A Finding Aid to the Esther Bear Gallery Records, 1928-1985, bulk 1954-1977, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.estebeag
Creators:
Esther Bear Gallery (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Dates:
bulk 1954-1977
1928-1985
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
5.7 Linear feet
Repository:
The records of Santa Barbara, California art gallery, Esther Bear Gallery, measure 5.7 linear feet and date from 1928 to 1985, with the bulk of the records dating from 1954 to 1977. The collection comprises administrative records that include exhibition files, photographs, records documenting the gallery's operations, and files for the Donald Bear Collection and Endowment Fund; professional correspondence with artists, clients, and galleries regarding exhibitions, sales and loans, and other business dealings; and artist files for Thomas Cornell, Antonio Frasconi, Ynez Johnston, Miguel Marina, Alfred Martinez, and Nina de Creeft Ward, among others.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The records of Santa Barbara, California art gallery, Esther Bear Gallery measure 5.7 linear feet and date from 1928 to 1985, with the bulk of the records dating from 1954 to 1977. The collection comprises administrative records that include exhibition files, photographs, records documenting the gallery's operations, and files for the Donald Bear Collection and Endowment Fund; professional correspondence with artists, clients, and galleries regarding exhibitions, sales and loans, and other business dealings; and artist files for Thomas Cornell, Antonio Frasconi, Ynez Johnston, Miguel Marina, Alfred Martinez, and Nina de Creeft Ward, among others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as three series.
  • Series 1: Administrative Records, 1941-1981 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 8)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1975 (0.5 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 3: Artist's Files, 1941-1982 (3.7 linear feet; Boxes 3-7, OV 8)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Esther Bear Gallery was a commercial art gallery located in Santa Barbara, California, that specialized in contemporary art. The gallery exhibited artists such as Leonard Baskin, Antonio Frasconi, Rico Lebrun, Lee Mullican, Nina de Creeft Ward, Cady Wells, and other prominent artists including Donald Bear, husband of the gallery's owner Esther Bear and director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from 1940 to 1952. Esther Bear retired in 1977.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on 35mm microfilm reels 3986-3987. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2021.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Esther Bear Gallery records were donated by Esther Bear in 1978 and 1987.

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.
Preferred Citation
Esther Bear Gallery records, 1928-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Donald Bear papers, 1923-1960.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women art dealers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- California Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frasconi, Antonio Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnston, Ynez, 1920- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Martinez, Alfred Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ward, Nina de Creeft Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bear, Donald, 1905-1952 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/