Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
25 documents - page 1 of 2

Robert Richenburg papers

Creator:
Richenburg, Robert  Search this
Names:
Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Ozenfant School of Fine Arts -- Students  Search this
Pratt Institute  Search this
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum  Search this
Tibor de Nagy Gallery  Search this
United States. Veterans Administration  Search this
Amgott, Madeline  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Cavallon, Giorgio, 1904-1989  Search this
Cherry, Herman  Search this
Geist, Sidney  Search this
Grad, Bonnie Lee, 1949-  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Lassaw, Ernestine  Search this
Lassaw, Ibram, 1913-2003  Search this
Matter, Mercedes  Search this
Moulton, Lynne  Search this
Ortiz, Rafael Montanez  Search this
Pavia, Philip, 1915-2005  Search this
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967  Search this
Slivka, David, 1913-  Search this
Extent:
5.3 Linear feet
4.32 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Illustrated letters
Sound recordings
Greeting cards
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Date:
circa 1910s-2008
Summary:
The Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008, measure 5.3 linear feet and 4.32 GB. Biographical material, correspondence, subject files, writings, sound and video recordings, printed material, and photographs document the professional career and personal life of the educator and New York School painter and sculptor best known for his Abstract Expressionist paintings.
Scope and Content Note:
The Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008, measure 5.3 linear feet and 4.32 GB. Biographical material, correspondence, subject files, writings, audio/visual recordings, printed material, and photographs document the professional career and personal life of the educator and New York School painter and sculptor best known for his Abstract Expressionist paintings.

Biographical material includes educational records from high school through his studies at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts using G.I. benefits. Birth, marriage,and death certificates are also found, along with Richenburg family memorabilia. There is a digital video recording of Robert Richenburg's memorial service.

Correspondence consists mostly of family letters, including some illustrated letters and many handmade cards featuring original artwork. Condolence letters addressed to Marggy Kerr are from friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances.

Subject files contain various combinations of correspondence, printed material, photographs, writings and notes relating to Richenburg's professional career and personal life. They document exhibitions, gallery representation, gifts of art work to museums and individuals, memberships, teaching activities, former students, friendships, and other aspects of his life. Files of significant interest are: The Club, Tina Dicky and Madeline Amgott, Former Students (particularly Raphael Montanez Ortiz), Bonnie L. Grad and Lynne Moulton, Hans Hofmann, Ibram Lassaw, Philip Pavia, Pratt Institute, Hilla Rebay and the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Tibor De Nagy Gallery, and Veterans Administration.

Writings by Richenburg consist of notes, reviews, artist's statements, and the text of a speech. Also included are quotations compiled over the years by Marggy Kerr of Richenburg's comments on art and life. Among the writings by others are student papers, reviews, and poems.

Sound and visual recordings include interviews with Robert Richenburg, often conducted as research for exhibitions. Videocassettes document events such as panel discussions, and artist gatherings; a few were produced in conjunction with museum exhibitions. Also found are videotapes by video artist Raphael Montanez Ortiz, Richenburg's friend and former student.

Printed material includes items that are specifically about Robert Richenburg as well as items that incidentally mention him. The majority consist of exhibition catalogs and announcements.

Photographs show art work by Richenburg, exhibition openings and other events, and a variety of people and places. Among the events recorded is the "Artists Roundtable on Art of the '50s." Moderated by Dore Ashton, the panel included Herman Cherry, Sidney Geist, Ibram Lassaw, Mercedes Matter, and David Slivka. There are photographs of Richenburg's boyhood home in Roslindale, MA, and his house in Ithaca, NY. He is pictured with others including family members, dealers, and curators. Of particular interest are photographs of Richenburg in Provincetown, MA, 1952-1953, with friends, including: Giorgio Cavallon, Franz Kline, Ibram and Ernestine Lassaw, and Philip and Marcia Pavia. World War II photographs consist of images of art work (not by Richenburg), Richenburg and other individuals taken in France and England; a number include views of Shrivenham American University.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1910s-2006 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft., ER01; 1.66 GB)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-2007 (Box 1; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 3: Subject Files, 1942-2008 (Boxes 1-3, OV 7; 2.25 linear ft.)

Series 4: Writings, circa 1950-2006 (Box 3; 0.1 linear ft.)

Series 5: Sound and Video Recordings, 1996-2006 (Boxes 3-4; 0.75 linear ft., ER02; 2.66 GB)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1947-2008 (Boxes 4-5; 1.25 linear ft.)

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1923-2006 (Boxes 5-6; 0.45 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Robert Bartlett Richenburg (1917-2006) was a painter and educator in New York City, Ithaca, New York, and East Hampton, New York.

At age 13, Bob Richenburg's artistic talent earned him a place in a daily class for Boston Public School students at the Museum of Fine Arts. Most classes focused on copying; of far greater benefit to the young art student was the opportunity to wander through the museum and look at art nearly every day of his high school career.

Richenburg's father was an architect who also ran a stained glass lampshade business; neither endeavor was profitable, so the family endured very hard times during the Depression. To help support the family, after school and on weekends, Bob delivered ice and coal with an older brother, a job he continued while attending night school courses in liberal arts at Boston University. He studied at George Washington University in Washington, DC, 1937-1939, often working as many as four part-time jobs to cover tuition and living expenses; during summers and school vacations, he returned to Boston to work with his brother. Due to his difficult financial situation, Richenburg's college career ended before he earned a degree.

After learning that the Corcoran School of Art charged no tuition, Richenburg returned to Washington in 1940 to study painting and sculpture. Although uninformed about the art world, he realized that New York was a better place for an aspiring artist. In 1941, he began studying with George Grosz and Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League. On his own, he studied materials and techniques and copied paintings at the Metropolitan Museum Art.

With war looming and the near certainty of being drafted, Robert Richenburg and Libby Chic Peltyn (always called Chic) married in November 1942; two weeks later, he entered the army. Richenburg spent three years in England and France as a combat engineer, transporting explosives and instructing troops in the demolition of mines and booby traps. In England, he managed a photo lab and taught drawing in the fine arts section of Shrivenham American University, a school run by the U. S. Army.

Once discharged, Richenburg returned to New York and took advantage of the G.I. Bill to continue studying painting (and for the subsistence allowance that provided modest support for his family - son Ronald was born in 1947). Richenburg studied at the Ozenfant School, 1947-1949, where he developed a life-long friendship with fellow student Ibram Lassaw.

He continued his art education with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown, 1949-1951. During this period, Richenburg taught drawing, painting, and art history classes sponsored by the Extension Division of City College of New York and held at venues such as Brooklyn's Central YMCA, and branches of the New York Public Library. Richenburg quickly discovered that he liked teaching and enjoyed the students.

In 1951, Richenburg joined the Pratt Institute faculty and taught studio courses at night; soon, he was teaching full time during the day. Richenburg began to achieve recognition as the youngest of the Abstract Expressionists and by the early 1960s his career was well established. Tibor De Nagy Gallery in New York and Dwan Gallery in California represented Richenburg, and a number of paintings were sold to museums and private collectors. As Richenburg experimented with new ideas and materials, his work began changing. He was a popular instructor at Pratt with several promising students who also began experimenting. In 1964, when the unorthodox work of one student in particular caught the attention of Pratt administrators, Richenburg was asked to change his approach to teaching. This roused student protests, and press coverage focused on the specific situation and academic freedom in general. He chose to resign rather than alter his teaching philosophy.

Richenburg secured a position at Cornell University. The confluence of his absence from New York City and the ascendance of Pop Art were damaging, and his career was derailed when De Nagy and Dwan dropped him from their rosters a few years later. After it was clear that he would not secure tenure at Cornell, Richenburg returned to New York in 1967 and began teaching at Hunter College. Daily life in New York was harder than he remembered and, for him, the City had lost its allure.

When offered the chairmanship of the Ithaca College art department, the Richenburgs were delighted to return to tranquil Ithaca, New York. Chic died in 1977, and Bob remained at Ithaca College until retiring in 1983. In addition full-time teaching and handling administrative activities as department chairman, Richenburg made time to work in his studio practically every day. He created a large body of work in a wide variety of media and styles, moving on to new ideas and experiments after exhausting his possibilities or interest.

Beginning in 1949 with a loan exhibition organized by The Museum of Non-Objective Art, Richenburg participated in a wide range of group shows. His first solo exhibition was held in 1953 at the Hendler Gallery, Philadelphia. Over the years, he enjoyed other solo exhibitions at venues such as: David Findlay Jr. Fine Art, Dwan Gallery, Hansa Gallery, Ithaca College Museum of Art, McCormick Gallery, Rose Art Museum (Brandeis University), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Sidney Mishkin Gallery (Baruch College), and Tibor De Nagy Gallery. In the 1960s and 1970s, Richenburg's work was seldom shown, but from the mid-1980s onward there has been renewed interest.

Richenburg's work is represented in the permanent collections of many museums including Hirshhorn Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition, his work was acquired by many highly regarded private collectors including Larry Aldrich, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., Joseph H. Hirshhorn, J. Patrick Lannon, and James A. Michener.

Robert Richenburg and Margaret (Marggy) Kerr, a painter and sculptor living in Ithaca, were married in 1980. Ms. Kerr is known for "brick rugs" made from cut bricks forming designs for site specific sculpture and garden walks. Richenburg became close to his stepfamily of three children, Marggy's grandchildren and her mother. After he retired from Ithaca College, Bob and Marggy moved to Springs in East Hampton, New York.

Although Richenburg suffered from Parkinson's disease during the last six years of his life, he continued to work in his home studio until physically unable to produce art. He died on October 10, 2006.
Related Material:
An oral history interview of Robert Richenburg was conducted by Dorothy Seckler for the Archives of American Art, circa 1968.
Provenance:
Donated in 2008 by Margaret Kerr, widow of Robert Richenburg, on behalf of herself and his son Ronald Richenburg.
Restrictions:
Use of original material requires an appointment. Use of audiovisual material with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
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:
Educators -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Genre/Form:
Illustrated letters
Sound recordings
Greeting cards
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.richrobe
See more items in:
Robert Richenburg papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw93e889f0b-1cd4-42d6-906f-68bace36808d
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-richrobe
Online Media:

John Little papers, 1935-1978

Creator:
Little, John, 1907-  Search this
Guild Hall of East Hampton  Search this
Subject:
Parker, Elizabeth  Search this
Kiesler, Frederick  Search this
Parsons, Betty  Search this
Namuth, Hans  Search this
Hofmann, Hans  Search this
Hunter, Sam  Search this
Signa Gallery  Search this
Citation:
John Little papers, 1935-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- History -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Textile design -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Sculpture -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7896
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210063
AAA_collcode_littjohn
Theme:
Craft
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210063

James Brooks and Charlotte Park papers, 1909-2010, bulk 1930-2010

Creator:
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Subject:
Gottlieb, Adolph  Search this
Bolotowsky, Ilya  Search this
Park, Charlotte  Search this
King, William  Search this
Guston, Philip  Search this
New York University  Search this
Southern Methodist University  Search this
United States. Army  Search this
Kootz Gallery (N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Interviews
Drawings
Photographs
Diaries
Citation:
James Brooks and Charlotte Park papers, 1909-2010, bulk 1930-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8955
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211142
AAA_collcode_broojame
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211142
Online Media:

William Henry Shelton autobiography, 1840-1890

Creator:
Shelton, W. H. (William Henry), 1840-1932  Search this
Subject:
Quartley, Arthur  Search this
Reinhart, Charles Stanley  Search this
Smith, Francis Hopkinson  Search this
Tile Club  Search this
Salmagundi Club  Search this
Harper's Magazine Foundation  Search this
Citation:
William Henry Shelton autobiography, 1840-1890. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Century illustrated monthly magazine  Search this
Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper  Search this
New York ledger  Search this
Art, American -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13464
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213146
AAA_collcode_shelwill
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213146

Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008

Creator:
Richenburg, Robert, 1917-2006  Search this
Subject:
Grad, Bonnie Lee  Search this
Hofmann, Hans  Search this
Kline, Franz  Search this
Lassaw, Ernestine  Search this
Matter, Mercedes  Search this
Moulton, Lynne  Search this
Lassaw, Ibram  Search this
Ortiz, Rafael Montanez  Search this
Pavia, Philip  Search this
Rebay, Hilla  Search this
Slivka, David  Search this
Geist, Sidney  Search this
Cavallon, Giorgio  Search this
Cherry, Herman  Search this
Amgott, Madeline  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Pratt Institute  Search this
United States. Veterans Administration  Search this
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum  Search this
Tibor de Nagy Gallery  Search this
Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Ozenfant School of Fine Arts  Search this
Type:
Illustrated letters
Sound recordings
Greeting cards
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Robert Richenburg papers, circa 1910s-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Educators -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Theme:
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15629
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)281921
AAA_collcode_richrobe
Theme:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_281921
Online Media:

Oral history interview with James Brooks

Interviewee:
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Seckler, Dorothy Gees, 1910-1994  Search this
Names:
Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980  Search this
Nicolaïdes, Kimon, 1892-1938  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Robinson, Boardman, 1876-1952  Search this
Extent:
36 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1965 June 10 and June 12
Scope and Contents:
An interview of James Brooks conducted 1965 June 10-12, by Dorothy Seckler, for the Archives of American Art.
Brooks speaks of his childhood, early art training, study with Kimon Nicolaides and Boardman Robinson at the Art Students League, mural projects, and his work in advertising. He comments on the Artists Union, his Air Force service, Army art projects, teaching at Columbia and Pratt Institute, an early abstract expressionist group called "the 8th Street Club" or just "The Club"; influence of Hans Hofmann, practicing Zen, changes in his work, his use of line and his drawings. He recalls George Biddle, Philip Guston and Jackson Pollock.
Biographical / Historical:
James Brooks (1906-1992) was a painter from East Hampton, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 59 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art 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:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.brooks65
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw941282273-bd41-41f0-abf2-8a2db1e3600c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-brooks65
Online Media:

Exhibition records of the Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art

Creator:
Finch College. Museum of Art  Search this
Varian, Elayne H.  Search this
Names:
Acconci, Vito, 1940-  Search this
Anderson, David K., 1935-  Search this
Benglis, Lynda, 1941-  Search this
Benyon, Margaret, 1940-  Search this
Bochner, Mel, 1940-  Search this
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Castelli, Leo  Search this
Chase, Doris, 1923-  Search this
Cross, Lloyd G.  Search this
Davis, Douglas  Search this
Dwan, Virginia  Search this
Feigen, Richard L., 1930-  Search this
Glimcher, Arnold B.  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Graham, Dan, 1942-  Search this
Hollander, Irwin  Search this
Insley, Will, 1929-2011  Search this
Jackson, Martha Kellogg  Search this
Janis, Sidney, 1896-1989  Search this
Kirby, Michael  Search this
Levine, Les, 1935-  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Mazur, Michael, 1935-2009  Search this
Meyer, Ursula, 1915-  Search this
Nauman, Bruce, 1941-  Search this
O'Doherty, Brian  Search this
Parsons, Betty  Search this
Richter, Hans, 1888-1976  Search this
Siegelaub, Seth, 1941-  Search this
Smith, Tony, 1912-1980  Search this
Sonfist, Alan  Search this
Weiner, Sam  Search this
Wise, Howard  Search this
Extent:
20.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Transcripts
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Museum records
Date:
1943-1975
bulk 1964-1975
Summary:
The exhibition records of the Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art measure 20.9 linear feet and date from 1943 to 1975, with the bulk of records dating from the period its galleries were in operation, from 1964 to 1975. Over two-thirds of the collection consists of exhibition files, which contain a wide range of documentation including artist files, checklists, correspondence, writings, photographs, interviews, numerous films and videos, artist statements, printed materials, and other records. Also found within the collection are administrative records of the museum, artist files, and papers of the Contemporary Wing's director and curator, Elayne Varian, which were produced outside of her work at Finch College.
Scope and Contents:
The exhibition records of the Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art measure 20.9 linear feet and date from 1943 to 1975, with the bulk of records dating from the period its galleries were in operation, from 1964 to 1975. Over two-thirds of the collection consists of exhibition files, which contain a wide range of documentation including artist files, checklists, correspondence, writings, photographs, interviews, numerous films and videos, artist statements, printed materials, and other records. Also found within the collection are administrative records of the museum, artist files, and papers of the Contemporary Wing's director and curator, Elayne Varian, which were produced outside of her work at Finch College.

Administrative records include records relating to the general operation of the Contemporary Wing concerning fundraising, professional associations, budget, contact information for artists, donors, and lenders to exhibitions. Also found are records of the permanent collection of artworks acquired by the museum between 1964 and 1975 from contemporary artists and collectors of contemporary art.

Artist files contain basic biographical information on over 150 contemporary artists, with scattered correspondence, photographs, technical information about artworks, artist statements, and other writings. Artist files also include an incomplete run of artist questionnaires gathered by the New York Arts Calendar Annual for 1964.

Elayne Varian's personal papers include curatorial records, a course schedule and syllabus related to her teaching activities, and various writings. Curatorial projects documented in Varian's papers include three programs produced outside of Finch College, including a juried show at the New York State Fair in 1967, a film series at Everson Museum of Syracuse University, and an exhibition at Guild Hall in East Hampton in 1973. Several of Varian's writing projects involved interviews, which are also found in this series in the form of sound recordings and transcripts. Interview-based writing projects include individual profiles on Brian O'Doherty and Babette Newberger, and interviews conducted for an article on the artist-dealer relationship published in Art in America (January 1970). Dealers interviewed for the latter project include Leo Castelli, Virginia Dwan, John Gibson, Richard Feigen, Arnold Glimcher, Fred Mueller, Martha Jackson, Sidney Janis, Betty Parsons, Seth Siegelaub, and Howard Wise. Artists interviewed include Roy Lichtenstein, Adolph Gottlieb, and Charles Ross.

Exhibition files, comprising the bulk of the collection, document exhibitions held in the Contemporary Wing during its existence from 1964 to 1975. Types of records found in the series include exhibition catalogs, correspondence, loan agreements, lists, contact information, insurance valuations of artworks, photographs, biographical information on artists, clippings, posters, press releases, and other publicity materials. In addition to the rich textual and photographic records found for exhibitions, numerous audiovisual recordings are also found, some of which were made in preparation for an exhibition, some document mounted exhibitions, and others are artworks themselves or components of artworks exhibited in the galleries. Interviews with artists, dealers, and others involved in exhibitions include Alan Sonfist, Mel Bochner, Hans Richter, Ruth Richards, James Brooks and Janet Katz, Margaret Benyon, Irwin Hollander (transcript only), David Anderson, Doris Chase, Will Insley, Michael Kirby, Les Levine, Ursula Meyer, Brian O'Doherty, Charles Ross, Tony Smith, Douglas Davis, Jane Davis, Russ Connor, Les Levine, Michael Mazur, Paul Gedeohn, and physicists Lloyd G. Cross, Allyn Z. Lite, and Gerald Thomas Bern Pethick. Video artworks, recordings of performances, or components of multimedia artworks are found by artists Vito Acconci, Kathy Dillon, Douglas Davis, Dan Graham, Les Levine, Bruce Nauman, Michael Netter, Eric Siegel, and Robert Whitman. A film of the Art in Process: The Visual Development of a Structure (1966) exhibition is found, and video recordings of artists Lynda Benglis, Michael Singer, and Sam Wiener form as part of the documentation for the Projected Art: Artists at Work (1971) exhibition.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 4 series.

Missing Title

Series 1: Administrative Records, 1950-1975 (2 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 22, OV 23)

Series 2: Artist Files, 1958-1975 (2.4 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, 22, OV 23, FC 27-28)

Series 3: Elayne Varian Personal Papers, 1965-1970 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1943-1975 (14.9 linear feet; Boxes 6-22, OV 24-25, FC 26)
Biographical / Historical:
The Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art, later called simply the "Contemporary Wing," was established in 1964 by the president of Finch College, Roland De Marco, as an extension the Finch College Museum of Art in New York City.

Its mission was to educate art history students at the Manhattan women's college who were interested in working with contemporary art. DeMarco, himself an art collector, hired Elayne Varian as director and curator of the contemporary wing. DeMarco met Varian in the New York office of the prominent international art dealership Duveen Brothers, where she had worked since the mid-1940s, most recently as an art dealer. Varian received her art education in Chicago, where she studied art history and education at the University of Chicago, and took classes in film at the Bauhaus and in fine art the Art Institute of Chicago. Sensitive to emerging art movements in galleries and studios around the city of New York, as the contemporary wing's curator, Varian quickly established a reputation for thoughtfully conceived, cutting-edge exhibitions which were consistently well-received by the press.

Under Varian, the Contemporary Wing carried out a dual mission of showing work of living artists and educating students and the public about the artwork and museum work in general. Varian used the galleries to provide practical training to students interested in a gallery or museum career throughout its existence. For several years, she also maintained an assistantship position for post-graduate museum professionals to gain experience in the field, many of whom went on to careers in museums across New York State.

The Contemporary Wing's best-known exhibitions formed a series of six shows called Art in Process, held between 1965 and 1972. Each of the Art in Process shows took a different medium, including painting, sculpture, collage, conceptual art, installation art, and serial art, and brought the process of art-making into the gallery with the artworks in various ways. For example, for Art in Process V (1972), the show about installation art, the galleries were open to the public for the entire process of its installation, allowing visitors to watch the works take shape. Another show entitled Documentation (1968) exhibited artworks with documentation such as artist's notes, sales records, and conservation records, bringing to light the value of record-keeping in the visual arts. Two exhibitions entitled Projected Art were also innovative, with the first (1966-1967) bringing experimental films from the cinema to the galleries, and the second (1971) showing artists' processes via footage and slides of artists working. Another show, Artists' Videotape Performances (1971), involved both screening of and creation of works in the gallery using a range of experiments with recent video technology. The museum also participated in an experimental broadcast of an artwork entitled Talk Out! by Douglas Davis, in which a telephone in the gallery allowed visitors to participate in its creation while it was broadcast live from Syracuse, NY. Other exhibitions that showcased experimentation in art included N-Dimensional Space (1970), on holography in art, Destruction Art(1968), on destructive actions being incorporated into contemporary art-making, and Schemata 7 (1967), a show about the use of environments in contemporary art, whose working title was "Walk-in Sculpture."

Other popular exhibitions at the Contemporary Wing included shows on Art Deco (1970) and Art Nouveau (1969). Several shows mined the private collections of prominent contemporary art collectors including Martha Jackson, Betty Parsons, George Rickey, Paul Magriel, Jacques Kaplan, Josephine and Philip Bruno, and Carlo F. Bilotti. A number of exhibitions featured contemporary art from overseas including Art from Belgium (1965), Art from Finland (1973), Seven Swedish Painters (1965), and Art in Jewelry (1966), which featured mainly international jewelry artists. Retrospective exhibitions of Hans Richter, Hugo Weber, and James Brooks were also held.

Hundreds of contemporary artists were shown at the Contemporary Wing in the eleven years of its existence, including many who came to be leading figures in contemporary art, and some who already were, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mel Bochner, Eva Hesse, Lynda Benglis, Bruce Nauman, Robert Morris, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Smithson, Sol Le Witt, Dan Flavin, Philip Pearlstein, and Yayoi Kusama, to name just a few.

The Contemporary Wing and the entire Finch College Museum of Art shut its doors in 1975, when Finch College closed due to lack of funds. The permanent collection was sold at that time, and the proceeds were used to pay Finch College employee salaries. Elayne Varian went on to the position of curator of contemporary art at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. She died in 1987.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with curator Elayne Varian conducted by Paul Cummings, May 2, 1975.
Provenance:
The Archives of American Art acquired these records from the Finch College Museum of Art after it closed permanently in June 1975.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
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.
Occupation:
Video artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Museum administrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Gallery directors  Search this
Gallery owners  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Museum records
Citation:
Exhibition records of the Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art, 1943-1975. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.finccoll
See more items in:
Exhibition records of the Contemporary Study Wing of the Finch College Museum of Art
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9ed5f13a2-eeb3-452a-8735-204ff25576b5
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-finccoll
Online Media:

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers

Creator:
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984  Search this
Names:
Betty Parsons Gallery  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975  Search this
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Burkhardt, Rudy  Search this
Cavaliere, Barbara  Search this
Davis, Bill  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Eames, Ray  Search this
Forge, Andrew  Search this
Friedman, B. H. (Bernard Harper), 1926-  Search this
Glaser, Jane R.  Search this
Gray, Cleve  Search this
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994  Search this
Gruen, John  Search this
Holmes, Doloris  Search this
Isaacs, Reginald R., 1911-  Search this
Janis, Sidney, 1896-1989  Search this
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005  Search this
Kadish, Reuben, 1913-1992  Search this
Maddox, Charles  Search this
Matter, Mercedes  Search this
McCoy, Sanford, Mrs.  Search this
Miller, Daniel  Search this
Miller, Robert, 1932 Apr. 17-  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Namuth, Hans  Search this
Ossorio, Alfonso, 1916-1990  Search this
Pollock, Charles C.  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956 -- Photographs  Search this
Rose, Barbara  Search this
Rouche, Burton  Search this
Smith, Tony, 1912-  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-  Search this
Valliere, James  Search this
Wasserman, Tamara E.  Search this
Wright, William  Search this
Zogbaum, Wilfrid, 1915-1965  Search this
Extent:
16.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Date:
circa 1914-1984
bulk 1942-1984
Summary:
The papers of abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and wife Lee Krasner measure 16.1 linear feet and date from circa 1914 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1984. The collection documents their personal and professional lives, as well as the legacy of Jackson Pollock's work after his death. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings by Krasner and others, research material, business and financial records, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork by others, photographs, interview transcripts, audio and video recordings, and motion picture film.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and wife Lee Krasner measure 16.1 linear feet and date from circa 1914 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1984. The collection documents their personal and professional lives, as well as the legacy of Jackson Pollock's work after his death. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings by Krasner and others, research material, business and financial records, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork by others, photographs, interview transcripts, audio and video recordings, and motion picture film.

The collection is divided into two series, the first of which focuses on Pollock and includes his scattered papers dating from circa 1914 to his death in 1956, as well as Krasner's papers dating from his death to 1984 about managing Pollock's legacy. This series includes biographical materials, including transcripts and audio recordings of an interview with William Wright in 1949; Pollock's and Krasner's correspondence with Thomas Hart Benton, Betty Parsons Gallery, Bill Davis, B. H. Friedman, Reginald Isaacs, Sidney Janis, Violet De Lazlo, Martha Jackson Gallery, Alfonso Ossorio, Tony Smith, and Clyfford Still, and with one another; Krasner's correspondence concerning Pollock's estate and artwork after his death; numerous writings about Pollock, including an original draft of Bryan Robertson's biography and an essay by Clement Greenberg.

James Valliere extensive research files on Pollock for a never-published biography were given to Krasner and filed in Series 1. These include scattered correspondence with Lee Krasner, and Pollock's family and friends, including Charles Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert Motherwell. There are also transcripts of interviews Valliere conducted with Pollock's friends and colleagues, including James Brooks, Dorothy Dehner, Clement Greenberg, Reuben Kadish, Lee Krasner, Charles Maddox, Mrs. Sanford McCoy, Daniel T. Miller, Robert Miller, and Tony Smith. The original audio reels and duplicates exist for many and are filed here. Additional interviews were conducted with Willem de Kooning, Alfonso Ossorio, and Burton Rouche, but not transcribed - these are filed in Series 1.10, Audio Recordings and Motion Picture Film.

Also found in Series 1 are scattered business records documenting Krasner's handling of Pollock's estate and legacy; printed materials relating to Pollock, including published biographies, exhibition catalogs, and clippings; two scrapbooks; and a sketchbook by an unidentified artist. Numerous photographs of Pollock include childhood and family photographs, photographs of Pollock in his studio by Hans Namuth, Rudy Burckhardt, and Herbert Matter, photographs of Pollock with Lee Krasner, and exhibition photographs. Audio recordings and motion film in Series 1 include a 1964 16mm film about Pollock (VHS copies are available) and reel-to-reel recordings of untranscribed interviews of Pollock's friends and colleagues by James Valliere, including interviews with Willem de Kooning and Alfonso Ossorio. Additional transcribed interviews are filed in subseries 1.4.

Lee Krasner's papers documenting her own career are arranged in Series 2 and date from 1927-1984. Biographical materials include resumes and awards, school documents, family documentation, and exhibition lists. Her correspondence with artist friends and art colleagues is extensive and includes many letters from artists such as Philip Johnson, Ray Eames, Cleve Gray, and Hans Namuth. She also maintained correspondence with many art historians and critics, curators, gallery owners, collectors, arts-related and social organizations, admirers, and family members.

There are thirteen transcripts of interviews with Krasner by Bruce Glaser, Barbara Cavaliere, Andrew Forge, Emily Wasserman, Barbara Rose, and others. The original audio recordings for these transcripts are filed in series 2.10, along with other audio recordings for which there are no transcripts, including interviews by John Gruen, Delores Holmes, Mercedes Matter, the Martha Dean Radio Show, NBC Today Show, and WQXR radio. There are also audio recordings of Krasner's lectures in series 2.10.

Krasner's papers also include writings and reminiscences by Krasner; writings about Krasner; printed materials such as exhibition catalogs and clippings; and one scrapbook containing clippings and photographs. Numerous photographs are of Krasner, including portrait photographs taken by Hans Namuth; of Krasner with Jackson Pollock and family and friends, and of her exhibitions and artwork.

Users should note that Pollock's and Krasner's papers contain similar types of material that often overlap in subject matter, especially among the correspondence and photographs.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 2 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Jackson Pollock papers and Lee Krasner papers about Jackson Pollock, circa 1914-1984 (Box 1-7, 16, OV 18, FC 19-22; 7.4 linear feet)

Series 2: Lee Krasner papers, circa 1927-1984 (Box 7-15, 17; 8.6 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Jackson Pollock was born in 1912, in Cody, Wyoming, the youngest of five sons. His family moved several times during his childhood, finally settling in Los Angeles. In 1930 he joined his older brother, Charles, in New York City, and studied with Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. Pollock worked during the 1930s for the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. During 1936 he worked in artist David Alfaro Siqueiros's Experimental Workshop. In 1938 he began psychiatric treatment for alcoholism, and his artwork was greatly influenced by Jungian analysis and the exploration of unconscious symbolism.

In 1943 Pollock had his first one-man exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's New York gallery, Art of this Century, and continued to exhibit there over the next several years. A major turning point in Pollock's life and art was in 1945 when he married fellow artist Lee Krasner and moved to East Hampton, Long Island. There he developed his mature painting style, and became famous for his abstract pouring technique on large canvases. The height of his creativity spanned from 1947 to 1952, and his work was promoted by art critic Clement Greenberg. Along with other abstract expressionists including Hans Hofmann, Alfonso Ossorio, and Barnett Newman, he joined the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1947. He had his most successful one-man show in 1950 which was widely publicized and praised. This exhibition, combined with a 1949 feature article in LIFE magazine, made Pollock an American celebrity.

In 1952 Pollock moved his work to Sidney Janis Gallery and returned to earlier motifs in a search for new breakthroughs. The last few years of his life he suffered from mental and physical health problems, and in August, 1956 he died in a car accident. His wife, Lee Krasner, oversaw his estate and worked with many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, on Pollock retrospective exhibitions.

Lee Krasner was born Lenore Krassner in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York to Russian immigrant parents. In 1926 she was admitted to the Women's Art School of The Cooper Union, and in 1928 she attended the Art Students League. After graduating from The Cooper Union in 1929, she attended the National Academy of Design until 1932. After briefly attending City College and Greenwich House, she worked for the Public Works of Art Project and the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, and finally became an assistant in 1935 on the WPA Federal Art Project, Mural Division. From 1937 to 1940 she studied at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and began exhibiting with the American Abstract Artists group.

In 1942 Krasner met Pollock as they were both preparing to exhibit work in the same show. Although they married and she became immersed in his career, she continued to exhibit her own work with other abstract artists and from 1946 to 1949 worked on the Little Image painting series. In 1953 she began working on collages, a medium she would come back to again later in her career. After Pollock's death her work was greatly influence by her sadness and anger, creating a visible evolution of her style.

For the rest of her career, Krasner consistently exhibited her work in both group and solo exhibitions. She had her first retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1965, and in 1966, she joined Marlborough Gallery, New York which represented Pollock's work as well. In the 1970s and early 1980s Krasner won many awards for her achievement in the visual arts, including the Augustus St. Gaudens Medal and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She returned to the medium of collage, and in 1976 joined the Pace Gallery, New York. In 1981 she joined the Robert Miller Gallery, New York. Lee Krasner continued creating art until her death in 1984.
Related Material:
Found in the Archives of American Art are the Charles Pollock Papers, 1902-1990, which includes correspondence, photographs, and other files relating to his brother, Jackson Pollock. Other resources in the Archives are oral history interviews with Lee Krasner, including a series of interviews conducted by Dorothy Seckler between 1964 and 1968, and interviews conducted by Barbara Rose in 1966 and Doloris Holmes in 1972.
Provenance:
The papers of Jackson Pollock were donated in 1983 by Lee Krasner through Eugene V. Thaw shortly before her death. Additional material about Pollock and the papers of Lee Krasner were donated in 1985 by Eugene V. Thaw, executor of Lee Krasner's estate.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Citation:
Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, circa 1914-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.polljack
See more items in:
Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9ac60d2fa-adb8-4919-9ebb-ddef5dfaa3f8
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-polljack
Online Media:

James Brooks and Charlotte Park papers

Creator:
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Names:
Kootz Gallery (N.Y.)  Search this
New York University -- Students  Search this
Southern Methodist University -- Students  Search this
United States. Army  Search this
Bolotowsky, Ilya, 1907-1981  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980  Search this
King, William, 1925-2015  Search this
Park, Charlotte  Search this
Extent:
20.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Interviews
Drawings
Photographs
Diaries
Date:
1909-2010
bulk 1930-2010
Summary:
The papers of Abstract Expressionist painters James Brooks and Charlotte Park measure 18.7 linear feet and are dated 1909-2010, bulk 1930-2010. Correspondence, subject files, personal business records, printed material, and a sound recording document his painting career, interests, professional and personal activities. Also found are biographical materials, interviews, writings, and art work. The collection also includes papers of his wife, Abstract Expressionist painter Charlotte Park, regarding her painting career, personal life, activities as executor of James Brooks' estate, and some material concerning the James Brooks and Charlotte Park Brooks Foundation. There is a 1.4 linear foot addition to this collection donated in 2017 that includes 58 "week-at-a-glance" appointment books, three journals and one address/ telephone book of Charlotte Park; a hand written chronology with significant dates and notes; postcards and exhibition announcements sent to Charlotte and James; doodles; and a sketch, possibly by Don Kingman.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Abstract Expressionist painters James Brooks and Charlotte Park measure 18.7 linear feet and are dated 1909-2010, bulk 1930-2010. Correspondence, subject files, personal business records, printed material, and a sound recording document his painting career, interests, professional and personal activities. Also found are biographical materials, interviews, writings, and art work. The collection also includes papers of his wife, Abstract Expressionist painter Charlotte Park, regarding her painting career, personal life, activities as executor of James Brooks' estate, and some material concerning the James Brooks and Charlotte Park Brooks Foundation. There is a 1.4 linear foot addition to this collection donated in 2017 that includes 58 "week-at-a-glance" appointment books, three journals and one address/ telephone book of Charlotte Park; a hand written chronology with significant dates and notes; postcards and exhibition announcements sent to Charlotte and James; doodles; and a sketch, possibly by Don Kingman.

Biographical materials include biographical notes and documents such as copies of birth and death certificates, curricula vitae, family history. Educational records are from Southern Methodist University and documentation of flight training courses at New York University. Brooks' military service in World War II is well documented by United States Army records with related correspondence. Also found is extensive documentation of his death and funeral.

Professional and personal correspondence is addressed to Brooks, the couple, and to Charlotte Park during the later years of Brooks' life when she managed his affairs. A significant amount of correspondence is categorized as art, autograph requests, personal, and teaching; also include is general correspondence that overlaps all categories. Art correspondence with museums, galleries, collectors, artists, and friends concerns exhibitions, Brooks' work, and invitations to exhibit, speak, or serve as a juror. Of note is the correspondence with Samuel M. Kootz Gallery. The personal correspondence is mainly social, and teaching correspondence consists largely of requests that he teach in summer programs, serve as a visiting artist/critic.

Six interviews with James Brooks are in the form of published and unpublished transcripts; a seventh is a sound recording with no known transcript. Charlotte Park participates in one interview.

Writings by Brooks are statements about his work and a tribute to Ilya Bolotowsky. Among the writings by others about Brooks are a catalog essay, academic papers, and lecture; also found are a few short pieces on miscellaneous topics. Three diaries include brief entries regarding his work, exhibitions, and activities.

Subject files maintained by Brooks concerning organizations, exhibitions, mural projects, a commission and teaching document his professional activities, relationships and interests. Personal business records concern appraisals, conservation, gifts, insurance, loans, sales, shipping, and storage of artwork. Gallery records include agreements, consignments, lists, and receipts. Also, there are accounts for lettering work and personal income tax returns.

Printed material is mostly exhibition announcements, invitations, catalogs, and checklists, as well as articles and reviews. The majority are about/mention Brooks or include reproductions of his work; some concern artist friends, former students, and others.

Artwork by Brooks consists of pencil and ink drawings, two sketchbooks, and "telephone doodles." Other artists include Adolph Gottlieb (ink drawing of sculpture), Philip Guston (three pencil drawings of Brooks), and William King (two silhouettes of Brooks).

Photographic materials (photographs, digital prints, negatives, slides, and color transparencies) provide extensive documentation of Brooks' artwork and, to a lesser extent, exhibitions.There are pictures of Brooks as a very young boy, though the most views of him date from the 1930s through 1980s, and with friends. Places include Brooks' homes and studios in Montauk, New York and the Springs, East Hampton, New York; travel to Maine, Oregon and California. Views of the Middle East from World War II show Brooks with colleagues, local people engaged in daily activities, and scenery. Also of note are a copy print of "The Irascibles" by Nina Leen, and attendees at the dedication of Flight dining in view of Brook's LaGuardia Ariport mural.

Charlotte Park papers document the professional career and personal life of the Abstract Expressionist painter, art teacher, and wife of James Brooks through correspondence, personal business records, exhibition records, printed material, and photographs. In addition, this series documents artwork in the estate of James Brooks and posthumous exhibitions. Twelve years younger than her husband, Park began handling business matters for him as he aged and developed Alzheimer's disease. She also served as his executor. In the 1990s, a curator assumed management of the artwork and loans for exhibitions. After the James Brooks and Charlotte Park Brooks Foundation was established in 2000, its director handled most business activities. Some copies of Foundation minutes and correspondence are found among Park's papers.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in 11 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1924-1995 (Box 1, OV 19; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1995 (Boxes 1-3; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Interviews, 1965-1990 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1952-1999 (Box 3; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 5: Diaries, 1975-1984 (Box 3; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 6: Subject Files, 1926-2001 (Boxes 3-5, OV 20; 2.0 linear feet)

Series 7: Personal Business Records, 1932-1992 (Boxes 5-6; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1928-1992 (Boxes 6-11, OV 21-OV 22; 4.8 linear feet)

Series 9: Artwork, 1930s-1992 (Box 11; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographic Materials, 1909-2000s (Boxes 11-15; 4.1 linear feet)

Series 11: Charlotte Park papers, 1930s-2010 (Boxes 15-18, OV 23; 3.6 linear feet)

Series 12: Unprocessed Additition, circa 1930-2010 (Boxes 25-26; 1.4 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
James Brooks (1906-1992) and Charlotte Park (1919-2010) were Abstract Expressionist painters in East Hampton, N.Y. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Brooks spent his childhood in Colorado, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Texas. He begn drawing as a young boy, finding inspiration in magazine illustrations and comic strips. Before moving to New York City in 1926, he studied at Southern Methodist University (1923-1924) and at the Dallas Art Institute.

In New York, Brooks studied illustration at the Grand Central Art School. After exposure to museums led him to differentiate between illustration and fine art, Brooks enrolled at Art Students League. During this period he supported himself by doing lettering for magazine advertisements. From 1936-1942 he participated in the WPA Federal Art Project, executing murals at Woodside Library, Queens, New York (destroyed); the Post Office, Little Falls, New Jersey; and his famous Flight at LaGuardia Airport's Marine Air Terminal (painted over in the 1950s and restored in 1980).

During World War II Brooks served in the United States Army as an art correspondent in Cairo. When at the Office of Special Services, Washington, DC, he met Charlotte Park who worked there as a graphic artist and later became his wife. The couple moved to New York City in 1945 and married in 1947. Brooks resumed friendships with artists he knew from the WPA including Philip Guston, Bradley Walker Tomlin, and Jackson Pollock. Brooks and Park were especially close with Pollock and Lee Krasner; after they moved to Long Island, Brooks and Park, soon followed, first to Montauk and later to the Springs, East Hampton, New York.

By the late 1940s, Brooks had turned away from figural painting in the social realist style and moved toward abstraction. In the early 1950s, he was experimenting with enamel, gouache, and diluted oil paints, staining various grounds in ways that produced interesting shapes, adding spontaneous splashes of color over which he painted more deliberately. In the 1960s he switched to acrylics, leading to wider use of color and broader strokes.

Peridot Gallery presented Brooks' first solo exhibition in 1949. He helped organize and participated in the famous Ninth Street Show of 1951, earning critical acclaim. This assured him a place in two of the Museum of Modern Art's most important exhibitions of the period, Twelve Americans (1956) and New American Painting (1958). He showed at the Stable Gallery, Kootz Gallery, Martha Jackson Gallery and others. During his lifetime Brooks enjoyed five traveling retrospective exhibitions.

Prizes and awards included Carnegie Institute's Pittsburgh International Exhibition 5th prize for painting (1952), The Art Institue of Chicago's 62nd American Exhibition Logan Medal and Prize for Painting (1957) and 64th American Exhibition Harris Prize (1961), The National Arts Club Medal (1985), and a citation of appreciation for Flight from The North Beach Club Marine Air Terminal, LaGuardia Airport (1986).

Brooks taught for nearly three decades: drawing at Columbia University (1947-1948) and lettering at Pratt Institute (1948-1955); was a visiting critic, Yale University (1955-1960), University of Pennsylvania (1971-1972), and Cooper Union (1975); and served on the Queens College faculty (1966-1969). In addition, he was an artist-in-residence at The American Academy in Rome (1963), the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1969), and a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant (1973).

Brooks developed Alzheimer's disease around 1985 and died in East Hampton, New York in 1992.

Charlotte Park graduated from the Yale School of Fine Art (1939) and during World War II, when working in Washington, D.C., she met James Brooks. They moved to New York City in 1945, where she studied with Australian artist Wallace Harrison. Park taught children's art classes at several private schools in the early 1950s and at the Museum of Modern Art, 1955-1967.

Park's approach to Abstract Expressionism featured curved or linear shapes with vibrant colors and dynamic brushstrokes. Tanager Gallery presented her first solo show in 1957 and her work was included in numerous group exhibitions from the 1950s through 2000s, mainly in New York City and Long Island. After Park's second solo exhibition, held in 1973 at Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, interest in her work revived; other one-person shows followed at Guild Hall (1979), Ingber Gallery (1980), and paired with James Brooks at Louise Himelfarb Gallery. The National Institute of Arts and Letters honored Park with its Art Award in 1974. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall Museum, Telfair Museum of Art, and in many private collections.

Charlotte Park died in 2010.
Related Materials:
Also among the Archives of American Art's holdings are letters from James Brooks and Sean Scully, 1980-1989 addressed to Theodora ["Teddy"] S. Greenbaum, and an oral history interview with James Brooks conducted by Dorothy Seckler, 1965 June 10 and June 12.
Separated Materials:
Correspondence, interview transcripts, photographs, and printed material were loaned by James Brooks for microfilming in 1969 (reel N69-132). With the exception of an address book, a scrapbook, and a few photographs, Brooks donated almost all of the loan in 1979.
Provenance:
The majority of the collection was donated in 2013 by the James Brooks and Charlotte Brooks Foundation and an additional 1.4 linear feet donated 2017 by the Foundation. In 1979 James Brooks donated most of the material lent for microfilming in 1969.
Restrictions:
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.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
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:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Interviews
Drawings
Photographs
Diaries
Citation:
James Brooks and Charlotte Park papers, 1909-2010, bulk 1930-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.broojame
See more items in:
James Brooks and Charlotte Park papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw948fd3af3-1ae9-4a9a-af05-4ef35e505b4a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-broojame

Elaine de Kooning papers

Creator:
De Kooning, Elaine  Search this
Names:
Chessman, Caryl, 1921-1960  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963  Search this
Extent:
1.1 Linear feet
0.003 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Transcripts
Scrapbooks
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
circa 1959-2013
Summary:
The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-2013 and measure 1.1 linear feet and 0.003 GB. Found within the papers are letters, writings, a sketch of John F. Kennedy, notes, a sound recording, a few documents regarding Willem de Kooning, transcripts of interviews of de Kooning, transcripts of recorded conversations between de Kooning and others, and transcripts of lectures by de Kooning and others. There are a few photographs of de Kooning and of de Kooning with others, including John F. Kennedy, artist James Bohary, and Ad Reinhardt, and of artwork. Most of the transcripts and few photographs are digitized. Also found are printed materials and two scrapbooks containing a variety of documents about de Kooning's protest against the death penalty and efforts to save the life of convicted criminal Caryl Chessman.
Scope and Contents:
The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-2013 and measure 1.1 linear feet and 0.003 GB. Found within the papers are letters, writings, a sketch of John F. Kennedy, notes, a sound recording, a few documents regarding Willem de Kooning, transcripts of interviews of de Kooning, transcripts of recorded conversations between de Kooning and others, and transcripts of lectures by de Kooning and others. There are a few photographs of de Kooning and of de Kooning with others, including John F. Kennedy, artist James Bohary, and Ad Reinhardt, and of artwork. Most of the transcripts and few photographs are digitized. Also found are printed materials and two scrapbooks containing a variety of documents about de Kooning's protest against the death penalty and efforts to save the life of convicted criminal Caryl Chessman.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 5 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Personal Papers, circa 1960s-1989 (Boxes 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Interviews, Conversations, and Lectures, 1978-1988 (Box 1, ER01; 0.3 linear feet, 0.001 GB)

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1960s (Box 2, ER02; 4 folders, 0.002 GB)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1982 (Boxes 2-3; 5 folders)

Series 5: Scrapbooks, circa 1959-1962 (Boxes 2-3: 0.3 linear ft.)
Biographical / Historical:
Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, teacher and writer who lived and worked in New York City and East Hampton, N.Y.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, de Kooning studied briefly at Hunter College before enrolling at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York City. She had her first solo exhibition in 1952 at the Stable Gallery in New York and has paintings in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and other institutions. She taught at Yale University, Carnegie Mellon Institute, University of Pennsylvania and other colleges and art schools. Elaine de Kooning died of lung cancer in 1989 at Southampton Hospital in Southampton, New York. Willem de Kooning, her husband of 48 years, survived her.
Related Materials:
Among the holding of the Archives is an oral history interview conducted in 1981 by Phyllis Tuchman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project. Also found is a collection of Elaine and Willem de Kooning financial records.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2003 by Denise Lassaw, de Kooning's goddaughter and her mother Ernestine Lassaw, and in 2013-2015 by Denise Lassaw. Interview transcripts and lectures were donated in 2015 by Doris Aach, a friend who transcribed them for de Kooning.
Restrictions:
Use of original materials 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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Educators -- New York (State)  Search this
Authors -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Artists -- Political activity  Search this
Capital punishment  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Women authors  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Transcripts
Scrapbooks
Interviews
Sound recordings
Citation:
Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dekoelas
See more items in:
Elaine de Kooning papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9efa8bae3-ec49-4e54-b3c5-2f2e0453f77e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-dekoelas
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Lee Krasner

Creator:
Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984  Search this
Interviewer:
Holmes, Doloris  Search this
Names:
Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Graham, John, 1887-1961  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970  Search this
Parsons, Betty  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Extent:
10 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Date:
1972
Scope and Contents:
Interview of Lee Krasner conducted in 1972, by Doloris Holmes, for the Archives of American Art "Art World in Turmoil" oral history project.
This interview was conducted with the intention of documenting the Protest Art movement of the 1970's. In this interview, Krasner speaks of her dismay with the lack of recognition that many professional female artists receive; her resistence to joining the Club and the Irascible Eighteen; her experiences with getting exposure as a female artist; her relationship and respect for John Graham; the interest of Betty Parsons in Krasner's work; the mixed compliments received from Hofmann; her relationship with Newman; Her objection to de Kooning's "Woman" series; the Freudian aspect of Abstract Expressionism; the authoritarian/autocratic image of Rothko and Newman; the sexually biased role of the female within the Jewish Faith; the impossibility of separating content and aesthetic value; her female influence upon Pollock; her role in exposing Pollock to Matisse; her ability to network for Pollock (Herbert and Mercedes Matter, Sandy Calder, James Johnson, Sweeney, Hofmann); her ambiguity as to whether she has had the tradition female artist experience due to her association with Pollock.
Biographical / Historical:
Lee Krasner (1908-1984) was a painter in Easthampton, New York and married to Jackson Pollock.
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:
Patrons must use transcript.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Topic:
Jewish artists  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.krasne72
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw92c7720c2-f44d-4ea5-847e-82f9bbd22848
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-krasne72
Online Media:

Elaine and Willem de Kooning financial records

Creator:
De Kooning, Elaine  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1951-1969
Scope and Contents:
Joint federal income tax returns, 1951, 1953, and 1954, cancelled checks, cash receipts, bills, and bank statements.
Biographical / Historical:
Elaine de Kooning (1918- 1989) was a painter in New York, N.Y. and East Hampton, N.Y. Her husband (1904- 1997), Willem de Kooning was an action painter from Holland who flourished in the New York school.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives are Elaine de Kooning scrapbooks and interviews and lectures, 1959-1988 that were donated in 2004 and 2013 by Denise Lassaw, de Kooning's god-daughter.
Provenance:
Donated 1981 by Elaine de Kooning.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.dekoelai
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9b313a9fa-3c1c-4db8-967d-b50336b47672
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-dekoelai

Oral history interview with Lee Krasner

Interviewee:
Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984  Search this
Interviewer:
Seckler, Dorothy Gees, 1910-1994  Search this
Names:
United States. Work Projects Administration  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Extent:
79 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1964 Nov. 2-1968 Apr. 11
Scope and Contents:
Oral history interview with Lee Krasner conducted 1964 Nov. 2-1968 Apr. 11, by Dorothy Seckler, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Lee Krasner (1908-1984) was a painter in Easthampton, N.Y. and married to Jackson Pollock.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels and 2 sound tapes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs.
Sound quality of the 1967-68 interview sessions is poor.
Provenance:
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art 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.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- East Hampton  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Painting  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.krasne64
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw90e599498-71e5-4d0f-bf99-03e4cf79ec43
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-krasne64
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Robert Beverly Hale, 1984 Mar. 7

Interviewee:
Hale, Robert Beverly, 1901-1985  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Subject:
Barr, Alfred H., Jr.  Search this
Bridgman, George Brant  Search this
Coyle, Terence  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel  Search this
Geldzahler, Henry  Search this
Hirshhorn, Joseph H.  Search this
Huxley, Julian  Search this
Klonis, Stewart  Search this
McNulty, William Charles  Search this
Peirce, Waldo  Search this
Pollock, Jackson  Search this
Priest, Alan Reed  Search this
Rockefeller, David  Search this
Root, Edward Wales  Search this
Rorimer, James J. (James Joseph)  Search this
Russell, Bertrand  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Columbia University  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Robert Beverly Hale, 1984 Mar. 7. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Drawing -- Technique  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13205
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212259
AAA_collcode_hale84
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212259
Online Media:

Oral history interview with James Brooks, 1965 June 10 and June 12

Interviewee:
Brooks, James, 1906-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Seckler, Dorothy Gees, 1910-1994  Search this
Subject:
Biddle, George  Search this
Guston, Philip  Search this
Nicolaïdes, Kimon  Search this
Pollock, Jackson  Search this
Robinson, Boardman  Search this
Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with James Brooks, 1965 June 10 and June 12. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12719
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216585
AAA_collcode_brooks65
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_216585
Online Media:

Michael Goldberg papers

Creator:
Goldberg, Michael, 1924-2007  Search this
Names:
Brodey, James  Search this
Di Prima, Diane  Search this
Grosvenor, Robert, 1937-  Search this
Jenkins, Paul, 1923-2012  Search this
Kirili, Alain, 1946-  Search this
Mitchell, Joan, 1926-1992  Search this
Neimark, Jill  Search this
Pavia, Philip, 1915-2005  Search this
Riopelle, Jean Paul  Search this
Rivers, Larry, 1925-2002  Search this
Tanger, Susanna, 1942-  Search this
Whyatt, Frances  Search this
Extent:
1.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Date:
1942-1981
Scope and Contents:
Biographical material, letters, business records, notes, writings, art works, an interview transcript, printed material, and photographs.
A resume, 1969; letters, 1951-1972, from Joan Mitchell (some mention painter Jean Paul Riopelle), from his wife Patricia Southgate and her children, Karen Edwards, Vera "Bunny" Lang (identified as "B" in her letters), Jim Brodey, Paul Jenkins, and Philip Pavia; grant applications, 1970-1971; miscellaneous receipts, 1958-1974; and price lists, 1965-1969; nine address/appointment books, 1963-1970; an essay "The Canvas as a Plane" by Goldberg; poems by Jim Brodey, Diane De Prima, and Frances Whyatt, a typescript for an untitled play, and a script for play "The Sideshow" by Arthur Williams; a sketchbook; 12 drawings; a transcript of an interview of Goldberg by Jill Neimark, 1979; clippings, 1953-1979; exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1950-1981, a floorplan for Goldberg's studio, 1963; photographs of Goldberg, his family, including Joan Mitchell, Patricia Southgate, her children, and friends, including Larry Rivers, Jim Brodey, Robert Grosvenor, Alain Kirili, and Susanna Tanger; three group photographs taken in East Hampton by Hans Namuth, 1962, of 35 artists including Goldberg, James Brooks, Adolph Gottlieb, Balcomb Greene, Grace Hartigan, Al Held, Buffie Johnson, Lee Krasner, Ibram Lassaw, and Larry Rivers.
Biographical / Historical:
Michael Goldberg (1924-2007) was a painter in New York, New York.
Provenance:
Donated 1972-1983 by Michael Goldberg.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Poets  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Identifier:
AAA.goldmich
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw949df2771-4b68-454c-b47f-03acf4e0e830
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-goldmich

Fierce poise Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York Alexander Nemerov

Title:
Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York
Author:
Nemerov, Alexander  Search this
Physical description:
xviii, 269 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates illustrations (some color) 24 cm
Type:
Biography
Biographies
History
Place:
United States
New York (State)
New York
États-Unis
New York (État)
Date:
2021
20th century
20e siècle
Topic:
Painters  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Art and society--History  Search this
Peintres  Search this
Femmes peintres  Search this
Art et société--Histoire  Search this
ART / General  Search this
Art and society  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1155200

Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers

Creator:
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Names:
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Esther Gentle Reproductions  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Paul Rosenberg & Co.  Search this
Bedwell, Bettina, 1889-1947  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Boyle, Kay, 1902-  Search this
Burlin, Paul, 1886-1969  Search this
Carton, Norman, 1908-1980  Search this
Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron), 1897-1973  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Rochemont, Richard  Search this
Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968  Search this
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993  Search this
Griffin, John Howard, 1920-  Search this
Guthrie, Ramon, 1896-  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988  Search this
Hall, William Weeks, 1894-1958  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-  Search this
Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Holty, Carl, 1900-1973  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Kronberg, Louis, 1872-1965  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Leepa, Allen, 1919-2009  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981  Search this
Malcolm, Thalia Westcott, b. 1878  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955  Search this
Peake, Channing, 1910-  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Ruvolo, Feliz  Search this
Stark, Jack Gage, 1882-1950  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Weller, Allen S. (Allen Stuart), 1907-1997  Search this
Extent:
26.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Date:
1891-1986
Summary:
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.
Scope and Content Note:
Abraham Rattner's papers provide insight into an important time for twentieth century American art and culture. By studying Rattner's papers, the researcher may view the beginnings of Modernism, the cultural change that pushed the boundaries of artistic and literary traditions and provided new ways in which to express ourselves.

The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.

The biographical files contain documents such as Rattner's birth certificate, travel visas, his senior yearbook from 1912 which shows some of his early art work, and some of his awards. His birth certificate is of particular interest since it shows Rattner's birth date to be 1893 instead of the recognized 1895.

The correspondence offers great insight into the thoughts of many American and European artists and writers during the 1930s and 1940s. Rattner, a prolific writer, expressed many of his own thoughts and concerns through his letters, many of which are included in this collection. The vast amount of correspondence include letters from notable figures such as George Biddle, Kay Boyle, Paul Burlin, Norman Carton, Robert Coates, Stuart Davis, Adolph Dehn, Richard de Rochemont, John Dos Passos, Xavier Gonzales, John Howard Griffin, Ramon Guthrie, Robert Gwathmey, Weeks Hall, Stanley W. Hayter, Jean Helion, Hilaire Hiler, Joseph Hirsch, Stefan Hirsch, Carl Holty, Louis Kronberg, Rico Lebrun, Jacques Lipchitz, Earle Ludgin, Thalia Wescott Malcolm, Henry Miller, Joan Miro, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, Channing Peake, Henry Varnum Poor, Felix Ruvolo, Waverly Root, Jack Gage Stark, Frank C. Watkins, and Allen Weller, among others.

Rattner was engaged in a wide range of special art projects, and he kept detailed files on these projects. The projects spanned from 1940 through 1973 and included endeavors such as illustrations for Life magazine, stained-glass designs, mosaic and tapestry projects, as well as special paintings such as Victory--Jerusalem the Golden and The Gallows of Baghdad. Rattner's papers also detail the history of a fresco painted by Paul Gauguin entitled Joan d'Arcwhich Rattner purchased in France in 1925.

Rattner's forty year friendship with the writer Henry Miller is chronicled throughout the collection in the forms of correspondence, writings, printed material, phototographs and artwork. Their correspondence ranges from 1938 through 1978 and offers great insight into their relationship. Rattner and Miller's road trip from New York to New Orleans in 1940-1941 is documented in the series entitled Special Projects. Also included in the collection are printed material, such as biographical material on Miller, Miller's writings, literary announcements and reviews; Miller's writings on Rattner; and photographs of Miller.

The gallery files contain correspondence, receipts, and notes regarding the galleries which represented Rattner. Those galleries included the Rosenberg Gallery, the Downtown Gallery, and the Kennedy Gallery. A small series of exhibition files contain material about exhibitions held outside of Rattner's representative galleries.

Rattner's writings proved to be an outlet for his thoughts on painting, his inspirations, frustrations, and sadness. In addition to painting, Rattner was able to express his creativity through writing poetry. Writing also helped him work through his depression over the death of his first wife Bettina Bedwell.

He also kept finely detailed studio notebooks. The original order has been maintained, and they trace the history of almost each painting, drawing, and study attempted by Rattner. The notebooks often provide information regarding whether the work was sent to a gallery or given as a gift. Sometimes they contain correspondence or writings that reveal the inspiration for a work. They have been arranged in chronological order, according to Rattner's own filing system.

Rattner retained receipts for most of his art expenses. Arranged by decade, these receipts show the type of paint, colors, types of paper and brushes that he used.

Rattner also kept many household files and personal financial records. Household files contain insurance records, warranties and rental agreements, while the financial records contain returned checks and bank statements. Some bank statements from Esther Gentle Reproductions are also included. The household files and financial records are not filmed.

The date books and diaries reveal the aspects of daily life and the personal thoughts of Rattner and Esther Gentle. In many cases, Rattner shared his date books and diaries with Gentle. The early diaries are fascinating, especially the 1939 diary that discloses the Rattners' last days in France before escaping Nazism and returning to the United States.

Rettner's scrapbooks span from 1938 to 1952 and contain newspaper and magazine clippings that mention the artist or his work.

The printed material covers a period from 1930s through the 1980s and includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, clippings, and miscellaneous material such as an autograph book from 1969 and a map of Israel that shows Rattner's travel route. There is a large amount of unfilmed printed material that is listed in the series description.

Writings by others consists of writings on Rattner and other topics.

The collection contains many photographs taken of Rattner and taken by him, as well as photos of family, friends, his studio, travels, and photographs of Rattner's art. Photographs of notable people include Henry Miller, Joan Miro, John Dos Passos, Archibald MacLeish, and Malcolm Cowley, among others.

The amount of Rattner's art work included in the collection is small, but it is significant because it provides examples of his very early work, dating from 1912-1914. Some later studies are also present, as well as a number of random sketches. Color was very important to Rattner, and some of his color studies from the 1940s are also included. Art work by other artists is comprised of some small paintings by Max Weber, a water color by Henry Miller, a painting by Ken Buryd, as well as some work by unknown artists.

In addition to tracing Rattner's life and career, the collection also documents the lives of Rattner's two wives, Bettina Bedwell and Esther Gentle. Both women had profound effects on Rattner's work. Among Bettina Bedwell's papers are her diary, fashion sketches, and correspondence. Esther Gentle's papers include correspondence, writings, as well as papers documenting her business Esther Gentle Reproductions. There are a small amount of papers relating to Allen Leepa, Rattner's stepson with Esther Gentle.

See index for list of correspondents from various series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into twenty-four series based primarily on type of document or special project. Though concentrated in its own series, additional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and may be found in special project files, gallery files, exhibition files, studio notebooks, and scrapbooks. The correspondence has been divided into two subseries, one chronological and the other according to Rattner's subject-oriented filing system. Special art projects have been organized by project, and placed in chronological order. The studio notebooks have also been divided into subseries, and all notebook pages maintain Rattner's original order. The first subseries of notebooks reflects Rattner's numbering system, while the second subseries is arranged chronologically. The vast amount of printed material has been divided into subseries, and all of the unfilmed printed material has been organized chronologically at the end of the series.

Within each series, material is arranged either in chronological order, or in some cases, according to Abraham Rattner's own organizational system.

Oversized materials from various series are housed in oversized folders 33-45 and are noted in the Series Description/Container Listing with see also/see references or in the container columns.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1893-1978, undated (box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Interviews, 1957-1975, undated (box 1; 7 folders)

Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1933-1978, undated (boxes 1-5; 4.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Special Projects, 1940-1987, undated (boxes 5-6, ovs 33-35; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 5: -- Joan d'Arc -- Fresco painted by Paul Gaugin, 1925-1963, undated (box 7, ov 36; 12 folders)

Series 6: Gallery Files, 1942-1975 (boxes 7-8; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-1978 (boxes 7, 9; 9 folders)

Series 8: Writings, 1940-1972, undated (box 9; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 9: Studio Notebooks, 1935-1975, undated (boxes 10-11; 1.9 linear ft.)

Series 10: Art Expenses, circa 1940-1970 (boxes 11-13; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 11: Household Files, 1940-1970, undated (box 13; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 12: Financial Records, 1933-1963 (boxes 13-14; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 13: Notes and Lists, 1936-1972, undated (box 14; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 14: Address Books, 1939-1977, undated (box 15; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 15: Date Books/Diaries, 1937-1977, undated (boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1938-1952 (boxes 18-22; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 17: Printed Material, 1920s-1980s, undated (boxes 23-26; 3.6 linear ft.)

Series 18: Writings by Others, 1945-circa 1980, undated (box 26; 20 folders)

Series 19: Photographs, 1891-1970s, undated (boxes 27-29; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 20: Works of Art by Rattner, 1912-1914, 1940-1967, undated (box 30, ovs 37-44; 2.4 linear ft.)

Series 21: Works of Art by Others, undated (box 30, ov 45; 7 folders)

Series 22: Bettina Bedwell Papers, 1932-1947, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 23: Esther Gentle Papers, 1921-1984, undated (boxes 31-32; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 24: Allen Leepa Papers, 1952-1969, undated (box 32; 8 folders)
Biographical Note:
Abraham Rattner was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1895. His parents immigrated to the United States to escape antisemitism in Czarist Russia. He was the second of six children, including his eldest brother Louis, younger brothers Manuel (Manny) and Harry, and his younger sisters Rose and Jennie.

Rattner's parents encouraged him to paint at a young age, and as he grew up, painting became a part of his daily life. He graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1912 and left to study architecture at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At night, he took art courses at the Corcoran School of Art. He soon became a full-time art student, and applied for a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He was accepted in 1919 and supported himself by doing illustrations for Philadelphia newspapers.

In 1917, World War I interrupted his studies. Rattner entered the United States Army in France where he became Sergeant of camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Camouflage, reflecting aspects of modern art in its form and pattern, made use of Rattner's artistic skills. During the second battle of the Marne, Rattner injured his back and returned to the States with an ailment that would affect him for the rest of his life.

Rattner returned to the Pennsylvania Academy and was awarded the Cresson scholarship to study art in Europe. He traveled for one year, then settled in Paris for the next twenty years. Those twenty years in Paris became the most formative for Rattner because he was able to study and experiment with Futurism, Cubism, and Expressionism. Post World War I Paris was the center of modern culture for Americans disillusioned by the destruction of the war. Expatriate writers, poets, and artists were searching for a culture that shunned the traditions of the past and exchanged ideas with one another at the lively Paris cafes and salons.

In 1924, Abraham Rattner married Bettina Bedwell, an American art student and fashion illustrator. Bettina became the Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune Syndicate. In 1927, Rattner was a member of the Minotaure group, along with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Braque, Dali, and Reverdy. He also illustrated an article for Jon Dos Passos in Verve magazine in 1931.

Rattner's first one-man show was in 1935 at the Galerie Bonjean in Paris, which was followed by one-man shows at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Courvoisier Gallery in San Francisco.

The threat of Hitler and Nazism forced Rattner and his wife to flee Paris in 1939. Arriving in New York in early 1940, Rattner agreed to take a trip by car with the writer Henry Miller. Their route took them from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana via the East coast and Southern states. Their mission was to rediscover America, with Henry Miller writing about their experiences and Rattner sketching the scenery. Rattner's friendship with Henry Miller was an important one that lasted throughout his life.

During the 1940s, Rattner's art was widely exhibited. In 1941, he joined the Rosenberg Gallery in New York, and remained with the gallery for fourteen years. He won awards for his work such as the Temple Gold Medal in 1945 and second prize in the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition in 1946. In 1947, Bettina Bedwell suddenly died due to a kidney infection, sending Rattner into a spiral of grief and depression. To escape depression, from 1947-1949, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York.

In 1949, Rattner married Esther Gentle, an artist and business woman who ran an art reproductions business. In 1951, the Rattners moved to Rome where he worked as Artist in Residence at the American Academy. The next year, they moved to Illinois where he was the Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois. Ratter was awarded first prize in 1953 at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition and also served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity. In 1956, Rattner was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University, and along with his stepson, Allen Leepa, established an art school on Long Island. In 1957, Rattner left the Rosenberg Gallery to join the Downtown Gallery. He felt he would professionally profit from representation by the well-known Edith Halpert; however, the next twelve years reflected a tumultuous relationship between the artist and the gallery owner.

In 1957, Rattner reached out to other forms of art and design. He experimented with mosaic, tapestry and stained-glass. He designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland and a mosaic for a friary and college in Centerville, Ohio. His stained-glass designs were highly celebrated and respected. His most famous stained-glass piece was the window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. For this piece, Rattner spent two years traveling to Paris to design and supervise every process involved in the design and installation of the window.

Rattner felt that while his paintings during the 1940s and 1950s were romantic and self-reflective, the 1960s marked a new inspirational period in his work. His painting reflected religious comment, bringing Rattner back in touch with his Jewish heritage, as well as reflecting a sense of social protest. In 1968, Rattner exhibited his painting Victory--Jerusalem the Golden to honor the celebration of Israel's twentieth anniversary of independence. It was also in 1968 that Rattner left the Downtown Gallery for the Kennedy Gallery. In 1969, he painted The Gallows of Baghdad series as a protest to the hanging of nine Jews by Iraqi authorities.

The 1970s marked a time of many exhibitions. In 1976, the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. sponsored an exhibition of his designs for stained-glass entitled "...and let there be light". Also, from 1976 through 1977, "Our America" exhibited Rattner's drawings from his 1940 U.S.A. trip with Henry Miller in England and in the United States. In 1977, Michigan State University bestowed upon him the Honorary Degree for Humanity. On February 14, 1978, Abraham Rattner died due to heart failure.

Missing Title

1893 -- Born June 8th in Poughkeepsie, New York.

1912 -- Graduated from Poughkeepsie High School.

1914-1917 -- Student at George Washington University, Corcoran School of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1917 -- Enlisted in the United States Army in France as Sergeant, camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Fought at Seicheprey, second battle of the Marne, and Chateau-Thierry.

1919 -- Returned to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Awarded Cresson traveling fellowship to Europe.

1920 -- Traveled in France, Spain, England, Belgium and Holland.

1921 -- Art student in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Grand Chaumiere, and Academie Ranson.

1922 -- Lived and painted in Giverny, France.

1923 -- Returned to Paris.

1924 -- Married Bettina Bedwell, Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune news syndicate. Exhibited at Salon d'Automne and Salon des Independants.

1927 -- Member of the Minotaure group in Paris.

1931 -- Illustrated article, "Fire," by John Dos Passos for Verve magazine.

1935 -- First one-person show at Galerie Bonjean, Paris. French government purchased Card Party for Museum of Impressionism, The Louvre.

1936 -- One-person show at Julien Levy Gallery, New York (also 1939, 1941); Arts Club of Chicago; Courvoisier Gallery, San Francisco (also 1941).

1940 -- Returned to the United States following Nazi invasion of France. Traveled with Henry Miller from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana.

1941 -- One-person shows: Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles; Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery, Santa Barbara (also 1943); Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (also 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948-1950, 1952, 1956); Studio, New York.

1945 -- Awarded the Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Wrote "An American in Paris" for Magazine of Art.

1946 -- Awarded second prize at the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition.

1947 -- Death of Bettina Bedwell Rattner.

1948 -- Taught at the New School for Social Research, New York.

1949 -- Married Esther Gentle. Visiting artist at Yale University and at the Brooklyn Museum School. Awarded honorable mention at the Carnegie Institute Exhibition of American Painting.

1950 -- Awarded the Purchase Prize at the University of Illinois Biennial Exhibition.

1951 -- Artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome.

1952 -- Artist in residence at the University of Illinois.

1953 -- Awarded first prize at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition. Served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity.

1954 -- Taught at the Art Students League. Panelist at the Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

1955 -- Exhibited drawings at the Chicago Art Institute.

1956 -- Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University. Established an art school in East Hampton and Sag Harbor, Long Island.

1957 -- Designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland. One-person show at Downtown Gallery, New York (also 1958-1967).

1958 -- Designed mosaic wall for St. Leonard's Friary and College in Centerville, Ohio. Designed stained-glass windows for the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan. Began designs for stained-glass window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Exhibited with Alexander Calder at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Awarded the Butler Memorial Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

1959 -- Retrospective exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts. Exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art.

1964 -- Exhibited at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.

1968 -- Exhibited painting entitled Victory--Jerusalem the Golden at the celebration of Israel's 20th anniversary of independence.

1969 -- One-person shows: Kennedy Galleries, New York; Galerie Weil, Paris ( Baghdad Hangings), Galerie Belgique, Brussels ( Baghdad Hangings).

1970 -- Film commissioned by ABC-TV entitled "The Long Prayer of Abraham Rattner."

1972 -- Beggar's Opera lithographs exhibited at Circle Gallery, Chicago.

1976 -- Displayed stained-glass on religious themes with the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C.

1977 -- "Our America" exhibition in England and the United States. Awarded Honorary Degree for Humanity from Michigan State University.

1978 -- Died on February 14th.
Index: List of Major Correspondents in Various Series:
These correspondents will be found in the following series: Correspondence, Special Projects, Gallery Files, Studio Notebooks, and Scrapbooks: Edward Albee, 1928-

John Anderson, 1904-

Bettina Bedwell, 1889-1947

Carl Beiber

George Belmont

George Biddle, 1885-1973

Kay Boyle, 1902-1992

Brassai, 1899-

Paul Burlin, 1886-1969

McClure Capps "Mac"

Norman Carton, 1908-1980

Jack Chapman

G. Alan Chidsey

Frederick Childs

Robert Coates, "Bob" 1897-1973

Malcolm Cowley, 1898-1989

Salvador Dali 1904-1989

Paul Damaz

Bernard Davis

Stuart Davis, 1894-1964

Adolph Dehn, 1895-1968

Richard de Rochemont

John Dos Passos, 1896-1970

Armand and Suzi D'usseau

Rene Lefebore Foinet

Gisele Freund, 1912-

Emily Genauer, 1911-

Esther Gentle, 1905-1984

Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966

Xavier Gonzales, 1898-1993

John Howard Griffin

Ramon Guthrie, 1896-1973

Robert Gwathmey 1903-1988

Weeks Hall

Edith Gregor Halpert, 1900-1970

Stanley W. Hayter, 1901-1988

Nathan Hecht

Jean Helion, 1904-1987

William H. Henrick

Henry Herschkvitz

Hilaire Hiler, 1898-1966

Joseph Hirsch "Joe," 1910-1981

Stefan Hirsch, 1889-1964

Carl Holty, 1900-1973

Etienne Hubert

Arno Hummucher

Frederick I. Kann "Fred," 1886-

L.J. Konigsberg "Leib"

Louis Kronberg, 1872-1965

Alexandra Laks

Rico Lebrun (Fredrico), 1900-1964

Allen Leepa, 1919-

Isadore Levy

Julian Levy, 1906-1981

Jacques Lipchitz, 1891-1973

Ward Lockwood, 1894-1963

Jean Louste

Earle Ludgin, 1898-1981

Thalia Wescott Malcolm, 1888-

Reginald Marsh, 1898-1954

Archibald McLeish, 1892-

Henry Miller, 1891-1980

Joan Miro, 1893-1983

Gloria Nardin

Anais Nin, 1903-1977

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt "B.J.O.," 1878-1955

Hugh O'Neill

Channing Peake, 1910-1989

Gabor Peferdi

Irving Penn

Peter Pollack, 1911-1978

Henry Varnum Poor 1888-1970

Andre Raizorkacs

Robert Rey

Maurice Reynal

Raymond Reynal

Hans Richter, 1888-1976

Edward Roditi

Shelden Rodman, 1909-

Waverly Root, 1903-1982

Felix Emmanuele Ruvolo, 1912-

Frank Sedlak

Paul Shapiro

Jack Gage Stark, 1882-1950

Barrie Stavis

Ike Stoeffle

Benjamin Ellis Tepper

David Turnbull

Alfredo Valente

Siegfried Wang

Frank C. Watkins (Franklin Chenault), 1894-1972

Allen Weller, 1907-
Separated Materials note:
Loaned material, including notebooks, writings, and some correspondence, were returned to Abraham Rattner after microfilming. This material is now part of the Abraham Rattner notes collection at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College. Loaned material is available on reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, and reel 1212, but is not described in this finding aid.
Provenance:
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art in stages by Abraham Rattner 1972-1983, by Esther Gentle 1986-1987, and by Gene Allen in 1992. The donated material that was previously filmed has been integrated and refilmed includes reels D203 and D205C-D205D. The material found on reels D205A-D205B was loaned by Rattner and the material found on reel 1212 was loaned by his sister, Jennie Allen.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use of unmicrofilmed portion 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:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Artist couples  Search this
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rattabra
See more items in:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw98b38e43e-390b-4c78-9a1b-51b9d7ff2357
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rattabra
Online Media:

John D. Graham papers

Creator:
Graham, John, 1887-1961  Search this
Names:
Burliuk, David, 1882-1967  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
Gilot, Francoise, 1921-  Search this
Gorchov, Ron  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948 -- Photographs  Search this
Kitaj, R. B.  Search this
Mayer, Jack  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 -- Photographs  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Ultra Violet  Search this
Extent:
11.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Date:
1799-1988
bulk 1890-1961
Summary:
The papers of painter, collector, and writer John Graham measure 11.2 linear feet and date from 1799 to 1988, with the bulk of materials dating from 1890 to 1961. Papers document the life of John Graham, born Ivan Dombrowsky, through personal documents related to military service and family history, passports, artifacts, correspondence, appointment books, financial records, inventories, wills, extensive writings and notes, books, clippings, exhibition catalogs, photographs of Graham and his family and friends, and artwork created and collected by Graham.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of painter, collector, and writer John Graham measure 11.2 linear feet and date from 1799 to 1988, with the bulk of materials dating from 1890 to 1961. Papers document the life of John Graham, born Ivan Dombrowsky, through personal documents related to military service and family history, passports, artifacts, correspondence, appointment books, financial records, inventories, wills, extensive writings and notes, books, clippings, exhibition catalogs, photographs of Graham and his family and friends, and artwork created and collected by Graham.

Biographical Materials and Artifacts include passports and other official documents, as well as records related to Graham's family, military service, and medical history. Among the artifacts are paint pots and a palette. Correspondence is with art and antique dealers and collectors, and includes significant correspondence and related documents of Jack Mayer, Graham's agent from the late 1950s. Several artists and famous friends are represented in Graham's correspondence including David Burliuk, Stuart Davis, Ultra Violet, Francoise Gilot, R.B. Kitaj, Marc Tobey, and Ron Gorchov.

Personal Business Records contain appointment books spanning 1931 to 1961 which record appointments but were also used as notebooks and sketchbooks. Other Business Records include inventories of Graham's books and antiques made by Graham, records of antique-related transactions, wills of Graham and his last wife, Marianne Strate, and extensive personal financial records from the last few years of his life.

Graham's writings are found scattered throughout the collection, as is his artwork. The Writings series is dominated by Graham's lengthy book projects, found in multiple drafts. The author's annotated published works are also found, as well as typescripts of several published essays by and about Graham. Lists, notes, and writings on a wide range of subjects are found on loose pages and in notebooks dated from 1931 to 1961. Among the Printed Materials are many annotated books from Graham's library, some of which contain drawings, and clippings and exhibition catalogs related to Graham's career going back to the 1920s. Reference files of printed ephemera and clippings collected by Graham are found on a variety of subjects, some of which contain pictorial subjects used in Graham's paintings.

Photographs depict Graham from childhood through his last years in cabinet card portraits, passport photographs, and snapshots. Photographs are also found of his parents, his five wives and four children, and a number of famous friends including Pablo Picasso, Françoise Gilot, their children, and Arshile Gorky. Artwork includes Graham's sketchbooks of 1934, 1960, and 1961, loose sketches, and a collection of file folders with many symbols and illustrations. Also found among the artwork are antique and contemporary prints and drawings collected by Graham.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged into 7 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials and Artifacts, 1799, 1822, 1891-1961 (Boxes 1, 11-12, 17; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1932-1988 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, circa 1931-1962 (Boxes 1-3; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1839, circa 1923-1986 (Boxes 3-5, OV 13; 2.9 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1885-1961 (Boxes 6-9, OV 14; 3.7 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1860-1985 (Box 9-10, 17, OV 15; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1852-1961 (Box 10, OV 16; 1 linear foot)
Biographical/Historical note:
The Russian émigré painter and writer John Graham, born Ivan Dombrowsky, was born in Kiev in 1886, 1887, or 1888. All three conflicting dates are found on various legal papers, licences, and passports. His parents were of minor nobility but with little means. He attended law school and served in the Circassian Regiment of the Russian army, earned the Saint George's Cross during World War I, and was imprisoned as a counterrevolutionary by the Bolsheviks after the assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family in 1918. He fled for a time to his mother's native Poland, and finally in 1920, he emigrated with his second wife Vera and their son Nicholas to the United States. He began calling himself John in the US, and had his name officially changed to John Graham upon becoming a United States citizen in 1927. The name Graham may have been a transliteration of his father's name, Gratian. Graham is often described as a quixotic figure who cultivated a larger-than-life persona in the artistic circles of New York in the first half of the twentieth century through his authoritative philosophical and aesthetic arguments on the one hand, and his often fabulous tales of his early life on the other, including a story he wrote of his origins in which he was dropped as an infant onto a rock in the Caspian Sea by an enormous eagle.

In New York, Graham studied at the Art Students League, taking classes with John Sloan, William von Schlegell, and Allen Tucker. Among his fellow students were Dorothy Dehner and David Smith, Adolph Gottlieb, Alexander Calder, and Elinor Gibson, who married Graham in 1924. The couple lived briefly in Elinor's native Baltimore, Maryland, where he met Etta and Claribel Cone, collectors of modern European paintings. It may have been the Cone sisters who introduced Graham to their circle of avant-garde artists and art collectors in Paris in the late 1920s. Whatever its origin, Graham's early style has been compared to Cezanne, Braque, Derain, and Chirico, and his frequent trips to Europe made him a conduit for current art ideas and trends for the American artists who knew him.

Graham exhibited his paintings steadily in the late 1920s and early 1930s, including shows at the Society of Independent Arists (New York) in 1925, the Modernist Galleries (Baltimore) in 1926, Galerie Zaborowski (Paris) in 1928 and 1929, at Dudensing Galleries (New York) and Phillips Memorial Gallery (Washington) in 1929, the First Biennial at the Whitney Museum in 1932, and at 8th Street Gallery (New York) in 1933. During this period Graham and his wife Elinor lived in Paris, New York City, New Jersey, and upstate New York. He spent a year teaching at Wells College in Aurora, New York, where he also executed a series of wall panels in 1932. Graham's friendships with other artists during this period included Arshile Gorky, Stuart Davis, and Willem de Kooning. De Kooning is said to have called Davis, Gorky, and Graham the "three smartest guys on the scene."

Graham's European travels also enabled him to earn a living by buying primitive sculpture and antiques for collectors and dealers. In the 1930s he bought African Art for Vanity Fair editor and art collector Frank Crowninshield, and in 1936, Graham arranged an exhibition of Crowninshield's collection at Jacques Seligmann gallery. Graham and Elinor Gibson divorced in 1934 and he married Constance Wellman in Paris in 1936. They lived in Brooklyn Heights near Adolph Gottlieb, David Smith, and Dorothy Dehner, and worked for Hilla Rebay in her formation of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which became the Guggenheim Museum. Suffering financial hardship in the late years of the Depression, Constance and Graham lived in Mexico for several stretches of time, and Graham published several articles on Mexico and Mexican Art, and an essay entitled "Primitive Art and Picasso" in Magazine of Art.

Graham was a prolific writer, but only a few of his written works found their way into print. Aside from his essays, published works include a small book of poetry, Have It!, published in 1923, and a book which presented Graham's personal theories of art entitled System and Dialectics of Art, published in 1937 by Delphic Studios, an eclectic New York gallery and small press run by Alma Reed. The book was influential for a younger generation of American artists; Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in particular both expressed appreciation for Graham's ideas. For decades, Graham worked on several other major written works which were not published, including a highly stylized, symbolist work about his childhood and an encyclopedic collection of short, didactic essays on a wide range Grahamiam themes, a work which Graham usually referred to as Orifizio Mundi.

In 1942, Graham organized the exhibition "French and American Painters" at McMillen Gallery (New York) which showed Modigliani, Picasso, Braque, Rouault, and Matisse, alongside the Americans Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Stuart Davis, David Burliuk, and Walt Kuhn, among others. The show was well-received critically and, as it was Jackson Pollock's first public exhibition and Willem de Kooning's second, and the occasion of Pollock and Lee Krasner's meeting, could be considered a watershed event in contemporary American art.

Graham's own style made a pronounced shift away from abstraction in the 1940s. He began referencing renaissance art in his paintings, incorporating occult symbols, and signing them "Ioannus Magus," or "Ioannus San Germanus." His marriage to Constance ended acrimoniously around this time. He met Marianne Strate, a bookbinder, through her daughter Ileana Sonnabend and son-in-law Leo Castelli. They lived in Southampton, New York, where Graham was close to the Castellis, Paul Brach, Miriam Schapiro, and where he renewed his friendship with Willem de Kooning, who had a studio in Castelli's East Hampton home in the early 1950s. Marianne died in 1955.

Graham exhibited at the Stable Gallery in 1954, and at the newly-opened, uptown Whitney Museum of American Art in 1955. Jack Mayer became Graham's dealer in the late 1950s, held exhibitions at his Madison Avenue gallery, Gallery Mayer, in 1960, and arranged for an exhibition at the Tennessee Fine Arts Center in 1961, shortly before Graham's death. Graham left the United States for the last time in 1959, lived in Paris for two years, and died in June 1961 in a hospital in London. Gallery Mayer held a memorial exhibition at the end of 1961. Retrospective exhibitions of Graham's work have been held at the Art Institute of Chicago (1963), the Museum of Modern Art (1968), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1969), and the Phillips Collection (1987).
Separated Materials note:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel 5049) including six volumes of notebooks and several loose sketches. Loaned materials were returned to MoMA and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The papers of John Graham were given to the Archives of American Art in five separate accessions between 1985 and 1988. The bulk of papers were donated by Graham's son, John David Graham, in 1985, with later additions from Patricia Graham, the widow of John David Graham, in 1986, 1987, and 1988, via the Andre Emmerich Gallery, Inc. The Department of Prints and Drawings of the Museum of Modern Art donated more papers and loaned additional materials for microfilming in 1986.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
Rights:
Reel 5049: Museum of Modern Art, NY: John Graham Notebooks: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from the Museum of Modern Art. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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 -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists as authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Antiques  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Citation:
John Graham Papers, 1799-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.grahjohn
See more items in:
John D. Graham papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw945d28f67-7253-4b77-ad5a-148643181754
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-grahjohn
Online Media:

John Little papers

Creator:
Little, John, 1907-  Search this
Guild Hall of East Hampton  Search this
Names:
Signa Gallery  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Hunter, Sam, 1923-  Search this
Kiesler, Frederick  Search this
Namuth, Hans  Search this
Parker, Elizabeth, 1916-  Search this
Parsons, Betty  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet ((71 items))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1935-1978
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, including letters from Sam Hunter, Hans Hofmann, Betty Parsons, Guild Hall, and Frederick Kiesler; clippings; correspondence; photographs of Little and his work; printed brochures, one which includes a large Hans Namuth photograph of Little; an exhibition catalog of Elizabeth Parker; and a clipping about the Signa Gallery.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, sculptor, textile designer; born in Alabama, moved to New York; Attended Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the Art Students League, studied with George Grosz, and at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. Taught at University of California, Berkeley and was treasurer of the Signa Gallery, which is located in East Hampton, New York. Little's preferred media are oils and bronze.
Provenance:
Donated 1980-1981 by John Little.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Painters  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- History -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Textile design -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Sculpture -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.littjohn
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9b728e85b-7f16-41da-bcd5-40e05d945d45
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-littjohn

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By