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.
Lye's typed description of his kinetic work "Sun, Land, and Sea."
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, kinetic artist; New York, N.Y.
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.
Kinetic artists -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The Barbara Rose papers date from 1962 to circa 1969 and measure 1.4 linear feet. Papers include letters, writings, printed material, interviews with artists, panel discussions, and lectures relating to Barbara Rose's research as an art historian.
Scope and Contents:
The Barbara Rose papers date from 1962 to circa 1969 and measure 1.4 linear feet. Papers include letters, interviews with artists, panel discussions, lectures, writings, and printed material relating to Barbara Rose's work as an art historian and critic.
Letters consist of responses to queries and questionnaires Rose and Irving Sandler sent to contemporary artists as research for writing projects. Questionnaires were sesnt in preparation for an article in Art in America on artists' sensibility of the 1960s, with responses from Robert Motherwell, Robert Craig Kauffman, Len Lye, Robert Morris, George Segal, David Hare, and others. A separate query asked sculptors for their assessment of contemporary sculptor's needs and the potential for patronage, and responses are found from Carl Andre, Charles Frazier, Robert Murray, Anthony Padovano, Ron Bladen, Roy Lichtenstein, Len Lye, Sol LeWitt, Heinz Mack, Otto Peine, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd.
Interviews conducted by Rose between 1965 and circa 1969 are found with Richard Bellamy, Leo Castelli, James E. Davis, Henry Geldzahler, Ivan Karp, Lee Krasner, John Lefebre, John Myers, Donald Judd with Frank Stella, and Tom Wesselmann. All interviews include original sound recordings, and the Judd and Stella, Krasner, and Myers interviews include transcripts. Panel discussions and lectures include sound recordings and transcripts of seven events on a variety of contemporary art and architecture subjects held between 1962 and 1968. Sound recordings are present for five of the events on 10 sound tape reels, and transcripts are present for all events. Participants in the panel discussions and lectures include Barbara Rose, Ronald Davis, Dan Flavin, Robert Kauffman, John Harvey McCracken, Friedel Dzubas, Ansel Adams, Arthur Bierman, Kenneth Rexroth, Edward Taylor, Ernst Karl Mundt, John Bowles, Roy Dean De Forest, Seymour Locks, Walter Hopps, Mark Di Suvero, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Kynaston McShine, Walter Darby Bannard, Donald Judd, Larry Poons, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Meier, Paul Rudolph, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Murray.
Writings include photocopied typescripts of "Myth, Symbol, or Me," by Emily Wasserman and "Excerpts from a Work Journal on Flying Sculpture," by Charles Frazier. Printed material consists of two copies of the premiere issue of the 57th Street Review, from Nov. 15, 1966.
This collection is arranged as 4 series.
Series 1: Letters (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Interviews (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Panel Discussions and Lectures (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Writings and Printed Material (0.1 linear feet; Box 2)
Biographical / Historical:
Barbara Rose is an American art historian and critic who has published widely in the field of modern American art. Born in 1938 in Washington, DC, Rose studied at the Sorbonne, Smith College, Barnard, and finally, Columbia University under Meyer Shapiro. Rose became immersed in the New York-based circle of modernist artists and curators in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and made her substantial contribution to the discourse on contemporary art with the insider's perspective this afforded her. In 1961, she married the painter Frank Stella and they had two children before their divorce in 1969.
Rose taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence, University of California at Irvine and San Diego, and the American University Art in Italy program, and was senior curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1981-1985. A prolific writer, Rose is the author of American Art Since 1900 (1967), The Golden Age of Dutch Painting (1969), American Painting: The 20th Century (Skira, 1969), and monographs on the artists Magdalena Abankawicz, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexander Liberman, Larry Rivers, and others, as well as dozens of exhibition catalog essays. She held editorial positions at Art in America, Vogue, Artforum, Partisan Review, and Journal of Art, and her writing has also appeared in Art International, Studio International, Arts Magazine, and ARTnews, among many others.
Barbara Rose papers, 1940-1993 (bulk 1960-1985) are located at The Getty Research Institute Special Collections.
Additional papers of Barbara Rose are held by The Getty Research Institute.
Donated 1971-1977 by Barbara Rose.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this