The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution Search this
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Rocky Korr was an art handler for the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery from 1960-2010. The oral history was conducted June 2010 by Freer|Sackler Archivist Rachael Woody. The interview was conducted in an attempt to capture Mr. Korr's wealth of knowledge on the evolution and history of the Freer|Sackler Galleries and the art handling profession. The history includes stories about the galleries, recounting major milestones and events, and anecdotes from Mr. Korr's four decades of experience at the Smithsonian.
Collection is arranged on CDs. Each disc track is 1 question and answer session. Transcript available per request.
Biographical / Historical:
Rocky Korr was an art handler for the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery from 1960-2010.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Personal papers of Robert O. Muller, a Connecticut-based art dealer and collector who, over the course of seventy years, assembled one of the world's finest collections of Japanese prints from the late 1860s through the 1940s. The papers include Muller's correspondence relating to Japanese art, files relating to his and his wife's 1940 honeymoon in Japan during which he forged many contacts with Japanese artists and art dealers and purchased thousands of prints, subject files, catalogs, business transactions, magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs, and notes and drafts for a planned book.
Scope and Contents:
The Robert O. Muller Papers consist of Mr. Muller's correspondence; research and subject files; indexes to his art collection; printed matter; photographs; and a draft manuscript and notes for a planned book. The papers document his art collecting and dealing, his relationships with a wide variety of art shops and other art dealers, his 1940 honeymoon to Japan, and the dealings of his various businesses from the 1940s through to the 1990s.
This collection is arranged into five series:
Series 1: Correspondence and subject files
Series 2: Catalogs and indexes to Robert-Lee Gallery and Robert O. Muller's Art Collection
Series 3: Draft Manuscript
Series 4: Printed Matter
Series 5: Photographs and slides
Biographical / Historical:
Born in 1911 in Pelham, New York, art collector, dealer, and connoisseur Robert O. Muller assembled a collection of nearly 4,500 late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese prints throughout his life. As a history student at Harvard University, Mr. Muller's world renowned print collection began to take shape with the purchase of the print 'Kiyosu Bridge" by Kawase Hasui for $5.00 from the Shima Art Company in 1931.
Mr. Muller married Ingeborg Lee in 1940 and their honeymoon in Japan played a critical role in Mr. Muller's development as an art dealer and collector. They spent five months there and met with many important artists and dealers and purchased thousands of prints for both their personal art collection and for commerce.
Upon their return to the States, Mr. Muller purchased the Shima Art Company's assets and started the Robert Lee Gallery with his partner William Lee Comerford in 1940. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Muller and Comerford closed the Robert Lee Gallery and later reopened it in a different Manhattan location. The Mullers moved to Newton, Connecticut, in 1946 and reestablished the Robert Lee Gallery there. In 1962, Muller purchased a frame shop, Merwin's Art Shop, in New Haven, Connecticut. Although primarily a framing shop, Muller not only befriended many scholars and academics from nearby Yale University but sold Japanese prints from the back room.
From that initial purchase of 'Kiyosu Bridge' in 1931 up until his death in 2003, Robert Muller amassed what many art historians, collectors, and curators regarded as the finest collection of its type in the world. Muller bequeathed his Japanese print collection, archival materials, and library to the Sackler Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Much of the biographical information comes from, Printed to Perfection: Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection. (Washington, D.C. : Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in association with Hotei Publishing, c2004)
Further information and clarification from conversations with Dr. James T. Ulak, Deputy Director of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery .
1911 October 5 -- Born in Pelham, New York. Great-grandson of Charles Erhart, cofounder of Charles Pfizer & Company, now Pfizer Inc.
1931 -- Purchased first modern Japanese print, "Kiyosu Bridge", from the Shima Art Company in New York City.
1934 -- Earned Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Harvard University.
1936 -- Traveled to Germany aboard the Hindenberg. During return to United States, visited with and bought many prints from Japanese print collector Thomas Bates Blow in London.
1940 February 3 -- Married Ingeborg Lee and honeymooned in Japan.
1940 September -- Purchased the assets of the Shima Art Co. for $7,000. Remained friends with the former owners, Kazue Sumii and Hango Sumii and their daughter Noriko.
1940 October 21 -- Opened the Robert-Lee Gallery on 69 East 57th Street in Manhattan.
1941 December -- After attack on Pearl Harbor, closed Robert-Lee Gallery. Later reopened at new location at 32 West 57th Street
1941 - 1952 -- Mrs. Muller gave birth to four daughters and one son.
1942-1945 -- Worked for Pfizer Inc.
1946 -- Moved to farmhouse in Newtown, Connecticut and re-established Robert Lee Gallery there one year later.
1962 -- Purchased and ran Merwin's Art Shop in New Haven, Connecticut
1985 -- Handed over management of Merwin's Art Shop to his son Robert L. Muller
2003 April 10 -- Died as a result of Parkinson's Disease.
2003 May -- Bequeathed his collection of Japanese prints, cataloging records, papers, and library to the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery of Art.
The Sackler Gallery of Art owns the Robert O. Muller Collection of Japanese prints.
Robert O. Muller bequeathed his Japanese print collection as well as his archival records to the Sackler Gallery in 2003.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
These records are the official minutes of the Board. They are compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board, after
approval by the Regents' Executive Committee and by the Regents themselves. The minutes are edited, not a verbatim account of proceedings. For reasons unknown, there are no
manuscript minutes for the period from 1857 through 1890; and researchers must rely on printed minutes published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution instead.
Minutes are transferred regularly from the Secretary's Office to the Archives. Minutes less than 15 years old are closed to researchers. Indexes exist for the period from
1907 to 1946 and can be useful.
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called
the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the secretaries of State, War, Navy, Interior, and Agriculture; the
Attorney General; and the Postmaster General. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877, and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of
Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives;
two citizens of the District of Columbia; and seven citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of Citizen Regents not residents
of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded
to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead. The office has always been filled by the Chief Justice
since that time.
The Regents of the Smithsonian have included distinguished Americans from many walks of life. Ex officio members (Vice President) have been: Spiro T. Agnew, Chester A.
Arthur, Allen W. Barkley, John C. Breckenridge, George Bush, Schuyler Colfax, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Curtis, George M. Dallas, Charles G. Dawes, Charles W. Fairbanks, Millard
Fillmore, Gerald R. Ford, John N. Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, Thomas A. Hendricks, Garret A. Hobart, Hubert H. Humphrey, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, William R. King, Thomas
R. Marshall, Walter F. Mondale, Levi P. Morton, Richard M. Nixon, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, James S. Sherman, Adlai E. Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, Henry A.
Wallace, William A. Wheeler, Henry Wilson.
Ex officio members (Chief Justice) have been: Roger B. Taney, Salmon P. Chase, Nathan Clifford, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel F. Miller, Melville W. Fuller, Edward D. White,
William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan F. Stone, Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger.
Regents on the part of the Senate have been: Clinton P. Anderson, Newton Booth, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Robert Milledge Charlton, Bennet Champ Clark, Francis M. Cockrell,
Shelby Moore Cullom, Garrett Davis, Jefferson Davis, George Franklin Edmunds, George Evans, Edwin J. Garn, Walter F. George, Barry Goldwater, George Gray, Hannibal Hamlin,
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Robert B. Morgan, Frank E. Moss, Claiborne Pell, George Wharton Pepper, David A. Reed, Leverett Saltonstall, Hugh Scott, Alexander H. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Lyman Trumbull,
Wallace H. White, Jr., Robert Enoch Withers.
Regents on the part of the House of Representatives have included: Edward P. Boland, Frank T. Bow, William Campbell Breckenridge, Overton Brooks, Benjamin Butterworth,
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Singleton, Frank Thompson, Jr., John M. Vorys, Hiram Warner, Joseph Wheeler.
Citizen Regents have been: David C. Acheson, Louis Agassiz, James B. Angell, Anne L. Armstrong, William Backhouse Astor, J. Paul Austin, Alexander Dallas Bache, George
Edmund Badger, George Bancroft, Alexander Graham Bell, James Gabriel Berrett, John McPherson Berrien, Robert W. Bingham, Sayles Jenks Bowen, William G. Bowen, Robert S. Brookings,
John Nicholas Brown, William A. M. Burden, Vannevar Bush, Charles F. Choate, Jr., Rufus Choate, Arthur H. Compton, Henry David Cooke, Henry Coppee, Samuel Sullivan Cox, Edward
H. Crump, James Dwight Dana, Harvey N. Davis, William Lewis Dayton, Everette Lee Degolyer, Richard Delafield, Frederic A. Delano, Charles Devens, Matthew Gault Emery, Cornelius
Conway Felton, Robert V. Fleming, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert F. Goheen, Asa Gray, George Gray, Crawford Hallock Greenwalt, Nancy Hanks, Caryl Parker Haskins, Gideon Hawley,
John B. Henderson, John B. Henderson, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Gardner Greene Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Carlisle H. Humelsine, Jerome C. Hunsaker, William Preston
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Jr., James E. Webb, James Clarke Welling, Andrew Dickson White, Henry White, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.