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Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers

Koppelman, Chaim, 1920-2009  Search this
American Federation of Arts  Search this
Associated American Artists  Search this
Audubon Artists (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park  Search this
Pratt Graphics Center  Search this
Print Council of America  Search this
School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation  Search this
Terrain Gallery  Search this
Anuszkiewicz, Richard  Search this
Dienes, Sari  Search this
Herz, Nat, 1920-1964  Search this
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944  Search this
Koppelman, Dorothy  Search this
Kranz, Sheldon  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Ozenfant, Amédée, 1886-1966  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Pond, Clayton, 1941-  Search this
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967  Search this
Siegel, Eli, 1902-  Search this
Stamos, Theodoros, 1922-1997  Search this
4 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Illustrated letters
Sound recordings
circa 1930s-2006
bulk 1942-2005
The papers of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. The collection documents the activities of Chaim Koppelman and his wife, Dorothy Koppelman, as artists and educators, and their affiliation with the Terrain Gallery and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Materials include biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, scrapbooks, printed material, sketches, sketchbooks, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. The collection documents the activities of Chaim Koppelman and his wife, Dorothy Koppelman, as artists and educators, and their affiliation with the Terrain Gallery and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Materials include biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, scrapbooks, printed material, sketches, sketchbooks, and photographs.

Scattered biographical material includes resumes, artist's statements, copies of entries in Who's Who directories, and miscellaneous items.

Correspondence includes personal correspondence and general correspondence. Personal correspondence mostly consists of Chaim Koppelman's letters written to Dorothy while he was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He describes his daily activities, observations on army life, and his travels while stationed in England, France, and Germany. Of interest is Chaim Koppelman's letter to Dorothy describing his meeting Picasso and visiting the artist's studio. Personal correspondence also includes Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman's letters with family and friends. Notable correspondents include Sari Dienes, Nat Herz, Sheldon Kranz, Amédée Ozenfant, Hilla Rebay, and Theodoros Stamos. Hilla Rebay's letters to Chaim Koppelman discuss museum-related activities at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, including the Guggenheim's memorial exhibition for Wassily Kandinsky. There is also a file of letters from Eli Siegel to Chaim Koppelman. General correspondence includes mostly incoming letters to Chaim Koppelman from collectors, colleagues, students, and arts institutions. Frequent correspondents include: Associated American Artists, American Federation of the Arts, Audubon Artists, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, Pratt Graphics Center and Print Council of America.

Writings and notes contain annotated typescripts and handwritten drafts by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Chaim Koppelman's writings include essays and talks on art, artists, and printmaking based on Aesthetic Realism; also found are some poems. Dorothy Koppelman's writings consist of artist's statements and essay-length pieces that were prepared for Aesthetic Realism talks on the work and lives of artists, held at the Terrain Gallery of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation and other venues. Also found is a sound recording of Chaim Koppelman's 1968 conversation with Richard Anuszkiewicz, Roy Lichtenstein, and Clayton Pond; the artists discuss the influence of the Siegel Theory of Opposites on their work.

Subject files document the activities, projects, and professional affiliations of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Included are materials on exhibitions, applications for fellowships and grants, awards, drafts of writings, donations and acquisitions of artwork by museums. Teaching files provide an overview of the faculty positions held by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman over the course of their careers. Found are extensive files on Chaim Koppelman's tenure at the School of Visual Arts. Exhibition files chronicle the Koppelmans' solo and group shows at the Terrain and other venues; substantive files contain Chaim Koppelman's correspondence with museums and arts institutions and sales information.

Two scrapbooks contain exhibition-related materials, such as artists' statements, press releases, awards, printed material, and photographs of artwork. Artwork includes sketches and illustrated letters by Chaim Koppelman. There are twenty annotated sketchbooks by Chaim Koppelman and a sketchbook by Dorothy Koppelman. Photographs and snapshots are of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman; many of the snapshots of Chaim Koppelman and others document his army service while stationed in the United States and Europe. Four photograph albums include black and white photographs of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in their studio; included are snapshots of the Koppelmans with family and friends at exhibition openings, gatherings, and on their travels. There are photographs of Regina Dienes, Gerson Lieber, Bernard Olshan, Joseph Solman, and Theodoros Stamos.
The collection is arranged as 12 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-2001 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-2003 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1930s-1989, 2005 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1942-2004 (Boxes 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Teaching Files, 1940s-2006 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1940s-2005 (Boxes 2-3; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Personal Business Records, 1944-1969 (Box 3; 3 folders)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1942-2003 (Box 3; 2 folders)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1937-1971, 2004 (Box 3; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 10: Artwork, 1933-1949, 1980-2000 (Box 3; 3 folders)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1944-2005 (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 12: Photographs, 1930-circa 2004 (Box 4; 0.25 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Chaim Koppelman (1920-2009) lived and worked in New York as a printmaker, educator, and Aesthetic Realism consultant. Painter, gallery director, Aesthetic Realism consultant, and educator Dorothy Koppelman (1920-) resides and works in New York City.

Chaim Koppelman was born in Brooklyn in 1920. Koppelman studied at the American Artists School with Carl Holty and at the Art Students League with Jose De Creeft and Will Barnet. Simultaneously, he began to study in classes taught by Eli Siegel, critic, poet, and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism. In 1942, Koppelman was drafted in the U.S. Army. Before going overseas in 1943, he married Dorothy Myers. In the army, Koppelman continued his studies in painting and sculpture, where he attended the Art College in Western England, Bristol, and the Beaux Arts School in Reims, France. Chaim Koppelman took part in the Normandy invasion and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

After Koppelman returned to New York in 1944, he studied at the Amédée Ozenfant School, where he eventually became Ozenfant's assistant. Around this time, Koppelman turned from painting and sculpture to printmaking. In 1955, Chaim Koppelman, his wife, Dorothy, and other artists and poets studying Aesthetic Realism established the Terrain Gallery. For many years, Koppelman was the head of the gallery's Print Division and then later became an advisory director.

Chaim Koppelman held a number of teaching positions in universities and arts institutions. He lectured at Brooklyn College, the Art Education Department from 1950-1960. In 1959, Koppelman founded the Printmaking Division at the School of Visual Arts, where he served on the school's faculty until 2007. At the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, he taught artists how to relate their artwork and their everyday lives. He wrote: "After having tested his aesthetic concepts in literally thousands of works of different periods, in different styles, in different media, I say that Eli Siegel's Theory of Opposites is the key to what is good or beautiful in art….When Eli Siegel showed that what makes a work of art beautiful—the oneness of opposites—is the same as what every individual wants, it was one of the mightiest and kindest achievements of man's mind."

Among the awards Chaim Koppelman received were: two Tiffany Grants, 1956, 1959; New York Artists Equity Annual Awards Honoring Will Barnet, Robert Blackburn, Chaim Koppelman, 1992; and the Purchase Prize, Art Students League in 2005. Koppelman was a member of the National Academy and a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA). In 2004, SAGA presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery, Chaim Koppelman's work was featured at the Beatrice Conde Gallery, International Print Center (New York), Library of Congress, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His prints are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the National Gallery.

In December 2009, Koppelman died at age 89 in New York City.

Born in 1920, Dorothy Koppelman attended Brooklyn College, the Art Students League, and American Artists School where she trained under Joseph Solman. During this time, she began to study poetry, and the relation of art and the self in classes with Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism.

Dorothy Koppelman has had a number of solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery. She has also shown her paintings at the Atlantic Gallery, Art Gallery of Binghamton, New York, Beatrice Conde Gallery, the Broome Street Gallery, and at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, the Whitney Biennial 2006 Peace Tower, the National Academy, and the Butler Art Institute.

Dorothy Koppelman has served on the faculty at several arts institutions: the National Academy, Brooklyn College School of Education, and the School of Visual Arts. She has given presentations on Aesthetic Realism at the Fondazione Piero della Francesa in Italy, and with Carrie Wilson at the 31st World Congress of the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA). On August 16, 2002, in a talk given on Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore, she said, "Eli Siegel explained the true meaning of art for our lives. No one—no scholar, no artist, no person—in all the centuries ever saw this before: that we can learn about ourselves from the very technique of art!...He showed that far from being in a separate world, art has the answer to the trouble in this one."

She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Contemporary Artists and New York Artists Equity. She has received an Honorable Mention from the Brooklyn Society of Artists, 1957; a Tiffany Grant for painting, 1965; and awards from the American Society of Contemporary Artists, 1996, 1999. Dorothy Koppelman's work has been included in the collections of Hampton University, Virginia; Rosenzweig Museum, Durham, North Carolina; New-York Historical Society; Yale University; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as well as other institutions.

Dorothy Koppelman lives in New York City. She is a consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, where she also teaches the Critical Inquiry, a workshop for artists. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and is President of the Eli Siegel/Martha Baird Foundation. She continues her study in classes with Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Terrain Gallery records of which Dorothy Koppelman is the director.
The collection was donated by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in 2006.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
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.
Artists' studios  Search this
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Illustrated letters
Sound recordings
Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers, circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
Online Media:

Impossible landscapes of the mind : [exhibition] September 13-October 16, 1999, Hirschl & Adler Galleries / introduction by Debra G. Wieder ; essay by Barbara J. Bloemink

Seligmann, Kurt 1900-1962  Search this
Herz, Nat 1920-1964  Search this
Bloemink, Barbara J  Search this
Hirschl & Adler Galleries  Search this
Seligmann, Kurt 1900-1962  Search this
Herz, Nat 1920-1964  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm
Surrealism  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.S464x B56 1999
N6494.S8 S45 1999
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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