An interview of Douglas S. Cramer conducted 2013 October 23-December 13, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art, at Cramer's homes in Miami Beach, Florida and New York, New York.
Cramer speaks of growing up in Kentucky and Cincinnati; his mother's career as a writer and interior designer; his interest in collecting objects as a young boy; growing up under his parents and his family history; racism and prejudices in society and Hollywood; the impact of the Depression on his family; his early interest in theater and art; his involvement with Hollywood and production work; his early art and real estate purchases; his friendship since high school with Jim Dine; reactions from dealers and artists when selling artwork; his belief in the importance of artists' drawings; his college career and his desire to go to Princeton; his desire to live in New York City; working for Proctor & Gamble; his early foray into collecting; his first collection of 20th century works on paper; meeting Leo Castelli and Jasper Johns; guidance of Dan Melnick in collecting; living and collecting in California; his desire to own a Joseph Cornell box; his divorce from Joyce Haber and their California collection; buying from Leo Castelli; getting to know and collecting Julian Schnabel; getting a protrait painted by Schnabel; donating works of art to museums; art dealers and customer service; working on the Love Boat (series); Andy Warhol's involvement with the Love Boat; his involvement with the MOCA board; the creation of the Douglas Cramer Foundation; Batman (series) and Roy Lichtenstein; meeting, collecting, and friendship with Roy Lichtenstein; meeting, collecting, and friendship with Ellsworth Kelly; Andy Warhol's persona. Cramer also recalls Larry Gagosian, Jeffrey Deitch, Eli Broad, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Margo Leavin, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Charles and Doris Saatchi, Paul Schimmel, Richard Serra, Marcia and Fred Weisman, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Douglas S. Cramer (1931-2021) was an American television producer and contemporary art collector in New York, New York. Avis Berman (1949- ) is an art historian and author in New York, New York.
Originally recorded as 4 sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 8 min.
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.
This interview is open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Leo Castelli Gallery records measure 215.9 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1880-2000, with the bulk of the materials dating from the gallery's founding in 1957 through Leo Castelli's death in 1999. The major influence of dealer Leo Castelli and his gallery on the development of mid-to-late twentieth century modern art in America is well-documented through business and scattered personal correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, extensive artists' files and printed materials, posters, awards and recognitions, photographs, and sound and video recordings. Also included are records for the subsidiary firms of Castelli Graphics and Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes and Films.
Scope and Content Note:
The Leo Castelli Gallery records measure 215.9 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1880-2000, with the bulk of the materials dating from the gallery's founding in 1957 through Leo Castelli's death in 1999. The major influence of dealer Leo Castelli and his gallery on the development of mid-to-late twentieth century modern art in America is well-documented through business and scattered personal correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, extensive artists' files and printed materials, posters, awards and recognitions, photographs, and audio and video recordings. Also included are records for the subsidiary firms of Castelli Graphics and Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes and Films.
The records document the gallery's daily business operations, exhibitions, spaces/buildings, collaborations and joint ventures with other galleries and museums, and its relationship with many artists, dealers, and clients. Artists particularly well-represented throughout the collection include Hanne Darboven, Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.
Records pre-dating the gallery's establishment in 1957 are primarily newspaper and magazine clippings related to artists, personal photographs and photographs of works of art, and scattered personal business records of Leo Castelli.
General Correspondence is extensive at circa 25 linear feet and consists primarily of the gallery's and Leo Castelli's named and subject correspondence files concerning the gallery's daily operations, exhibitions, artwork installation and fabrication, appraisals, inquiries, loans, sales, consignments, personal and business relationships with artists, and other topics. The general correspondence is arranged either by name of correspondent or topic, and is with museums and galleries, collectors, business associates, artists, employees, and friends. Notes, scattered photographs and slides, and printed materials are often found as enclosures. Leo Castelli's personal correspondence is also found here and consists primarily of solicitations, requests for advice, notes of thanks, congratulations, and invitations.
Letters written by artists in the gallery's stable are somewhat limited. There are scattered letters from artists Christo, Chryssa, Nassos Daphnis, Hanne Darboven, Marisol, Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Frederick Kiesler, Robert Morris, Hans Namuth, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Ray Parker, James Rosenquist, Edward Ruscha, Salvatore Scarpitta, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, and Jack Tworkov. There are also letters about artists in this series filed under the artists' name.
Collectors and dealers represented within the correspondence include the De Menil family, Mrs. Henry Epstein, Ben Heller, Giuseppe Panza, Alan Power, John and Kimiko Powers, Robert and Carolyn Rowan, Robert and Ethel Scull, and Burton and Emily Tremaine. Museums and galleries for which there is considerable correspondence includes the Dwan Gallery, Ferus Gallery, the Jewish Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Sidney Janis Gallery, Stedelijk Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Ileana Sonnabend Galerie.
The materials arranged in General Correspondence were originally marked by the gallery as "correspondence" files upon accessioning, and, are thus arranged into their own series. However, in some cases, there appears to be little difference between the General Correspondence and the Administrative Files. Thus, researchers are encouraged to reference both series.
Administrative Files document a wide variety of the gallery's activities and business. Essentially, these are files that were arranged by the gallery according to subject or topic and cover almost all activities except specific exhibitions. These files include records and correspondence about buildings and space, advertising, appraisals, auctions, consignments, loans, miscellaneous business correspondence, index cards, business arrangements with artists, information about artists, interviews with artists (transcripts), history of the gallery, mailings, photograph requests, shipping, and other topics. Few items are in digital format. There are staff notebooks and files and Leo Castelli's notebooks and notes from the late 1950s through the early 1990s. Extensive outgoing chronological correspondence filed in this series dates from 1964-1977. Also found are transcripts of interviews with Leo Castelli, biographical material, some of it in digital format, and scattered photographs.
Researchers should note that the Administrative Files often overlap and complement the General Correspondence. However, they focus slightly more distinctly on gallery business activities and are arranged mostly by subject or topic, except for the chronological business correspondence. Researchers are encouraged to reference both series. For example, correspondence with and about Jasper Johns may be found in both series, but the administrative files most likely focus on a specific loan, consignment, or business activity or transaction.
Exhibition files provide a thorough history of the gallery's exhibitions, as well as the fabrication and installation of artwork for exhibitions. These files include correspondence, exhibition catalogs, guest books, lists of exhibitions by artist and by year, press releases, sketches and notes, and scattered financial records. Photographs document over 650 exhibitions at Leo Castelli Gallery, including The Ninth Street Show organized by Castelli in 1951, and over 200 exhibitions at other galleries.
Extensive artists' files comprise approximately 40% of the records and are a rich resource of printed and compiled information about the careers of over 120 artists and their relationship with Leo Castelli and the gallery. There are exhibition announcements and catalogs, flyers, invitations, magazine articles and clippings, newspaper clippings, posters, press releases, photographs, and a handful of books. Nearly half of the series is comprised of black and white photographs of artwork, presumably handled by the Leo Castelli Gallery.
Additional printed materials include exhibition announcements, flyers, invitations, magazine articles and clippings, newspaper clippings, press releases, and exhibition posters. Exhibition catalogs are filed with the exhibitions files. The general archives files provide a chronological history of the gallery and its exhibitions. There are also files concerning Leo Castelli and numerous art-related topics. Exhibition posters are found here as well.
Artwork is limited and includes a few works of art and signed posters. Artists represented here include photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra and Andy Warhol, as well as others.
The records of the subsidiary Castelli Graphics New York consist of correspondence and administrative files relating to general operations and the sale and loan of prints. Also found are exhibition files, sales records, and scattered financial records. The series provides a wealth of information about Castelli Graphics collaborations with Multiples Inc. in the 1970s.
Also found in the collection are records of Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes and Films, a joint business venture between Leo Castelli Gallery and Sonnabend Gallery from 1974-1985. Records include correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, artists' files, printed materials, sales and rental records, photographs, and financial records.
The importance and stature of Leo Castelli and the Leo Castelli Gallery to the arts community in New York City and beyond is documented by numerous awards and recognitions, such as framed and unframed certificates, plaques, statues, medals, and scattered photographs.
Nearly seven linear feet of photographs include professional black and white original prints, scattered color photographs, color transparencies, slides and negatives, and disassembled photo albums. The photographs primarily depict social and art events and functions; family and friends of Leo Castelli; and portraits of Leo Castelli and artists and of Leo Castelli with artists, including Richard Artschwager, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Salvatore Scarpitta, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Photographs of exhibitions and exhibition installations are filed with the exhibition files.
Sound and video recordings include sound and video art, performances, interviews with artists and Leo Castelli, recordings from and of exhibitions, and television publicity recorded on sound cassettes, phonograph records (vinyl and lacquer), videocassettes (U-matic, VHS, Betamax), and videocartridges. Artists represented include Vito Acconci, Robert Barry, Barbara Bloom, Hannah Collins, Hanne Darboven, Dan Flavin, Laura Grisi, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Salvatore Scarpitta, Doug and Mike Starn, and Lawrence Weiner, among others.
See Index for list of Exhibitions at the Leo Castelli Gallery and Castelli Graphics
The collection is arranged as 11 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1948-1999, bulk 1957-1997 (24.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-23, 191, OVs 233-236)
Series 2: Administrative Files, 1941-1999, bulk 1970s-1990s (17.3 linear feet; Boxes 24-39, 192-193, OVs 237-238, 0.001 GB; ER01-ER02)
Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1951-1999, bulk 1957-1998 (18.7 linear feet; Boxes 40-56, 192, 194-196, 308-309, OVs 239-241, 280)
Series 4: Artists Files, 1913-1999, bulk 1960s-1990s (80.8 linear feet; Boxes 57-133, 197-208, OVs 242-243)
Series 5: Printed Materials, 1949-1998 (23.5 linear feet; Boxes 134-153, 209-211, OVs 244-274, 276, 300, RDs 301-306)
Series 6: Artwork, circa 1960s-1990s (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 153, 212-213, OVs 275, 277-278, RD 307)
Series 7: Castelli Graphics, circa 1950-1999, bulk mid 1970s-early 1990s (16 linear feet; Boxes 154-169)
Series 8: Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes + Films, 1969-1998 (5.6 linear feet; Boxes 170-174, 214, OVs 279-281)
Series 9: Awards and Recognition, 1962-1998 (6.9 linear feet; Boxes 175-176, 215-228, OVs 282)
Series 10: Photographs, circa 1880-1997, bulk 1960s-1990s (6.6 linear feet; Boxes 177-180, 229-231, OVs 283-299)
Series 11: Sound and Video Recordings, 1959-2000 (9.7 linear feet; Boxes 181-190, 232)
Leo Castelli (1907-1999) was one of America's most noted contemporary art dealers and opened the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City in 1957. The gallery showcased cutting edge American contemporary art, including Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Dada, Pop Art, Op Art, Color Field painting, Hard-edge painting, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, and Neo-expressionism, among other movements.
Leo Castelli was born as Leo Krauss on September 4, 1907 in Trieste, of Italian and Austro-Hungarian Jewish origin. He married art dealer Ileana Sonnabend in 1932 and the couple lived in Paris up until World War II. They had a daughter, Nina Castelli Sundell. In Paris, Castelli opened his first gallery in 1939. At that time, he was interested in the European Surrealists.
For years after Castelli moved to New York, he worked in his father-in-law's garment business. However, he organized his first American exhibition in 1951, the famous Ninth Street Show of 1951, a seminal event of Abstract Expressionism.
In 1957, he opened the Leo Castelli Gallery in his townhome on E. 77th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues in New York City. Castelli initially featured European Surrealism, but also curated exhibitions of American Abstract painters, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Friedel Dzubas, and Norman Bluhm.
In 1958, Castelli discovered Pop artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns and forged a life-long nurturing relationship with both artists. The gallery then began focusing more on Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. Beginning in the early 1960s, Castelli's stable included Richard Artschwager, Lee Bontecou, Chryssa, John Chamberlain, Ronald Davis, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Larry Poons, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Salvatore Scarpitta, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.
Leo and Ileana divorced in 1959, and Ileana returned to Europe. She later moved back to New York and opened a gallery close to Castelli's. The two remained close and together they established the joint venture of Castelli-Sonnabend Films and Tapes to accommodate artists interested in new media.
In the 1970s Leo Castelli opened a downtown SoHo branch of the Leo Castelli Gallery at 420 West Broadway. In the 1980s he opened a second larger downtown exhibition space on Greene Street also in SoHo.
Leo Castelli's second wife was Antoinette Castelli, with whom he also opened Castelli Graphics, an art gallery devoted to prints and photographs, mostly those by Castelli artists. The couple also had a son together, Jean-Christophe Castelli. In 1995 Leo Castelli married Italian art historian Barbara Bertozzi Castelli. She directs the Leo Castelli Gallery today, showing many of the same artists of the gallery's past.
Leo Castelli's unparalleled eye for quality, combined with his extraordinary skill for nurturing and promoting new art and artists, secured his position as one of the most respected and influential advocates of contemporary art for nearly five decades.
List of Exhibitions:
Below is a chronological listing of over 850 exhibitions and events held at the Leo Castelli Gallery from 1957 to 1999; included are exhibitions at 4 E 77 St (1957-1989), 65 Thompson (1989-1994), 108th St Warehouse (1968-1970), 142 Greene St (1980-1988), 420 W Broadway (1971-1999), and 578 Broadway (1988-1997). Castelli Graphics exhibitions from 1969-1996 and Castelli/Sonnabend Tapes and Films exhibitions from 1974-1984 are also included and are noted when known.
Note that this list is not comprehensive. In particular, Castelli Graphics exhibitions from the 1980s and early 1990s are incomplete. Sources used to compile this index include exhibition schedules and lists, installation photographs, announcements, clippings, and other printed materials from the Leo Castelli Gallery records, and the Leo Castelli Gallery website (www.castelligallery.com).
Exhibitions are listed in chronological order by title, if known, and gallery address.
1957 SeasonFeb. -- First Exhibition: de Kooning, Delaunay, Dubuffet, Giacometti, Hartley, Leger, Mondrian, Picabia, Pollock, David Smith, van Doesburg; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 4-23, 1957 -- Jon Schueler; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 25 - Apr. 13, 1957 -- Viseux; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 15 - May 4, 1957 -- Paul Brach; 4 E 77 St
May 6-25, 1957 -- New Work: Bluhm, Budd, Dzubas, Johns, Leslie, Louis, Marisol, Ortman, Rauschenberg, Savelli; 4 E 77 St
1957-1958 SeasonOct. 1-26, 1957 -- Norman Bluhm; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 28 - Nov. 16, 1957 -- Horia Damian; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 18 - Dec. 14, 1957 -- Marisol; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 17, 1957 - Jan. 18, 1958 -- Collector's Annual; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 20 - Feb. 8, 1958 -- Jasper Johns; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 10 - Mar. 1, 1958 -- Friedel Dzubas; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 4-29, 1958 -- Robert Rauschenberg; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 1-26, 1958 -- Giuseppe Capogrossi; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 29 - May 31, 1958 -- Pioneers 1910-1950: de Kooning, Delaunay, Domela, Dubuffet, Giacometti, Hartley, Kandinsky, Leger, Miro, Picabia, Pollock, Schwitters, Smith, van Doejburg; 4 E 77 St
1958-1959 SeasonSept. 30 - Oct. 25, 1958 -- Angelo Savelli; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 28 - Nov. 22, 1958 -- Group Exhibition: Bluhm, Brach, Dzubas, Johns, Marisol, Rauschenberg, Schueler; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 25 - Dec. 20, 1958 -- Esteban Vicente, Drawings; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 6-24, 1959 -- Nassos Daphnis; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 27 - Feb. 14, 1959 -- Salvatore Scarpitta, Extramurals; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 17 - Mar. 7, 1959 -- Al Newbill; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 10-28, 1959 -- Gabriel Kohn; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 31 - Apr. 18, 1959 -- Norman Bluhm, Jean Dubuffet, and Robert Rauschenberg; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 21 - May 9, 1959 -- Jon Schueler; 4 E 77 St
May 12-30, 1959 -- Group Exhibition: Brach, Dzubas, Johns, Sander, Twombly; 4 E 77 St
1959-1960 SeasonOct. 6-17, 1959 -- Opening Exhibition of the New Gallery: Bluhm, Brach, Daphnis, Johns, Kohn, Rauschenberg, Sander, Scarpitta, Stella, Twombly; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 20 - Nov. 7, 1959 -- Work in Three Dimensions: Chamberlain, Follet, Giles, Johns, Klein, Kohn, Marisol, Nevelson, Ortman, Rauschenberg, Scarpitta; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 10-28, 1959 -- Ludwig Sander; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 1-26, 1959 -- Paul Brach; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 5-23, 1960 -- William Giles; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 26 - Feb. 13, 1960 -- Norman Bluhm; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 15 - Mar. 5, 1960 -- Jasper Johns; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 8-26, 1960 -- Nassos Daphnis; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 29 - Apr. 16, 1960 -- Robert Rauschenberg; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 19 - May 7, 1960 -- Salvatore Scarpitta; 4 E 77 St
May 10-28, 1960 -- Edward Higgins; 4 E 77 St
May 31 - June 25, 1960 -- Summary 1959-1960: Bluhm, Bontecou, Daphnis, Higgins, Johns, Kohn, Langlais, Rauschenberg, Sander, Scarpitta, Stella, Twombly, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
1960-1961 SeasonSept. 27 - Oct. 15, 1960 -- Frank Stella; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 18 - Nov. 5, 1960 -- Cy Twombly; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 9 - Dec. 3, 1960 -- Lee Bontecou; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 6, 1960 - Jan. 7, 1961 -- Robert Rauschenberg, 34 Illustrations for Dante's Inferno; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 10-28, 1961 -- Frederick Kiesler; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 31 - Feb. 25, 1961 -- Jasper Johns, Drawings and Sculpture; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 28 - Mar. 18, 1961 -- Jack Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 21 - Apr. 8, 1961 -- Bernard Langlais; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 11-29, 1961 -- Yves Klein, Le Monochrome; 4 E 77 St
May 2-20, 1961 -- Ludwig Sander; 4 E 77 St
May 23 - June , 1961 -- Sculpture and Relief: Bontecou, Chamberlain, Higgins, Scarpitta; 4 E 77 St
1961-1962 SeasonSept. 22 - Oct. 14, 1961 -- An Exhibition in Progress: Bontecou, Chamberlain, Daphnis, Higgins, Johns, Langlais, Moskowitz, Rauschenberg, Scarpitta, Stella, Twombly, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 17 - Nov. 4, 1961 -- Nassos Daphnis; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 7 - Dec. 5, 1961 -- Robert Rauschenberg; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 8, 1961 - Jan. 10, 1962 -- Group Exhibition: Bontecou, Johns, Langlais, [Lichtenstein], Scarpitta, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 13 - Feb. 6, 1962 -- John Chamberlain; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 10 - Mar. 3, 1962 -- Roy Lichtenstein; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 10 - Apr. 5, 1962 -- Robert Moskowitz; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 7-21, 1962 -- Group Exhibition: Bontecou, Chamberlain, Daphnis, Higgins, Rauschenberg, Scarpitta, Stella; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 28 - May 19, 1962 -- Frank Stella; 4 E 77 St
May 26 - June 30, 1962 -- Drawings: Bontecou, Johns, Lichtenstein, Moskowitz, Rauschenberg, Stella, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
1962-1963 SeasonSept. 22 - Oct. 13, 1962 -- Group Exhibition: Chamberlain, Higgins, Johns, Klapheck, Rauschenberg, Scarpitta, Stella, Tinguely, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 16 - Nov. 7, 1962 -- John Chamberlain and Frank Stella; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 10 - Dec. 6, 1962 -- Lee Bontecou; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 8, 1962 - Jan. 9, 1963 -- Gerald van de Wiele; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 12 - Feb. 7, 1963 -- Jasper Johns; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 9 - Mar. 7, 1963 -- Jack Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 9-30, 1963 -- Nassos Daphnis; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 2-25, 1963 -- Group Exhibition: Chamberlain, Higgins, Kiesler, Lichtenstein, Moskowitz, Rauschenberg, Stella, Twombly; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 27 - May 16, 1963 -- Salvatore Scarpitta; 4 E 77 St
May 20 - June 30, 1963 -- Group Drawing Exhibition: Bontecou, Daphnis, Johns, Lichtenstein, Moskowitz, Rauschenberg, Stella, Tworkov, van de Wiele; 4 E 77 St
1963-1964 SeasonSept. 28 - Oct. 24, 1963 -- Roy Lichtenstein; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 26 - Nov. 21, 1963 -- Robert Rauschenberg; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 23, 1963 - Jan. 2, 1964 -- Edward Higgins; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 4 - Feb. 6, 1964 -- Frank Stella; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 8 - Mar. 12, 1964 -- Group Exhibition: Chamberlain, Johns, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Stella; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 14 - Apr. 9, 1964 -- Cy Twombly; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 11-30, 1964 -- John Chamberlain; 4 E 77 St
May 2 - June 3, 1964 -- Introducing Artschwager, Christo, Hay, Watts; 4 E 77 St
June 6-30, 1964 -- Group Exhibition: Chamberlain, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Scarpitta, Stella, Twombly, Tworkov; 4 E 77 St
1964-1965 SeasonSept. 26 - Oct. 22, 1964 -- Group Exhibition: Artschwager, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Stella, Warhol; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 24 - Nov. 19, 1964 -- Roy Lichtenstein, Landscapes; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 21 - Dec. 28, 1964 -- Andy Warhol, Flower Paintings; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 9-27, 1965 -- John Chamberlain, Paintings; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 30 - Feb. 24, 1965 -- Richard Artschwager; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 27 - Mar. 24, 1965 -- Nassos Daphnis; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 27 - Apr. 14, 1965 -- Salvatore Scarpitta, Racing Cars; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 17 - May 13, 1965 -- James Rosenquist, F-111; 4 E 77 St
May 15 - June 9, 1965 -- Robert Rauschenberg, Oracle; 4 E 77 St
1965-1966 SeasonOct. 2-21, 1965 -- Group Exhibition: [Chamberlain], Johns, Lichtenstein, Poons, Rauschenberg, Stella, [Warhol]; 4 E 77 St
Oct. 23 - Nov. 17, 1965 -- Robert Bart; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 20 - Dec. 11, 1965 -- Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstrokes and Ceramics; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 14, 1965 - Jan. 5, 1966 -- Benefit Drawing Exhibition for the Foundation for the Contemporary Performance Arts; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 14, 1965 - Jan. 5, 1966 -- Group Exhibition; 4 E 77 St
Jan. 8 - Feb. 2, 1966 -- Jasper Johns; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 5 - Mar. 2, 1966 -- Donald Judd; 4 E 77 St
Feb. 12 - Mar. 2, 1966 -- Cy Twombly, Drawings; 4 E 77 St
Mar. 5 - Apr. 2, 1966 -- Frank Stella; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 6-27, 1966 -- Andy Warhol, Wallpaper and Clouds; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 30 - May 25, 1966 -- James Rosenquist; 4 E 77 St
May 28 - June 13, 1966 -- Christo, Storefront; 4 E 77 St
June 14-30, 1966 -- Group Exhibition: Bontecou, Johns, Judd, Lichtenstein, Poons, Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Stella, Warhol; 4 E 77 St
1966-1967 SeasonOct. 8 - Nov. 8, 1966 -- Lee Bontecou; 4 E 77 St
Nov. 12 - Dec. 3, 1966 -- Edward Higgins; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 6-10, 1966 -- Benefit Group Exhibition for Experiments in Art and Technology, Inc.; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 7, 1966 - Jan. 5, 1967 -- Stanley Landsman; 4 E 77 St
Dec. 14, 1966 - Jan. 5, 1967 -- Group Exhibition: Artschwager, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Warhol; 4 E 77 St
Apr. 20 - May 18, 1996 -- James Rosenquist, Horizon Home Sweet Home; 420 W Broadway
Apr. 20 - May 24, 1996 -- Roy Lichtenstein, Eight New Prints; 578 Broadway
May 28 - July 26, 1996 -- Ralph Gibson, Infanta; 420 W Broadway
May 28 - July 26, 1996 -- Group Drawing Exhibition, Works on Paper: Chryssa, Daphnis, Darboven, Johns, Lichtenstein, Morris, Nauman, Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Serra, Stella, Sonnier, Therrien, Weiner; 420 W Broadway
June 1 - July 26, 1996 -- Summer Group Show: Johns, Kosuth, Lichtenstein, Ruscha, Stella, Therrien; 578 Broadway
1996-1997 SeasonSept. 14 - Oct. 12, 1996 -- Gianfranco Gorgoni, 25 Years of Artists Portraits; 578 Broadway
Feb. 15 - Mar. 15, 1997 -- Lawrence Weiner, Then Now + Then; 420 W Broadway
Mar. 1-22, 1997 -- Dan Flavin; 578 Broadway
Mar. 22 - Apr. 26, 1997 -- Keith Sonnier, Alternating Currents; 420 W Broadway
Mar. 29 - Apr. 5, 1997 -- The Printmaking Workshop Benefit Exhibition and Auction; 420 W Broadway
Apr. 17 - May 17, 1997 -- Columbia University MFA Exhibition; 420 W Broadway
May 3 - June 7, 1997 -- Edward Ruscha, Cityscapes and "O" Books; 420 W Broadway
July - Sept., 1997 -- Summer Group Show: Kosuth, Morris, Serra; 420 W Broadway
1997-1998 SeasonSept. 27 - Oct. 18, 1997 -- Joseph Kosuth; 420 W Broadway
Oct. 25 - Nov. 15, 1997 -- 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation Part 1: Bontecou, Chryssa, Cornell, Johns, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Ruscha, Twombly, Warhol; 420 W Broadway
Nov. 22 - Dec. 13, 1997 -- 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation Part 2: Daphnis, Flavin, Judd, Kelly, Morris, Serra, Stella, Therrien, Waldman; 420 W Broadway
Jan. 10-31, 1998 -- 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation Part 3: Barry, Darboven, Dibbets, Grisi, Huebler, Kosuth, Nauman, Scarpitta, Sonnier, Starn Twins, Weiner; 420 W Broadway
Feb. 7 - Mar. 14, 1998 -- Dan Flavin, Some Drawings and Installations of Fluorescent Light; 420 W Broadway
Mar. 28 - Apr. 25, 1998 -- Hannah Collins, True Stories; 420 W Broadway
May 2 - June 6, 1998 -- Mike and Doug Starn, Black Hole Sun Burned; 420 W Broadway
June 24 - Aug. 29, 1998 -- Summer Show; 420 W Broadway
1998-1999 SeasonSept. 26 - Oct. 31, 1998 -- Robert Morris, The Rationed Years; 420 W Broadway
Nov. - Dec., 1998 -- Joseph Kosuth, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier; 420 W Broadway
Jan. - Feb. 1999 -- Robert Rauschenberg, Arcadian Survey; 420 W Broadway
Available in the Archives of America Art are three oral history interviews with Leo Castelli. Paul Cummings interviewed Castelli between May 14, 1969 and June 8, 1973; Barbara Rose in July, 1969; and Andrew Decker on May 22, 1997.
The Archives of American Art also holds items lent for microfilming (reel N68) including printed material. Lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Leo Castelli loaned printed material for microfilming in 1968. Leo Castelli's wife, Barbara Bortuzzo Castelli, and his children, Nina Castelli Sundell and Jean-Christophe Castelli, donated the Leo Castelli Gallery records to the Archives of American Art in 2007.
Use of original records requires an appointment.
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- History -- New York (State)New York Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- History -- New York (State)New York Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Leo Castelli Gallery records, circa 1880-2000, bulk 1957-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the partial digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.
Art Collectors: A Project in Partnership with the Center for the History of Collecting in America at The Frick Collection Search this
110 Pages (Transcript)
2016 December 5-6
Scope and Contents:
An oral history interview with Helen Zell conducted 2016 December 5-6, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art and the Center for the History of Collecting in America at the Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection, at Zell's home, in Chicago, Illinois.
Zell discusses growing up as a Jewish Northerner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; her parents and their extended family and the impact on her of visiting with her father's bohemian relatives in Brooklyn; her early interest in reading and English studies; her enthusiasm for collecting and organizing paper dolls and books as a young girl; the family's relocation to Rockville Centre, New York on Long Island; her visit as a teenager to Europe and the Rome Olympics with her grandparents; her college years at the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, James Fadim; her work as an editor for the American Society for Microbiology; the couple's meeting and socializing with Sam and Janet Zell at the University of Michigan; their move to Chicago in 1967; her first purchases of art at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago; her work as the general manager for the Chicago String Ensemble; her work on the Women's Board at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; her divorce from her first husband and her return to school to study interior design at the Harrington Institute and her subsequent work as an interior designer; her deeper involvement with Chicago-based art collectors through her work at the MCA. Zell also describes her reintroduction to Sam Zell after many years apart at an art fair in Chicago in 1995; their burgeoning relationship and his desire to help her acquire and develop an art collection, initially concentrating on Surrealist work; their marriage and acquisition of a neighboring apartment in their condominium building which they renovated in order to create space for their growing collection; the expansion of their collection into photography; her enthusiasm for the work of Joseph Cornell, Louise Bourgeois and Lee Bontecou, among others; the assistance of the gallerist Alan Koppel in acquiring work for the collection; her feelings about loaning from the collection for exhibitions; the valuable assistance of curators and dealers in expanding her knowledge and expertise; and her and her husband's feelings about eventually creating a legacy for their collection. Zell also recalls Robert Natkin; Grace Hokin; Bud Holland; Helyn Goldenberg; Marilynn Alsdorf; Allen Turner; Stefan Edlis; Gael Neeson; Kevin Consey; Madeline Grynsztejn; Elizabeth Smith as well as Michael Heltzer; Meredith Palmer; John Vinci; David Tunkl; Lynne Warren; and Wilbur Ross, among others.
Biographical / Historical:
Helen Zell (1942- ) is a philanthropist and art collector in Chicago, Illinois. Avis Berman (1949- ) is an art historian and author in New York, New York.
Originally recorded as 2 digital wav sound files. Duration is 4 hr., 53 min.
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.
This interview is access restricted; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Philanthropists -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews Search this
Papers, 1959-1987, of Elizabeth Gordon, editor of the periodical, House Beautiful from 1941-1964, mostly related to her research for the August and September 1960 issues of House Beautiful regarding the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui", and the subsequent travelling "shibui exhibition" from 1961-1964. Included are correspondence, some photocopies, 1959-1963; notes; drafts for articles and lectures; printed material including magazine and newspaper clippings, 1959-1987; 2 books, and exhibition announcements; drawings of paper and foil art; a photo album containing photos of exhibition installations; and photographs, slides, color transparencies, and lantern slides depicting people, sites, and objects reflecting the "shibui" aesthetic.
Scope and Contents:
The Elizabeth Gordon Papers measure 4.5 linear feet and span the years 1959-1987. The collection mainly documents Ms. Gordon's research for the August and September 1960 issues of House Beautiful regarding the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui", and the subsequent travelling "shibui exhibition" from 1961-1964. Included are correspondence, some photocopies, 1959-1963; research notes and materials; articles; lectures; printed material including magazine and newspaper clippings, 1959-1987; 2 books, and exhibition announcements; article materials; a photo album containing photos of exhibition installations; and photographs, slides, color transparencies, and lantern slides depicting people, sites, and objects reflecting the "shibui" aesthetic.
This collection is organized into eight series. 1. Biographical data, 2. Shibui research, 3. Shibui issues of, House Beautiful, 4. Correspondence, 5. Shibui promotion, 6. Exhibition files, 7. Printed materials, and 8. Photographs.
Born in Logansport, Indiana in 1906, Elizabeth Gordon served as editor of House Beautiful magazine 1941 to 1964. Ms. Gordon first became interested in Japanese aesthetics during the mid-1950s. As a result she began to read and study Japanese art, history and culture. In 1959, Gordon travelled to Japan with three staff people from, House Beautiful. In Kyoto she met Eiko Yuasa, a young woman then employed by the City of Kyoto to handle foreign V.I.P.s, who was assigned to assist Gordon during her stay there. It was Ms. Yuasa who, in the course of discussions of Japanese aesthetics, introduced the term "shibui." Around that term and its related concepts ("iki", "jimi", "hade") the theme for the issue began to crystallize. In August and September, 1960, House Beautiful, under the editorial control of Ms. Gordon, published two extremely popular issues devoted to the subject of "shibui". Due to the popularity of the issues, museum exhibits devoted to the concept of "shibui" travelled around the United States. Ms. Gordon died in Adamstown, Maryland in 2000.
1906 -- Born in Logansport, Indiana
1920s -- Attended the University of Chicago
1930s -- Moved to New York to work as a promotional copywriter for several newspapers
1930s -- Syndicated columnist on home maintenance for The New York Herald Tribune
1930s -- Editor at Good Housekeeping (here for 8 years)
1937 -- More House for your Money by Elizabeth Gordon and Dorothy Ducas published by W. Morrow and Company: New York.
1937 -- Married Carl Hafey Norcross
1939 -- Appointed editor of House Beautiful
1964 -- Left the magazine world
1972 -- Published a special issue on Scandinavian design and awarded the insignia of a knight, first class, in the Finnish Order of the Lion
1987 -- American Institute of Architects made her an honorary member
1988 -- Carl Hafey Norcross died
September 3, 2000 -- Died in Adamstown, MD
(The following biography of Elizabeth Gordon comes courtesy of curator Louise Cort. Written in consultation with Elizabeth Gordon, October 23, 1987)
The research papers, memoranda, magazines, books, photographs and color transparencies and other materials in this archives are related to the publication by Elizabeth Gordon (Mrs. Carl Norcross), editor of House Beautiful from 1941 to 1964 and creator of the August, 1960 issue of the magazine on the special theme of the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui". The "shibui issue" was followed by the September, 1960, issue of the same publication on the theme, "How to be shibui with American things." As a by-product of the issues, a "Shibui Exhibition" travelled to eleven museums in the United States during 1961-1964. Each exhibition was opened with a slide lecture by Elizabeth Gordon.
Miss Gordon first became curious about Japanese aesthetics in the mid-1950s when she began to see Japanese objects being displayed and used in the homes of Americans who had spent time in Japan during the Occupation and Japanese influence began to appear in wholesale showrooms of home furnishings manufacturers. It was clear that the time had come: she HAD to go to Japan!
She read for five years before going to Japan - history, social mores, art history. (Many of the books on Japan that she collected during this time have been presented to the library at the University of Maryland, College Park.)
An important bit of advice came from Alice Spaulding Bowen, owner of Pacifica, the highest quality shop of Asian antiquities in Honolulu, who told her, "Be sure to read, The Tale of Genji - then you'll understand everything."
She made her first trip to Japan in April, 1959, accompanied by three staff people from, House Beautiful. In Kyoto she met Eiko Yuasa, a young woman then employed by the City of Kyoto to handle foreign V.I.P.s, who was assigned to assist Miss Gordon during her stay there. It was Ms. Yuasa who, in the course of discussions of Japanese aesthetics, introduced the term "shibui." Around that term and its related concepts ("iki", "jimi", "hade") the theme for the issue began to crystallize.
Miss Gordon came home, planning to spend the summer researching "shibui" with the aid of the Japan Society. But she found virtually nothing written in English on the concept. So she returned to Japan in December, 1959 together with staff member Marion Gough, to dig deeper and to work out details and get better educated with Eiko Yuasa. One of their devices was to walk through department stores and discuss with sales personnel whether objects for sale were "shibui", or were "jimi" or "hade", and why. Between themselves, they did the same for the costumes of women they saw on the streets.
Lacking printed sources for information on "shibui", Miss Gordon sought out and interviewed experts, including Douglas Overton, head of the Japan Society in New York. In Japan in December, 1959, she met Yanagi Soetsu, founder of Japan's Folk Craft Movement and head of the Craft Museum in Tokyo (with an introduction from Tonomura Kichinosuke, head of the Craft Museum in Kurashiki). She met the chef Tsuji Kaichi, who was commissioned to write an article on "kaiseki" (that could not be used because of an inadequate English translation) and Frances Blakemore. She met several times with Bernard Leach and attended his lecture at Bonnier's while he was in New York in March, 1960. (He would later write a "fan letter" for the issue)
As the concept of "the shibui issue" began to take shape, a third trip in the spring of 1960 focused on photography - to produce the shooting script decided on the preceding December. This was executed by the noted photographer Ezra Stoller of Rye, New York, and John DeKoven Hill, House Beautiful's Editorial Director. (Mr. Hill worked with Frank Lloyd Wright except for the ten years that he was a member of the House Beautiful editorial staff)
Miss Gordon was back in Japan in Mid-August 1960 as the "shibui issue" was causing a sensation. Altogether she spent sixteen months in Japan.
As one of the experiences that influenced her strong interest in Japanese costumes and textiles, Miss Gordon remembers a spectacularly thorough exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno on, 1200 Years of Japanese Costume. She saw it on the last day of its exhibition (possibly 1964).
The August 1960 issue sold out quickly. Copies of the magazine, which sold for fifty cents, were sold on the "black market" for ten dollars.
The publication of the August 1960 issue was followed by an unprecedented avalanche of "fan mail". Many department heads in colleges and universities, including the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (where Miss Gordon had worked as an undergraduate) wrote to comment on the issue. Many people in other fields of endeavor wrote: heads of firms concerned with interior design, landscape architecture, and related areas expressed their interest in the concept of "shibui" Other writers include Bernard Leach, Gertrude Natzler, Laura Gilpin, Mainbocher, the architect Yoshimura Junzo, the textile artist Marianne Strengell, Walter Kerr, Craig Claiborne, and Oliver Statler.
The "shibui issue" was followed immediately by the September issue dealing with the use of non-Japanese objects to express the concept of "shibui." (Miss Gordon convinced her advertisers, who had been skeptical about the potential success of the August issue, by promising the September issue dealing with American products.) Four American firms were involved in the production of an integrated line of paints, wallpaper, furniture and carpets expressive of the concept. Products were designed by the firms' designers following the clues offered by objects and fabrics purchased by Miss Gordon in Japan in December 1959 and spring 1960. Miss Gordon has expressed her dissatisfaction with the September issue, although public opinion was positive. She feels that some of the firms failed in the "shibui" project, though some "caught" the message: namely the paint company and the fabric/wallpaper company.
In response to strong public interest, the House Beautiful staff prepared a travelling exhibition to introduce the concept of "shibui" through a series of vignettes, mixing fabrics and objects, colors and textures. The museum installation was designed by John Hill of House Beautiful. Japan Air Lines underwrote shipping costs.
The exhibition began in Philadelphia in late 1961. Ezra Stoller was sent to photograph the installation in considerable detail at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in January, 1962, so that his photographs cold serve as guidelines for installations at the other museums, which included the San Francisco Museum of Art (April 1962), the Newark Pubic Library, and the Honolulu Academy of Art. Miss Gordon presented a lecture on "shibui" at each of the museum installations.
In appreciation of her work to introduce Americans to the concept of "shibui", the city of Kyoto presented a bolt of especially "shibui" kimono fabric executed by a Living National Treasure textile artist. Miss Gordon eventually tailored the fabric into a dress and jacket. She received the 1961 Trail Blazer Award from the New York Chapter of the National Home Fashions League, Inc. In June, 1987, Miss Gordon was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, with her introduction of the concept of "shibui" and her promotion of an understanding of other culture cited as her major contributions to American architecture.
Elizabeth Gordon donated her papers to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives in 1988.
Elizabeth Gordon donated her papers to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives in 1988.