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Oral history interview with Edith Gregor Halpert

Interviewee:
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Interviewer:
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington), 1920-  Search this
Names:
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries  Search this
Daniel Gallery  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Ferargil Galleries  Search this
Grand Central Art Galleries  Search this
M. Knoedler & Co.  Search this
Montross Gallery  Search this
New Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981  Search this
Barrie, Erwin S., 1886-1983  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975  Search this
Brackman, Robert, 1898-  Search this
Bridgman, George Brant, 1864-1943  Search this
Brixey, Richard de Wolfe  Search this
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960  Search this
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Cary, Elisabeth Luther, 1867-1936  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916  Search this
Coleman, Glenn O., 1887-1932  Search this
Crowninshield, Frank, 1872-1947  Search this
Daniel, Charles, 1878-1971  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
Demuth, Charles, 1883-1935  Search this
Deskey, Donald, 1894-  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield, 1880-1946  Search this
Dudensing, F. Valentine, 1892-1967  Search this
Fergusson, John Duncan, 1874-1961  Search this
Field, Hamilton Easter  Search this
Force, Juliana, 1876-1948  Search this
Ford, Ford Madox, 1873-1939  Search this
Frost, Robert, 1874-1963  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983  Search this
Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964  Search this
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994  Search this
Halpert, Samuel, 1884-1930  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Hopkinson, Charles, 1869-1962  Search this
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967  Search this
Johns, Jasper, 1930-  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Knox, Seymour H., 1898-1990  Search this
Kroll, Leon, 1884-1974  Search this
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Laurent, Robert, 1890-1970  Search this
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000  Search this
Levine, Jack, 1915-2010  Search this
Levy, Julien  Search this
Locke, Charles, 1899-  Search this
Luks, George Benjamin, 1867-1933  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Marin, John, Jr., 1915?-1988  Search this
McBride, Henry, 1867-1962  Search this
Mellon, Paul  Search this
Mercer, Henry Chapman  Search this
Montross, N. E. (Newman E), 1849-1932  Search this
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988  Search this
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986  Search this
Pascin, Jules, 1885-1930  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Robinson, Edward G., 1893-1973  Search this
Rockefeller, Abby Aldrich  Search this
Saarinen, Aline B. (Aline Bernstein), 1914-1972  Search this
Saklatwalla, Beram K.  Search this
Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Siporin, Mitchell, 1910-1976  Search this
Soutine, Chaim, 1893-1943  Search this
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973  Search this
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946  Search this
Stella, Frank  Search this
Stern, Louis E., 1886-1962  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Tannahill, Robert Hudson  Search this
Vollard, Ambroise, 1867-1939  Search this
Weber, Max, 1881-1961  Search this
Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942  Search this
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963  Search this
Wittenberg, Philip, 1895-1987  Search this
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972  Search this
Zorach, Marguerite, 1887-1968  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
436 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Date:
1962-1963
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.
Occupation:
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Camouflage  Search this
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Women art dealers  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.halper62
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw94b057b9a-c3f9-4586-8d44-ee2d58857127
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-halper62
Online Media:

Ralph and Bena Frank Mayer papers

Creator:
Mayer, Ralph, 1895-1979  Search this
Mayer, Bena Frank, 1898-1991  Search this
Names:
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988  Search this
Brook, Alexander, 1898-1980  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Florsheim, Richard A., 1916-1979  Search this
Hammer, Victor Karl, 1882-  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Hurd, Peter, 1904-1984  Search this
MacKendrick, Lilian  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-1952  Search this
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958  Search this
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Sloan, John, 1871-1951  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Extent:
4.5 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 3 reels))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
[ca. 1920]-1964
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, writings, photographs, art work, subject files, scrapbooks, and printed material.
REELS D211-D213: Ralph Mayer's correspondence is with artists, conservators, museum directors, publishers, art organizations, and others. Notebooks contain data on 19th century canvas makers and dealers of artists' materials. Also included are correspondence and a ledger regarding restoration and conservation of paintings, 1929-1963; files on Columbia University, the National Academy of Design, the Newark Museum, The New York State Department of Commerce, the Whitney Museum of Art, subway murals, and other subjects; and correspondence with the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding standards for paints and pigments. Photographs are of Ralph Mayer's paintings. Correspondents include: George Biddle, Isabel Bishop, Alexander Brook, Charles Burchfield, Richard A. Florsheim, Victor Hammer, Stefan Hirsch, Peter Hurd, Lilian MacKendrick, Kenneth H. Miller, Walter Pach, Abraham Rattner, John Sloan, and David Smith.
Bena Frank Mayer's papers consist of biographical material, clippings, correspondence, exhibition catalogs and announcements, and photographs of her paintings. Two scrapbooks contain printed material, letters, and photographs regarding the Mayers' careers.
UNMICROFILMED: Correspondence includes Ralph Mayer's, 1930-1964, mainly concerning the use of artists' materials, Bena Frank correspondence, 1910-1977, and letters concerning Mayer's book, The Painter's Craft, 1948. Among his correspondents are Josef Albers, Thomas Hart Benton, Isabel Bishop, Georgia O'Keeffe, Walter Pach, Paul Sample, John Sloan, and Frederic Taubes. Subject files are on the Artists' Laboratory, the Art Students League, Gustav Berger, Huntington Hartford, the MacDowell Colony, the National Academy of Design, Diego Rivera murals, subway murals, and other subjects. Writings consist of papers on commercial standards of paint, a typescript of The Painter's Craft, and lecture notes from classes Mayer taught at the Art Students League and Columbia University.
Art work consists of sketchbooks and sketches. Photographs are of the Mayers, their studios, family, friends, and paintings. Printed material includes exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, clippings, and posters. There are also six scrapbooks, ca. 1930-1940, containing clippings, photographs, letters received, and printed material.
Biographical / Historical:
Ralph Mayer: conservator, restorer, painter. Died 1979. Bena Frank Mayer: painter. They lived in New York. Ralph Mayer was educated as a chemical engineer, and spent several years working in the manufacture of paints and varnishes. He also studied painting at the Art Students League. His work in conservation and artists' materials led him to found the Artists Technical Research Institute in 1959. Author of The Artists Handbook of Materials and Techniques (1940) and The Painter's Craft (1948), and numerous articles. Taught at Columbia University.
Provenance:
Material on reels D211-D213 was lent for microfilming in 1965 by Ralph Mayer. Portions were subsequently donated along with unmicrofilmed material, 1972-1979, by Ralph and Bena Frank Mayer.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Art restorers  Search this
Conservators  Search this
Restorers  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Artists' materials  Search this
Art -- Conservation and restoration  Search this
Art -- Technique  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.mayeralp
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9dd9999e2-6a80-4d08-9531-d0f9c0ecb497
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mayeralp

Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Rogo, Elsa, 1901-1996  Search this
Subject:
Bier, Justus  Search this
Field, Hamilton Easter  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor  Search this
Mérida, Carlos  Search this
Mumford, Lewis  Search this
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Anguiano, Raúl  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Bard College  Search this
Bennington College  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
United States. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs  Search this
Type:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sound recordings
Etchings
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Glass plate negatives
Transcripts
Place:
Mexico -- photographs
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, Latin American  Search this
Mural painting and decoration, Mexican -- Photographs  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- South Carolina  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- Mississippi  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Latino and Latin American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6044
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216012
AAA_collcode_hirsstef
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Latino and Latin American
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_216012
Online Media:

Stefan Hirsch: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Hirsch, Stefan 1899-1964  Search this
Physical description:
1 folder
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF001425
See more items in:
Photograph Study Collection
Data Source:
Photograph Study Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_139921

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Hirsch, Stefan 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1931
Image number:
JUL J0014541
See more items in:
Photograph Study Collection
Data Source:
Photograph Study Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_14541

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Hirsch, Stefan 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1931
Image number:
JUL J0014550
See more items in:
Photograph Study Collection
Data Source:
Photograph Study Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_14550

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Hirsch, Stefan 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0047708
See more items in:
Photograph Study Collection
Data Source:
Photograph Study Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_47709

Amateur films of Mexico

Creator:
Rogo, Elsa, 1901-1996  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Motion Picture Film
Place:
Mexico
Date:
1935-1941
Citation:
Elsa Rogo and Stefan Hirsch. Amateur films of Mexico, 1935-1941. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)12938
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_12938

Sketch of two adults and a child walking in the country

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
1918
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of two adults and a child walking in the country, 1918. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Landscapes  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9043
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9043

Sketch of man holding a piece of paper

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
1918 Aug. 10
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of man holding a piece of paper, 1918 Aug. 10. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Portraits  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9044
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9044

Sketch of a hat and papers on a table

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
circa 1920
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of a hat and papers on a table, circa 1920. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9045
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9045

Sketch of a town

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
192-?
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of a town, 192-?. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Buildings  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9052
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9052

Bookplate design by Stefan Hirsch

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
1916
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Bookplate design by Stefan Hirsch, 1916. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Books and reading  Search this
Landscapes  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9053
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9053

Sketch of an industrial scene

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
194-?
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of an industrial scene, 194-?. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Landscapes  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9054
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9054

Sketch of a building

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
ca. 1920
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of a building, ca. 1920. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Buildings  Search this
Landscapes  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9055
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9055

Sketch of trees and a building

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
193-?
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch. Sketch of trees and a building, 193-?. Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Landscapes  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9056
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920-1960
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9056

Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers

Creator:
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Names:
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Esther Gentle Reproductions  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Paul Rosenberg & Co.  Search this
Bedwell, Bettina, 1889-1947  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Boyle, Kay, 1902-  Search this
Burlin, Paul, 1886-1969  Search this
Carton, Norman, 1908-1980  Search this
Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron), 1897-1973  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Rochemont, Richard  Search this
Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968  Search this
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993  Search this
Griffin, John Howard, 1920-  Search this
Guthrie, Ramon, 1896-  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988  Search this
Hall, William Weeks, 1894-1958  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-  Search this
Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Holty, Carl, 1900-1973  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Kronberg, Louis, 1872-1965  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Leepa, Allen, 1919-2009  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981  Search this
Malcolm, Thalia Westcott, b. 1878  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955  Search this
Peake, Channing, 1910-  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Ruvolo, Feliz  Search this
Stark, Jack Gage, 1882-1950  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Weller, Allen S. (Allen Stuart), 1907-1997  Search this
Extent:
26.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Date:
1891-1986
Summary:
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.
Scope and Content Note:
Abraham Rattner's papers provide insight into an important time for twentieth century American art and culture. By studying Rattner's papers, the researcher may view the beginnings of Modernism, the cultural change that pushed the boundaries of artistic and literary traditions and provided new ways in which to express ourselves.

The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.

The biographical files contain documents such as Rattner's birth certificate, travel visas, his senior yearbook from 1912 which shows some of his early art work, and some of his awards. His birth certificate is of particular interest since it shows Rattner's birth date to be 1893 instead of the recognized 1895.

The correspondence offers great insight into the thoughts of many American and European artists and writers during the 1930s and 1940s. Rattner, a prolific writer, expressed many of his own thoughts and concerns through his letters, many of which are included in this collection. The vast amount of correspondence include letters from notable figures such as George Biddle, Kay Boyle, Paul Burlin, Norman Carton, Robert Coates, Stuart Davis, Adolph Dehn, Richard de Rochemont, John Dos Passos, Xavier Gonzales, John Howard Griffin, Ramon Guthrie, Robert Gwathmey, Weeks Hall, Stanley W. Hayter, Jean Helion, Hilaire Hiler, Joseph Hirsch, Stefan Hirsch, Carl Holty, Louis Kronberg, Rico Lebrun, Jacques Lipchitz, Earle Ludgin, Thalia Wescott Malcolm, Henry Miller, Joan Miro, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, Channing Peake, Henry Varnum Poor, Felix Ruvolo, Waverly Root, Jack Gage Stark, Frank C. Watkins, and Allen Weller, among others.

Rattner was engaged in a wide range of special art projects, and he kept detailed files on these projects. The projects spanned from 1940 through 1973 and included endeavors such as illustrations for Life magazine, stained-glass designs, mosaic and tapestry projects, as well as special paintings such as Victory--Jerusalem the Golden and The Gallows of Baghdad. Rattner's papers also detail the history of a fresco painted by Paul Gauguin entitled Joan d'Arcwhich Rattner purchased in France in 1925.

Rattner's forty year friendship with the writer Henry Miller is chronicled throughout the collection in the forms of correspondence, writings, printed material, phototographs and artwork. Their correspondence ranges from 1938 through 1978 and offers great insight into their relationship. Rattner and Miller's road trip from New York to New Orleans in 1940-1941 is documented in the series entitled Special Projects. Also included in the collection are printed material, such as biographical material on Miller, Miller's writings, literary announcements and reviews; Miller's writings on Rattner; and photographs of Miller.

The gallery files contain correspondence, receipts, and notes regarding the galleries which represented Rattner. Those galleries included the Rosenberg Gallery, the Downtown Gallery, and the Kennedy Gallery. A small series of exhibition files contain material about exhibitions held outside of Rattner's representative galleries.

Rattner's writings proved to be an outlet for his thoughts on painting, his inspirations, frustrations, and sadness. In addition to painting, Rattner was able to express his creativity through writing poetry. Writing also helped him work through his depression over the death of his first wife Bettina Bedwell.

He also kept finely detailed studio notebooks. The original order has been maintained, and they trace the history of almost each painting, drawing, and study attempted by Rattner. The notebooks often provide information regarding whether the work was sent to a gallery or given as a gift. Sometimes they contain correspondence or writings that reveal the inspiration for a work. They have been arranged in chronological order, according to Rattner's own filing system.

Rattner retained receipts for most of his art expenses. Arranged by decade, these receipts show the type of paint, colors, types of paper and brushes that he used.

Rattner also kept many household files and personal financial records. Household files contain insurance records, warranties and rental agreements, while the financial records contain returned checks and bank statements. Some bank statements from Esther Gentle Reproductions are also included. The household files and financial records are not filmed.

The date books and diaries reveal the aspects of daily life and the personal thoughts of Rattner and Esther Gentle. In many cases, Rattner shared his date books and diaries with Gentle. The early diaries are fascinating, especially the 1939 diary that discloses the Rattners' last days in France before escaping Nazism and returning to the United States.

Rettner's scrapbooks span from 1938 to 1952 and contain newspaper and magazine clippings that mention the artist or his work.

The printed material covers a period from 1930s through the 1980s and includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, clippings, and miscellaneous material such as an autograph book from 1969 and a map of Israel that shows Rattner's travel route. There is a large amount of unfilmed printed material that is listed in the series description.

Writings by others consists of writings on Rattner and other topics.

The collection contains many photographs taken of Rattner and taken by him, as well as photos of family, friends, his studio, travels, and photographs of Rattner's art. Photographs of notable people include Henry Miller, Joan Miro, John Dos Passos, Archibald MacLeish, and Malcolm Cowley, among others.

The amount of Rattner's art work included in the collection is small, but it is significant because it provides examples of his very early work, dating from 1912-1914. Some later studies are also present, as well as a number of random sketches. Color was very important to Rattner, and some of his color studies from the 1940s are also included. Art work by other artists is comprised of some small paintings by Max Weber, a water color by Henry Miller, a painting by Ken Buryd, as well as some work by unknown artists.

In addition to tracing Rattner's life and career, the collection also documents the lives of Rattner's two wives, Bettina Bedwell and Esther Gentle. Both women had profound effects on Rattner's work. Among Bettina Bedwell's papers are her diary, fashion sketches, and correspondence. Esther Gentle's papers include correspondence, writings, as well as papers documenting her business Esther Gentle Reproductions. There are a small amount of papers relating to Allen Leepa, Rattner's stepson with Esther Gentle.

See index for list of correspondents from various series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into twenty-four series based primarily on type of document or special project. Though concentrated in its own series, additional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and may be found in special project files, gallery files, exhibition files, studio notebooks, and scrapbooks. The correspondence has been divided into two subseries, one chronological and the other according to Rattner's subject-oriented filing system. Special art projects have been organized by project, and placed in chronological order. The studio notebooks have also been divided into subseries, and all notebook pages maintain Rattner's original order. The first subseries of notebooks reflects Rattner's numbering system, while the second subseries is arranged chronologically. The vast amount of printed material has been divided into subseries, and all of the unfilmed printed material has been organized chronologically at the end of the series.

Within each series, material is arranged either in chronological order, or in some cases, according to Abraham Rattner's own organizational system.

Oversized materials from various series are housed in oversized folders 33-45 and are noted in the Series Description/Container Listing with see also/see references or in the container columns.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1893-1978, undated (box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Interviews, 1957-1975, undated (box 1; 7 folders)

Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1933-1978, undated (boxes 1-5; 4.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Special Projects, 1940-1987, undated (boxes 5-6, ovs 33-35; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 5: -- Joan d'Arc -- Fresco painted by Paul Gaugin, 1925-1963, undated (box 7, ov 36; 12 folders)

Series 6: Gallery Files, 1942-1975 (boxes 7-8; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-1978 (boxes 7, 9; 9 folders)

Series 8: Writings, 1940-1972, undated (box 9; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 9: Studio Notebooks, 1935-1975, undated (boxes 10-11; 1.9 linear ft.)

Series 10: Art Expenses, circa 1940-1970 (boxes 11-13; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 11: Household Files, 1940-1970, undated (box 13; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 12: Financial Records, 1933-1963 (boxes 13-14; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 13: Notes and Lists, 1936-1972, undated (box 14; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 14: Address Books, 1939-1977, undated (box 15; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 15: Date Books/Diaries, 1937-1977, undated (boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1938-1952 (boxes 18-22; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 17: Printed Material, 1920s-1980s, undated (boxes 23-26; 3.6 linear ft.)

Series 18: Writings by Others, 1945-circa 1980, undated (box 26; 20 folders)

Series 19: Photographs, 1891-1970s, undated (boxes 27-29; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 20: Works of Art by Rattner, 1912-1914, 1940-1967, undated (box 30, ovs 37-44; 2.4 linear ft.)

Series 21: Works of Art by Others, undated (box 30, ov 45; 7 folders)

Series 22: Bettina Bedwell Papers, 1932-1947, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 23: Esther Gentle Papers, 1921-1984, undated (boxes 31-32; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 24: Allen Leepa Papers, 1952-1969, undated (box 32; 8 folders)
Biographical Note:
Abraham Rattner was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1895. His parents immigrated to the United States to escape antisemitism in Czarist Russia. He was the second of six children, including his eldest brother Louis, younger brothers Manuel (Manny) and Harry, and his younger sisters Rose and Jennie.

Rattner's parents encouraged him to paint at a young age, and as he grew up, painting became a part of his daily life. He graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1912 and left to study architecture at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At night, he took art courses at the Corcoran School of Art. He soon became a full-time art student, and applied for a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He was accepted in 1919 and supported himself by doing illustrations for Philadelphia newspapers.

In 1917, World War I interrupted his studies. Rattner entered the United States Army in France where he became Sergeant of camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Camouflage, reflecting aspects of modern art in its form and pattern, made use of Rattner's artistic skills. During the second battle of the Marne, Rattner injured his back and returned to the States with an ailment that would affect him for the rest of his life.

Rattner returned to the Pennsylvania Academy and was awarded the Cresson scholarship to study art in Europe. He traveled for one year, then settled in Paris for the next twenty years. Those twenty years in Paris became the most formative for Rattner because he was able to study and experiment with Futurism, Cubism, and Expressionism. Post World War I Paris was the center of modern culture for Americans disillusioned by the destruction of the war. Expatriate writers, poets, and artists were searching for a culture that shunned the traditions of the past and exchanged ideas with one another at the lively Paris cafes and salons.

In 1924, Abraham Rattner married Bettina Bedwell, an American art student and fashion illustrator. Bettina became the Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune Syndicate. In 1927, Rattner was a member of the Minotaure group, along with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Braque, Dali, and Reverdy. He also illustrated an article for Jon Dos Passos in Verve magazine in 1931.

Rattner's first one-man show was in 1935 at the Galerie Bonjean in Paris, which was followed by one-man shows at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Courvoisier Gallery in San Francisco.

The threat of Hitler and Nazism forced Rattner and his wife to flee Paris in 1939. Arriving in New York in early 1940, Rattner agreed to take a trip by car with the writer Henry Miller. Their route took them from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana via the East coast and Southern states. Their mission was to rediscover America, with Henry Miller writing about their experiences and Rattner sketching the scenery. Rattner's friendship with Henry Miller was an important one that lasted throughout his life.

During the 1940s, Rattner's art was widely exhibited. In 1941, he joined the Rosenberg Gallery in New York, and remained with the gallery for fourteen years. He won awards for his work such as the Temple Gold Medal in 1945 and second prize in the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition in 1946. In 1947, Bettina Bedwell suddenly died due to a kidney infection, sending Rattner into a spiral of grief and depression. To escape depression, from 1947-1949, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York.

In 1949, Rattner married Esther Gentle, an artist and business woman who ran an art reproductions business. In 1951, the Rattners moved to Rome where he worked as Artist in Residence at the American Academy. The next year, they moved to Illinois where he was the Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois. Ratter was awarded first prize in 1953 at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition and also served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity. In 1956, Rattner was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University, and along with his stepson, Allen Leepa, established an art school on Long Island. In 1957, Rattner left the Rosenberg Gallery to join the Downtown Gallery. He felt he would professionally profit from representation by the well-known Edith Halpert; however, the next twelve years reflected a tumultuous relationship between the artist and the gallery owner.

In 1957, Rattner reached out to other forms of art and design. He experimented with mosaic, tapestry and stained-glass. He designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland and a mosaic for a friary and college in Centerville, Ohio. His stained-glass designs were highly celebrated and respected. His most famous stained-glass piece was the window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. For this piece, Rattner spent two years traveling to Paris to design and supervise every process involved in the design and installation of the window.

Rattner felt that while his paintings during the 1940s and 1950s were romantic and self-reflective, the 1960s marked a new inspirational period in his work. His painting reflected religious comment, bringing Rattner back in touch with his Jewish heritage, as well as reflecting a sense of social protest. In 1968, Rattner exhibited his painting Victory--Jerusalem the Golden to honor the celebration of Israel's twentieth anniversary of independence. It was also in 1968 that Rattner left the Downtown Gallery for the Kennedy Gallery. In 1969, he painted The Gallows of Baghdad series as a protest to the hanging of nine Jews by Iraqi authorities.

The 1970s marked a time of many exhibitions. In 1976, the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. sponsored an exhibition of his designs for stained-glass entitled "...and let there be light". Also, from 1976 through 1977, "Our America" exhibited Rattner's drawings from his 1940 U.S.A. trip with Henry Miller in England and in the United States. In 1977, Michigan State University bestowed upon him the Honorary Degree for Humanity. On February 14, 1978, Abraham Rattner died due to heart failure.

Missing Title

1893 -- Born June 8th in Poughkeepsie, New York.

1912 -- Graduated from Poughkeepsie High School.

1914-1917 -- Student at George Washington University, Corcoran School of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1917 -- Enlisted in the United States Army in France as Sergeant, camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Fought at Seicheprey, second battle of the Marne, and Chateau-Thierry.

1919 -- Returned to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Awarded Cresson traveling fellowship to Europe.

1920 -- Traveled in France, Spain, England, Belgium and Holland.

1921 -- Art student in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Grand Chaumiere, and Academie Ranson.

1922 -- Lived and painted in Giverny, France.

1923 -- Returned to Paris.

1924 -- Married Bettina Bedwell, Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune news syndicate. Exhibited at Salon d'Automne and Salon des Independants.

1927 -- Member of the Minotaure group in Paris.

1931 -- Illustrated article, "Fire," by John Dos Passos for Verve magazine.

1935 -- First one-person show at Galerie Bonjean, Paris. French government purchased Card Party for Museum of Impressionism, The Louvre.

1936 -- One-person show at Julien Levy Gallery, New York (also 1939, 1941); Arts Club of Chicago; Courvoisier Gallery, San Francisco (also 1941).

1940 -- Returned to the United States following Nazi invasion of France. Traveled with Henry Miller from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana.

1941 -- One-person shows: Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles; Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery, Santa Barbara (also 1943); Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (also 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948-1950, 1952, 1956); Studio, New York.

1945 -- Awarded the Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Wrote "An American in Paris" for Magazine of Art.

1946 -- Awarded second prize at the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition.

1947 -- Death of Bettina Bedwell Rattner.

1948 -- Taught at the New School for Social Research, New York.

1949 -- Married Esther Gentle. Visiting artist at Yale University and at the Brooklyn Museum School. Awarded honorable mention at the Carnegie Institute Exhibition of American Painting.

1950 -- Awarded the Purchase Prize at the University of Illinois Biennial Exhibition.

1951 -- Artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome.

1952 -- Artist in residence at the University of Illinois.

1953 -- Awarded first prize at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition. Served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity.

1954 -- Taught at the Art Students League. Panelist at the Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

1955 -- Exhibited drawings at the Chicago Art Institute.

1956 -- Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University. Established an art school in East Hampton and Sag Harbor, Long Island.

1957 -- Designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland. One-person show at Downtown Gallery, New York (also 1958-1967).

1958 -- Designed mosaic wall for St. Leonard's Friary and College in Centerville, Ohio. Designed stained-glass windows for the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan. Began designs for stained-glass window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Exhibited with Alexander Calder at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Awarded the Butler Memorial Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

1959 -- Retrospective exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts. Exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art.

1964 -- Exhibited at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.

1968 -- Exhibited painting entitled Victory--Jerusalem the Golden at the celebration of Israel's 20th anniversary of independence.

1969 -- One-person shows: Kennedy Galleries, New York; Galerie Weil, Paris ( Baghdad Hangings), Galerie Belgique, Brussels ( Baghdad Hangings).

1970 -- Film commissioned by ABC-TV entitled "The Long Prayer of Abraham Rattner."

1972 -- Beggar's Opera lithographs exhibited at Circle Gallery, Chicago.

1976 -- Displayed stained-glass on religious themes with the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C.

1977 -- "Our America" exhibition in England and the United States. Awarded Honorary Degree for Humanity from Michigan State University.

1978 -- Died on February 14th.
Index: List of Major Correspondents in Various Series:
These correspondents will be found in the following series: Correspondence, Special Projects, Gallery Files, Studio Notebooks, and Scrapbooks: Edward Albee, 1928-

John Anderson, 1904-

Bettina Bedwell, 1889-1947

Carl Beiber

George Belmont

George Biddle, 1885-1973

Kay Boyle, 1902-1992

Brassai, 1899-

Paul Burlin, 1886-1969

McClure Capps "Mac"

Norman Carton, 1908-1980

Jack Chapman

G. Alan Chidsey

Frederick Childs

Robert Coates, "Bob" 1897-1973

Malcolm Cowley, 1898-1989

Salvador Dali 1904-1989

Paul Damaz

Bernard Davis

Stuart Davis, 1894-1964

Adolph Dehn, 1895-1968

Richard de Rochemont

John Dos Passos, 1896-1970

Armand and Suzi D'usseau

Rene Lefebore Foinet

Gisele Freund, 1912-

Emily Genauer, 1911-

Esther Gentle, 1905-1984

Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966

Xavier Gonzales, 1898-1993

John Howard Griffin

Ramon Guthrie, 1896-1973

Robert Gwathmey 1903-1988

Weeks Hall

Edith Gregor Halpert, 1900-1970

Stanley W. Hayter, 1901-1988

Nathan Hecht

Jean Helion, 1904-1987

William H. Henrick

Henry Herschkvitz

Hilaire Hiler, 1898-1966

Joseph Hirsch "Joe," 1910-1981

Stefan Hirsch, 1889-1964

Carl Holty, 1900-1973

Etienne Hubert

Arno Hummucher

Frederick I. Kann "Fred," 1886-

L.J. Konigsberg "Leib"

Louis Kronberg, 1872-1965

Alexandra Laks

Rico Lebrun (Fredrico), 1900-1964

Allen Leepa, 1919-

Isadore Levy

Julian Levy, 1906-1981

Jacques Lipchitz, 1891-1973

Ward Lockwood, 1894-1963

Jean Louste

Earle Ludgin, 1898-1981

Thalia Wescott Malcolm, 1888-

Reginald Marsh, 1898-1954

Archibald McLeish, 1892-

Henry Miller, 1891-1980

Joan Miro, 1893-1983

Gloria Nardin

Anais Nin, 1903-1977

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt "B.J.O.," 1878-1955

Hugh O'Neill

Channing Peake, 1910-1989

Gabor Peferdi

Irving Penn

Peter Pollack, 1911-1978

Henry Varnum Poor 1888-1970

Andre Raizorkacs

Robert Rey

Maurice Reynal

Raymond Reynal

Hans Richter, 1888-1976

Edward Roditi

Shelden Rodman, 1909-

Waverly Root, 1903-1982

Felix Emmanuele Ruvolo, 1912-

Frank Sedlak

Paul Shapiro

Jack Gage Stark, 1882-1950

Barrie Stavis

Ike Stoeffle

Benjamin Ellis Tepper

David Turnbull

Alfredo Valente

Siegfried Wang

Frank C. Watkins (Franklin Chenault), 1894-1972

Allen Weller, 1907-
Separated Materials note:
Loaned material, including notebooks, writings, and some correspondence, were returned to Abraham Rattner after microfilming. This material is now part of the Abraham Rattner notes collection at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College. Loaned material is available on reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, and reel 1212, but is not described in this finding aid.
Provenance:
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art in stages by Abraham Rattner 1972-1983, by Esther Gentle 1986-1987, and by Gene Allen in 1992. The donated material that was previously filmed has been integrated and refilmed includes reels D203 and D205C-D205D. The material found on reels D205A-D205B was loaned by Rattner and the material found on reel 1212 was loaned by his sister, Jennie Allen.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use of unmicrofilmed portion 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:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Artist couples  Search this
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rattabra
See more items in:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw98b38e43e-390b-4c78-9a1b-51b9d7ff2357
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rattabra
Online Media:

Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers

Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Rogo, Elsa, 1901-1996  Search this
Names:
Bard College -- Faculty  Search this
Bennington College -- Faculty  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
United States. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Anguiano, Raúl, 1915-2006  Search this
Bier, Justus, 1899-1990  Search this
Field, Hamilton Easter  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Mérida, Carlos, 1891-1984  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Extent:
19.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sound recordings
Etchings
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Glass plate negatives
Transcripts
Place:
Mexico -- Photographs
Date:
1851-1986
bulk 1920-1960
Summary:
The papers of artists and educators Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo measure 19.6 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920s to the 1960s. Together, they traveled throughout Mexico and Latin America where they became involved in the social and art scenes. Hirsch and Rogo's artistic, teaching, and journalism careers are documented through biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, professional files, printed materials, photographs and motion picture films, and sketchbooks and other artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of artists and educators Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo measure 19.6 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920s to the 1960s. Together, they traveled throughout Mexico and Latin America where they became involved in the social and art scenes. Hirsch and Rogo's artistic, teaching, and journalism careers are documented through biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, professional files, printed materials, photographs and motion picture films, and sketchbooks and other artwork.

Biographical materials include address lists, resumes and biographical sketches, identification cards, material relating to Hirsch's military service, and legal documents. Two sound recordings, one personal and another of Rogo on Spanish National Radio, are also found here.

Correspondence is both professional and personal. Professional correspondence concerns commissions, exhibitions, travel, and teaching. Notable correspondents include Josef Albers, Justus Bier, Downtown Gallery (Edith Halpert), Carlos Mérida, Lewis Mumford, Ben Shahn, and many others. Personal correspondence is largely between Hirsch and Rogo. Writings are found for both Hirsch and Rogo and include notebooks, diary fragments and transcripts, lectures, essays on art, articles, and notes. A manuscript by Hamilton Easter Field is also found and a writing by an unknown author. Professional files document teaching positions, projects, commissions, memberships, and other professional activities undertaken by Hirsch and Rogo. They document Hirsch's teaching career at Bard College, Bennington College, and his mural work in South Carolina and Mississippi. Files concerning Rogo's work with the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs are found here, as well as files documenting their professional and personal travel. These contain a wide variety of materials, such as correspondence, printed material, meeting minutes, photographs, and writings. Also found are scattered files relating to general areas of interest.

Hirsch's and Rogo's business records include contracts concerning Elsa Rogo's book agreements, records settling the estate of the Hirsch family in Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany, insurance records, a lease, price lists, and general receipts and invoices. Also found are personal art collection records including a sales agreement and a list of Latin American art owned by Hirsch and Rogo. Printed materials include books, brochures, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs for Stefan Hirsch and others, issues of magazines and other periodicals, copies of published writings by Hirsch and Rogo, and a dismantled printed materials scrapbook.

Photographs are extensive and include personal photos of Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo, their family, friends, and colleagues. Numerous travel photos were taken by Rogo in her role as a journalist in Latin American and the United States. The bulk of the professional travel photos were taken in Mexico in the 1930s to the 1960s and show events, cities, and cultural activities. Also found are glass plate negatives, photographs of works of art, and sixteen reels of motion picture film taken in Mexico, Bard College, and Oqunquit, Maine.

Eighteen sketchbooks are largely unsigned but are likely by Stefan Hirsch. Additional artwork includes sketches and etchings by Hirsch, sketches by Elsa Rogo, and works by others including Raul Anquiano and Efren Villalobos.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1899-1986 (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1920s-1960s (3.2 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1920-1960s (1.2 linear feet: Boxes 4-5)

Series 4: Professional Files, 1912-1966 (2.8 linear feet; Boxes 6-8)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1927-1957 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 8-9)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1851-1964 (2.9 linear feet; Boxes 9-12, 19)

Series 7: Photographs and Motion Picture Film, circa 1870-1960s (6.9 linear feet; Boxes 12-17, 20, FC 21-29)

Series 8: Sketchbooks, circa 1930s-circa 1940s (0.6 linear feet; Box 18)

Series 9: Artwork and Artifacts, 1916-1982 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 18-19)
Biographical / Historical:
German-born Stefan Hirsch (1899-1964) was a painter and educator. Elsa Rogo (1901-1966) was married to Hirsch and was an artist, educator and journalist. They were active in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and Vermont, and traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Latin America where they documented local arts and crafts, village life, and befriended prominent Mexican artists.

Born in Nurnberg, Germany, Stefan Hirsch grew up in Europe and studied art at the University of Zurich. After settling in the United States in 1919, he took summer courses under Hamilton Easter Field in Ogunquit, Maine. Hirsch developed a Precisionist style combined with Social Realism but much of his work was difficult to restrict to one specific style. Hirsch was a founder and exhibitor at the avant-garde Salons of America which served as an alternative to the Society of Independent Artists. During the 1930s and 1940s, Hirsch participated in the U.S. government's Federal Art Project and painted murals in Aiken, South Carolina and Booneville, Mississippi. Hirsch began his teaching career in 1937 at Bennington College in Vermont, and later accepted a position at Bard College where he served as the chairman of the art department until he retired in 1961.

In 1930, Hirsch married Elsa Rogo. Together, they traveled throughout Mexico and Latin America where they became involved in the social and art scenes. They befriended prominent Mexican artists like Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros. As a journalist, Rogo documented Mexican life, events, and art extensively through photographs. Rogo also served in the U.S. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, established in 1940 to promote cultural diplomacy and solidarity primarily in Latin America. In Taxaco, Mexico, she taught art to school children. Her book, Walls and Volcanos: The Creative Impulse of the Mexican People, was published in 1937.

Stefan Hirsch died in 1964. Elsa Rogo died in 1966.
Provenance:
Portions of the Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers were donated in 1996 by the Elsa Rogo estate, via Sylvia Siskin, executrix. Additions were donated 2002, 2014, and 2019 by professor James Oles, Art Department, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts on behalf of Sylvia Siskin.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Original film reels and archival negative copies are stored off-site and are closed to researchers.
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Art teachers  Search this
Journalists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, Latin American  Search this
Mural painting and decoration, Mexican -- Photographs  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- South Carolina  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- Mississippi  Search this
Latino and Latin American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sound recordings
Etchings
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Glass plate negatives
Transcripts
Citation:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920s-1960s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.hirsstef
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw98ab444b5-7fc2-4e6b-ad62-a18f38f904f9
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-hirsstef
Online Media:

Photographs and Motion Picture Films

Collection Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Rogo, Elsa, 1901-1996  Search this
Extent:
6.9 Linear feet (Boxes 12-17, 20, FC 21-29)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1870-1960s
Scope and Contents:
Personal photographs consist of portraits and snapshots of Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo and include photos of friends, family, and personal travel snapshots. Travel photos are largely unidentified but were likely taken by Elsa Rogo for professional assignments for her work as a journalist. They include photos of political events, buildings, festivals, ceremonies, military demonstrations, bull fights, wrestlers, villagers, cityscapes, the theater, and conferences. Some event photos depict famous individuals including Mexican President Miguel Alemán Valdés, Eleanor Roosevelt, and President John F. Kennedy. Also found are photographs of works of art, slides, glass plate negatives, and rolls of negatives and positives.

Audiovisual material includes eleven short reels of 16 mm motion picture film, including 10 reels shot in Mexico between 1935 and 1941, and one reel shot at Bard College in 1941. Also found are five short reels of 8 mm motion picture film shot in Ogunquit, Maine and New York City in the early 1930s.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Original film reels and archival negative copies are stored off-site and are closed to researchers.
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:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920s-1960s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.hirsstef, Series 7
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9f018a181-69f2-4840-b633-d0e00e408c14
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-hirsstef-ref10

on Art, Stefan Hirsch

Collection Creator:
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Rogo, Elsa, 1901-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 4, Folder 34
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1920s-1930s
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Original film reels and archival negative copies are stored off-site and are closed to researchers.
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:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers, 1851-1986, bulk 1920s-1960s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers
Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo papers / Series 3: Writings and Notes
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw906dea049-eeaf-487e-8386-2e917ec28ee4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-hirsstef-ref100

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