Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, circa 1920-1991, bulk 1946-1983.

ArchivalResource

Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, circa 1920-1991, bulk 1946-1983.

The Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers measure 49.6 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1991, with the bulk of the material dating from 1946-1983. Artists files, the largest and most extensive series, consist of a wide variety of documents, including biographical materials, correspondence with or related to the artist, exhibition catalogs and announcements, sales and expense invoices, clippings, price lists, and photographs of the artist, exhibitions, and artwork. The files reflect Parsons' close personal relationships with certain artists, particularly Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Barnett Newman. Extensive documentation is also found for Forrest Bess, William Congdon, Paul Feeley, Thomas George, Alexander Liberman, Seymour Lipton, Richard Pousette-Dart, Jesse Reichek, and Jack Youngerman. Historians and researchers will find these files to be an invaluable resource both in tracing Betty Parsons' role in promoting Abstract Expressionism and researching individual artists. Exhibition files primarily document the gallery's infrequent group or themed exhibitions. Of particular note are the files on The Ideographic Picture, which was organized by Barnett Newman and included his work, as well as that of Pietro Lazzari, Boris Margo, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, and Clyfford Still. Price lists, artist biographies and exhibition schedules are housed in the general exhibition files. Loan exhibition files provide documentation of artwork borrowed by other galleries or institutions for exhibitions, as well as shows outside of the gallery that were organized by Betty Parsons. Also found are gallery exhibition guest books, and announcements and catalogs. Gallery correspondence is primarily with galleries and dealers, museums, arts organizations, and collectors. Scattered letters from artists are also found, although the bulk of the artists' correspondence is filed in the Artists Files. Also found here are memoranda and letters between Betty Parsons and her staff that contain detailed information concerning Parsons' schedule and gallery activities. Similar correspondence is found amongst the correspondence files within the series Betty Parsons papers. Appraisal and conservation files include correspondence, appraisal invoices, forms, and appraisal requests and other information from the Art Dealers Association of America, and conservation invoices and reports. The majority of the appraisal records contain information about the specific works of art, including artist, title, date, current owner and the estimated value at the time of the request. Conservation records document conservation treatments undertaken by outside conservators to gallery stock. Sales, purchases, stock and inventory are well documented in the sales and inventory records. The records provide detailed information about individual sales, prices of individual pieces of artwork, consignments, and loans. Most sales records also include detailed information about the buyer and are a valuable resource for provenance research. Files documenting the general administration, routine business operations, and financial transactions (not individual sales) of the gallery are housed in the general business and financial records. These records include ledgers, receipts, tax records, and banking records. There is some limited information about works of art scattered amongst the receipts and in the "in/out slips" files. Legal records house general legal documents and those concerning specific lawsuits. Of particular note is the file detailing the lawsuit between Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis over the fifth floor of 24 West 57th Street. The remainder of the collection consists of Betty Parsons' personal papers which document Parsons' career prior to opening her own gallery, her work as an artist, and her personal art collection. Some information about Parsons' work prior to opening her own gallery is found in the early curatorial files she retained from her curatorial and administrative work at the Wakefield Gallery and the Mortimer Brandt Gallery. Clippings, correspondence, announcements, exhibition lists and exhibition files are found. For both positions, she kept only the exhibition files for a small group of exhibitions organized around a specific theme, the most notable being the exhibition of Pre-Columbian Sculpture at the Wakefield Gallery. Biographical materials include copies of her biography, family genealogies, photographs of Parsons, interviews with Colette Roberts and WYNC radio, memberships, photographs, and ephemera, including a collection of programs and invitations from events that she attended. Throughout her life Parsons gave generously of her time to various cultural and charitable institutions and was awarded for her contributions. There are also a number of files that document her speaking engagements, her participation as a juror in numerous juried exhibitions, charitable work, and awards that she received. Parsons' personal correspondence files reflect how deeply Parsons' life was intertwined with the gallery. There are letters from museum directors, dealers, artists seeking representation, and personal letters from artists with whom she had close personal relationships, most notably Larry Bigelow, Alexander Calder, William Condon, and Ad Reinhardt. There are also letters from the English artist Adge Baker, with whom Parsons was romantically involved. Correspondence also includes several files of postcards and Christmas cards. Pocket diaries and engagement calendars, spanning from 1933-1981 (although the 1950s are notably missing) record social engagements, meetings, vacations, and telephone numbers. Also found are three notebooks, and three sketchbooks, two of which are annotated. Writings by others include writings about Betty Parsons or the Betty Parsons' Gallery, such as Lawrence Alloway's unpublished typescript titled "An American Gallery" and other topics. Printed material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, art magazines, and newspaper and magazine clippings about Betty Parsons, her family and acquaintances, artists, and other art related topics, coupled with a miscellaneous selection of clippings on topics that presumably captured Parsons' attention. Personal art work records document Betty Parsons' career as an artist through inventories, group and solo exhibitions files, price lists, appraisals, sales and consignment invoices. Photographs are primarily reproductions of her works of art, although there are scattered photographs of exhibition installations. Betty Parsons private art collection files document Parsons extensive personal collection of art that included works by Jackson Pollock, Agnes Martin, Romare Bearden, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, in addition to Amlash sculpture from ancient Persia and primitive sculpture from New Hebrides. These files include inventories, lists, exhibition records, sales and purchase invoices, and photographs. There are also files for donations and loans from Parsons' personal collection to museums and fund raising auctions for several non-profit institutions. Finally, the personal financial records provide information about the Parsons' family finances and her personal financial success as an art dealer. In addition to her own investments, Parsons inherited shares in family investments through the estates of her parents, J. Fred Pierson, Jr. and Suzanne Miles Pierson, and younger sister, Emily Rayner. Real estate files include correspondence, utility bills, receipts, area maps, and land plots for houses in Sheepscot, Maine and St. Maartens, Netherlands Antilles. Tax returns, ledger worksheets, receipts, banking statements, deposit slips, and cancelled checks are among the other financial records.

49.6 linear ft.

Related Entities

There are 25 Entities related to this resource.

Feeley, Paul, 1910-1966

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w60g4598 (person)

Mural painter, portrait painter, teacher; North Bennington, Vt. Taught at Bennington College. Also known as Paul Terence Feeley. From the description of Paul Feeley papers, 1911-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82463349 ...

Youngerman, Jack, 1926-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65m6xhr (person)

Jack Youngerman (b. March 25, 1926, St. Louis, Missouri) American painter and printmaker....

Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w66q1x3t (person)

Painter, writer; New York City. From the description of Barnett Newman papers, 1943-1971. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81461322 ...

Betty Parsons Gallery

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Margo, Boris, 1902-1995

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w66q22xm (person)

Painter, printmaker; New York, N.Y. From the description of Oral history interview with Boris Margo, 1965 Aug. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 430380464 From the description of Boris Margo interview, 1965 Aug. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220198765 Boris Margo (1902-1995) was a painter and printmaker from New York, N.Y. From the description of Oral history interview with Boris Margo, 1965 Aug. 28 [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id:...

Lazzari, Pietro, 1898-1979

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6bp0t9s (person)

Lazzari was born in Italy, studied in Paris, and worked primarily in New York and Washington. He made the cover drawing for Ernesto Galarza's "Merchants of labor." From the description of Original drawings and sketches, 1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754864426 Pietro Lazzari (1898-1979) was a muralist, sculptor, and educator from Washington, D.C. Born in Rome, Italy, Pietro Lazzari studied at the Ornamental School of Rome after serving in World...

Bigelow, Larry.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w60s0fgd (person)

Congdon, William, 1912-1998

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w63r1j7g (person)

George, Thomas, 1918-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6dr3dkv (person)

Liberman, Alexander, 1912-1999

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65q511c (person)

A Russian-American artist known for his signature red steel sculptures and geometric paintings, in addition to his 30+-year tenure at Condé Nast as its editorial director. Initially hired as an art director for Vogue upon moving to the United States in 1941, his keen, exacting eye for visuals combined fashion shoots with Modern Art—a memorable spread used Jackson Pollock’s paintings as a backdrop for Cecil Beaton’s photographs a decade later. Born September 4, 1912 in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine),...

Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w61g0pqn (person)

Russian-born American artist, Mark Rothko, is noted as one of the primary artists of Abstract Expressionism and color field painting. From the description of Mark Rothko manuscripts and sketchbook, circa 1935-1943. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 81257215 Mark Rothko was an American painter and draughtsman of Russian birth. Born Sept. 25, 1903, Dvinsk, Russia (now Daugavpils, Latvia). Died Feb. 25, 1970, New York. From the description of The artis...

Lipton, Seymour, 1903-1986

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6g73h8h (person)

Sculptor; New York, N.Y.; d. 1986. From the description of Oral history interview with Seymour Lipton, 1964 Apr. 28-May 20 [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 312026575 Sculptor; New York, N.Y. From the description of Seymour Lipton papers, 1915-1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82903229 Sculptor; New York, N.Y. Died 1986. From the description of Seymour Lipton interview, 1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220187676 ...

Roberts, Colette, 1910-1971

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6086x6q (person)

Colette Jacqueline Roberts (1910-1971) was a French-born artist, teacher, critic and gallery director. Born in Paris, she studied at the École du Louvre, the Academy Ranson, and the Institut d’Art et Archéologie. She moved to the United States during World War II and became a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter, becoming an active part of the New York art world. In addition to her own work, she wrote and lectured on modern art and fostered cultural exchange efforts between her native and adopted cou...

Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w661126x (person)

Parsons, Betty, 1900-1982

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6w19vs9 (person)

Betty Parsons (b. January 31, 1900, New York, NY–d. July 23, 1982, New York, NY) was one of the leading art dealers in New York City specializing in modern art, particularly the work of the Abstract Expressionists. She opened Betty Parsons Gallery in 1946 at 11 E. 57th St., later moving to 24 W. 57th St. The history of the Betty Parsons Gallery is inextricably bound to the life and experiences of its founder. Betty Parsons was born Betty Bierne Pierson on Janua...

Wakefield Gallery

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6x111gm (corporateBody)

Janus, Sidney.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w64f2gqh (person)

Stamos, Theodoros, 1922-1997

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6445tns (person)

d. Feb. 2, 1997, Yiannina, Greece. From the description of Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. (Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)). WorldCat record id: 84607001 Theodore Stamos (1922-1997) was an Abstract Expressionist painter and educator in N.Y. and Greece. From the description of Theodoros Stamos papers, 1922-2007. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 744426362 Theodros Stamos, Abstract Expressionist Painter; NY and Lefkada Greece, 1922-1997; James ...

Bess, Forrest, 1911-1977

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rn3cd8 (person)

B. 1911 d. 1977. From the description of Forrest Bess artist file. (Whitney Museum of American Art). WorldCat record id: 228432978 Bess was a painter in Bay City, Texas.; the Cooke's, art collectors. From the description of Forrest Bess letters to Mr. and Mrs L. E. Cooke, [ca. 1963-1964]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123373515 Painter; Bay City, Tex. From the description of Forrest Bess photographs and slides, 1932-1967. (Unknown). WorldCat...

Pousette-Dart, Richard, 1916-1992

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w67m10k6 (person)

Richard Pousette-Dart (1916-1992) was a painter in New York, N.Y. Evelyn Pousette-Dart is Mrs. Richard Pousette-Dart. From the description of Oral history interview with Richard and Evelyn Pousette-Dart, 1992 Mar. 9 [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 276394295 ...

Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6t43vgd (person)

Sculptor. From the description of Alexander Calder correspondence, 1964. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79452461 Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was a sculptor from New York, N.Y. From the description of Oral history interview with Alexander Calder, 1971 Oct. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 646395903 B. 1898, d. 1976. From the description of Alexander Calder artist file. (Whitney Museum of American Art). WorldCat record id: 228431975 ...

Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6bk1jrn (person)

Jackson Pollock was born in 1912, in Cody, Wyoming, the youngest of five sons. His family moved several times during his childhood, finally settling in Los Angeles. In 1930 he joined his older brother, Charles, in New York City, and studied with Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. Pollock worked during the 1930s for the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. During 1936 he worked in artist David Alfaro Siqueiros's Experimental Workshop. In...

Mortimer Brandt Gallery (New York, N.Y.)

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Reichek, Jesse, 1916-....

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Baker, Adge, approximately 1890-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65m6xkn (person)