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Brenda Kuhn's remarks on her father, Walt Kuhn's, papers

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Subject:
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen)  Search this
Guston, Philip  Search this
Kuhn, Vera  Search this
Kuhn, Walt  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Place:
Fort Lee, N.J.
New York, N.Y.
Ogunquit, Me.
Date:
1965
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)10662
See more items in:
Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records, 1859-1984, bulk 1900-1949
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_10662

Brenda Kuhn notes concerning Walt Kuhn

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Subject:
Kuhn, Walt  Search this
Type:
Writings
Date:
1974-1985
Topic:
Art galleries, Commercial  Search this
Exhibitions  Search this
Painters  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)7892
See more items in:
Brenda Kuhn notes relating to Walt Kuhn, 1974-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_7892
Online Media:

Brenda Kuhn interview, 1966 Apr. 1

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Subject:
Kuhn, Walt  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10672
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)214267
AAA_collcode_kuhnbren
Theme:
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_214267

Brenda Kuhn notes relating to Walt Kuhn, 1974-1985

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Subject:
Kuhn, Walt  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13381
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)256493
AAA_collcode_kuhnbren2
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_256493

Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records

Creator:
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Names:
Armory Show (1913: New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Association of American Painters and Sculptors (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
International Exhibition of Modern Art  Search this
Kit Kat Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Penguin Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Vera, d. 1961  Search this
Oldfield, Otis, 1890-1969  Search this
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958  Search this
Quinn, John, 1870-1924  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Photographer:
Rainford, Percy  Search this
Weston, Edward, 1886-1958  Search this
Extent:
31 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Date:
1859-1984
bulk 1900-1949
Summary:
The Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records measure 31 linear feet and date from 1859 to 1984, with the bulk of material dating from 1900 to 1949. Papers contain records of the legendary Armory Show of 1913, also known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, which introduced modern European painting and sculpture to the American public. Papers also contain records of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), the artist-run organization that mounted the Armory Show; records of the New York artists' clubs the Kit Kat Club (founded 1881) and the Penguin Club (founded 1917); and the personal and family papers of New York artist Walt Kuhn (1877-1949), one of the primary organizers of the Armory Show.
Scope and Contents note:
The Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records measure 31 linear feet and date from 1859 to 1984, with the bulk of material dating from 1900 to 1949. Papers contain records of the legendary Armory Show of 1913, also known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, which introduced modern European painting and sculpture to the American public. Papers also contain records of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), the artist-run organization that mounted the Armory Show; records of the New York artists' clubs the Kit Kat Club (founded 1881) and the Penguin Club (founded 1917); and the personal and family papers of New York artist Walt Kuhn (1877-1949), one of the primary organizers of the Armory Show.

As Secretary for the AAPS, Kuhn retained the bulk of existing records of that organization and of the Armory Show. Minutes and correspondence make up most of the AAPS records (Series 2), as well as documents related to John Quinn's legal brief against a tariff on imported works of living artists. Armory Show Records (Series 1) include personal letters, voluminous business correspondence, a record book, miscellaneous notes, inventories and shipping records, two large scrapbooks, printed materials, a small number of photographs, and retrospective accounts of the show. The printed materials and photographs in Kit Kat Club and Penguin Club Records reflect Kuhn's deep involvement in those clubs.

The Walt Kuhn Family Papers (Series 4) contain records of his artwork, career, travels, personal and professional associations, family members, and work in vaudeville, film, and interior design. Notable among the family papers are illustrated letters and other cartoons; sketches, drawings, watercolors, and prints; candid letters from Walt to Vera Kuhn discussing art scene politics and personalities in New York, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Florida, and the Midwest; general correspondence with artists, dealers, collectors, journalists, writers, models, and fans; notes in index card files containing biographical anecdotes of the Kuhns' many contacts; provenance files that document the origin and fate of Kuhn's paintings, sculptures, and prints; papers relating to Kuhn's exhibitions and his relationships with the Marie Harriman Gallery and Durand-Ruel Gallery; and photographs and drawings depicting Kuhn's early years in Munich, Germany and Fort Lee, New Jersey; trips to Nova Scotia, New England, the Western United States, and Europe; New York and summer studios, among other subjects.
Arrangement:
This collection has been arranged into 4 series, with multiple subseries in Series 1 and 4.

Series 1: Armory Show Records, 1912-1963 (Boxes 1-2, 27-31, 56, OV 36; 3.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS) Records, 1911-1914, undated (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Kit Kat Club and Penguin Club Records, 1909-1923, undated (Box 3, 32, 56, OVs 37-38; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Walt Kuhn Family Papers, 1859-1984, undated (Box 3-26, 32-35, 56-57, OVs 39-55, 58; 26.7 linear feet)

In general, documents are arranged chronologically, alphabetically, or by type of material. Copy negatives and copy prints made from documents in this collection have been filed separately from originals, in a folder marked "copy." Duplicates of original records made or obtained by the Kuhns have been filed separately as well.

Existing envelopes are filed in front of correspondence and enclosures directly after. Correspondence in the Armory Show Records and AAPS Records is arranged alphabetically, and correspondents are listed in the box inventory following series descriptions below.
Biographical/Historical note:
Walt Kuhn (1877-1949) was an etcher, lithographer, and watercolorist, as well as being a teacher, an advisor to art collectors, an organizer, and a promoter of modern art. He played a key role in the art scene of New York City in the early 20th century, and was among the small group that organized the infamous Armory Show of 1913, officially known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, held at the 69th Regiment Armory building in New York City. After the Armory Show, Kuhn went on to a distinguished career as a painter. He was best known for his sober oil portraits of show people, clowns, acrobats, and circus performers, but was equally prolific in landscapes, still lifes, and figure and genre drawings.

Walt Kuhn was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1877. After a brief career as a bicycle shop owner in downtown Brooklyn, Kuhn traveled West in 1899 to San Francisco, CA and earned his living as a cartoonist for newspapers such as Wasp. After two years in California, he moved back East and then on to Europe to pursue further art training. He briefly attended the Académie Colarossi studio in Paris, but quickly moved to Munich where he joined the class of Heinrich von Zügel in the Royal Academy.

Kuhn returned to New York City in 1904 and took up an active role in the art scene there, participating in the Salmagundi Club and the Kit Kat Club, teaching at the New York School of Art, and cartooning for Life, Judge, Puck, and other publications. In 1910, he participated in an exhibition of Independent Artists on 35th St. with Robert Henri and met artist Arthur B. Davies.

In 1911, when the National Academy of Design opened their annual exhibition, Kuhn, Henry Fitch Taylor, Elmer MacRae, and Jerome Myers were exhibiting at Clara Potter Davidge's Madison Gallery. To these four young artists, the Academy exhibition was typically lackluster, and the attention it received was unwarranted. Sensing that they were not alone in their attitude, they decided to organize. They invited a dozen other artists to join them, thus forming the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS). The group elected Kuhn Secretary and Arthur B. Davies President, and with the help of attorney and art collector John Quinn, they incorporated and began raising funds for an independent exhibition the following year.

In September of 1912, at Davies' suggestion, Kuhn traveled to Cologne, Germany to view the Sonderbund Internationale Kunst-Austellung. There he saw presented, in overwhelming volume, the work of his European contemporaries and their modern antecedents, the post-impressionists. He immediately began selecting and securing artwork for the upcoming AAPS exhibition. Kuhn traveled through Germany, Holland, France, and England, visiting private collectors, dealers, and artists. In Paris, Kuhn was joined by Davies and American artist and art agent Walter Pach. Kuhn and Davies sailed for New York in November, leaving the details of European arrangements to Pach.

The resulting Armory Show exhibition opened in New York in February 1913, and a selection of the foreign works traveled to Chicago and Boston in March and April. It included approximately 1300 American and European works of art, arranged in the exhibition space to advance the notion that the roots of modernism could be seen in the works of the old masters, from which the dramatically new art of living artists had evolved. Savvy and sensational publicity, combined with strategic word-of-mouth, resulted in attendance figures over 200,000 and over $44 thousand in sales. The Armory Show had demonstrated that modern art had a place in the public taste, that there was a market for it and legitimate critical support as well.

During the first World War, Kuhn stayed in NY and was active in the Kit Kat Club, an artists' club founded in 1881, which provided its members with collective studio space, live models, exhibitions, and an annual costume ball. In 1917, Kuhn founded another group called the Penguin Club, which had similar objectives to the Kit Kat Club, but with Kuhn himself as the gatekeeper. In addition to exhibitions and costume balls, the Penguin Club held summer outings and stag dinners, and maintained collective studio and exhibition space on East 15th Street in Manhattan. Its members included Americans and European artists displaced by the war in Europe. In the 1920s, Kuhn expanded a few sketches he had written for Penguin Balls into full-blown vaudeville productions, some of which were incorporated into larger musical revues such as The Merry Go Round and The 49ers and traveled around the country. Kuhn's theater work continued until 1928, and his fascination with show business continued to influence him throughout his life.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Kuhn gradually achieved recognition for his artwork, with sales to private collectors and dealers including Edith Halpert, Merritt Cutler, Lillie Bliss, John Quinn, and Marie Harriman. Kuhn also promoted other young painters whose work he liked, including Otis Oldfield, Lily Emmet Cushing, John Laurent, Frank di Gioia, and the self-taught Vermont artist Patsy Santo. Sometimes artists would contact him by mail, asking for lessons or advice. His lengthy letters to students offer coaching in technique and subject matter, as well as in the overall problem of success in art.

In 1929, Kuhn moved into the 18th St. studio that he would keep until the end of his life. He kept a rack of costumes in the studio, mostly made by Vera Kuhn, and his models, many of them stage and circus performers, would come and sit for Kuhn's portraits. The same year his painting The White Clown was exhibited at the newly established Museum of Modern Art in New York, bringing intense publicity and sales interest. Around this time, Kuhn began to receive the support of collector Duncan Phillips and curator Juliana Force of the Whitney Museum of American Art, both of whom made purchases and consistently exhibited his work.

Marie Norton Whitney Harriman, second wife of railroad magnate and diplomat W. Averell Harriman, shared a professional liaison with Kuhn that would take many forms and last until his death. Soon after the success of The White Clown, Kuhn established a relationship with the Marie Harriman Gallery, where he participated in group and solo shows during the height of his career. Kuhn also traveled with the Harrimans to Europe in 1931, where the three visited important private collections and acquired many valuable modern paintings for the Harrimans. Their collection, so heavily influenced by Kuhn's ideas about art, would eventually go to the National Gallery of Art.

Kuhn was an artist who understood the art business and never shied away from it. For Kuhn, promoting the ideas and practitioners of a certain brand of modernism was an expression of both aesthetic ideology and pragmatic self-interest. His contribution to the public discourse on modernism situated his own work at the heart of art history and the marketplace. Regardless of his motivations, he was indisputably a key player at a pivotal time in American art, when academic art was riotoulsy overturned to make way for modernism. His paintings are now held in major museum collections around the country, where most of them arrived with bequests from the collectors Kuhn had cultivated so carefully in his lifetime.

Sources consulted for this biography include The Story of the Armory Show (1988) by Milton W. Brown, Walt Kuhn, Painter: His Life and Work (1978) by Philip Rhys Adams, and "Walt Kuhn" by Frank Getlein, in the 1967 catalog of the Kennedy Galleries, Inc.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds the papers of Walter Pach, the European representative of the Armory Show.
Provenance:
The Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records were loaned for microfilming and later donated to the Archives of American Art by Walt Kuhn's daughter Brenda Kuhn in several installments between 1962 and 1979. An additional accession of letters, photographs, and an artifact was purchased by the Archives in 2000. Another addition was donated by Terry DeLapp, Kuhn's dealer, in 2015.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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:
Etchers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Watercolorists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Lithographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Societies, etc. -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Modernism (Art)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Citation:
Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records, 1859-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kuhnwalt
See more items in:
Walt Kuhn Family papers and Armory Show records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuhnwalt
Online Media:

Brenda Kuhn interview

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Names:
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape (Sound recording: 1 sound tape, 7 in.)
1 Sound cassette (Sound recording)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tapes
Sound cassettes
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1966 Apr. 1
Scope and Contents:
Interview of Brenda Kuhn conducted by an unknown interviewer.
Biographical / Historical:
Daughter of painter Walter Kuhn; Cape Neddick, Maine.
Provenance:
Donor unspecified. Second interview conducted by G.McCoy (2/1966) for AAA, deacessioned 10/94 due to unintellible sound quality.
Restrictions:
Untranscribed; use requires an appointment.
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kuhnbren
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuhnbren

Brenda Kuhn notes relating to Walt Kuhn

Creator:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Names:
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Extent:
1 Volume
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Volumes
Date:
1974-1985
Scope and Contents:
A notebook containing notes written by Brenda Kuhn about her father Walt Kuhn. Included are notes regarding a meeting with Garnett McCoy, Deputy Director of the Archives of American Art, in October, 1974.
Biographical / Historical:
Brenda Kuhn was the daughter of Walt Kuhn, a painter, and organizer of the 1913 Armory Show
Provenance:
Purchased in 2006 from George P. Sutton, a book collector.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Identifier:
AAA.kuhnbren2
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuhnbren2

Donald S. Graham papers relating to Walt Kuhn

Creator:
Graham, Donald S.  Search this
Names:
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Extent:
0.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1955-1991
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence with Brenda Kuhn about her father, 1979-1991; and printed matter, 1955-1989, including clippings and exhibition announcements relating to Kuhn.
Arrangement:
I. Correspondence. II. Printed matter. Chronological
Biographical / Historical:
Graham is an art collector and friend of the Kuhn family. Walt Kuhn was a painter and printmaker from New York who was a central figure in the 1913 Armory Show.
Provenance:
Donated by Donald S. Graham, 1993.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Art patrons  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.grahdona
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-grahdona

Godfrey O. Gaston correspondence

Creator:
Gaston, Godfrey O., 1928-  Search this
Names:
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Armstrong, Rodney  Search this
Brumbaugh, Thomas B. (Thomas Brendle), 1921-  Search this
Chamberlain, Elwyn M.  Search this
Curtis, George A.  Search this
Fischer, Katrina Sigsbee.  Search this
Graham, Nan Wood  Search this
Jauss, Anne Marie  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Kup, Karl, 1903-1981  Search this
McKibbin, David Milton Kendall, 1906-1978  Search this
Mount, Charles Merrill  Search this
Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925  Search this
Wood, Grant, 1891-1942  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1964-1991
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence with and/or relating to artists John Singer Sargent, Walt Kuhn, Grant Wood, George A. Curtis, Anne Marie Jauss, and others. Approximately 300 items.
The Sargent related correspondence (77 items) is between Gaston, Director of Research at Kennedy Galleries and Knoedler Gallery, and David McKibbin, art librarian at the Boston Athenaeum and authority on John Singer Sargent. The letters deal with McKibbin's catalogue raisonné on Sargent, specific works, authenticity, and the Charles M. Mount controversy regarding fake Sargent paintings. Four of the letters are from Rodney Armstrong, Director of the Athenaeum, regarding McKibbin's death and his work on Sargent.
Relating to Kuhn are 29 letters from Brenda Kuhn, daughter of Walt Kuhn, 1971-1980, primarily dealing with Gaston's articles on the vandalization of her father's "Little Nugget" club car which he designed and built in 1937 for the streamliner "City of Los Angeles" and which traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles; ca. 50 letters from George A. Curtis and several articles and catalogs about him; ca. 60 letters from Anne Marie Jauss, mostly from N.J., 1971-1989, along with photos of her work, and an obituary, 1991. Other letters include: one from Grant Wood's sister, Nan Wood Graham, referring to Grant Wood's portrait of Henry Wallace for the cover of Time magazine (1940); several from historian Thomas B. Brumbaugh; two from Wynn Chamberlain from the Edwin Hewitt Gallery; two from Alexander Archipenko, one from Vivian Nichols regarding the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation, one from Katrina Fischer, daughter of Anton Otto Fischer, and one from Karl Kup.
Biographical / Historical:
Gallery director, art historian; New York, N.Y. and Los Angeles, Calif. Born 1928. Died 2002.
Provenance:
Donated by Godfrey O. Gaston.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Artists -- United States  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.gastgodf
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gastgodf

Chester Beach papers

Creator:
Beach, Chester, 1881-1956  Search this
Names:
American Academy in Rome  Search this
Architectural League of New York  Search this
Cleveland Museum of Art  Search this
Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (France)  Search this
Frontier Art Colony  Search this
Mark Hopkins Institute of Art  Search this
National Academy of Design (U.S.)  Search this
National Sculpture Society (U.S.)  Search this
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915: San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Salmagundi Club  Search this
Salon d'automne  Search this
Allen, Mary Jester  Search this
Beach, Eleanor Murdock  Search this
Blumenschein, Ernest Leonard, 1874-1960  Search this
Carrington, Fitz Roy, 1869-1954  Search this
Couper, William, 1853-1942  Search this
Fitchen, Eleanor Beach  Search this
French, Daniel Chester, 1850-1931  Search this
Greacen, Edmund W., 1876-1949  Search this
Hancock, Walker Kirtland, 1901-1998  Search this
Jackson, Hazel Brill  Search this
Jennewein, Carl Paul, 1890-  Search this
Kuhn, Brenda, 1911-  Search this
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934  Search this
Leibig, Bonnie  Search this
MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937  Search this
Mora, F. Luis (Francis Luis), 1874-1940  Search this
Nelson, Laurence, 1887-1978  Search this
Nisbet, Robert H., 1879-1961  Search this
Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903  Search this
Piexotto, Jessica B.  Search this
Winter, Ezra, 1886-1949  Search this
Extent:
7.32 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Christmas cards
Drawings
Photographs
Prints
Sketchbooks
Date:
1846-1999
bulk 1895-1999
Summary:
The Chester Beach papers measure 7.32 linear feet and date from 1846 to 1999, with the bulk ot the material dating from circa 1900 to 1999. The work and professional activities of Beaux Arts sculptor Chester Beach (1881-1956) and his family's efforts to exhibit and sell work from the estate are documented by project files, business records, correspondence, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs. The papers also include many artist-designed Christmas cards sent and received by the Beach family, and artwork by Chester Beach and others.
Scope and Contents:
The Chester Beach papers measure 7.32 linear feet and date from 1846 to 1999, with the bulk ot the material dating from circa 1900 to 1999. The work and professional activities of Beaux Arts sculptor Chester Beach (1881-1956) and his family's efforts to exhibit and sell work from the estate are documented by project files, business records, correspondence, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs. The papers also include many artist-designed Christmas cards sent and received by the Beach family, and artwork by Chester Beach and others.

Biographical material consists of biographical notes, identification cards, and a membership certificate.

Project files contain correspondence, financial records, notes, drawings and plans, research materials, printed matter, and photographs that document commissions for sculpture, medals and coins, monuments, and Beach's own projects. Among the most thoroughly documented projects are a fountain sculpture for the grounds of the Cleveland Museum of Art (Sun, Earth, Fountain of the Waters, and Zodiac) and the Edward W. Bok Memorial in Mountain Lake, Florida; both commissions were executed in conjunction with the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Business records include Chester Beach's general business correspondence and correspondence concerning consignments. An address book records names, addresses, and occasionally indicates prices of services and supplies used by the sculptor. Other record books detail expenses and income of the studio building Beach owned, with a list of the effects of the former owner, sculptor William Couper; bronzes cast; sales, with titles, prices, and buyers; names and addresses of clients, dealers, and suppliers; and instructions for cleaning and bronzing plaster.

Family correspondence consists mainly of letters, many mentioning Chester Beach, and addressed to Mrs. Chester Beach and daughter Eleanor Beach Fitchen. Estate correspondence and related documents concern efforts to exhibit, sell, and research Beach's remaining work. These records, for the most part, were created by Mrs. Fitchen who acted as sales agent, ran the Chester Beach Memorial Studio, and maintained the Beach archive. Of particular interest is a series of letters from Brenda Kuhn that relate what she learned from handling the estate of her father, Walt Kuhn; in addition, she offered ideas and advice about exhibitions, the Memorial Studio, and the Beach Centennial.

Beach designed his family's annual Christmas cards, most of which incorporate images of their three daughters. A complete set, preserved in an album, includes a few later cards that reproduce artwork by his widow. Many of the cards received - some with original artwork - are from artist friends, among them: Ernest Blumenschein, Edward W. Greacen, Hazel Brill Jackson, Paul Jennewein, Bonnie Leibig, F. Luis Mora, Robert Nisbet, and Ezra Winter. Also of note are a card from Walker Hancock bearing a photograph of his studio; a painting of Beach's Sylvan at Brookgreen Gardens, reproduced on Anna Hyatt Huntington's card; and a card from Beach patron Mary Jester Allen containing a brief note about the Frontier Art Colony she had established near Cody, Wyoming.

Among the drawings and sketches by Chester Beach are student work, designs for some of his Christmas cards, and a sketchbook containing drawings of sculpture. Work by other artists consists of prints, including one by Ezra Winter.

Three scrapbooks, largely comprised of newspaper clippings and other printed material, contain a variety of other items, including: letters from the American Academy in Rome, Architectural League of New York, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Daniel Chester French, Hazel Brill Jackson, Frederick MacMonnies, National Academy of Design, National Sculpture Society, Jessica B. Piexotto, and Salon d'Autome. There are also awards and certificates from the National Academy of Design, Panama-Pacific International Exposition; bookplates and a place card Beach etched for Mr. and Mrs. George Davison; and an unfinished poem by FitzRoy Carrington. Photographs within the scrapbooks are of a night school class Beach attended at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco, Beach at work in his studio, and a portrait of him painted by G. Laurance Nelson.

Printed material includes Panama-Pacific International Exposition guide books, brochures about the Chester Beach Memorial Studio in Brewster, New York, and catalogs for solo and group exhibitions.

Photographs and glass plate negatives of artwork are mainly of Chester Beach's sculpture and include views of work in progress. Also found are photographs of drawings and sculpture from his student years in California and Paris. Pictures of work by other artists are portraits of Chester Beach painted by G. Laurance Nelson and by his daughter, Natalie Beach McLaury. Among the photographs of Chester Beach are several by Gertrude Kasebier, circa 1910. Other pictures show Beach in his studio, Beach with family and friends, and a "Dinner tendered to Edmund W. Greacen by Samuel T. Shaw, Salmagundi Club, March 2, 1922." Places documented are Beach's boyhood home in San Francisco, the interiors of his studios, and Brookgreen Gardens. Miscellaneous subjects are nude models.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 10 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1910-1947 (4 folders; Box 1)

Series 2: Project Files, 1846-1999 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 11, OV 12-13)

Series 3: Business Records, circa 1900-1958 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Writings, 1913-1935 (2 folders; Box 3)

Series 5: Correspondence, 1875, 1933-1996 (0.5 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 6: Christmas Cards, 1909-1961 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1900-1955 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 4, 11)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1903-1972 (0.3 linear feet; Box 10)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1910-1997 (0.4 linear feet; Box 4)

Series 10: Photographs, circa 1885-circa 1960s (3.1 linear feet; Boxes 4-9, 11, 14)
Biographical / Historical:
Sculptor Chester Beach (1881-1956) was known for portrait busts, allegorical and mythological figures, coins and medallic art in the Beaux-Arts tradition. He lived and worked in New York City and Brewster, New York.

Chester Beach, son of Chilion Beach and Elizabeth Ferris Beach, was born in San Francisco on May 23, 1881. Beach initially studied at the California School of Mechanical Arts in 1899. He remained in San Francisco and between 1900 and 1902 continued his art training at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art while working as a jewelry designer. To further his career and exposure to artistic trends, Beach moved to New York City in 1903. The following year, he went to Paris, enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and also studied with Raoul Verlet at the Académie Julian.

Upon his return to New York in 1907, Beach established a studio on Tenth Street. He won the National Academy of Design's Barnett Prize for sculpture in 1907 and the Academy elected him an Associate Artist the following year. His increased stature resulted in numerous portrait commissions and eventually led to commissions for monuments and architectural sculpture. In 1910, Chester Beach married Eleanor Hollis Murdock, a painter he met when both were art students in Paris. The couple spent the next two years in Rome; for several years after returning, Beach continued to spend time in Italy and maintained a studio in Rome.

Solo exhibitions of Beach's work were presented at Macbeth Gallery (1912), Pratt Institute (1913), Cincinnati Art Museum (1916), John Herron Art Institute (1916), and Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester (1917). In addition to frequent participation in annual exhibitions at the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Beach was represented in the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915), and in group shows at venues including: Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Art Club, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and National Arts Club.

The gold medal presented by Académie Julian (1905), Beach's first award, was followed by many other prizes, among them: American Numismatic Society prize for a medal commemorating the Peace of Versailles (1919) and its Saltus Medal for distinguished medallic art (1946); Architectural League of New York gold medal (1924); National Academy of Design Barnett Prize (1907) and Watrous gold medal (1926); National Arts Club medal and prizes (1923, 1926, 1932); and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition silver medal (1915).

Beach was an Academician of the National Academy of Design, a member of the American Numismatic Society, Architectural League of New York, National Arts Club, National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the National Sculpture Society (President, 1927-1928).

For more than 40 years, Beach lived and worked at 207 East 17th Street. The brownstone, purchased in 1913, was large enough for the family's home, his studio, and additional studios that were rented to other artists. Through barter, Beach acquired land in Brewster, New York, and in 1917 hired Italian stonemasons to build a studio. Later, they erected a summer house for the family. Many old stone walls on the site provided material for both buildings and Beach named the property Oldwalls.

After a long illness, Chester Beach died at Oldwalls on August 6, 1956. The funeral service was held at his Brewster, New York, studio and he is buried in Cold Spring Cemetery, Cold Spring, New York.
Separated Materials:
Also in the Archives of American Art is microfilm of papers lent for microfilming (reels N727-N729 and N68-11) including passports, genealogical materials, photograph albums, travel sketches, travel diaries of Mrs. Beach, and business and family correspondence. While the obituary letters on reel N68-11 are referenced in a scrapbook in Series 8, all other loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Chester Beach's daughter, Eleanor Beach Fitchen, lent materials for microfilming in 1967 and 1967. Subsequent papers were donated in 2009 by the estate of Eleanor Beach Fitchen, through her grandson and executor, John Fitchen.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and 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.
Topic:
Sculptors, American -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Eclecticism in architecture  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Sculpture -- Technique  Search this
Sculpture -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Sculpture -- Economic aspects  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Christmas cards
Drawings
Photographs
Prints
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Chester Beach papers, 1846-1999, bulk circa 1900-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.beacches
See more items in:
Chester Beach papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-beacches
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