The scattered records of the New York contemporary American art Eva Lee Gallery measure 4.0 linear feet and date from 1921-1973. Artist files contain provenance notes, photographs of artwork, records of sales and consignments, exhibition catalogs from other galleries, and reference information on numerous contemporary artists, many represented by the gallery. There are also scattered letters and artwork from artists, scattered sales records of J.B. Neuman's New Art Circle Gallery, and a photocopy of an auction catalog for Korvettes Art Galleries in Douglastan, New York. A significant amount of information is found within the collection about Alexander Calder, Lovis Corinth, Salvadore Dali, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Robert Indiana, Harry Lieberman, Rene Magritte, John Marin, Lowell Nesbitt, Ben Shahn, Victor Vasarely, and Max Weber.
Scope and Content Note:
The scattered records of the New York contemporary American art Eva Lee Gallery measure 4.0 linear feet and date from 1921-1973. Artist files contain provenance notes, photographs of artwork, records of sales and consignments, exhibition catalogs from other galleries, and reference information on numerous contemporary artists, many represented by the gallery. There are also scattered letters and artwork from artists, scattered sales records of J.B. Neumann's New Art Circle Gallery, and a photocopy of an auction catalog for Korvettes Art Galleries in Douglastan, New York.
The records are comprised of artists' files arranged into four categories established by the gallery: general artists' files; notebooks of artists' files; financial artists' files; and consignment and sales artists' files. General artists' files contain background and reference information on numerous contemporary artists, performers, and art-related organizations. More information exists for Alexander Calder and Harry Lieberman than the other names represented in the general files. Lee also arranged provenance notes and photographs of artwork into notebooks, presumably including many of the artists represented by the gallery. There is a significant amount of material in the notebooks on Alexander Calder, Robert Indiana, Lowell Nesbitt, Ben Shahn, Victor Vasarely, and Max Weber.
Financial artists' files contain correspondence with artists and patrons concerning the sale of artwork by both the Eva Lee Gallery and J. B. Neumann of the New Art Circle Gallery, scattered artwork, printed material, photographs of artists, and checks signed by Neumann and endorsed by miscellaneous artists. Eva Lee worked on the estate of J. B. Neumann and collected and interspersed his files with her own. These files include letters from Josef Albers, Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, Christo, Joseph Cornell, Robert Indiana, and a postcard of Calder's studio from Ben Shahn. There are also watercolor sketches by Clifford Odets, an exhibition catalog autographed by Ben Shahn, and photographs of Marsden Hartley, Jacques Lipchitz, composer Frederick Loewe, Paul Mommer, Mert Simpson, and Curt Valentin with Andrew Ritchie.
Eva Lee Gallery artists' consignment and sales files primarily contain photographs of artwork and notes concerning sales of specific artwork by the Eva Lee Gallery. Also found in these sales files are scattered letters, receipts, and printed material. There is a significant amount of material for Ben Benn, Alexander Calder, Lovis Corinth, Salvadore Dali, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Marsden Hartley, John Hopkins, Rene Magritte, and John Marin. It is assumed that Eva Lee separated the two latter sets of artists' files containing sales records.
Also found in the collection is a photocopy of the Korvettes Art Galleries auction catalog, which lists artwork sold at a 1970 auction liquidating the holdings of the Douglaston, New York gallery.
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: General Artist Files, 1923-1972 (Boxes 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Notebooks of Artist Files, 1929-1973 (Boxes 2-3; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 3: Financial Artist Files, 1921-1970 (Boxes 3-4; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Eva Lee Gallery Consignment and Sales Artist Files, 1960-1972 (Box 4; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Photocopy of Korvettes Art Galleries Auction Catalog, 1970 (Box 4; 1 folder)
Eva Lee was born circa 1924. She fled from Nazi Germany to the United States, becoming an art dealer and the owner of the Eva Lee Gallery, Inc. Located in Great Neck, New York, the Eva Lee Gallery specialized in modern art and handled the work of many prominent artists including Alexander Calder, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Ben Shahn, and Max Weber. The gallery was in operation through the first half of 1973.
Eva Lee died suddenly on November 4, 1973 in Terre Haute, Indiana, while undergoing unspecified medical treatment.
The Eva Lee Gallery records were donated in 1973 by Eva Lee through Eloise Spaeth, and in 1978 by Neal Richmond of the Paul Klapper Library, Queens College, Flushing, New York, who had been asked to disperse Lee's gallery records following her sudden death in 1973. A photocopy of the Korvettes Art Galleries Auction Catalog was donated by Eva Lee in 1970.
Lee's records also contained financial files belonging to art dealer J. B. Neumann and his New Art Circle Gallery, whose estate she had worked on in 1966.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
An interview of Merton D. Simpson conducted 1968 November, by Al Murray, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Merton D. Simpson (1928-2013) was a painter and art dealer from New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 4 min.
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. Funding for this interview provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this