This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Correspondence, writings, speeches, notes, teaching material, price lists, financial and legal information, press releases, printed material, and photographs relating to Sykes' career as an portrait painter and printmaker, his tenure as Professor of Art at Auburn University, and his 1936 assistantship to muralist Diego Rivera on murals for the Hotel Reforma in Mexico City.
Correspondence, 1940-1990 (1.4 ft.), with sitters, colleagues, galleries, associations and organizations, universities, and others, among them Albert Christ-Janer, Fritz Eichenberg, George C. Miller, and the National Endowment for the Arts; writings, including "Multimetal Lithography for Artists", 1967, written as a result of a grant from the NEA, and containing original prints; lectures delivered at various universities and exhibitions describing his printmaking and portraiture work; notes; teaching material, 1973-1976, relating to Sykes' tenure as Professor of Art at Auburn University; price lists of artwork and other exhibition records; financial records, 1944-1985, mainly receipts for printmaking materials; press releases, 1966-1989, mainly concerning Sykes' award from the NEA and various exhibitions; printed material, ca.1940-ca.1990 (1 ft.), including exhibition announcements and invitations, a dismantled scrapbook containing newspaper clippings, and newsletters from Auburn University and various clubs and organizations; original artwork (0.5 ft.), including sketchbooks and loose sketches and drawings; and photographs (1 ft.), mainly of works of art by Sykes.
Unmicrofilmed documentation relating to Sykes' 1936 assistantship to Diego Rivera is documented by printed material, photographs, many depicting Rivera at work on the mural, and writings, including a manuscript by Sykes "Diego Rivera Remembered: An Account of the Hotel Reforma Mural Project," 1985.
REEL 3667: Sykes' notes on the Hotel Reforma mural project; two letters from Diego Rivera (in Spanish with accompanying translations by Sykes), one providing proof of Sykes' status as a student of fresco painting and the other granting Sykes permission to make sketches and copies of Rivera's paintings; records of supplies; plastering schedules, including diagrams of four fresco panels showing time schedules for plastering; 10 drawings by Sykes of the frescoes; clippings, including a typescript and translation of a newspaper article from "Excelsior" describing the controversy surrounding the murals and Rivera's involvement with Mexican labor unions; and photographs and negatives of the preparation of the walls, Rivera and assistants at work on the murals, and Rivera's studies and finished panels.
Biographical / Historical:
Maltby Sykes (1911-1992) was a painter, draftsman, lithographer, engraver, and teacher from Auburn, Alabama. Full name William Maltby Sykes. Sykes apprenticed with Diego Rivera in 1936, and later studied with George C. Miller, John Sloan and Fernand Leger. He was a combat artist in World War II and became a Professor in Art at Auburn University in 1954. He has exhibited at the American Color Print Society, the American Institute of Graphic Artists, and the Pennsylvania Academy.
Material on reel 3667 donated 1985 by Maltby Sykes. Unmicrofilmed material donated 1993 and 1995 by Sykes's widow, Marjorie Sykes.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
This series consists of the business and personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. For the most part, this series is general business correspondence concerning routine activities of the Downtown Gallery, including the American Folk Art Gallery and the Daylight Gallery, both operated by the Downtown Gallery on the same premises. Included are correspondence with clients, employees, other galleries, and colleagues concerning sales, loans, purchases, appraisals, and so forth; arrangements for shipping, framing, photography, reproduction permissions, and insurance; and gallery housekeeping and improvements, ordering of supplies, and other administrative concerns.
Also included is personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert. There are letters and greeting cards from nieces, nephews, and other relatives; correspondence with longtime friends, including some who were art collectors, museum curators, or museum directors; and correspondence concerning upkeep and improvement of her Newtown, Connecticut, country home and entertaining there.
See Appendix A for a list of selected correspondents from Series 1
Letters (with enclosures) are arranged chronologically, with those of the same date alphabetized by name of correspondent; undated material is arranged alphabetically, followed by unidentified correspondents and letters bearing illegible signatures.
Box numbers provided in the Container Listing are approximate.
Appendix A: List of Selected Correspondents in Series 1:
Names and titles indicated in this list are those that appear on the letters. Where appropriate, terms have been standardized and cross-referencing provided. Because filing is not always consistent, researchers are advised to check both the name of an individual and the institution that he or she represented.
Abate Associates, Inc., 1956
Abbot and Land, 1965
Abbot, B. Vincent, 1944
Abbot, Bernice, 1957
Abbot, John E., 1945, 1948
Abbot Laboratories, 1950, 1952
ABC Employment Agency, 1951
Richard Abel and Co., Inc., 1968
Abendroth, Robert W., 1966-1967
Abercrombie and Fitch Co., 1962
Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, undated, 1949, 1954
Abingdon Square Painters, 1965
Abraham and Straus, 1930, 1960, 1965-1966, 1968
Abraham, Mae C., 1965
Abrahamsen, Mrs. David, 1962
Abramowitz, M., 1958
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1958-1960, 1965-1966, 1968-1969
[incomplete; without signature], undated, 1953, 1961, 1967, 1968
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 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. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.