A Finding Aid to the Clement Greenberg Papers,
1937-1983
, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.greeclep
Creators:
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994
Dates:
1937-1983
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and French.
English; French
Physical Description:
8.6 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of art critic, author, and lecturer Clement Greenberg measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1983. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from art critics, artists, family, friends, galleries, and museums. Notable correspondents include Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Richard Diebenkorn, Friedel Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Charles Pollock, Jules Olitski, David Smith, and Anne Truitt among others. Also found are biograpical materials, personal business and financial records, an etching by Kurt Wisneski, printed materials, and two reports by Greenberg concerning his travels.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1983. The bulk of the papers (7 feet) consists of letters from art critics, artists, family, friends, galleries, and museums, with some letters from Greenberg. Correspondents include Edward Avedisian, Darby Bannard, Ethel Baziotes, Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Gene Davis, Richard Diebenkorn, Piero Dorazio, Friedel Dzubas, Andre Emmerich, Paul Feeley, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Goodnough, Adolf Gottleib, Hans Hofmann, Philippe Hosiasson, Jacob Kainen, Rosalind Krauss, Robert Motherwell, Ken Moffett, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Beverly Pepper, Ludwig Sander, David Smith, Kimber Smith, Clyfford Still, Anne Truitt, and Leslie Waddington.
Biographical materials include a transcript of an interview with Greenberg conducted by Deborah Solomon in 1983. Greenberg's personal business and financial records include correspondence regarding his lectures and seminars, requests for his writings, student queries, documents regarding his television and radio appearances, royalty statements, and receipts for gifts of works of art. Also found within business records are documents relating to Greenberg's testimony at the Mark Rothko Trial in 1974.
Artwork consists of one etching by Kurt Wisenski entitled "Spring." The papers contain very few of Greenberg's writings about art. Found are lists of artists, and reports written by Greenberg on the state of art in Japan and India in 1967, likely related to his membership in the American Committee for Cultural Freedom. Printed material includes scattered clippings concerning art and exhibition announcements.
One series of ACCESS RESTRICTED papers contains documents relating to Greenberg's role as a trustee in the David Smith estate; correspondence between Greenberg with Andre Emmerich and Peter Fuller, Nuala O'Faolain, and the Greenberg family; and some financial materials regarding the sale and loan of Greenberg's art collection.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1950s-1983 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 2: Business and Financial Records, 1940-1983 (Box 1; 12 folders)
Series 3: Correspondence, 1937-1983 (Boxes 1-8; 7 linear feet)
Series 4: Artwork, 1973 (Box 8; 1 folder)
Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1967-1983 (Box 8; 3 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-1982 (Box 8; 2 folders)
Series 7: Restricted Material, 1963-1983 (Boxes 9-11; 1.2 linear feet)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Clement Greenberg was a highly influential art critic working in New York City from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was an advocate of modern art, particulary the abstract expressionist movement, and one of the first critics to recognize the significance of Jackson Pollock's work.
Greenberg was born in 1909 to Russian immigrants in Bronx, New York. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1930, he married and had a child, David. He settled in New York City while working at the United States Customs Department as an appraiser.
In the late 1930s, Clement Greenberg attended a meeting of the U.S. Works Progress Administration and heard Hans Hofmann speak of avant-garde art. In 1939, he wrote one of his first important critical pieces "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" for the Partisan Review. Greenberg argued that the avant-garde art movement rose out of the need to defend and maintain high art standards against the decline in taste brought about by America's consumerism and capitalist culture.
In 1940, Greenberg joined Partisan Review as an editor. He became art critic for the Nation in 1942, and was associate editor of Commentary from 1945 until 1957. In December 1950, he joined the CIA-fronted American Committee for Cultural Freedom.
Throughout the 1940s through the 1960s Greenberg continued to write and, in his essays and articles, he promoted the work of Abstract Expressionists, among them Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, and Clyfford Still. He particularly championed Jackson Pollock. Greenberg wrote several seminal essays that defined his views on art history in the 20th century. "Greenberg on Collage" was one one of his most important.
Greenberg's views on pop art were mixed. He also became less enamored with Abstract Impressionism, particularly the second generation. However, he became very interested in the Color-Field and Hard-Edge painters.
Through the 1960s Greenberg's views informed a younger generation of art critics including Michael Fried and Rosalind E. Krauss. Some writers maintain that Greenberg's views were so well-respected that he had too much of an influence on the world of art. In time, Greenberg's antagonism to Postmodernist theories and other modern art movements caused him to lose much of his credibility among both artists and art critics.
Greenberg died at the age of eighty-five in 1994.
Since his death, letters edited by his widow, Janice Van Horne and a re-evaluation of his writings have helped to restore his reputation within the art world.

Administration
Separated Material
Clement Greenberg loaned papers for microfilming on reels N69-91, N70-7, and N737 between 1968-1969. Most, but not all, of these papers were later donated by Greenberg.
Alternative Forms Available
Portions of the papers were originally microfilmed as loans and are still available on microfilm reels N69-91, N70-7, and N737. The arrangement of the papers on microfilm does not match the current arrangement of the papers.
Processing Information
All accretions, including earlier loaned and microfilmed materials, were merged and processed by Jayna Hanson in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jayna Hanson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Provenance
Clement Greenberg donated his papers in several accretions between 1984 to 1991.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
The Clement Greenberg papers, 1937-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Some of the collection is ACCESS RESTRICTED: documents relating to the estate of David Smith; some correspondence with Peter Fuller, Nuala O'Faolain, and the Greenberg family; and sale and loan agreements. Contact the reference staff for more information about permission to use this portion of the collection.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Clement Greenberg papers 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.

Related Material
The Portland Art Museum holds Clement Greenberg's private art collection as well as a library of exhibition catalogs.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Transcripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Etchings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art criticism -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Japan Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- India Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reports Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Modernism (Art) -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Economic aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, David, 1906-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Kimber, 1922-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Solomon, Deborah Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Still, Clyfford, 1904- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Truitt, Anne, 1921-2004 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Waddington, Leslie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wisenski, Kurt Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motherwell, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noland, Kenneth, 1924- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Faolin, Nuala Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Olitski, Jules, 1922-2007 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pepper, Beverly Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sander, Ludwig, 1906- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moffett, Kenworth Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Krauss, Rosalind E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kainen, Jacob Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hosaisson, Philippe Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goodnough, Robert, 1917- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fuller, Peter, 1947-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Francis, Sam, 1923-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feeley, Paul, 1910-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Emmerich, André Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dzubas, Friedel, 1915- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dorazio, Piero, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Connolly, Cyril, 1903-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Gene, 1920-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bush, Jack, 1909- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Caro, Anthony, 1924- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bannard, Walter Darby, 1934- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baziotes, Ethel Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Committee for Cultural Freedom Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Avedisian, Edward, 1936-2007 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/