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Oral history interview with Barbara Swan, 1973 June 13-1974 June 12

Interviewee:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Women artists -- Interviews  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12640
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213164
AAA_collcode_swan73
Theme:
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213164
Online Media:

Barbara Swan papers, 1927-1992

Creator:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Subject:
Kelly, Ellsworth  Search this
Tovish, Harold  Search this
Sexton, Anne  Search this
Miller, Edwin Haviland  Search this
Miller, Rosalind S.  Search this
Chaet, Bernard  Search this
Fink, Alan  Search this
Kumin, Maxine  Search this
Olsen, Tillie  Search this
Weinberg, Elbert  Search this
Chaet, Ninon  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. School  Search this
Topic:
Women artists -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Women  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8701
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210882
AAA_collcode_swanbarp
Theme:
Diaries
Women
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210882

Barbara Swan letters to Rosalind and Edwin Miller, 1961-1991

Creator:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Subject:
Miller, Edwin Haviland  Search this
Miller, Rosalind S.  Search this
Chaet, Bernard  Search this
Fink, Aaron  Search this
Fink, Alan  Search this
Fink, Joanna Elizabeth  Search this
Gustin, Dan  Search this
Milton, Peter  Search this
Sexton, Anne  Search this
Stevovich, Andrew  Search this
Alpha Gallery (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10853
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)214605
AAA_collcode_swanbarb
Theme:
Women
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_214605

Oral history interview with Alan Fink

Interviewee:
Fink, Alan, 1925-  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Mirski, Boris, 1898-1974  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Extent:
2 Sound cassettes (Sound recording (2 1/2 hrs.), analog)
45 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1997 Jan. 22 and Jan. 29
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Alan Fink conducted 1997 Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art, at Fink's Alpha Gallery, Boston, Mass.
JANUARY 22, 1997 SESSION: Fink discusses his childhood, early education, and first profession; traveling in Europe and meeting his future wife, the painter, Barbara Swan; and becoming interested in art.
JANUARY 29, 1997 SESSION: Coming to Boston in 1951 largely because Barbara Swan was there; first work as a gallery manager (1951-1967) for Boris Mirski; the New York dealer, Edith Halpert with whom he worked closely; the painter and head of Brandeis University art department, Mitchell Siporin; Leonard Baskin, and David Aronson; the lack of support for young local artists from Boston institutions; the major local collector of young local artists, Jerry Goldberg and Abe Pollin who followed his example; the increased number of Boston art galleries in the 1960s as art collecting grew; great success of a show of African masks at Mirski Gallery; his last years with Mirski; opening of his Alpha Gallery in September 1967; and taking on some of Mirski's artists, including Michael Mazur, Robert Birmelin, Philip Gausman, Barbara Swan, Marianna Pineda, Harold Tovish, Elbert Weinberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Alan Fink (1925-) is an art dealer in Boston, Mass. and is married to Barbara Swan.
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 administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art dealers -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.fink97
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-fink97

Boris Mirski Gallery records

Creator:
Boris Mirski Gallery (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Names:
Aronson, David, 1923-2015  Search this
Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000  Search this
Bloom, Hyman, 1913-  Search this
Geller, Esther  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Mazur, Michael, 1935-2009  Search this
Mirski, Boris, 1898-1974  Search this
Polonsky, Arthur  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Siporin, Mitchell, 1910-1976  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972  Search this
Extent:
6.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
circa 1936-2000
bulk 1945-1972
Summary:
The Boris Mirski Gallery records measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. They include gallery administrative files; artist files including correspondence, exhibition and loan paperwork as well as photographic documentation of artwork; gallery correspondence; financial materials including outgoing and incoming invoices and sales records; printed materials promoting the gallery and its artists; press materials; and a number of photographs of Boris Mirski at events and with others, as well as photographs of artwork. Artists particularly well represented in the collection include David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.
Scope and Contents:
The records of the Boris Mirski Gallery, which showed the avant-garde art of the Boston Expressionist school, as well as New York and international modern art styles and non-western art, measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. They include gallery administrative files; artist files including correspondence, exhibition and loan paperwork as well as photographic documentation of artwork; gallery correspondence; financial materials including outgoing and incoming invoices and sales records; printed materials promoting the gallery and its artists; press materials; and a number of photographs of Boris Mirski at events and with others, as well as photographs of artwork. Artists particularly well represented in the collection include David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.

The administrative files cover a number of topics including documents related to various properties, mortgages, and insurance, copyrights, legal cases, administrative events, and select group exhibitions at the gallery.

The artist files document each gallery artist's exhibition history in the gallery and include correspondence with the artist as well as files documenting significant outside exhibitions, projects and the placement of artworks. While exhibiting artists showed a range of sculpture, painting, and drawing at the gallery, there was a tendency towards highly expressive figurative artwork sometimes referred to as Boston Expressionism, often associated with the first generation Jewish American experience.

The gallery correspondence, primarily with patrons and institutions, is arranged alphabetically with select regular correspondents of the gallery having their own file, in addition to a folder of holiday cards.

The financial files include both outgoing and incoming transactions as invoices and sales records, organized by patron or vendor.

The printed materials are a records of the printing activities of the gallery as well as a press archive, with select printed materials from outside the gallery reflecting the activities of the gallery and gallery artists.

The photographic materials include both images that include the gallerist as well as images that document artworks.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series.

Series 1: Administrative Files, circa 1948-1995 (0.5 Linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Artist Files, circa 1945-2000 (2.7 Linear feet; Boxes 1-4, OV 7)

Series 3: Gallery Correspondence, circa 1936-1976 (1 Linear feet; Boxes 4-5)

Series 4: Financial Files, circa 1958-1974 (1.2 Linear feet; Boxes 5-6)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1944-1981 (0.7 Linear feet; Box 6, OV 8)

Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1945-1976 (0.1 Linear feet; Box 6)
Biographical / Historical:
The Boris Mirski Gallery (est.1944; closed 1979) was a gallery in Boston, Massachusetts owned and operated by Boris Mirski (1898-1974). The gallery evolved out of various businesses owned by Mirski from the late 1910s, including his first formal gallery established alongside a framing shop on Charles Street in Beacon Hill in 1927. The gallery moved to its final incarnation on the lower level of 166 Newbury in 1972, and closed in 1979 following the gallerist's death in 1974.

Boris Chaim Mirski, born 1898, immigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen, leaving behind his troubled youth as a Lithuanian Jew in a harsh political climate that included frequent pogroms. At the advice of his mother, an activist in the resistance, Boris acquired a number of marketable skills including metalwork and framing, which allowed him to establish a lucrative business while he developed opportunities to show art that interested him. Early in his career this included a home for non-western and "primitive" art styles from around the globe, as well as the work of emerging local artists. Mirski's gallery created opportunities for artists working against the generally conservative tradition of the Boston School, and helped establish an identity for the local avant-garde. The gallery program had strong ties with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston alumni and faculty, and frequently hosted exchange shows with New York City's Downtown Gallery, whose director Edith Halpert acted as a mentor. While exhibiting artists showed a range of sculpture, painting, and drawing at the gallery, there was a tendency towards highly expressive figurative artwork sometimes referred to as Boston Expressionism, often associated with the first generation Jewish American experience. Gallery artists included David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.
Related Materials:
Related materials include Archives of American Art's Oral history interview with Boris Mirski, 1973 June 19.
Provenance:
The Boris Mirski Gallery records were donated by Deborah Mirski Brown, Boris Mirski's daughter from 1989-1996, with additions in 2007 and 2017.
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.
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:
Expressionism (Art)  Search this
Jewish artists  Search this
Modernism (Art)  Search this
New York school of art  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- Massachusetts
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Boris Mirski Gallery records, 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mirsbori
See more items in:
Boris Mirski Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mirsbori

Robert Taylor papers

Topic:
Boston herald
Boston globe
Creator:
Taylor, Robert, 1925-2009  Search this
Names:
Allen, Fred, 1894-1956  Search this
Bannard, Walter Darby, 1934-  Search this
Davenport, Will  Search this
Davis, Charles H. (Charles Harold), 1856-1933  Search this
Eichenberg, Fritz, 1901-1990  Search this
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994  Search this
McGilligan, Patrick  Search this
Schwartz, Henry, 1927-  Search this
Styron, William, 1925-  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Updike, John  Search this
Wolfe, Tom  Search this
Extent:
2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Saranac Lake (N.Y.) -- History
Date:
l952-1990
Scope and Contents:
Ca. 600 letters, 1961-1990, from artists, authors, poets, editors, curators, publishers, critics and others, primarily in response to Taylor's reviews, columns, and books, and some supplying information for his columns. Among the correspondents are Darby Barnard, Claire Leighton, Will Davenport, Fritz Eichenberg, Clement Greenberg, Jack Levine, Patrick McGilligan, Henry Schwartz, Beverly Swan, William Styron, John Updike, and Tom Wolfe. A 1983 letter from Davenport encloses a mss. of a paper he wrote in 1956, "Search for the Most American of American Painters." Also included are 5 scrapbooks, 1952-1957, containing clippings of Taylor's reviews and columns, and letters of appreciation; and loose reviews and articles by Taylor written for various Boston area arts magazines.
Enclosed in the correspondence are a few photographs, including two of Taylor, 3 of Carl Nelson, one of G.D. Hackett and Andre Kertisz, and one of Fred Allen and Herman Wouk.
Biographical / Historical:
Art, literary, and music critic; author; educator; lecturer, Boston, Mass. Wrote for the Boston Herald, 1952-1967, Boston Globe, 1968-1989. Columns for New Boston Review, later appearing in Atlantic Monthly, were written under pseudonym Count Bibesco.
Provenance:
Donated 1984 and 1990 by Robert Taylor.
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:
Art critics -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Painters  Search this
Art critics -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Topic:
Art criticism  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.taylrobe
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-taylrobe

Barbara Swan letters to Rosalind and Edwin Miller

Creator:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Names:
Alpha Gallery (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Chaet, Bernard  Search this
Fink, Aaron, 1955-  Search this
Fink, Alan, 1925-  Search this
Fink, Joanna Elizabeth, 1958-  Search this
Gustin, Dan  Search this
Miller, Edwin Haviland  Search this
Miller, Rosalind S., 1923-  Search this
Milton, Peter, 1930-  Search this
Sexton, Anne  Search this
Stevovich, Andrew, 1948-  Search this
Extent:
0.8 Linear feet ((microfilmed on 1 reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1961-1991
Scope and Contents:
Swan, writing to her friends Rosalind and Edwin Miller, discusses her husband Alan Fink's positions as an art dealer and owner of the Alpha Gallery in Boston, mentioning artists Milton Avery, Gregory Gillespie, Don Gustin, Ellsworth Kelly, Boris Mirski, and Andy Stevovich. She writes also about her son Aaron's art career and daughter Joanna's career as assistant to Alan, her health problems dealing with lupus, family vacations and activities with Swan's mother and aunt, Peter and Edith Milton, and Bernard and Ninion Chaet, her numerous trips to New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for various art openings; and her friendship with poet Anne Sexton.
Other topics include her painting career, including illustrating Sexton's versions of Grimm's fairytales, portraits of various friends and commissions, exhibitions, painting style, and inspirations for her bottle and quarry reflection paintings.
Biographical / Historical:
Swan, a painter, draftsman, and lithographer from Boston, Mass., was friends of Rosalind Miller, a professor of psychiatric social work at Columbia University, and Edwin Miller, a Walt Whitman scholar and biographer of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Millers are collectors of American textiles.
Provenance:
Donated 1992 by Rosalind Miller.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.swanbarb
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-swanbarb

Barbara Swan papers

Creator:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Names:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. School  Search this
Chaet, Bernard  Search this
Chaet, Ninon  Search this
Fink, Alan, 1925-  Search this
Kelly, Ellsworth, 1923-  Search this
Kumin, Maxine, 1925-  Search this
Miller, Edwin Haviland  Search this
Miller, Rosalind S., 1923-  Search this
Olsen, Tillie  Search this
Sexton, Anne  Search this
Tovish, Harold, 1921-2008  Search this
Weinberg, Elbert, 1928-  Search this
Extent:
820 Items ((partially microfilmed on 2 reels))
3 Linear feet (Addition)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1927-1992
Scope and Contents:
REELS 826-827: 697 letters, including letters to her parents and her future husband Alan Fink, and letters from Bernard Chaet, Maxine Kumin, Tillie Olsen, Anne Sexton, Andrew Stevovich, Elbert Weinberg, and the Cober Gallery; a 15-page diary; a scrapbook containing photographs, clippings, catalogs and miscellany; and many loose clippings and catalogs.
UNMICROFILMED: Photographs of Swan, Ellsworth Kelly, and other students of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School; letters relating to Swan's career and from friends and relatives, including Bernard and Ninon Chaet and Edwin and Rosalind Miller; Christmas cards by Swan and other artists; drafts and a transcription of a talk by Swan on Harold Tovish; exhibition announcements and catalogs; clippings; and printed material on Anne Sexton.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, illustrator, draftsman, and lithographer; Boston, Mass. Studied at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston under Karl Zerbe. Ellsworth Kelly was also a student there. Swan collaborated as an illustrator with poets Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin.
Provenance:
Material on reels 826-827 was lent for microfilming in June of 1974 by Barbara Swan. She donated the photographs of Ellsworth Kelly in December 1974, and letters, writings, exhibition catalogs and miscellaneous printed material in 1992. Additional papers are expected.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Illustrators  Search this
Poets  Search this
Lithographers -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Draftsmen (artists) -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Topic:
Women artists -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.swanbarp
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-swanbarp

Conflict of visions [videorecording] / producer, Tug Yourgrau; editor, Joel Olicker

Creator:
WGBH Educational Foundation  Search this
Names:
Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Institute of Modern Art (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Aldrich, Nelson W.  Search this
Allara, Pamela  Search this
Bloom, Hyman, 1913-  Search this
Chaet, Bernard  Search this
Coburn, Ralph, 1923-  Search this
Goodrich, Lloyd, 1897-1987  Search this
Olicker, Joel  Search this
Plaut, James S. (James Sachs), 1912-1996  Search this
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Yourgrau, Tug  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (videocassette (VHS) (ca. 30 min), sd., col., 1/2 in.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Interviews
Date:
c1987
Scope and Contents:
Examines the Boston art scene in the late l930s and l940s, where traditional conservative artistic taste clashed with the emerging Boston Expressionists trained at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School. Focuses on the artists' relationship to the newly formed Institute of Modern Art, and the uproar which resulted when its director, James Plaut, issued a statement viewed as antagonistic to artists explaining the change of name of the museum to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Discussing the events are artists Barbara Swan, Bernard Chaet, Ralph Coburn and Hyman Bloom, ICA director James Plaut and president Nathanial Saltonstall, art historian Pamela Allara, Nelson Aldrich and Lloyd Goodrich.
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, c1987
General:
First broadcast on WGBH January 1988.
Provenance:
Donated in 1993 by the WGBH Educational Foundation.
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 -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Museum directors -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Expressionism (Art)  Search this
Function:
Art museums -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.wgbhedut
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-wgbhedut

Oral history interview with Barbara Swan

Interviewee:
Swan, Barbara, 1922-  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Extent:
88 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1973 June 13-1974 June 12
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Barbara Swan conducted 1973 June 13-1974 June 12, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Barbara Swan (1922- ) is a painter and printmaker from Brookline, Mass.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 13 min.
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.
Topic:
Women artists -- Interviews  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.swan73
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-swan73

Boston and beyond : a legacy in realism / by Ruth Burstyn Sidd

Author:
Sidd, Ruth Burstyn  Search this
Subject:
Metcalf, Conger 1914-  Search this
Swan, Barbara 1922-  Search this
Physical description:
xvi, 147, [49] leaves of plates : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Manuscripts
Place:
Massachusetts
Boston
Date:
1997
20th century
Topic:
Painters  Search this
Boston school of painting--Influence  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Realism in art  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.M5826 S5 1997a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_533857

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