An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The records of the Richard York Gallery, a New York gallery specializing in American art from early 1800s to 1950, measure 87.5 linear feet and date from circa 1865-2005, with the bulk of the material dating from 1981 to 2004. The collection contains artists' artwork files, documenting the sale and consignment of nearly 6,500 works of art. The gallery's activities are also recorded through correspondence, artists' files, client files, gallery invoices, inventories, business and financial records, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographic materials of artwork, and estate records for the John Marin estate and Sergio Stella estate (Joseph Stella).
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Richard York Gallery, a New York gallery specializing in American art from early 1800s to 1950, measure 87.5 linear feet and date from circa 1865-2005, with the bulk of the material dating from 1981 to 2004. The bulk of the records are artists' artwork files, documenting the sale and consignment of nearly 6,500 works of art. The gallery's activities are also recorded through correspondence, artists' files, client files, gallery invoices, inventories, business and financial records, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographic materials of artwork, and estate records for the John Marin estate and Sergio Stella estate (Joseph Stella).
Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence with collectors, clients, galleries and museums, primarily regarding appraisals, consignments, exhibitions, general inquiries, loans, and sales. Also found are scattered transactional records, information sheets for artwork, and photographic materials. Correspondence from the mid-late 1980s is poorly represented.
The sale and consignment of nearly 6,500 pieces of artwork at the Richard York Gallery are documented through transactional records, photographic materials, correspondence, and scattered printed materials found in the Artists' Artwork Files. Artists for which there are significant quantities of materials (over 50 folders) include Joseph Goldyne, Ellen Day Hale, John Henry Hill, John William Hill, Lester George Hornby, Louis Lozowick, Luigi Lucioni, Emma Fordyce MacRae, John Marin, Joseph Stella, William Henry Stevens, and Steve Wheeler. Also included are the files of the Richard York photography collection, which contained works by Robert Mapplethorpe.
Similar to the Artists' Artwork Files, Client Files document the sale and consignment of artwork, but are arranged by artist's and client's name. Materials found are primarily from the early 1990s and include correspondence, notes, photographic materials, photocopied client information cards, and printed materials.
The Richard York Gallery represented the John Marin estate and the Sergio Stella estate (Joseph Stella). The records of the John Marin estate are primarily artwork in-take sheets from 1998 and inventory lists from 2001. The Sergio Stella Estate records include correspondence, inventories of artwork by Joseph Stella, and some photographic materials.
Sales and inventory records contain a nearly complete set of gallery invoices from 1995-2000, and 2004. Inventories includes gallery inventory lists, and inventory cards of sold artwork from 1981-1997 (bulk 1981-1991).
The business and financial records include accounting records, bank deposit records, corporate records, index cards for contacts, invoices for gallery expenses, materials related to Richard York's involvement in the ADAA, mailing lists, records of payments to consignors, receipts, shipping records, and tax records. The gallery migrated from paper records to Artbase, an artwork management system, around 2000-2002. Included are two CDs of database data and digital images from Artbase, as well as inventories of the digital file names.
Printed materials contain advertising tear sheets from 1998-2002, exhibition catalogs, magazine and newspaper clippings of reviews and announcements, and other miscellaneous printed materials. Printed materials are also found in eight scrapbooks which document the activities of the Richard York Gallery, Richard York, and the gallery's exhibitions from 1981-2002. Materials in the scrapbooks include clippings, correspondence, photographs, exhibition catalogs, announcements, and invitations.
Photographic materials includes color photographs, transparencies, digital prints, and scattered printed materials, as well as over 600 slides of artwork, primarily works of art which were sold or consigned by the gallery. Artists for which there is significant volume of transparencies include Houghton Cranford Smith and Lockwood de Forest, Sr.
Artists' files consist mostly of photocopied newspaper and magazine clippings, writings about the artist, and exhibition catalogs. Some original copies of printed material, correspondence with collectors, curators, and gallerists, photographic materials, artwork records, and some exhibition records are also present.
The collection is arranged as 10 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1975-2005 (Boxes 1-7, 81; 6.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Artists' Artwork Files, circa 1865-2004 (Boxes 7-64; 56.85 linear feet)
Series 3: Client Files, 1965, circa 1981-circa 2004 (Box 64; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Estate Records, 1983-circa 2004 (Boxes 64-65; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 5: Sales and Inventory Records, 1977-2004 (Boxes 65-70; 5.0 linear feet)
Series 6: Business and Financial Records, 1974-2005 (Boxes 70-77, 81; 6.25 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Materials, 1980-2004 (Boxes 77-78; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1981-2002 (Boxes 78, 80; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographic Materials, 1977-2004 (Boxes 78-79; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 10: Artists' Files, 1922-2008 (Boxes 81-89; 8 linear feet)
Richard T. York (circa 1950-2003) opened his eponymous gallery in the spring of 1981 on East 65th Street in New York City. Specializing in American painting and sculpture from early 1800s to 1950, the Richard York Gallery dealt in the artwork of hundreds of artists including Albert Bierstadt, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Lockwood de Forest, John Graham, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, and Steve Wheeler. It also represented the estates of artists John Marin and Joseph Stella.
Richard York passed away in April 2003, and the gallery closed in May 2004.
The Richard York Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2006 by Kevin Scott, the executor of Richard York's estate; and in 2015 by Lisa Bush Hankin, former gallery director.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
An interview of Charles Alan conducted 1970 August 20-25, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Alan speaks of studying scene and stage design; attending Yale School of Drama; doing illustrations for various publications; traveling and studying in Europe; working as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers; his experiences working at the Downtown Gallery; his thoughts and recollections about Edith Halpert; leaving Downtown Gallery and starting his own gallery; his opinions on the future of small galleries in New York; museum purchases; Edith Halpert's art collection; selling his gallery to Felix Landau; and various thoughts concerning the art world. He recalls Norman Bell Geddes, Edith Halpert, Stuart Davis, Julien Levy, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Kirk Askew, Raymond Breinin, Ben Shahn, George Washburn, Edward Root, Joe Hirshhorn, John Marin, John Marin Jr., Lawrence Allen, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Harnett, Julian Levi, Jack Levine, Karl Zerbe, Bruce Conner, Richard Baker, Paul Sachs, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Alan (1908?-1975) was an art dealer from New York, New York. Alan attended Horace Mann School, graduating in 1924. Attended Yale School of Drama in 1925, then worked as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers. In 1930, Alan became a theatrical set designer and director. After serving in the Army in World War II, he worked for Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery. In 1952, he opened the Charles Alan Gallery, specializing in contemporary art. Alan closed the gallery in 1970 to become a private dealer.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 58 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Set Designers -- United States -- Interviews Search this