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Jan Matulka papers, 1923-1960

Creator:
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8055
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210226
AAA_collcode_matujan
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210226

Jacob Getlar Smith papers

Creator:
Smith, Jacob Getlar, 1898-1958  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Names:
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975  Search this
Cadmus, Paul, 1904-1999  Search this
Chain, Jack  Search this
Criss, Francis, 1901-1973  Search this
Edie, Stuart, 1908-1974  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Fiene, Ernest, 1894-  Search this
Genauer, Emily, 1910-2002  Search this
Gershoy, Eugenie, 1901?-1983 or 6  Search this
Gross, Chaim, 1904-1991  Search this
Halper, Nathan  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Levi, Julian E. (Julian Edwin), 1900-1982  Search this
Marsh, Reginald, 1898-1954  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Prestopino, Gregorio  Search this
Scaravaglione, Concetta, 1900-1975  Search this
Sepeshy, Zoltan, 1898-1974  Search this
Soyer, Moses, 1899-1974  Search this
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
Stone, Irving, 1903-  Search this
Tamotsu, Chūzō, 1888-1975  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
2.5 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 2 reels))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Date:
1919-1966
Scope and Contents:
Drawings, caricatures, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, writings, and printed material.
REELS 723-724: Two scrapbooks, 1919-1935 and 1935-1966, containing clippings, exhibition catalogs, and printed materials; and 128 letters from artists, galleries, and art organizations, including American Artists Congress, Associated American Artists Gallery, Thomas Hart Benton, Paul Cadmus, Philip Evergood, Emily Genauer, Julian Levi, Gregorio Prestopino, Zoltan Sepeshy, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, William Zorach, and others.
UNMICROFILMED: Caricatures and portrait drawings by Smith of Jack Chain, Francis Criss, Stuart C. Edie, Philip Evergood, Ernest Fiene, Eugenie Gershoy, Chaim Gross, Nathan Halper, [?] Hunt, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Julian Levi, Reginald Marsh, Jan Matulka, Concetta Scaravaglione, Irving Stone, Chuzo Tamotzu, and unidentified others. Also included is a self-portrait.
ADDITION: Ca. 40 letters; photographs, including Smith, other artists, and Woodstock, NY; draft manuscript for Smith's book, "Art and the Artist and You" (includes copy photographs of illustrations for the book); writings; exhibition catalogs and related printed material; and clippings. Ca. 35 of the letters were previously lent and microfilmed on reels 723-724.
Biographical / Historical:
Watercolor painter; New York, N.Y.
Provenance:
Material on reels 723-724 lent for microfilming 1974 by David Loeffler Smith, Smith's son. He subsequently donated the 2 scrapbooks and some correspondence from the loan, along with additional unmicrofilmed material, in 1983 and 1994.
Restrictions:
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.
Occupation:
Watercolorists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Watercolor painting  Search this
Drawing -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Identifier:
AAA.smitjaco
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-smitjaco

Oral history interview with George McNeil

Interviewee:
McNeil, George, 1908-1995  Search this
Interviewer:
Seckler, Dorothy Gees, 1910-1994  Search this
Creator:
Diller, Burgoyne, 1906-1965  Search this
Names:
American Abstract Artists  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.) -- Students  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Pratt Institute. Art School -- Students  Search this
United States. Work Projects Administration  Search this
Cavallon, Giorgio, 1904-1989  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Dlugoszewski, Lucia, 1931-2000  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Hopper, Jo N. (Josephine Nivison), 1883-1968  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Levy, Edgar  Search this
Manso, Leo  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Vytlacil, Vaclav, 1892-1984  Search this
Extent:
18 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1965 June 3
Scope and Contents:
An interview of George McNeil conducted by Dorothy Seckler for the Archives of American Art. McNeil speaks of his childhood and his family; becoming interested in art during high school; attending Pratt Institute, and not being satisfied there; deciding to drop out of Pratt after attending a lecture from Vaclav Vytlacil; going to the Metropolitan Museum every day drawing and analyzing paintings; meeting Arshile Gorky while at the Metropolitan Museum; attending the Art Students League; studying with Hans Hofmann; the start of the American Abstract Artists; his involvement in the WPA's mural project; attending Teachers College at Columbia before joining the Navy; re-entering the New York art scene during the forties and liking it very much; meeting and being influenced by Pollock; his views on the state of painting; how his work has evolved; the various stages in the way a painting developed for him; how The Club and the Eighth Street Club has influenced him; the ideas discussed at The Club, and how he feels surrealism was not a big influence on them; Jackson Pollock's influence on abstract expressionism; artists he admires or has admired; and his thoughts on the contemporary art scene. He recalls Vaclav Vytlacil, Arshile Gorky, Jan Matulka, David Smith, Dorothy Dehner, Edgar Levy, Leo Manso, Burgoyne Diller, Irene Rice Pereira, Hans Hofmann, Jo Hopper, Giorgio Cavallon, Linda Lindaberg (Cavallon), Mercedes Kahls, George Byron Brown, Albert Swinden, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollack, Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
George McNeil (1908-1995) was a painter and a printmaker in Brooklyn, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound tapes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 49 min.
Provenance:
This interview is 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Painting  Search this
Surrealism  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.mcneil65
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mcneil65

Oral history interview with George McNeil

Interviewee:
McNeil, George, 1908-1995  Search this
Interviewer:
Sandler, Irving, 1925-  Search this
Creator:
Diller, Burgoyne, 1906-1965  Search this
Names:
American Abstract Artists  Search this
United States. Work Projects Administration  Search this
Bolotowsky, Ilya, 1907-1981  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Dlugoszewski, Lucia, 1931-2000  Search this
Gallatin, A. E. (Albert Eugene), 1881-1952  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Graham, John, 1887-1961  Search this
Harari, Hananiah, 1912-2000  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944  Search this
Levy, Edgar  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Manso, Leo  Search this
Marin, John, 1870-1953  Search this
Matter, Mercedes  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Morris, George L. K., 1905-1975  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971  Search this
Rosenborg, Ralph M., 1913-1992  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Shaw, Charles Green, 1892-1974  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Vytlacil, Vaclav, 1892-1984  Search this
Extent:
82 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1968 Jan. 9-May 21
Scope and Contents:
An interview of George McNeil conducted 1968 Jan. 9-May 21, by Irving Sandler, for the Archives of American Art. McNeil speaks of why he became interested in art; his early influences; becoming interested in modern art after attending lectures by Vaclav Vytlacil; meeting Arshile Gorky; the leading figures in modern art during the 1930s; his interest in Cézanne; studying with Jan Matulka and Hans Hofmann; his experiences with the WPA; the modern artists within the WPA; the American Abstract Artists (A.A.A.); a group of painters oriented to Paris called The Ten; how there was an anti-surrealism attitude, and a surrealist would not have been permitted in A.A.A; what the A.A.A. constituted as abstract art; a grouping within the A.A.A. called the Concretionists; his memories of Léger; how he assesses the period of the 1930s; the importance of Cubism; what he thinks caused the decline of A.A.A.; how he assesses the period of the 1940s; his stance on form and the plastic values in art; his thoughts on various artists; the importance of The Club; the antipathy to the School of Paris after the war; how Impressionism was considered in the 40s and 50s; slides of his paintings from 1937 to 1962, and shows how he developed as an artist; the problems of abstract expressionism; organic and geometric form; the schisms in different art groups due to politics; his teaching techniques; why he feels modern painting declined after 1912; the quality of A.A.A. works; stretching his canvases, and the sizes he uses; his recent works, and his approaches to painting. He recalls Vaclav Vytlacil, Hans Hofmann; Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Jan Matulka, John Marin, Wassily Kandinsky, Mercedes Carles Matter, Albert Swinden, Fernand Léger, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, David Smith, Edgar Levy, Leo Manso, Irene Rice Pereira, Willem de Kooning, Ilya Bolotowsky, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Joan Miró, Robert Motherwell, George L.K. Morris, Albert Gallatin, Charles Shaw, John Ferrin, Ralph Rosenborg, Hananiah Harari, Agnes Lyall, Jean Helion, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
George McNeil (1908-1995) was a painter and printmaker from New York, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hrs., 14 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Painting  Search this
Cubism  Search this
Impressionism (Art)  Search this
Surrealism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.mcneil68
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mcneil68

Jan Matulka papers

Creator:
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Extent:
60 Items ((on 1 microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1923-1960
Scope and Contents:
Clippings, exhibition notices, photographs, and miscellany.
REEL 440 AND SCANNED Three photographs of Matulka, one taken by M. Vu Kovic; the photos were microfilmed under Photos of Artists I, subsequently scanned and returned to the Matulka papers.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, New York, N.Y. Born in Czechoslovakia. Came to U.S. in 1907. Taught at Art Students League.
Provenance:
Donated 1966 by Jan Matulka. The printed material has been transferred to the SAAM Library vertical files. The photographs of Jan Matulka were microfilmed in 1973 under Photos of Artists I and scanned in 2004.
Restrictions:
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Citation:
Jan Matulka papers, 1923-1960. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art.
Identifier:
AAA.matujan
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-matujan

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records

Creator:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery  Search this
Names:
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Andrejevic, Milet, 1925-  Search this
Aponovich, James, 1948-  Search this
Bailey, William, 1930-2020  Search this
Bell, Leland  Search this
Brassaï, 1899-  Search this
Cameron, Julia Margaret Pattle, 1815-1879  Search this
Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dawson, Manierre, 1887-1969  Search this
Driggs, Elsie, 1898-1992  Search this
Erlebacher, Martha Mayer  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude, 1878-1961  Search this
Freund, Gisèle  Search this
Horton, William S., 1865-1936  Search this
Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983  Search this
Lachaise, Gaston, 1882-1935  Search this
Laderman, Gabriel, 1929-  Search this
Ligare, David  Search this
Matthiasdottir, Louisa  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Myers, Ethel  Search this
Nadelman, Elie, 1882-1946  Search this
Schoelkopf, Robert J., 1927-1991  Search this
Stella, Joseph, 1877-1946  Search this
Storrs, John Henry Bradley, 1885-1956  Search this
Wiesenfeld, Paul  Search this
Extent:
29 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Date:
1851-1991
bulk 1962-1991
Summary:
The collection comprises 29 linear feet of records that document the day-to-day administration of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery from 1962 to 1991, with additional items predating the founding of the gallery from 1851 to 1961. The collection records artist and client relations, exhibitions, and daily business transactions through artist files, correspondence, printed matter, and photographic material.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery comprise 29 linear feet of material from 1851 to 1991, with some items predating the founding of the gallery. The bulk of the records date from 1962 to 1991, providing researchers with fairly comprehensive coverage of the gallery's development and operations from its inception in 1962 until its closure in 1991. Items dated prior to 1962 relate principally to the period of transition during which Robert Schoelkopf ended his partnership with the Zabriskie Gallery and established his own business. There are also some items relating to artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The collection consists primarily of artist files documenting relations with contemporary artists, representation of deceased artists, and other works of art handled by the gallery. It also chronicles the gallery's exhibition schedule and the day-to-day administration of the business. The types of material that can be found here include correspondence, exhibition inventories, price lists, accounting and consignment records, shipping and insurance records, printed material, and photographs.

The collection is a valuable source of information on twentieth-century American art history, focusing primarily on early-twentieth-century modernists as well as an important group of American realist painters and sculptors from the latter half of the century. The collection illuminates, in detail, the developing market for these schools and, in the case of the latter group, provides personal insights from artists on the realist perspective.

The records also document the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery's significant contribution to the resurgence of interest in fine art photography during the 1960s and 1970s as reflected in an increase in the value of works by important American photographers such as Walker Evans.

Much of the outgoing correspondence from the gallery consists of copies of letters written by Robert Schoelkopf, with additional business being handled by assistant staff and, from the mid-1970s, Schoelkopf's wife, Laura Jane Schoelkopf. The records offer insight into the personalities of the Schoelkopfs and how their congenial and candid management style influenced their relationships with the contemporary artists they represented.
Arrangement:
Originally the collection was organized as one large file arranged alphabetically by folder title, with titles ranging from names of artists to general subject headings such as "Correspondence." During processing it became clear that the gallery delineated operations into three main functions: artist relations, client-dealer relations, and exhibitions. Consequently the collection is arranged as three main series based on these areas of concern. A small group of miscellaneous photographs of artists constitutes an additional series at the end of the collection.

Originally paper records throughout the collection were generally arranged chronologically, although this order was not strictly adhered to. Frequently, correspondence and memoranda were attached to related records going back several years. To preserve the relationship between such documents, records stapled together in this way have been left together. They are arranged in reverse chronological order and filed in the folder corresponding to the primary date (i.e., the date of the first and most recent paper in the group). Researchers should be aware that date ranges provided on folders refer to the primary dates of documents contained therein and that some items in the folder may predate that range. Otherwise, the general chronological scheme has been retained throughout the collection, with undated material placed at the beginning of the appropriate file.

Printed material is arranged in chronological order, with undated material at the beginning of the folder, and may include press releases, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, posters, clippings from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and other publicity material. Large amounts of printed material are broken down into several discrete folder units.

The most consistent labeling system for photographic material apparent throughout the collection was title of work of art. The majority of images are not dated with a printing date or the date that the work of art was produced, and although many of them have a processing number, these are by no means consistent and there are no master lists that can be used to interpret them. Consequently, images are arranged primarily by media type and then alphabetically by title. Untitled images are placed at the beginning of a media group; "the" in a title is ignored. Exceptions to this method are addressed in the appropriate series descriptions.

Files labeled "Photographs of Works of Art" will typically include any or all of the following: black-and-white copy prints, black-and-white transparencies, color transparencies, slide transparencies, Polaroid prints, color snapshots, contact sheets, and separation sheets. Often the same image will be duplicated in several different formats. Any notes on photographic material found in or on the original folder in which the material was filed have been preserved with the material or transcribed onto a sheet of acid-free paper that either encloses or is placed directly before the item to which the information applies.

The designation "General" indicates that a file may contain any or all of the types of material outlined above.

Series 1: Artist Files, 1851-1991, undated (Boxes 1-23; 23 linear ft.)

Series 2: General Business Files, 1960-1991, undated (Boxes 24-28; 4.74 linear ft.)

Series 3: Group Exhibition Files, 1960-1988, undated (Boxes 28-29; 1 linear ft.)

Series 4: Photographs of Artists, undated (Box 29; 0.25 linear ft.)
Historical Note:
Robert Schoelkopf, Jr., was born in Queens, New York, in 1927. He graduated from Yale College in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree and then taught briefly at his alma mater while conducting graduate research in art history. Schoelkopf began his career in commercial art in 1957 as an independent dealer of American painting and sculpture and became a member of the Art Dealers Association of America in 1958. In 1959 he formed a partnership with Virginia Zabriskie, of the Zabriskie Gallery in New York, which lasted until 1962. The gallery exhibited late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American painting, together with contemporary painting of a somewhat conservative style.

In 1962 Schoelkopf signed a three-year lease for the fourth floor of a building at 825 Madison Avenue in New York, where he opened the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery. From the outset, Schoelkopf aimed to specialize in American painting of the nineteenth and twentieth century and sculpture of all schools. He predicted a burgeoning market for the Hudson River School in particular, believing that American painting was increasingly perceived as being worthy of serious attention. In a letter dated January 3, 1963, Schoelkopf congratulated John Spencer for his decision to collect nineteenth-century American paintings for the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, assuring him that "progressive chauvanism [ sic] will operate to elevate prices in American painting. Every year more colleges teach Art History, and soon they shall have reached the level of sophistication and development where they will be obliged (for face) to offer tuition in specifically American art - hitherto neglected of academicians.... I and many other dealers have plans for exhibitions of nineteenth-century American painting, especially the Hudson River School."

Schoelkopf's instincts regarding the Hudson River School were undoubtedly correct, and consequently nineteenth-century American painters formed a permanent mainstay of his inventory. He is perhaps remembered more, however, for his dedication to reviving interest in lesser-known American painters from the turn-of-the-century who were impressionist or modernist in style. Schoelkopf developed something of a reputation for unearthing forgotten talent that, while sometimes mediocre or inconsistent, was occasionally exceptional and certainly worthy of note. He was committed to reinstalling Joseph Stella in the pantheon of major American artists, representing Stella's estate from 1963 to 1971 and holding regular exhibitions of the artist's work from 1962 on. In 1969 the gallery held the first New York exhibition of the paintings of Manierre Dawson, who was subsequently acclaimed by the critics for his important and innovative contributions to modernism. In 1970 Schoelkopf began showing the work of Jan Matulka, an artist whose work had been neglected since the 1930s, and his enthusiastic representation of the Matulka estate paved the way for a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1979.

Schoelkopf's interest in turn-of-the-century artists also extended to sculptors such as John Flannagan, Ethel Myers, Elie Nadelman, and John Henry Bradley Storrs, and he directed considerable energy to furthering Gaston Lachaise's reputation as an artist of major stature. When Lachaise died at the peak of his career in 1935, his estate was left to his wife, Isabel, and in 1957 to Isabel's son, Edward. When Edward died shortly thereafter, John B. Pierce, Jr., a nephew of Isabel Lachaise, was appointed trustee of the estate and formed the Lachaise Foundation. In 1962 Pierce entered an agreement with Robert Schoelkopf and Felix Landau to represent Lachaise's sculpture on the East and West Coasts, respectively. In this capacity Schoelkopf helped to launch a major retrospective of the artist's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1964 and a traveling exhibition that began circulating in 1967.

The gallery's other major commitment was to painting and sculpture by contemporary American realists, many of whom worked in a figurative style and explored elements of allegory and classical mythology in their work, presenting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits from a realist perspective. The bulk of the gallery's exhibitions were, in fact, of work by contemporary artists, including metaphysical still-life painter William Bailey, colorist Leland Bell, figurative painter Martha Mayer Erlebacher, landscape and narrative painter Gabriel Laderman, and Icelandic artist Louisa Matthiasdottir. William Bailey was one of the gallery's most commercially successful artists, and his first one-person exhibition in New York was held there in 1968. Demand for Bailey's paintings often far exceeded his output, and by the late 1970s Schoelkopf invariably sold out his exhibitions and had compiled a lengthy waiting list for his work.

In its early years the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery contributed considerably to the development of interest in fine art photography that fostered an increasingly lucrative market for photographic prints during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1965 Schoelkopf began incorporating photography into the gallery's exhibition schedule and, in the spring of 1974, opened a gallery dedicated to photography on the second floor at 825 Madison Avenue. Between 1965 and 1979 Schoelkopf's was the only serious New York gallery dealing in painting and sculpture that also regularly exhibited photography as fine art. His interests lay primarily in antiquarian photography and the work of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century masters including Eugéne Atget, Mathew Brady, James Robertson, and Carleton Watkins. Schoelkopf organized shows examining specific photographic processes, the photogravure and the cyanotype, and presented surveys of genres such as portrait and landscape photography. In 1967 he held the first exhibition in many years of the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, an important figure in the history of Victorian photography, timing it to coincide with a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focused on Cameron as one of four Victorian photographers.

Schoelkopf also handled the work of several influential contemporaries, most notably Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Gisèle Freund. The gallery held Freund's first exhibition in the United States in 1975 and was, for a time, the only place in New York where one could see and purchase prints by Cartier-Bresson. Schoelkopf began exhibiting Evans's work in 1966 and regularly thereafter, including a 1971 exhibition that coincided with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

In the fall of 1976 the second-floor gallery space was turned over to Marcuse (Cusie) Pfeifer, then the gallery's director, who planned to use it to show the work of young photographers in a gallery under her own name. Schoelkopf continued to hold several photography exhibitions a year in the fourth-floor gallery but decided to concentrate primarily on nineteenth-century masters.

In March 1971 a fire in the building at Madison Avenue resulted in substantial water damage to the gallery space. Although very little of the inventory was destroyed, the incident forced Schoelkopf to close until September. This temporary loss of revenue compounded with a nationwide recession cut into Schoelkopf's financial resources and left him questioning his commission policy and his level of commitment to contemporary work in all media. A letter to artist Adolph Rosenblatt dated May 3, 1971, records how Schoelkopf had become increasingly disenchanted with "all contemporary work" and would begin taking 40 percent commission on sales, instead of 33.3 percent. "Beside the matter of enthusiasm is the matter of economics," Schoelkopf remarked, "and the last year and a half have been really dreadful for the art business."

This difficult period was followed immediately by more prosperous times. January 1973 proved to be the gallery's most successful month to date, encouraging Schoelkopf to purchase a house in Chappaqua, New York, later that year. In November 1974 Schoelkopf wrote to Anthony D'Offay that business "is as slow as it has ever been, but what sales we make are big ones" and revealed that auctions had, at that point, become his primary avenue for trade.

Around 1975 Schoelkopf's wife of eleven years, Laura Jane Schoelkopf, began working in the gallery. Although seemingly dubious of the work at first, she became a considerable asset to the business and reputedly complemented her husband's relationship with the gallery's contemporary artists through her warmth and hospitality, qualities often noted by artists who corresponded regularly with the couple.

The financial instability that characterized the 1970s undoubtedly influenced Schoelkopf's decision to cease exhibiting photography in 1979. By 1978 however, his investment in early-twentieth-century art appeared to be paying off. Jan Matulka, Joseph Stella, and John Henry Bradley Storrs had all been represented in exhibitions at major museums, and sales of their work had increased considerably. Gaston Lachaise's reputation continued to grow, and the traveling exhibition still circulated, garnering far more interest than had originally been anticipated.

Although contemporary artists continued to take up the largest portion of the gallery's changing exhibitions, Schoelkopf's interest in contemporary work was growing more conservative, tending toward a narrower focus on the narrative and allegorical. By 1979 he no longer exhibited contemporary sculpture, admitting to a lack of enthusiasm for the work of any of the current figurative sculptors and a dislike of all contemporary abstract work. In a letter to Lillian Delevoryas, dated March 17, 1982, he confessed, "With age has come a hardening of the aesthetic arteries perhaps. What we have been showing is realism, but getting tighter all the time."

In April 1984 the gallery was moved to 50 West Fifty-seventh Street, and, during the years that followed, the Schoelkopfs pared down the number of contemporary artists they represented, handling only those to whom they felt most strongly committed while continuing to specialize in nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century American painting and sculpture. As the gallery approached its thirtieth anniversary, Schoelkopf's achievements were considerable. He had operated a successful New York gallery for almost three decades, rejuvenated the reputations of several important American artists, and was respected by artists and clients alike for the integrity, intelligence, and humor with which he conducted his business affairs. In 1987 he had been appointed to the board of trustees of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory. By this time he was also a member of the advisory board to the National Academy of Design, and in 1988 he became a co-trustee of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

In March 1990, Robert Schoelkopf was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent a regimen of cancer treatment that resulted in a brief remission by the summer. Schoelkopf returned to work temporarily, but by 1991 his condition had worsened and he died in April of that year. Having known for some time that her husband's prognosis was poor, Laura Jane Schoelkopf had apparently decided that she would not continue the gallery in the event of his death. With the help of the youngest of their two sons, Andrew, she settled final accounts and assisted the gallery's contemporary artists in finding representation elsewhere before closing the business in August 1991.
Provenance:
Twenty-seven linear feet of records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Laura Jane Schoelkopf, Robert Schoelkopf's widow, and the Coe Kerr Gallery in 1991 and 1992. An additional gift of 3.4 linear feet was donated by Laura Jane Schoelkopf in 1996. The collection was reduced slightly during processing.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
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:
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Realism  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Citation:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.robeschg
See more items in:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-robeschg
Online Media:

(Landscape), (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Crayon on paperboard
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560 Accession Number: 1966.97.3
Date:
Ca. 1920-1930
Topic:
Landscape--Town  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08585557
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_475295

Jan Matulka: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Physical description:
1 folder
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF001934
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_140515

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0111780
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_111781

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0096582
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_96583

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0096583
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_96584

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0081055
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_81056

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0014849
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_14849

Untitled (Cassis Street Scene), (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor on paper mounted on paperboard
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560 Accession Number: 1971.383
Date:
1972
Topic:
Cityscape--France--Cassis  Search this
Cityscape--Street  Search this
Architecture exterior--Domestic--House  Search this
Architecture exterior--Commercial--Store  Search this
Figure group  Search this
Recreation--Courting  Search this
Occupation--Military--Sailor  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08584825
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_466863

(Surrealist Landscape), (painting)

Title:
Surrealist Figures in Landscape, (painting)
Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560 Accession Number: 1979.87
Date:
Ca. 1935
Topic:
Landscape  Search this
Abstract  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08584932
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_467023

The Cow's Siesta, (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Metropolitan Museum of Art 5th Avenue at 82nd Street New York New York 10028
Date:
1927
Topic:
Landscape--Tree  Search this
Animal--Cattle  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F990031
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_474926

Tree, (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor and pencil on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery New York New York 10021
Date:
Ca. 1927
Topic:
Landscape--Tree  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F990032
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_474927

Tree Study, (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor and pencil on paper
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1927
Topic:
Landscape--Tree  Search this
Study  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F990033
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_474928

Cityscape, (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Gouache on paper
Type:
Paintings
Date:
Ca. 1928
Topic:
Cityscape  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F990034
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_474929

Dancing Woman with Parasol, (painting)

Painter:
Matulka, Jan 1890-1972  Search this
Medium:
Gouache and watercolor on paper
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1929
Topic:
Abstract  Search this
Figure female--Full length  Search this
Dress--Accessory--Umbrella  Search this
Performing Arts--Dance  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8F990035
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_474930

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