An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art 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. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Files on ca. 150 American artists and art subjects, selected from Duveen's art reference files. Included are photographs of paintings in other collections, auction and exhibition catalogs, miscellaneous publications.
Files include: Francis Alexander, Washington Allston, William H. Bartlett, Ben-Zion, Thomas Birch, Joseph Blackburn, Ralph A. Blakelock, Charles F. Blauvelt, Peter Blume, Emile Branchard, Albertis D. O. Browere, John G. Brown, Jonathan Buddington, James E. Buttersworth, Carra, Dennis M. Carter, Mary Cassatt, George Catlin, Centurion, Paul Cezanne, Moura Chabor, Marc Chagall, T. Chambers, Jean Charlot, Thomas Cole, John Constable, George Cope, John S. Copley, Ralston Crawford, Jasper F. Cropsey, Arthur B. Davies, Charles Despiau, Roland Detre, Thomas R. Dibble, Enrico Donati, William Doriani, Thomas Doughty, Jessie Drew-Bear, Robert S. Duncanson, Dunlap, Asher B. Durand, George H. Durrie, Frank Duveneck, Evert Duyckinck, Thomas Eakins, Jacob Eichholtz, Louis M. Eilshemius, Charles L. Elliott, Robert Field, Emil Ganso, Pablo Gargallo, Jan Gelb, Paul Gillman, Christian Gullager, George H. Hall, Chester Harding, William M. Harnett, George Harvey, William J. Hays, George P. A. Healy, Edward L. Henry, John Hesselius, Edward Hicks, Thomas Hicks, Holland House, Charles Fevret de Saint-Memin, Winslow Homer, S. A. Hudson, Daniel Huntington, Henry Inman, George Inness, John W, Jarvis, Eastman Johnson, Henrietta Johnston, John Johnston, Hilde B. Kayn, Dikran K. Kelekian, Fitz Hugh Lane, Ernest Lawson, M. F. Lefferts, William R. Leigh, Abraham Lincoln, George B. Luks, Edward G. Malbone, Alfred H. Maurer, Louis Maurer, McKay, Alfred J. Miller, Louis C. Moeller, Samuel F. B. Morse, John Neagle, Donald Organ, Bass Otis, Walter Pach, Charles W. Peale, James Peale, Rembrandt Peale, William Penn, Enoch W. Perry, F. E. H. Philippoteaux, Charles P. Polk, T. B. Pope, Rufus Porter, William M. Prior, Walter Quirt, William T. Ranney, Reinhardt, Frederic Remington, Louisa Robins, Severin Roesen, Thomas P. Rossiter, Peter F. Rothermel, Charles M. Russell, Edward Savage, William Sawitzky, Nikol Schattenstein, Christian Schussele, D. Serres, James Sharples, Morris Shulman, John Smibert, Sergei Soudeikin, Haim Soutine, Frederick R. Spencer, Albert Stewart, Robert Street, William J. Strong, Gilbert Stuart, C. (Charles ?) Sullivan, Thomas Sully, Arthur F. Tait, G. Tirrell, John Trumbull, John Vanderlyn, Pieter Vanderlyn, William Von Schlegell, Samuel L. Waldo, Abraham Walkowitz, George Washington, Elbert Weinberg, Julian A. Weir, Thomas B. Welch, Adolph U. Wertmuller, Benjamin West, Anne Whitney, Arnold Wiltz, William E. Winner, S. Wood, and Thomas W. Wood.
The Saint-Memin, Stuart, B. West and Wertmuller files contain material from Albert Rosenthal relating to the above artists.
Files are arranged alphabetically by artist and subject, rolls NDU1-NDU3; publications and other miscellany were filmed on rolls NDU4-NDU5.
Biographical / Historical:
Albert Duveen was an art dealer and collector with offices in New York, N.Y., specializing in early American art. He was a cousin to Joseph Duveen (1869-1939), 1st Baron Duveen, president of Duveen Brothers art dealers.
Lent for microfilming 1958 by Duveen.
The Archives does not own the original papers. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm.
The records of the Henry and Rose Pearlman papers measure 4.38 linear feet and date from 1893 to 1995 (bulk 1950-1980). The collection documents the activities of Post-Impressionist and Modern art collectors Henry and Rose Pearlman through correspondence, research materials, exhibition catalogs, photographs, and clippings.
Scope and Content Note:
The Henry and Rose Pearlman papers measure 4.38 linear feet and document the activities of art collectors Henry and Rose Pearlman through correspondence, research materials, exhibition catalogs, photographs of artwork and exhibitions, and clippings ranging from 1909 to 1995 (bulk 1950-1980). Most of the materials relate to artists and pieces represented in the Pearlmans' collection, although a small amount of material concerns works considered or researched by Pearlman, but not purchased.
The bulk of the collection concerns the lending, reproduction, and exhibition of works of art owned by the Pearlmans and their foundation. Supplemental research material such as exhibition catalogs, photographs of artworks, and articles and clippings on artists, artworks or other private collections, make up most of the remainder. Oversized materials include a catalogue of the Pearlman Collection, a portfolio of reproductions of the Cezanne watercolors belonging to the Pearlmans, and photographs comparing Toulouse-Lautrec's Parody of the Bois Sacre aux Arts et Muses to the original.
The collection has been arranged into four series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: General Collection Files, 1950-1995 (Box 1, 5; 8 folders)
Series 2: Artists' Files, 1909-1995 (Boxes 1-5, MGP 5; 3.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Museum Files, 1951-1994 (Box 4; 20 folders)
Series 4: Personal Files, 1966-1993 (Box 4; 5 folders)
Henry Pearlman (1895-1974), a lifelong resident of New York City, rose through the ranks of the business world to found his own company, Eastern Cold Storage, in 1919. In 1925, Henry married Rose. In the early 1940s, Pearlman purchased a few realist paintings, but it wasn't until his 1943 purchase of Chaim Soutine's Village Square that he was inspired to build what would become a noted collection of Post-Impressionist works. Over the next three decades, Pearlman acquired numerous works by such well-known artists as Soutine, Modigliani, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec, in addition to those of lesser-known artists. In the early 1950s, Pearlman began collecting Cezanne watercolors. These paintings would become the cornerstone of his collection and would be exhibited around the world. Pearlman died in 1974, leaving his wife, Rose, to manage his collection until her death in 1994. From the mid-1970s, the Pearlman Collection has been on long-term loan to the Art Museum of Princeton.
The Pearlmans founded the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation in the 1950s. Much of the Pearlmans' artwork is now officially owned by the Foundation.
The Henry and Rose Pearlman papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2004 by Dorothy Edelman and Marge Scheuer, daughters of Henry and Rose Pearlman, care of the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Henry and Rose Pearlman papers, 1893-1995, bulk 1950-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Princeton Art Museum. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.