A Finding Aid to the Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.gersotto
Creators:
Gerson, Otto
Gerson, Ilse, 1901-1980
Dates:
1933-1980
Languages:
English
Collection is in English, French and German.
English; French; German
Physical Description:
3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.
Biographical material consists of Otto and Ilse Gerson's naturalization certificates and Ilse Gerson's will.
Correspondence includes a mixture of personal and professional letters. There are a few scattered letters between Otto and Ilse Gerson as well as correspondence with clients, museums, dealers, and artists. Notable correspondents include art dealer Curt Valentin and the artist Gerhard Marcks. There is also correspondence with the Dina Vierny Gallery in Paris, France.
There is a small number of files on the Joseph Mallord William Turner exhibition at Gerson Gallery in 1960 which include correspondence, loan forms, and printed material.
Artists' files contain correspondence, estimates, inventories, sales records, and printed material for art work by five different artists such as Jacques Lipchitz, David Smith, and Fritz Wotruba.
Collectors' files include correspondence, invoices, photographs, and other material related to purchases by various art collectors.
Business records consist of purchase and sales records, audit reports, balance sheets, certificates of authenticity, a sales ledger, and legal documents regarding the business conducted by Fine Arts Associates and Otto Gerson Gallery, and legal agreements and contracts related to the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery merger.
Inventory and stock records include assorted art inventories, a stock book, and stock cards for artists.
Printed material includes a few Gerson Gallery exhibition catalogs and clippings of exhibition reviews.
Photographs consists of a few snapshots of Otto and Ilse Gerson and images of gallery installations.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1933-1973 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1980 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Turner Exhibition Files, 1960-1961 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 4: Artists' Files, 1950-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
  • Series 5: Collectors' Files, 1956-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 6: Business Records, circa 1945-1964 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 7: Inventory and Stock Records, 1946-1965 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1951-1962 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1945-circa 1960 (2 folders; Box 3)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Otto Gerson was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where he met and married Ilse Goehler in 1939. They both became U.S. citizens and together they rose to prominence as art dealers in New York City, circa 1940-1962, bringing works by noted post-war European (and some American) artists to the American market.
The Gersons also owned and operated galleries in New York, including Fine Arts Associates and Gerson Gallery. The Gerson Gallery was located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City and later merged with another gallery to form the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery around 1963, shortly after Otto Gerson's death.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The bulk of collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4049-4053 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. 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
This collection was processed by Rihoko Ueno in 2017.
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Otto and Ilse Gerson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1984 by Indian Head Bank North on behalf of Otto and Ilse Gerson.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Otto and Ilse Gerson 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
Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallery owners Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Otto Gerson Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turner, J. M. W. (Joseph Mallord William), 1775-1851 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marlborough-Gerson Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Galerie Dina Vierny Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, David, 1906-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fine Arts Associates Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marcks, Gerhard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Valentin, Curt, 1902-1954 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wotruba, Fritz, 1907-1975 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/