and filed in the folder corresponding to the primary date (i.e., the date of the first and most recent paper in the group). Researchers should be aware that date ranges provided on folders refer to the primary dates of documents contained therein and that some items in the folder may predate that range. Otherwise, the general chronological scheme has been retained throughout the collection, with undated material placed at the beginning of the appropriate file.

Printed material is arranged in chronological order, with undated material at the beginning of the folder, and may include press releases, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, posters, clippings from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and other publicity material. Large amounts of printed material are broken down into several discrete folder units.

The most consistent labeling system for photographic material apparent throughout the collection was title of work of art. The majority of images are not dated with a printing date or the date that the work of art was produced, and although many of them have a processing number, these are by no means consistent and there are no master lists that can be used to interpret them. Consequently, images are arranged primarily by media type and then alphabetically by title. Untitled images are placed at the beginning of a media group; "the" in a title is ignored. Exceptions to this method are addressed in the appropriate series descriptions.

Files labeled "Photographs of Works of Art" will typically include any or all of the following: black-and-white copy prints, black-and-white transparencies, color transparencies, slide transparencies, Polaroid prints, color snapshots, contact sheets, and separation sheets. Often the same image will be duplicated in several different formats. Any notes on photographic material found in or on the original folder in which the material was filed have been preserved with the material or transcribed onto a sheet of acid-free paper that either encloses or is placed directly before the item to which the information applies.

The designation "General" indicates that a file may contain any or all of the types of material outlined above.

Missing Title

Series 1: Artist Files, 1851-1991, undated (Boxes 1-23; 23 linear ft.)

Series 2: General Business Files, 1960-1991, undated (Boxes 24-28; 4.74 linear ft.)

Series 3: Group Exhibition Files, 1960-1988, undated (Boxes 28-29; 1 linear ft.)

Series 4: Photographs of Artists, undated (Box 29; 0.25 linear ft.)
Historical Note:
Robert Schoelkopf, Jr., was born in Queens, New York, in 1927. He graduated from Yale College in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree and then taught briefly at his alma mater while conducting graduate research in art history. Schoelkopf began his career in commercial art in 1957 as an independent dealer of American painting and sculpture and became a member of the Art Dealers Association of America in 1958. In 1959 he formed a partnership with Virginia Zabriskie, of the Zabriskie Gallery in New York, which lasted until 1962. The gallery exhibited late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American painting, together with contemporary painting of a somewhat conservative style.

In 1962 Schoelkopf signed a three-year lease for the fourth floor of a building at 825 Madison Avenue in New York, where he opened the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery. From the outset, Schoelkopf aimed to specialize in American painting of the nineteenth and twentieth century and sculpture of all schools. He predicted a burgeoning market for the Hudson River School in particular, believing that American painting was increasingly perceived as being worthy of serious attention. In a letter dated January 3, 1963, Schoelkopf congratulated John Spencer for his decision to collect nineteenth-century American paintings for the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, assuring him that "progressive chauvanism [ sic] will operate to elevate prices in American painting. Every year more colleges teach Art History, and soon they shall have reached the level of sophistication and development where they will be obliged (for face) to offer tuition in specifically American art - hitherto neglected of academicians.... I and many other dealers have plans for exhibitions of nineteenth-century American painting, especially the Hudson River School."

Schoelkopf's instincts regarding the Hudson River School were undoubtedly correct, and consequently nineteenth-century American painters formed a permanent mainstay of his inventory. He is perhaps remembered more, however, for his dedication to reviving interest in lesser-known American painters from the turn-of-the-century who were impressionist or modernist in style. Schoelkopf developed something of a reputation for unearthing forgotten talent that, while sometimes mediocre or inconsistent, was occasionally exceptional and certainly worthy of note. He was committed to reinstalling Joseph Stella in the pantheon of major American artists, representing Stella's estate from 1963 to 1971 and holding regular exhibitions of the artist's work from 1962 on. In 1969 the gallery held the first New York exhibition of the paintings of Manierre Dawson, who was subsequently acclaimed by the critics for his important and innovative contributions to modernism. In 1970 Schoelkopf began showing the work of Jan Matulka, an artist whose work had been neglected since the 1930s, and his enthusiastic representation of the Matulka estate paved the way for a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1979.

Schoelkopf's interest in turn-of-the-century artists also extended to sculptors such as John Flannagan, Ethel Myers, Elie Nadelman, and John Henry Bradley Storrs, and he directed considerable energy to furthering Gaston Lachaise's reputation as an artist of major stature. When Lachaise died at the peak of his career in 1935, his estate was left to his wife, Isabel, and in 1957 to Isabel's son, Edward. When Edward died shortly thereafter, John B. Pierce, Jr., a nephew of Isabel Lachaise, was appointed trustee of the estate and formed the Lachaise Foundation. In 1962 Pierce entered an agreement with Robert Schoelkopf and Felix Landau to represent Lachaise's sculpture on the East and West Coasts, respectively. In this capacity Schoelkopf helped to launch a major retrospective of the artist's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1964 and a traveling exhibition that began circulating in 1967.

The gallery's other major commitment was to painting and sculpture by contemporary American realists, many of whom worked in a figurative style and explored elements of allegory and classical mythology in their work, presenting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits from a realist perspective. The bulk of the gallery's exhibitions were, in fact, of work by contemporary artists, including metaphysical still-life painter William Bailey, colorist Leland Bell, figurative painter Martha Mayer Erlebacher, landscape and narrative painter Gabriel Laderman, and Icelandic artist Louisa Matthiasdottir. William Bailey was one of the gallery's most commercially successful artists, and his first one-person exhibition in New York was held there in 1968. Demand for Bailey's paintings often far exceeded his output, and by the late 1970s Schoelkopf invariably sold out his exhibitions and had compiled a lengthy waiting list for his work.

In its early years the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery contributed considerably to the development of interest in fine art photography that fostered an increasingly lucrative market for photographic prints during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1965 Schoelkopf began incorporating photography into the gallery's exhibition schedule and, in the spring of 1974, opened a gallery dedicated to photography on the second floor at 825 Madison Avenue. Between 1965 and 1979 Schoelkopf's was the only serious New York gallery dealing in painting and sculpture that also regularly exhibited photography as fine art. His interests lay primarily in antiquarian photography and the work of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century masters including Eugéne Atget, Mathew Brady, James Robertson, and Carleton Watkins. Schoelkopf organized shows examining specific photographic processes, the photogravure and the cyanotype, and presented surveys of genres such as portrait and landscape photography. In 1967 he held the first exhibition in many years of the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, an important figure in the history of Victorian photography, timing it to coincide with a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focused on Cameron as one of four Victorian photographers.

Schoelkopf also handled the work of several influential contemporaries, most notably Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Gisèle Freund. The gallery held Freund's first exhibition in the United States in 1975 and was, for a time, the only place in New York where one could see and purchase prints by Cartier-Bresson. Schoelkopf began exhibiting Evans's work in 1966 and regularly thereafter, including a 1971 exhibition that coincided with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

In the fall of 1976 the second-floor gallery space was turned over to Marcuse (Cusie) Pfeifer, then the gallery's director, who planned to use it to show the work of young photographers in a gallery under her own name. Schoelkopf continued to hold several photography exhibitions a year in the fourth-floor gallery but decided to concentrate primarily on nineteenth-century masters.

In March 1971 a fire in the building at Madison Avenue resulted in substantial water damage to the gallery space. Although very little of the inventory was destroyed, the incident forced Schoelkopf to close until September. This temporary loss of revenue compounded with a nationwide recession cut into Schoelkopf's financial resources and left him questioning his commission policy and his level of commitment to contemporary work in all media. A letter to artist Adolph Rosenblatt dated May 3, 1971, records how Schoelkopf had become increasingly disenchanted with "all contemporary work" and would begin taking 40 percent commission on sales, instead of 33.3 percent. "Beside the matter of enthusiasm is the matter of economics," Schoelkopf remarked, "and the last year and a half have been really dreadful for the art business."

This difficult period was followed immediately by more prosperous times. January 1973 proved to be the gallery's most successful month to date, encouraging Schoelkopf to purchase a house in Chappaqua, New York, later that year. In November 1974 Schoelkopf wrote to Anthony D'Offay that business "is as slow as it has ever been, but what sales we make are big ones" and revealed that auctions had, at that point, become his primary avenue for trade.

Around 1975 Schoelkopf's wife of eleven years, Laura Jane Schoelkopf, began working in the gallery. Although seemingly dubious of the work at first, she became a considerable asset to the business and reputedly complemented her husband's relationship with the gallery's contemporary artists through her warmth and hospitality, qualities often noted by artists who corresponded regularly with the couple.

The financial instability that characterized the 1970s undoubtedly influenced Schoelkopf's decision to cease exhibiting photography in 1979. By 1978 however, his investment in early-twentieth-century art appeared to be paying off. Jan Matulka, Joseph Stella, and John Henry Bradley Storrs had all been represented in exhibitions at major museums, and sales of their work had increased considerably. Gaston Lachaise's reputation continued to grow, and the traveling exhibition still circulated, garnering far more interest than had originally been anticipated.

Although contemporary artists continued to take up the largest portion of the gallery's changing exhibitions, Schoelkopf's interest in contemporary work was growing more conservative, tending toward a narrower focus on the narrative and allegorical. By 1979 he no longer exhibited contemporary sculpture, admitting to a lack of enthusiasm for the work of any of the current figurative sculptors and a dislike of all contemporary abstract work. In a letter to Lillian Delevoryas, dated March 17, 1982, he confessed, "With age has come a hardening of the aesthetic arteries perhaps. What we have been showing is realism, but getting tighter all the time."

In April 1984 the gallery was moved to 50 West Fifty-seventh Street, and, during the years that followed, the Schoelkopfs pared down the number of contemporary artists they represented, handling only those to whom they felt most strongly committed while continuing to specialize in nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century American painting and sculpture. As the gallery approached its thirtieth anniversary, Schoelkopf's achievements were considerable. He had operated a successful New York gallery for almost three decades, rejuvenated the reputations of several important American artists, and was respected by artists and clients alike for the integrity, intelligence, and humor with which he conducted his business affairs. In 1987 he had been appointed to the board of trustees of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory. By this time he was also a member of the advisory board to the National Academy of Design, and in 1988 he became a co-trustee of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

In March 1990, Robert Schoelkopf was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent a regimen of cancer treatment that resulted in a brief remission by the summer. Schoelkopf returned to work temporarily, but by 1991 his condition had worsened and he died in April of that year. Having known for some time that her husband's prognosis was poor, Laura Jane Schoelkopf had apparently decided that she would not continue the gallery in the event of his death. With the help of the youngest of their two sons, Andrew, she settled final accounts and assisted the gallery's contemporary artists in finding representation elsewhere before closing the business in August 1991.
Provenance:
Twenty-seven linear feet of records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Laura Jane Schoelkopf, Robert Schoelkopf's widow, and the Coe Kerr Gallery in 1991 and 1992. An additional gift of 3.4 linear feet was donated by Laura Jane Schoelkopf in 1996. The collection was reduced slightly during processing.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Realism  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Citation:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.robeschg
See more items in:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9773faf46-baaa-4d12-8e4f-cc58adc2787a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-robeschg
Online Media:

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