The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. The collection documents Kuh's career as a pioneer modernist art historian and as the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Biographical material consists of copies of Kuh's birth certificate, resumés, passports, award certificates, honorary diplomas, and address books listing information about several prominent artists and colleagues.
Four linear feet of correspondence offers excellent documentation of Kuh's interest in art history, her travels, her career at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work as a corporate art advisor, and as an author. There are letters from her mother Olga Woolf, friends, and colleagues. There is extensive correspondence with various staff members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the First National Bank of Chicago, and The Saturday Review. Also of interest are letters from artists and collectors, several of whom became life-long friends including Walter and Louise Arensberg, Cosmo Campoli, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Cox, Worden Day, Claire Falkenstein, Fred Friendly, Leon Golub, Joseph Goto, David Hare, Denise Brown Hare, Jean Hélion, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Len Lye, Wallace Putnam, Kurt Seligmann, Shelby Shackelford, Hedda Sterne, and Clyfford Still. Many letters are illustrated with original artwork in various media.
There are also scattered letters from various artists and other prominent individuals including Josef Albers, George Biddle, Marcel Breuer, Joseph Cornell, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Joseph Hirshhorn, Daniel Catton Rich, and Dorothea Tanning.
Personal business records include a list of artwork, Olga Woolf's will, inventories of Kuh's personal art collection, miscellaneous contracts and deeds of gift, receipts for the sale of artwork, files concerning business-related travel, and miscellaneous receipts.
Artwork in the collection represents a wide range of artist friends and media, such as drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages, and prints. Included are works by various artists including lithographs by David Hare and a watercolor set, Technics and Creativity, designed and autographed by Jasper Johns for the Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
Notes and writings include annotated engagement calendars, travel journals for Germany, a guest book for the Kuh Memorial gathering, and many writings and notes by Kuh for lectures and articles concerning art history topics. Of interest are minutes/notes from meetings for art festivals, conferences, and the "Conversations with Artists Program (1961). Also found are writings by others about Kuh and other art history topics.
Six scrapbooks contain clippings that document the height of Kuh's career as a gallery director and museum curator. Scrapbook 6 contains clippings about Fernand Léger, the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953.
Additional printed material includes clippings about Kuh and her interests, a comprehensive collection of clippings of Kuh's articles for The Saturday Review, exhibition announcements and catalogs, calendars of events, programs, brochures, books including Poems by Kuh as a child, and reproductions of artwork. Of particular interest are the early and exhibition catalogs from the Katharine Kuh Gallery, and rare catalogs for artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Hofmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Pablo Picasso.
Photographs provide important documentation of the life and career of Katharine Kuh and are of Kuh, family members, friends, colleagues, events, residences, and artwork. Several of the photographs of Kuh were taken by Will Barnet and Marcel Breuer and there is a notable pair of photo booth portraits of Kuh and a young Ansel Adams. There are also group photographs showing Angelica Archipenko with Kuh; designer Klaus Grabe; painters José Chavez Morado and Pablo O'Higgins in San Miguel, Mexico; Kuh at the Venice Biennale with friends and colleagues including Peggy Guggenheim, Frances Perkins, Daniel Catton Rich, and Harry Winston; and "The Pre-Depressionists" including Lorser Feitelson, Robert Inverarity, Helen Lundeberg, Arthur Millier, Myron Chester Nutting, and Muriel Tyler Nutting.
Photographs of exhibition installations and openings include views of the Katharine Kuh Gallery; Fernand Léger, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. There are also photographs depicting three men posing as Léger's "Three Musicians" and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is a photograph by Peter Pollack of an elk skull used as a model by Georgia O'Keeffe.
Additional photographs of friends and colleagues include Ivan Albright, Alfred Barr, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem De Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Marcel Duchamp, Claire Falkenstein, Alberto Giacometti, poet Robert Graves with Len Lye, Philip Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Carlos Mérida, José Orozco, Hasan Ozbekhan, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sandberg, Ben Shahn, Otto Spaeth, Hedda Sterne, Adlai Stevenson, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and composer Victor Young.
Photographs of artwork include totem poles in Alaska; work by various artists including Claire Falkenstein, Paul Klee, and Hedda Sterne; and work donated to the Guggenheim Museum.
Four audio recordings on cassette are of Katharine Kuh's lectures, including one about assembling corporate collections, and of Daniel Catton Rich reading his own poetry. There is also a recording of the Second Annual Dialogue between Broadcasters and Museum Educators.
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Undated correspondence, artwork, and photographs of individual artists are arranged alphabetically. Otherwise, each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1908-1994 (Boxes 1-5, 13-14, OV 15; 4.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1941-1989 (Box 5; 19 folders)
Series 4: Artwork, 1931-1986 (Boxes 5, 13-14, OVs 15-23; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1914-1994 (Boxes 5-7; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1953 (Box 7; 8 folders)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992 (Boxes 7-10, 13, OV 22; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1875-1993 (Boxes 10-13; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Audio Recordings, 1977 (Box 12; 1 folder)
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.
After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.
In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.
After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.
In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review. In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.
A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.
Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.
The Katharine Kuh papers were donated in several installments from 1971 to 1989 by Katharine Kuh and in 1994 by her estate. Artwork was donated in 1995 by Kuh's former employer, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission until 2019. Contact the Archives of American Art Reference Services department for additional information.
103 Pan Festival Workshop- Common Roots, Raising Children / Anta Diop, Delta Dorsch.
Date/Time and Place of an Event Note:
Recorded in: Washington (D.C.), United States, June 29, 1990.
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution.
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), 1904-1983 Search this
1.7 Linear feet
Oral histories (document genres)
The papers of Maine abstract painter and interior designer Calvert Coggeshall measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1920-1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-1989. They consist of scattered biographical material, personal and business related correspondence, writings, exhibition files, design business files, printed material, and photographs of Coggeshall, his friends, and his work.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of Maine abstract painter and designer Calvert Coggeshall measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1920-1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1965-1989. They consist of biographical material, personal and business correspondence, personal writings, exhibition and business files, printed material, and photographs. The bulk of the material documents Coggeshall's professional work and his friendships with other artists.
Biographical material includes Coggeshall's personal address books and day planning notes, oral history transcripts, including an interview discussing his friendship with Walker Evans, a copy of his Guggenheim application and acceptance letters, and miscellaneous records.
Correspondence is predominantly in the form of cards, postcards, and short letters received from family and friends. These include correspondence from Coggeshall's father, children, his older grandchildren, and his mother-in-law, Frances Coralie Perkins. Other frequent correspondents include family friend Daphne Cox, artists Michael Lekakis, Loren McIver, Jack Tworkov, and museum director Gordon Washburn.
Personal writings consist of poetry notes and drafts and a short essay on church design.
Exhibition files concern Coggeshall's one man shows at the Betty Parsons Gallery during the 1970s and early 1980s, his retrospective at Bowdoin College in 1977, and his inclusion in shows at Artists Space, the Farnsworth Museum, and Jack Tilton Gallery.
Business files related to Coggeshall's interior design work consist of architectural renderings and blueprints, work proposals, invoices, and receipts. Some of the more significant projects include work done for Lisa de Kooning, Priscilla Morgan, Arthur Penn, and Shoji Sadao.
Printed material includes newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements from other artists, and a booklet showcasing abstract artists titled, "Artfully Taught."
Photographs are color and black and white prints of Coggeshall and his friends in his studio and outside his Newcastle, Maine residence. There are also black and white photographs of Coggeshall's early design work in furniture and fabric, as well as documentation of his gallery design work for the Albright Art Gallery.
The collection is arranged into 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960-1990 (Box 1, OV 3; 8 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1920-1993 (Box 1, OV 3; 28 folders)
Series 3: Writings, 1965-1989 (Box 1; 5 folders)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1970-1992 (Box 1, OV 3; 12 folders)
Series 5: Business Files, 1973-1989 (Boxes 1-2, OV 4-5; 27 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-1999 (Box 2, OV 3; 6 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, 1940-1985 (Box 2; 6 folders)
Calvert Coggeshall (1907-1990) worked as an abstract painter and interior designer primarily in Maine and New York City. From 1951 to 1978, he exhibited regularly with the Betty Parsons Gallery.
Born in Whitesboro, New York, Coggeshall started his career as an interior designer, working on commissions for clients in the New York City area. He later consulted on the interior designs for Henry Dreyfuss'line of cruise/cargo ships called American Export, popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. In the 1940s, he also worked with inventor Arthur Young to design interiors for the first full-sized scale of Bell helicopter models. By the 1950s, Coggeshall began splitting his time between painting and design work, though he continued to regularly consult and work on several architectural and interior design projects throughout the 1980s.
As a painter, his early monochromatic abstracts were influenced by his friend and abstract expressionist, Bradley Walker Tomlin. An early member of Betty Parson's stable of painters, Coggeshall was friends with other artists, including Jack Tworkov, Grace Hartigan, Katharine Kuh, Nora Sayre, Hedda Sterne, and Richard Tuttle. After summering and eventually moving to Newcastle, Maine in the 1960s, he began introducing color into his abstract paintings. and A major retrospective of his work was held at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine in 1977. In 1978, he received a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of his work. Working out of his studios in Newcastle and Manhattan, Coggeshall continued producing abstract paintings into the late 1980s. Coggeshall died in 1990.
The papers of Calvert Coggeshall were donated in 2006 by his son Tomlin Coggeshall.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Calvert Coggeshall papers, 1920-1999, bulk 1965-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art