The records of the New York Tibor de Nagy Gallery measure 43.9 linear feet and date from 1941-2016. The records document the activities of the gallery through business records and correspondence, exhibition files, artist files, financial and legal records, inventory records, and a small amount of records of the Houston Branch.
Scope and Contents:
The records of the New York Tibor de Nagy Gallery measure 43.9 linear feet and date from 1941-2016. The records document the activities of the gallery through business records and correspondence, exhibition files, artist files, financial and legal records, inventory records, a small amount of records of the Houston Branch, and exhibition announcements.
Business records include correspondence and administrative files. Business correspondence is with clients, curators, galleries, museums, colleges and universities, organizations, and publications, such as the Museum of Modern Art, Art Dealers Association, National Institute of Arts and Letters, United States Information Agency, The Hirshhorn Museum, Art News, Art in America, Pauli Hirsch, Jacqueline Kennedy, Charles Penney, Nelson Rockefeller, and many others. Correspondence concerns sales, purchases, shipping, loans, general exhibitions, publicity, events, publications and publishing, and other topics. Additional documents found within the correspondence files are purchase invoices, inquiries, shipping receipts, and photographs. Correspondence with artists is found in the Artist Files series. Administrative files concern day-to-day operations and include leases and construction documents, incorporation, insurance, art appraisals, art framing, and other general business affairs.
Exhibition files document many exhibitions held at the Gallery and include clippings and research materials, exhibition catalogs, exhibit and gallery plans, correspondence, and photographs. Some loan agreements and shipping receipts are also included.
Artist files document business affairs with individual artists and also contain collected information on artists. Typically, there are several files on each artist which may include printed materials, biographies, consignments, loans documentation, sales documentation, correspondence, photographic material, publicity, and reviews. Artists well represented among these files include Rosemarie Castoro, Ray Ciarrocchi, Robert Goodnough, Harold Gregor, Red Grooms (including a transcript of "A Conversation with Marison and Red Grooms"), Joyce Kozloff, Peter Reginato, Tony Robbin, Leatrice Rose, and Nancy Witteman-Widrig.
Financial records include incomplete runs of billing statements, expenses and cash disbursements, paid and unpaid invoices, and sales and shipping receipts. Inventory records consist primarily of index cards and/or sheets that document stock, consignments, loans, sales, and shipping.
A relatively small amount of Houston branch records include announcements, clippings, correspondence, financial information including consignments, income, invoices, and statements, photographs, publicity materials and a research file on Houston art museums.
Exhibition announcements promote the gallery's exhibitions for artists including Joe Brainard, Shirley Jaffe, Fairfield Porter, Rosemarie Castoro, Alfred Leslie, and many others.
The Tibor de Nagy Gallery records are arranged into seven series.
Series 1: Business Records and Correpondence, 1950-1993 (10 linear feet; Boxes 1-10)
Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1941-1992 (2 linear feet; Boxes 11-12)
Series 3: Artist Files, 1956-1993 (18.6 linear feet; Boxes 13-31, 46)
Series 4: Financial and Legal Records, 1951-1984 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 31-34)
Series 5: Inventory Records, 1952-1989 (9 linear feet; Boxes 34-43)
Series 6: Houston Branch Records, 1969-1984 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 43-45)
Series 7: Exhibition Announcements, 1953-2016 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 47-48)
Biographical / Historical:
One of the earliest modern art galleries in New York, Tibor de Nagy Gallery was founded in 1950 by Tibor de Nagy and John Bernard Myers. Initially the gallery featured the work of second generation Abstract Expressionists and continues to operate today with a focus on the Post War second generation New York School.
John B. Myers served as the gallery's first director and De Nagy was the business manager while continuing to work in the banking business. Early on, the gallery introduced and promoted second generation Abstract Expressionists such as Grace Hartigan and Alfred Leslie. The gallery quickly earned a reputation for promoting the work of emerging artists, including Carl Andre, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Red Grooms, Fairfield Porter, and Larry Rivers, among others, giving many of them their first solo shows.
Later the gallery gained a reputation as a space for collaborative artistic ventures and organized exhibitions that combined visual imagery and poetry by several New York School poets. The gallery also published books by poets John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and James Schuyler, as well as a poetry newsletter entitled Semi-Colon.
In 1973 de Nagy teamed with Marvin Watson to open the Watson/deNagy Gallery in Houston, which closed in 1983. Tibor de Nagy retired from banking in 1970 and continued running the gallery until he died in 1993. The Tibor de Nagy gallery continues operating today at 724 Fifth Avenue under the direction of Andrew Arnot and Eric Brown. It also works with a number of estates, including those of Joe Brainard, Rudy Burckhardt, Donald Evans, and Jess.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are an oral history interview with Tibor de Nagy, March 29, 1976 conducted by Paul Cummings; the John Bernard Myers papers (which do not contain documentation of his work at the gallery); and the Watson/de Nagy Houston gallery records available only on microfilm, a small portion of which may also be duplicated in the original records described in this finding aid.
The records were donated by Tibor de Nagy Gallery in multiple accessions between 1993-1996 and in 2018. Additional material about the exhibition, Digital Explorations: Emerging Visions in art, 1988, donated in 2020 by one of the exhibition curators, Ligia Ercius-DiPaola.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
The Tibor de Nagy Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.