An interview of Charles Alan conducted 1970 August 20-25, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Alan speaks of studying scene and stage design; attending Yale School of Drama; doing illustrations for various publications; traveling and studying in Europe; working as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers; his experiences working at the Downtown Gallery; his thoughts and recollections about Edith Halpert; leaving Downtown Gallery and starting his own gallery; his opinions on the future of small galleries in New York; museum purchases; Edith Halpert's art collection; selling his gallery to Felix Landau; and various thoughts concerning the art world. He recalls Norman Bell Geddes, Edith Halpert, Stuart Davis, Julien Levy, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Kirk Askew, Raymond Breinin, Ben Shahn, George Washburn, Edward Root, Joe Hirshhorn, John Marin, John Marin Jr., Lawrence Allen, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Harnett, Julian Levi, Jack Levine, Karl Zerbe, Bruce Conner, Richard Baker, Paul Sachs, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Alan (1908?-1975) was an art dealer from New York, New York. Alan attended Horace Mann School, graduating in 1924. Attended Yale School of Drama in 1925, then worked as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers. In 1930, Alan became a theatrical set designer and director. After serving in the Army in World War II, he worked for Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery. In 1952, he opened the Charles Alan Gallery, specializing in contemporary art. Alan closed the gallery in 1970 to become a private dealer.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 58 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Set Designers -- United States -- Interviews Search this
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. The collection documents Kuh's career as a pioneer modernist art historian and as the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Biographical material consists of copies of Kuh's birth certificate, resumés, passports, award certificates, honorary diplomas, and address books listing information about several prominent artists and colleagues.
Four linear feet of correspondence offers excellent documentation of Kuh's interest in art history, her travels, her career at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work as a corporate art advisor, and as an author. There are letters from her mother Olga Woolf, friends, and colleagues. There is extensive correspondence with various staff members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the First National Bank of Chicago, and The Saturday Review. Also of interest are letters from artists and collectors, several of whom became life-long friends including Walter and Louise Arensberg, Cosmo Campoli, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Cox, Worden Day, Claire Falkenstein, Fred Friendly, Leon Golub, Joseph Goto, David Hare, Denise Brown Hare, Jean Hélion, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Len Lye, Wallace Putnam, Kurt Seligmann, Shelby Shackelford, Hedda Sterne, and Clyfford Still. Many letters are illustrated with original artwork in various media.
There are also scattered letters from various artists and other prominent individuals including Josef Albers, George Biddle, Marcel Breuer, Joseph Cornell, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Joseph Hirshhorn, Daniel Catton Rich, and Dorothea Tanning.
Personal business records include a list of artwork, Olga Woolf's will, inventories of Kuh's personal art collection, miscellaneous contracts and deeds of gift, receipts for the sale of artwork, files concerning business-related travel, and miscellaneous receipts.
Artwork in the collection represents a wide range of artist friends and media, such as drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages, and prints. Included are works by various artists including lithographs by David Hare and a watercolor set, Technics and Creativity, designed and autographed by Jasper Johns for the Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
Notes and writings include annotated engagement calendars, travel journals for Germany, a guest book for the Kuh Memorial gathering, and many writings and notes by Kuh for lectures and articles concerning art history topics. Of interest are minutes/notes from meetings for art festivals, conferences, and the "Conversations with Artists Program (1961). Also found are writings by others about Kuh and other art history topics.
Six scrapbooks contain clippings that document the height of Kuh's career as a gallery director and museum curator. Scrapbook 6 contains clippings about Fernand Léger, the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953.
Additional printed material includes clippings about Kuh and her interests, a comprehensive collection of clippings of Kuh's articles for The Saturday Review, exhibition announcements and catalogs, calendars of events, programs, brochures, books including Poems by Kuh as a child, and reproductions of artwork. Of particular interest are the early and exhibition catalogs from the Katharine Kuh Gallery, and rare catalogs for artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Hofmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Pablo Picasso.
Photographs provide important documentation of the life and career of Katharine Kuh and are of Kuh, family members, friends, colleagues, events, residences, and artwork. Several of the photographs of Kuh were taken by Will Barnet and Marcel Breuer and there is a notable pair of photo booth portraits of Kuh and a young Ansel Adams. There are also group photographs showing Angelica Archipenko with Kuh; designer Klaus Grabe; painters José Chavez Morado and Pablo O'Higgins in San Miguel, Mexico; Kuh at the Venice Biennale with friends and colleagues including Peggy Guggenheim, Frances Perkins, Daniel Catton Rich, and Harry Winston; and "The Pre-Depressionists" including Lorser Feitelson, Robert Inverarity, Helen Lundeberg, Arthur Millier, Myron Chester Nutting, and Muriel Tyler Nutting.
Photographs of exhibition installations and openings include views of the Katharine Kuh Gallery; Fernand Léger, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. There are also photographs depicting three men posing as Léger's "Three Musicians" and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is a photograph by Peter Pollack of an elk skull used as a model by Georgia O'Keeffe.
Additional photographs of friends and colleagues include Ivan Albright, Alfred Barr, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem De Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Marcel Duchamp, Claire Falkenstein, Alberto Giacometti, poet Robert Graves with Len Lye, Philip Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Carlos Mérida, José Orozco, Hasan Ozbekhan, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sandberg, Ben Shahn, Otto Spaeth, Hedda Sterne, Adlai Stevenson, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and composer Victor Young.
Photographs of artwork include totem poles in Alaska; work by various artists including Claire Falkenstein, Paul Klee, and Hedda Sterne; and work donated to the Guggenheim Museum.
Four audio recordings on cassette are of Katharine Kuh's lectures, including one about assembling corporate collections, and of Daniel Catton Rich reading his own poetry. There is also a recording of the Second Annual Dialogue between Broadcasters and Museum Educators.
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Undated correspondence, artwork, and photographs of individual artists are arranged alphabetically. Otherwise, each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1908-1994 (Boxes 1-5, 13-14, OV 15; 4.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1941-1989 (Box 5; 19 folders)
Series 4: Artwork, 1931-1986 (Boxes 5, 13-14, OVs 15-23; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1914-1994 (Boxes 5-7; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1953 (Box 7; 8 folders)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992 (Boxes 7-10, 13, OV 22; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1875-1993 (Boxes 10-13; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Audio Recordings, 1977 (Box 12; 1 folder)
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.
After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.
In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.
After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.
In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review. In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.
A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.
Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.
The Katharine Kuh papers were donated in several installments from 1971 to 1989 by Katharine Kuh and in 1994 by her estate. Artwork was donated in 1995 by Kuh's former employer, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission until 2019. Contact the Archives of American Art Reference Services department for additional information.
Letter to Joseph Hirshhorn from Jacques Lipchitz, Feb. 2, 1958 concerning the establishment of the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph Hirshhorn (1899-1981) was an art collector from New York City.
Donated 1958 by Joseph Hirshhorn.
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.
The papers of public relations consultant and journalist Emily Nathan measure 5.0 linear feet and date from circa 1943-1985. Included are files on clients, among them Towle Manufacturing and its gallery; the Smithsonian Institution, including the Archives of American Art, Radio Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery.
Interviews conducted by Nathan for Radio Smithsonian include New York, N.Y. cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970), 1970; art historian and writer Richard B. K. McLanathan, 1970; Director of the Archives of American Art William E. Woolfenden, 1970, Abram Lerner, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, and art collector Joseph Hirshhorn, 1969. Also found is an interview of William Woolfenden May 6, 1983 upon his retirement as Director of the Archives of American Art.
Among the correspondence are letters to Georgia O'Keeffe regarding a pending oral history with the sculptors Dorothy Dehner and David Smith and a letter from museum administrator and lecturer Daniel Catton Rich expressing his pleasure at having met Jannis and Zoe Spyropoulous in Athens, Greece and describes the painting by Jannis that he purchased for the Worcester Art Museum. The majority of the photographs are of personalities long associated with the Archives of American Art. There are two photographs of Jasper Johns, and one each of Mark Rothko and Tony Smith, all taken by Hans Namuth, 1960.
Also found is a folder of material assembled by Nathan regarding Jose de Creeft's story, as told to Nathan, of his pet rooster, intended by Nathan to be submitted for publication under the title "Roosty Was My Friend." Included are an introduction by Nathan, providing biographical information on de Creeft; sample text for the story (2 pages) and an outline for the remainder (3 pages), 24 drawings by de Creeft illustrating the story; and a photograph of de Creeft with a wire sculpture of Roosty, 1957, taken by Budd studio.
Biographical / Historical:
Emily Nathan (1907-1999) was a journalist and public relations consultant specializing in arts and cultural heritage institutions.
Donated 1973-1988 by Emily Nathan and in 2000 by the Emily Nathan estate, via Edgar S. Nathan, III, executor. The letter to Nathan from Daniel Catton Rich was donated by Rich, 1977.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Fairfield County -- Greenwich
There are 400 pieces of sculpture in the collection; 120 pieces were on the grounds. Pieces were transferred to the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Picture taken during the Garden Club of America's 1968 Annual Meeting. Side view of house and formal rose garden.
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An interview of Raymond Horowitz conducted 2004 Oct.20-Nov. 5, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art, in New York, N.Y.
Horowitz speaks of his privileged childhood in New York; the effects of the Depression on his family's finances; attending Columbia University for Law and the anti-Semitism he faced there; his ingratiation into art appreciation through Meyer Shapiro; employment under then-New York City comptroller Joseph McGoldrick; the formation of his law practice; and his marriage to his wife, Margaret Goldenberg. Horowitz also mentions his involvement in left-wing political movements; how he managed relationships with different dealers; his experiences with misattributed artworks and forgeries, particularly his luck in avoiding them; the hobbies of himself and his wife; how he avoids relationships with the artists of his works; sharing information with other collectors; the economics of donating artworks and the subsequent tax breaks; the importance of credit in art purchasing; how he and Margaret conferred on purchases; their affinity for Chase; his habits on lending to exhibitions; the differences between the management of the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery; his summer homes in East Hampton and Provincetown; the problems with contemporary art scholarship; and the importance of dealers in affirming the interest in American art. Horowitz spends most of the interview reflecting upon others in the art world whom he has met. He recalls Ira Spanierman, Dan and Rita Fraad, Charles Merill Mount, Victor Spark, Abraham Adler, Nicolai Cikovsky, Phillipe de Montebello, Theodore Stebbins, Jack Levine, Daniel Terra, Joseph Hirshhorn, Norman Hirschl, John Canaday, Doris and Harry Rubin, Paul Mellon, Bill Gerdts, Paul Magriel, Bernard Meyers, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Interviewee Raymond Horowitz (1916-2005) was a collector from New York, N.Y. Avis Berman is an art historian from New York, N.Y.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this