The records of the Dorothy Weiss Gallery measure 18.7 linear feet and date from circa 1964 to 2001 (bulk 1984-2000). The collection documents the gallery's relationships with approximately three hundred artists, through artist files, exhibition files, and subject files, and is an excellent source of information on the work of contemporary ceramic and glass sculptors.
Scope and Content Note:
The Dorothy Weiss Gallery records measure 18.7 linear feet and date from circa 1964 to 2001 (bulk 1984-2000). Although the collection includes limited records overlapping from Weiss's dealings with some artists through Meyer Breier Weiss Contemporary Crafts, Inc., its primary focus is the activities of the Dorothy Weiss Gallery. The records provide fairly extensive coverage of the gallery's relationship with approximately thirty artists, and scattered documentation of Weiss's relationship with more than two hundred other artists whose work she represented, exhibited, or had an interest in at some time during the gallery's existence. Overall, the collection is an excellent source of information on contemporary ceramic and glass sculpture and includes artist files of correspondence, administrative records, printed matter, and photographic material, as well as exhibition files and subject files.
The bulk of the collection consists of Series 1: Artist Files, which includes correspondence with artists, biographical material, printed material relating to exhibitions at the Dorothy Weiss Gallery and elsewhere, photographs of artwork, and administrative records such as price lists, inventories, and loan and consignment documentation.
Series 2: Exhibition Files contains records of approximately twenty-five group exhibitions held at the gallery, such as the Teapot Invitationals, and various exhibitions of glass artists. Records relating to exhibitions for a single artist's work can be found in Series 1: Artist Files.
Series 3: Subject Files consists of a small group of general subject files maintained by the gallery, such as correspondence with different types of clients, and records relating to specific projects outside the gallery in which Weiss participated.
The collection is arranged into three series. The basic original arrangement was maintained throughout the collection. Records are generally arranged alphabetically by artist, subject, or exhibition, and then chronologically.
Series 1: Artist Files, circa 1964-2001(boxes 1-18, OV 21; 17.5 linear ft.)
Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1979-1999 (box 19; 0.75 linear ft.)
Series 3: Subject Files, 1983-2000 (boxes 19-20; 0.45 linear ft.)
Dorothy Weiss founded the Dorothy Weiss Gallery in 1984. From 1977 Weiss had partnered with Sue Meyer and Virginia Breier in Meyer Breier Weiss Contemporary Crafts, Inc. She opened her new gallery in what was to be its permanent location at 256 Sutter Street in downtown San Francisco.
The Dorothy Weiss Gallery was renowned in San Francisco for the quality of its crafts program and the artists it represented. Weiss focused on contemporary ceramic and glass sculpture with an emphasis on non-functional, sculptural work. She also showed some paintings, drawings and monotypes, and her interests in this area expanded, particularly in the mid-1990s, when she began exhibiting works by artists such as Daniel Brice, in addition to showing drawings by artists generally known for their sculpture.
Weiss represented many of the country's most prominent and well-respected artists working in glass, including Hank Murta Adams, Dale Chihuly, Richard Marquis, William Morris, Jay Musler, Clifford Rainey, Italo Scanga, Therman Statom, and James Watkins. Glass exhibitions at the gallery included site-specific installations by artists such as Statom, Adams, and Rainey.
The gallery was also an important venue for contemporary ceramists such as Rudy Autio, Annette Corcoran, Ruth Duckworth, Michael Lucero, Beverly Mayeri, and Robert Turner. Monthly exhibitions were held on the Third floor with the Fourth floor gallery space being reserved for a variety of work by gallery artists. "Teapot Invitationals," and exhibitions of "new glass" featuring teapots and glass sculpture by a variety of artists were held regularly at the gallery.
Weiss was an active participant in the wider art community, hosting collector's groups from around the country and guests during conferences, such as a special Glass Invitational in conjunction with the Glass Art Society Conference in March 1994. As a member of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA), Weiss participated in First Thursday, holding opening receptions to new exhibitions on the first Thursday of every month and often accompanying them with artists' talks. She also participated in an annual Introductions show along with other SFADA members, representing younger, emerging artists in the Bay Area and nationwide. In addition, Weiss assisted the American Craft Museum in developing its exhibition programs, and was a Collectors Circle Affiliate for the American Craft Council.
Dorothy Weiss closed the gallery in 2000, retiring at the age of eighty. On October 4 of that year the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco opened A Tribute to Dorothy Weiss, an exhibition selected from her own collection.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Dorothy Weiss in 2002.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.