A Finding Aid to the Arwin Galleries Records, 1948-1981, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.arwigall
Creators:
Arwin Galleries (Detroit, Mich.)
Dates:
1948-1981
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
8.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The records of Detroit art gallery Arwin Galleries measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1948 to 1981. The collection comprises administrative records including sales, consignment and loan records; personal and professional correspondence; artist files for Chuang Chi, Richard Kozlow, Ben and Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Jo Snyder, Russel Thayer, Adja Yunkers, and others; printed materials documenting the 1963 fire at the gallery, exhibitions, and other activities related to the gallery; artwork by Frederick Simper, Donald Snydor, and a few others; and photographic materials and moving images including photos of the Arwins, gallery artists, and exhibitions, and two film reels relating to the gallery fire.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The records of Detroit art gallery Arwin Galleries measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1948 to 1981. The collection comprises administrative records containing sales records, consignment and loan records, appraisals, framing and graphics orders, and other administrative documents; personal and professional correspondence; artist's files for Chuang Chi, Richard Kozlow, Ben and Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Jo Snyder, Russel Thayer, Adja Yunkers, and others; printed materials documenting the 1963 fire at the gallery, exhibitions, and other articles related to the gallery; artwork by Frederick Simper, Donald Snydor, and a few others; and photographic materials and moving images include portraits and candid shots of the Arwins, gallery installations and openings, artists, works of art, and two film reels relating to the fire at the gallery.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as six series.
  • Series 1: Administrative Records, 1959-1981 (2.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, OV 11)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-1981 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 3: Artist's Files, 1948-1981 (4.0 linear feet; Boxes 3-7, OV 11)
  • Series 4: Printed Materials, 1956-1981 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, OV 11)
  • Series 5: Artwork, circa 1970s (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 6: Photographic Materials and Moving Images, circa 1950-1981 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, FC 12)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Arwin Galleries (est. 1963-1981) was founded by Lester and Kathleen (Kitty) Arwin in Detroit, Michigan.
Although intending to move to Chicago in the 1930s, Lester Arwin found himself remaining in Detroit due to lack of funds. There he spent time observing Diego Rivera painting the murals at the Detroit Institute of Art. He also visited Rivera's studio and purchased his first piece of artwork, thus beginning his career as an art collector and dealer. Arwin served as director of Grinnell Art Galleries prior to opening his own business.
In 1963, Lester and his wife Kitty opened the Arwin Galleries, specializing in contemporary art, in Robinsons Furniture Store on Washington Boulevard. A fire at the gallery in 1963 destroyed approximately $300,000 worth of artwork, including works by Picasso with an estimated value of $150,000. The Arwin Galleries reopened at W. Grand River in 1965. The Arwins worked closely with many renowned artists such as Richard Kozlow, Ben Shahn, and numerous others.
Lester and Kitty Arwin died in 1981.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2020.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Arwin Galleries records were donated in 1981 and 1984 by Melanie Arwin, the daughter of Lester and Kathleen Arwin.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Arwin Galleries records, 1948-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art galleries, Commercial -- Michigan -- Detroit Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women art dealers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arwin, Lester B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arwin, Kathleen G. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yunkers, Adja, 1900-1983 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/