A Finding Aid to the Dwan Gallery Records, 1959-circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.dwangall
Creators:
Dwan Gallery
Dates:
1959-circa 1982
bulk 1959-1971
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
2.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The Dwan Gallery records measure 2.3 linear feet and consist primarily of files of exhibitions curated by Virginia Dwan at Dwan Galleries in Los Angeles (1959-1967) and New York (1965-1971). Found within this nearly comprehensive set of exhibition files may be lists of exhibited works, price lists, photographs, slides or color transparencies of installations, invitations, full-size posters, magazine and newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Dwan Gallery records measure 2.3 linear feet and consist primarily of files of exhibitions curated by Virginia Dwan at Dwan Galleries in Los Angeles (1959-1967) and New York (1965-1971). Found within this nearly comprehensive set of exhibition files may be lists of exhibited works, price lists, photographs, slides or color transparencies of installations, invitations, full-size posters, magazine and newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs.
Artists that held exhibitions at the Dwan Gallery in New York and Los Angeles include: Robert Goodnough, Robert Richenburg, Larry Rivers, Philip Guston, Yves Klein, Salvatore Scarpitta, Arakawa, Martial Raysse, Ad Reinhardt, Arman, Franz Kline, Edward Kienholz, Claes Oldenburg, Niki de Sainte Phalle, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Raymond Parker, Kenneth Snelson, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, and Anastasi. Also, the exhibition files are nearly comprehensive and include: Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read annual series (1967-1970), Boxes (1964), Earth Works (1968), My Country 'tis of Thee (1962) and 10 (1967 and 1968). Many of the multiple artist shows were created and organized by gallery director John Weber and/or Virginia Dwan. Many of these exhibition files include full-sized posters and panoramic photos showing installations.
Also found are records created by a consulting firm hired by the Dwan Gallery to inventory the exhibition files prior to donation to the Archives of American Art. These guides appear at the beginning of each series and outline a chronology of exhibitions held at each branch.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into two series:
  • Series 1: Los Angeles Exhibition Files, 1959-1967, after 1981 (Box 1-2, 5, OV6, OV8; 1.3 linear feet)
  • Series 2: New York Exhibition Files, 1965-1971, after 1982 (Box 2-4, OV7; 1.0 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
In 1959, Virginia Dwan opened her first gallery on 1091 Broxton Avenue in the Westwood Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Her independent wealth allowed her to open a gallery without worrying about business and sales. Three years after opening, the Dwan Gallery moved into a new Westwood Village space especially designed to express the gallery's contemporary aesthetic. In 1965, Virginia Dwan moved to New York City and founded an east coast branch of the Dwan Gallery at 29 West 57th Street.
Early exhibitions at the Dwan Gallery showed Abstract Expressionist artists and works of art from New York which Dwan consigned from other galleries. After traveling to New York and France, Virginia Dwan's interests and tastes manifested in exhibitions by 1961 with Yves Klein. Through Klein, Dwan made connections to other Nouveaux Réalistes artists that the gallery featured in solo and group shows. Later exhibitions featured Land and Minimilist artists. Dwan recognized that many of her shows were not considered salable but continued to show the avant-garde. She saw the gallery as an opportunity to expose the public to different styles of art.
Virginia Dwan maintained a close and personal relationship with many of her artists. She allowed large stipends to gallery artists and invited them to spend time at her home in Malibu, California. When working with artists concentrating on found objects, Dwan would accompany them on scavenger hunts and shopping trips. In the case of Robert Smithson and other Land Art artists, she traveled to offsite locations to visit works of art in progress. Dwan relied on her longtime gallery director, John Weber to interact with collectors as she preferred to maintain her connection with the artists.
The Dwan Gallery Los Angeles closed in mid-1967 but the New York branch remained open. By 1971, Virginia Dwan felt pressure to support her thirteen artists through a period of economic insecurity. She decided to close the gallery secretly and only informed her artists at the last minute. The final exhibition at Dwan Gallery New York closed in June of 1971.

Administration
Separated Materials
Dwan Gallery exhibition catalogs that were donated to the Archives in 1989 were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution American Art and National Portrait Gallery Library.
Bard College's Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture holds Dwan Gallery materials related to exhibitions in the Library and Archives.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection was digitized in its entirety in 2013 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.
Processing Information
The records were fully processed and described by Jayna M. Hanson in 2008. In 2013, the papers were digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jayna M. Hanson
Sponsor
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Dwan Gallery records were donated in 1996 by Virginia Dwan, the former owner of the gallery.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Dwan Gallery records, 1959-circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Dwan 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.

Related Materials
Also found within the Archives of American Art is an interview with Virginia Dwan conducted March 21 through June 1, 1984 by Charles Stuckey.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- New York (State) -- New York -- Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- California -- Los Angeles -- Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Earthworks (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minimal art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parker, Raymond, 1922- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weber, John, 1932-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Snelson, Kenneth, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flavin, Dan, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andre, Carl, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Saint-Phalle, Niki de, 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kienholz, Edward, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mitchell, Joan, 1926-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Klein, Yves, 1928-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morris, Robert, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scarpitta, Salvatore, 1919- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithson, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richenburg, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dwan, Virginia Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Raysse, Martial, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rivers, Larry, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arman, 1928-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arakawa, Shusaku, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goodnough, Robert, 1917- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dwan Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anastasi, William, 1933- 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/