The Roko Gallery records measure six linear feet and date from 1929-1982, with the bulk of the records dating from 1970-1978. Founded by Michael Leon Freilich in 1946, the records of this New York contemporary art gallery consist primarily of artists files. Also found are scattered correspondence, business and financial records, a subject file, exhibition files, seven scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs of Frielich, friends, and of artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The Roko Gallery records measure six linear feet and date from 1929-1982, with the bulk of the records from 1970-1978. Founded by Michael Leon Freilich in 1946, the records of this New York gallery consist primarily of artists' files. Also found are scattered correspondence, business and financial records, a subject file, exhibition files, disassembled scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
The bulk of the correspondence is from the early to mid-1970s and concerns general gallery operations, sales of artwork, artists interested in exhibiting at the gallery, letters to Ann Freilich Schutz regarding Michael Freilich's death, and a handful of personal postcards from Freilich to his niece, 1952-1955. Scattered correspondence from artists Lambro Ahlas, Mike Cook, Hermann Dahl, Salvatore Del Deo, Raymond Dowden, Charles Kaiman, Peggy Muray (Mrs. Nicholas Muray), Raphael Soyer, George Sugarman, Anne Parker, Jan Wunderman, and Hank Virgona is also found. General business and financial records include calendars, address books, mailing lists, visitors' registers, receipt books, consignment agreements, invoices and receipts.
Measuring 3.5 linear feet, Artists Files comprise the bulk of the collection and contain correspondence, exhibition catalogs, clippings, original artwork, receipts, price lists, photographs, and slides of work. Among the nearly 200 artists are Murat Brierre, Faith Bromberg, Clare Burch, Lawrence Calcagno, Victor Candell, Arthur Cohen, Giuseppe Di Lieto, Edward Eichel, Ann Freilich, Dennis Fritz, Mary Heisig, Herbert Kallem, Doris Klein, Elizabeth Korn, Randall Morgan, Anne Parker, Dorothy Robbins, May Stevens, Hank Virgona, Walter Williams, and Jan Wunderman.
There is one subject file containing a proposal by the Rainbow Art Foundation. Exhibitions and Event files date from 1956-1978 and contain printed material, press releases, notes, correspondence, agreements, and a disassembled notebook containing prices and lists of works exhibited at the Roko Gallery from 1967-1978. Also found is typed and signed poetry by poet John Tagliabue. Disassembled scrapbooks contain additional printed materials regarding the gallery's solo and group exhibitions from 1947-1966. Among the many artists represented in the scrapbooks are Claude Clark, Beauford Delaney, Paul England, Peter Heinemann, Herbert Kallem, Herschel Levit, Si Lewen, Howard Mandel, Rose Piper, Sadie Rosenblum, Herbert Scheffel, Erika Weihs, Walter Williams, and Jan Wunderman.
Additional printed material includes mostly newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements, and catalogs. Material found in the collection that pre-dates the founding of the gallery consists primarily of printed material collected by Freilich.
Photographs, slides, and negatives date mostly from the 1970s and depict gallery directors Michael Leon Freilich, Cynthia Bernadini and Manu Sassoonian, and artwork.
The Roko Gallery records are arranged into eight series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1936, 1952-circa late 1970s (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Business and Financial Records, circa 1956-1980 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Artist Files, circa 1948-1979 (Box 2-5; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, undated (Box 5; 1 folder)
Series 5: Exhibition and Event Files, circa 1956-1978 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbook, circa 1947-1966 (Box 5-6; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1929-1982 (Box 6; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographic Material, 1946-circa 1970s (Box 6; 0.3 linear feet)
Michael Leon Freilich (1912-1975) established the Roko Gallery in 1946 at 51 Greenwich Avenue where it remained until the mid-1950s. Over its 32 year history, the gallery featured the paintings and sculptures of young, new artists, most living in New York City, through solo exhibitions, group shows, and sales. The gallery then made a series of moves, first to 925 Madison Avenue, then to 867 Madison Avenue, and finally back to Greenwich Village at 90 East 10st Street in 1970. In 1974, Michael Freilich became ill and the daily gallery operations were taken over by artist Lloyd Lózes Goff. Freilich passed away in February 1975; Cynthia Bernardi and Manu Sassoonian bought the gallery and became co-directors in the spring of 1975. The gallery closed in 1978, leaving open an annex on 816 Broadway.
The Roko Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1975-1988 by Ann Freilich, sister of Michael Freilich, and Cynthia Bernardi, former director of the gallery.
Use of originals requires an appointment.
The Roko Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
The records of the New York Artists Equity Association (NYAEA) measure 26.8 linear feet and 2.99 Gb and date from 1920-2012. The records include history and founding documents, presidents' files, board of directors' files that include monthly board meeting minutes, committee files and annual membership meeting minutes, general administrative and correspondence files, financial and legal files, event and program files, artists and subject files, extensive individual membership files, art project and exhibition files, Broome Street Gallery files, NYAEA publications that include issues of The Artists Proof, printed and digital materials, four scrapbooks, sketches created by artists attending a party in honor of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and photographs of member artists and events.
Scope and Contents:
The records of the New York Artists Equity Association (NYAEA) measure 26.8 linear feet and 2.99 GB and date from 1920-2012. The records include history and founding documents, presidents' files, board of directors' files that include monthly board meeting minutes, committee files and annual membership meeting minutes, general administrative and correspondence files, financial and legal files, event and program files, artists and subject files, extensive individual membership files, art project and exhibition files, Broome Street Gallery files, NYAEA publications that include issues of The Artists Proof, printed and digital materials, four scrapbooks, sketches created by artists attending a party in honor of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and photographs of member artists and events.
The President's files appear to be complete and include files for presidents Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Louise Nevelson, Harry Waterson, Roy Gussow, Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, Karl Zerbe, Ernst Fiene, Sidney Laufman, Carolyn deLisser, Burt Hasen, and Bert Diener, among others. Committee files and meeting minutes are found, as well as general administrative and correspondence files which include information pertaining to the national level Association.
Event files include documentation of the Association's Art Thursday series, where they hosted talks and panels by artists. Artists referenced in these files include Jean Cohen, Charles Searles, Leon Golub, Doug Ashford, Bruno Palmer-Poroner, Dom Facci, Susan Teller, Eleanor Lipsky, Ted Berger, Hilton Kramer, Bernice Steinbaum, Laura Stirton, Jean Zaleski, Renee Philips, Denise Bibro, Dan Concholar, Irving Sandler, Angela Babin, Dorothy Gillespe, Donna Marxer, Nan Hall, Ivan Karp, Alan Gussow, Mary Carswell, Bill Smart, Charlotte Kotik, Klaus Kertess, Elaine Marinoff, and Judith Brodski. Additional events covered in this series include the annual awards dinner, masquerade balls, lectures, the Association's 55th Anniversary event, which includes recollections by Helen Frankenthaler, Sidney Simon, and Lorrie Goulet, as well as other events and programs. Videocassette and sound recordings of many of the events are found here.
Artists' and subject files contain mostly printed materials about a few artists and subjects or issues in which the Association was interested.
There are extensive files on individual members that include card files, applications, biographies, and clippings.
Project and exhibition files include material pertaining to the Artists Welfare Fund, the Art Bank artwork donation, and a few scattered exhibitions. Additional exhibition and event files are found in the series containing the Broome Street Gallery files.
Association publications consist of what appears to be a full run of Association newsletters and reports. The NYAEA newsletter changed its name to The Artists Proof in 1986. Additional printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, programs, clippings, posters, and newsletters of other arts organizations. There are four scrapbooks (two unbound) that contain printed materials, and a few items of correspondence. One of the scrapbooks documents the annual "Bal Fantastique".
Artwork consists mostly of sketches and drawings by artists attending a 1948 dinner in honor of Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Photographs are of members and events. Photographers include Arnold Newman, Marvin Bolotsky, and Frances Avery, among others. Numerous notable artists are depicted in the images.
The collection is arranged into sixteen series.
Series 1: History and Founding Documents, 1933-2000 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1, 27
Series 2: Presidents' Files, 1927-2007 (2.8 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)
Series 3: Board of Directors' Files, 1947-2003 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Series 4: Committee and Meeting Files, 1950-2009 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)
Series 5: General Administrative and Correspondence Files, circa 1930-2008 (2 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 0.284 GB; ER01)
Series 6: Financial and Legal Files, 1947-2000 (1 linear foot; Box 9)
Series 7: Events and Programs, 1930-2010 (4.2 linear feet; Boxes 10-14, 27, 0.446 GB; ER02)
Series 8: Artists and Subject Files, 1930-1998 (0.4 linear feet; Box 14)
Series 9: Membership Files, 1920-2009 (4.4 linear feet; Boxes 14-18, 27, 2.26 GB; ER03)
Series 10: Project and Exhibition Files, 1934-2010 (2 linear feet; Boxes 19-20)
Series 11: Broome Street Gallery Files, 1990-2011 (2.7 linear feet; Boxes 21-23, 31)
Series 12: Association Publications, 1947-2012 (1 linear foot; Boxes 23-24)
Series 13: Printed Materials, 1930-2008 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 24-25, 27, 31, OV 28, OV 29)
Series 14: Scrapbooks, 1947-1969 (0.3 linear feet; Box 25, OV 30)
Series 15: Artwork, 1947-2000 (0.1 linear foot; Box 26, 27)
Series 16: Photographs, 1930s-2004 (0.9 linear feet; Box 26, 27)
Biographical / Historical:
The New York Artists Equity Association (originally the Artists Equity Association) was created in 1947 to promote and support living American artists. Nine prominent New York artists founded the organization and elected Yasuo Kuniyoshi as the organization's first president. The original membership included 160 well-known American artists, but by the end of its first year, membership had grown to over one thousand. By the 1950s, the organization had grown into an influential national organization. Past and present members have included Milton Avery, Will Barnet, Romare Bearden, George Biddle, Isabel Bishop, Robert Blackburn, Paul Cadmus, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, Jose de Creeft, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Leon Golub, Chaim Gross, Rockwell Kent, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Alice Neel, Isamu Noguchi, Jules Olitski, Philip Pearlstein, Henry Varnum Poor, Charles Scheeler, Ben Shahn, David Smith, Frank Stella, Andrew Wyeth, and many others.
In 1959, the New York Chapter, with more members than all of the other states combined, re-organized into the New York Artists Equity Association. The Association maintained it own gallery, Broome Street Gallery, from 1991-2011. The organization remains active today and is located in SoHo.
The records were donated to the Archives of American Art by the New York Artists Equity Association in several increments between 1980-2016.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The New York Artists Equity Association records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to the public for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
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