A Finding Aid to the Louis Pomerantz Papers, 1937-1988, bulk 1950s-1988, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.pomeloui
Creators:
Pomerantz, Louis
Dates:
1937-1988
bulk 1950-1988
Languages:
English
The bulk of the collection is in English.
Physical Description:
34.1 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of Chicago art conservator, Louis Pomerantz, measure 34.1 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1988, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1950s-1980s. The papers document two principal aspects of Pomerantz's professional life: his conservation work for institutions and individuals, and the development of his professional expertise as documented through his writings and teachings, his continued conservation training, and his involvement in professional organizations. Files include scattered biographical material, professional correspondence, interviews, writings, project and client files, teaching and reference files, printed material, and photographic material primarily documenting conservation treatments and techniques.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Chicago art conservator, Louis Pomerantz, measure 34.1 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1988, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1950s-1980s. The papers document two principal aspects of Pomerantz's professional life: his conservation work for institutions and individuals, and the development of his professional expertise as documented through his writings and teachings, his continued conservation training, and his involvement in professional organizations. Files include scattered biographical material, professional correspondence, interviews, writings, project and client files, teaching and reference files, printed material, and photographic material primarily documenting conservation treatments and techniques.
Biographical material includes military and educational records, as well as resumés and references from various art institutions and individuals.
Pomerantz's professional correspondence is with other conservators including Anton J. Konrad, Nathan Stolow, and Jean Volkmer, conservation scientists such as Robert L. Feller, and people who assisted Pomerantz early in his career such as George Stout. Also documented is Pomerantz's relationship with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) which undertook his traveling Know What You See exhibition, his involvement with museums and other art institutions, and companies who developed and manufactured conservation equipment such as Eastman Kodak.
Interviews include circa 9 radio station interviews on sound tape reels and sound cassettes of Pomerantz individually or with others, including a recording of a conversation regarding the Florence flood.
Writings and notes are by Pomerantz and include typescripts, notes and background material for lectures and papers delivered from the 1950s-1980s. Also found is a portfolio of his writings from 1962-1978, and a notebook Pomerantz compiled while working at the Rijksmuseum which includes notes, hand-drawn colored illustrations and photographs of conservation techniques.
Project/client files form the largest series and document Pomerantz's work, both in private practice and as conservator at the Art Institute of Chicago, through conditions reports, recommendations for and records of treatment, related correspondence, financial documentation, and photographic material.
Teaching and reference files comprise material gathered by Pomerantz during participation in professional organizations and events, such as the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Also found are subject files, consisting of reference material and correspondence, on a wide range of conservation-related subjects.
Personal business records from the 1950s consist of receipts for conservation-related supplies and one folder of business tax records.
Printed material primarily includes news clippings documenting Pomerantz's career up to and including the 1970s, clippings on conservation-related news, blank postcards of artwork, and two exhibition catalogs.
Photographic material includes images demonstrating a wide variety of conservation techniques, including sets of slides used for lectures and presentations, and images of Pomerantz at work. Also found are photos of artists including Ulfert Wilke. Photographic media include black and white and color photos, slides, glass slides, X-rays and corresponding prints, negatives and 5 glass plate negatives.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940s-1980s (12 folders; Boxes 1, 33)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1940s-1988 (3.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)
Series 3: Interviews, 1961-circa 1970s (8 folders; Box 4)
Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1950s-1980s (2.8 linear feet; Box 7)
Series 5: Project/Client Files, 1950s-1987 (13.8 linear feet; Boxes 7-20)
Series 6: Teaching and Reference Files, 1940s-1980s (3.9 linear feet; Boxes 20-24)
Series 7: Personal Business Records, 1950s (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 24-25)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1937-1970s (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 25, 33)
Series 9: Photographic Material, 1940s-1980s (8.4 linear feet; Boxes 25-36, OV 37, MGP 1)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Chicago art conservator Louis Pomerantz (1919-1988), established and operated the conservation lab at the Art Institute of Chicago and then maintained a private practice conducting conservation work for individual collectors and various museums and art institutions in the midwest.
Pomerantz had originally intended to be an artist and enrolled at the Art Students League. After serving in World War II, he returned to Europe to study conservation as an apprentice to a private restorer in Paris, followed by a year spent working under the chief restorer at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and study at the Courtauld Institute and the National Gallery in London. As head of the Art Institute of Chicago's first conservation lab from 1956-1961, Pomerantz employed new and emerging techniques such as powerful binocular microscopes, ultra-violet, infra-red and X-ray machines to study paintings, and a hot table to bond new canvasses to support old ones. Following his resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue his private practice, Pomerantz organized conservation training programs, and wrote widely on conservation. He served on the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and was a member of the committee which adopted the AIC's first code of ethics for art conservators in May 1967. He became consultant to various art and natural history museums including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he formed part of the conservation team that completed an extensive renovation of the museum's Javanese gamelan ensemble composed of 23 brass and wood musical instruments.The gamelan was presented and played for the first time since 1893 in 1978, following the restoration.
Pomerantz also organized several museum exhibitions on conservation, including Know What You See, which was shown at more than 100 museums around the United States, Canada and Mexico, as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2014-2015, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.
Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2015 with a grant provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
Author
Stephanie L. Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Louis Pomerantz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Else Pomerantz in 1988.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington D.C. research center. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
The Louis Pomerantz 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.
Preferred Citation
Louis Pomerantz papers, 1937-1988, bulk 1950s-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flood damage -- Italy -- Florence Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum conservation methods -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Conservation and restoration -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Conservation and restoration -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum conservation methods -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Conservators -- Illinois -- Chicago Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilke, Ulfert, 1907-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stout, George L. (George Leslie) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stolow, Nathan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Konrad, Anton Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eastman Kodak Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Institute of Chicago Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Traveling Exhibition Service Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feller, Robert L. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rijksmuseum (Netherlands) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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