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Leonard Bocour papers and business records

Creator:
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993  Search this
Names:
Bocour Artist Colors (Firm)  Search this
Extent:
11.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Diaries
Date:
1933-1993
Summary:
The papers of American art collector, paint manufacturer, lecturer, and painter, Leonard Bocour measure 11.8 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1993. Found within the papers are biographical material; miscellaneous correspondence with artists and colleagues, including Helen Frankenthaler, Chaim Gross, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Jack Levine, Morris Louis, David Oxtoby, and Philip Pearlstein; diaries, daily calendars, notes and writings; personal business records and the business records of Bocour Artist Colors, Inc.; transcripts of interviews with Bocour; and printed material.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of American art collector, paint manufacturer, lecturer, and painter, Leonard Bocour measure 11.8 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1993. Found within the papers is biographical material, including identity cards, membership cards, and award certificates. Miscellaneous correspondence is primarily with artists and colleagues, including Helen Frankenthaler, Chaim Gross, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Jack Levine, Morris Louis, David Oxtoby, and Philip Pearlstein and discuss exhibitions and other art-related topics. Also found are diaries and annotated daily calendars; personal business records regarding personal finances, donations, and lectures; business records for Bocour Artist Colors, Inc., including contracts, business correspondence, financial documentation, and printed material; notes and writings including address books and writings by Bocour and others; transcripts of interviews with Bocour that discuss his early career; and printed material including clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, booklets, and brochures.
Arrangement:
The collection has been arranged into eight series primarily according to type of material. Materials within each series have been arranged chronologically, except for the Receipts for "Private Deals" and the Business Card File which are arranged alphabetically. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Box 13 and OV 14 and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listings Section at the appropriate folder title.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940s-1990s (Box 1; 4 folders)

Series 2: Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1950s-1990s (Box 1-4, 13, OV 14; 3.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Diaries and Annotated Calendars, 1955-1987 (Box 4-5; 19 folders)

Series 4: Personal Business Records, circa 1961-1992 (Box 5-7, 13; 2.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Business Records for Bocour Artist Colors, Inc., circa 1942-1992 (Box 7-9, 13; 2.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Notes and Writings, 1960-1993, undated (Box 9-10; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Interview Transcripts, 1970s-1980s (Box 10; 5 folders)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1933-1993, undated (Box 10-13; 1.8 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
American art collector, paint manufacturer, lecturer, and painter, Leonard Bocour (nèe Leonard Bogdanoff) was born in 1910 in New York City. He studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League. In 1928, he met German artist Emil Ganso who taught him how to make artists' colors.

In 1932, Bocour established Bocour Hand Ground Artist Colors and sold paint directly to artists, greatly increasing his contacts and acquaintances in the art community. In this Depression era, Bocour often gave away paint to struggling artists who later became successful. Because artists would sometimes trade art work for tubes of paint, Bocour was able to build an impressive art collection that he would later loan for exhibition. He also donated numerous works of art to schools and museums.

Over the years, Bocour maintained a close relationship with artists, most notably Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, Jack Levine, Morris Louis, and Philip Pearlstein. In the late 1930s, Bocour decided to increase his business by selling through retailers and wholesalers, gradually building a successful business.

From 1945 to 1955, Bocour joined the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and for many years taught a summer technical course. In 1947, he developed Magna, an acrylic resin miscible with oil or turpentine that had the same consistency as oil paint, but dried in a fraction of the time. In 1960, Bocour introduced Aqua-Tec which is an acrylic polymer emulsion miscible with water.

From 1952 to 1970, Samuel Golden was Bocour's partner in the capacity of production manager. A merger with Zipatone, Inc. was carried out in 1982, but was dissolved in 1987. Zipatone, Inc. moved the company to Chicago, but Bocour remained in New York as president and consultant.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Bocour lectured at art schools and various arts organizations, discussing drawing, painting, and different art media as well as demonstrating his own products. He was a member of the National Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) and was president of the Art Material Manufacturers' Association, inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1974. Leonard Bocour died on Labor Day 1993.
Related Material:
Additional Leonard Bocour papers may be found at the Syracuse University Library, Special Collections Research Center.
Provenance:
The Leonard Bocour papers and business records were donated by his widow, Ruth Bocour, in 1994.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Leonard Bocour papers and business 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.
Topic:
Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Paint industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Drawing -- Technique  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Painting -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Diaries
Citation:
Leonard Bocour papers and business records, 1933-1993. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bocoleon
See more items in:
Leonard Bocour papers and business records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bocoleon

Oral history interview with Leonard Bocour

Interviewee:
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul  Search this
Names:
Bocour Artist Colors (Firm)  Search this
Avery, Milton, 1885-1965  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Ganso, Emil, 1895-1941  Search this
Kroll, Leon, 1884-1974  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Speicher, Eugene Edward, 1883-1962  Search this
Extent:
60 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1978 June 8
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Leonard Bocour conducted 1978 June 8, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Bocour speaks of his early interest in art; early influences on him, especially Emil Ganso; studying at the Art Students League; his beginning in the paint business; artists he became acquainted with including Leon Kroll, Eugene Speicher, Milton Avery, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko; the growth of his business, Bocour Artist Colors; technical changes in his product; the early use of acrylic paint; and his philosophies of collecting art work.
Biographical / Historical:
Leonard Bocour (1910-1993) was an art collector and paint manufacturer of New York, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 4 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 available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Paint industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Paint  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.bocour78
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bocour78

Leonard Bocour papers and business records, 1933-1993

Creator:
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993  Search this
Subject:
Bocour Artist Colors (Firm)  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Diaries
Topic:
Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Paint industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Drawing -- Technique  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Painting -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6446
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215590
AAA_collcode_bocoleon
Theme:
Diaries
Art Materials, Techniques, and Studio Art Education
Government Sponsorship of the Arts
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215590
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Leonard Bocour, 1978 June 8

Interviewee:
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul, 1933-  Search this
Subject:
Avery, Milton  Search this
De Kooning, Willem  Search this
Ganso, Emil  Search this
Kroll, Leon  Search this
Rothko, Mark  Search this
Speicher, Eugene Edward  Search this
Bocour Artist Colors (Firm)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Paint industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Paint  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12884
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212076
AAA_collcode_bocour78
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212076
Online Media:

Paints, lead and zinc colors, dry and in oil, varnishes, putty, oils, etc. / manufactured by S.R. Van Duzer & Co., 35 Barclay St. & 40 Park Place, New York

Title:
Paint and Color Department, S.R. Van Duzer & Co., wholesale druggists, importers & manufacturers
Author:
S.R. Van Duzer & Co Paint and Color Department  Search this
Subject:
S.R. Van Duzer & Co  Search this
Physical description:
<2> v. ; 23 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1875
18uu
1875-[18--?]
Topic:
Paint  Search this
Paint materials  Search this
Painting--Equipment and supplies  Search this
Color decoration and ornament  Search this
Paint industry and trade  Search this
Glass  Search this
Call number:
TP937 .S68 1875
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_667582

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