Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the Stanley and Elyse Grinstein Papers, 1937-2010, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.grinstan
Creators:
Grinstein, Stanley, 1927-2014
Grinstein, Elyse, 1929-2016
Dates:
circa 1937-2020
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
15.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of Stanley and Elyse Grinstein date from circa 1937-2020 and measure 15.5 linear feet. The collection documents the role the Grinsteins played in nurturing and promoting the Los Angeles art scene from circa 1960-2010s through personal friendships with area artists, through the co-founding of artist editions publishing business Gemini G.E.L., and in their art collecting activities. Records include biographical material, artist files including substantive letters and postcards from notable artists, musicians, writers and architects, a small amount of documentation relating to Gemini G.E.L. and Elyse Grinstein's architectural work, printed material, and a few photographs. There is a 14.2 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes biographical material; files on artists; personal photographs and slides of artists and events including Daniel Buren, Carl Andre, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Judy Chicago, Lloyd Hamrol, Vija Celmins, Larry Bell, Doug Wheeler, James Lee Byars, Guy Dill, Laddie Dill, John Altoon, Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, John Coplans, DeWain Valentine, and many more; personal correspondence with James Lee Byars and other artists; audiovisual material regarding William Wegman, Lynda Benglis, and many more; published material including magazines and magazine clippings regardingn artists and the Grinsteins; documentation regarding the Grinstein's art collection; and project plans and blueprints related to Elyse's career as an architect. Materials date from circa 1937-2020.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Stanley and Elyse Grinstein date from circa 1937-2020 and measure 15.5 linear feet. The collection documents the role the Grinsteins played in nurturing and promoting the Los Angeles art scene from circa 1960-2010s through personal friendships with area artists, through the co-founding of artist editions publishing business Gemini G.E.L., and in their art collecting activities. Records include biographical material, artist files including substantive letters and postcards from notable artists, musicians, writers and architects, a small amount of documentation relating to Gemini G.E.L. and Elyse Grinstein's architectural work, printed material, and a few photographs.
Biographical material and letters includes records of Elyse Grinstein's education in architecture, records of parties and events at the Grinstein home from the 1980s on, and letters demonstrating the family's involvement in philanthropic and political causes. Artist files include at least one or two items, and often more, from artists, writers, composers, and performers such as letters, illustrated letters and cards, printed material, and photos indicative of the extent to which the Grinsteins were at the heart of the West Coast art scene from the 1960s on, and the warmth of the friendships the Grinsteins enjoyed with many of the artists represented in the files.
Records related to professional activities highlight some of Elyse Grinstein's other work and include a few items from Gemini G.E.L. Printed material documents exhibitions of artists including Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray, and others, the collecting activities of the Grinsteins, and their connections to art and performance groups such as improvisational dance group Grand Union, and the Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad. A few photographs picture artists including Lloyd Hamrol, George Herms, and choreographer Steve Paxton.
There is a 14.2 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes biographical material; files on artists; personal photographs and slides of artists and events including Daniel Buren, Carl Andre, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Judy Chicago, Lloyd Hamrol, Vija Celmins, Larry Bell, Doug Wheeler, James Lee Byars, Guy Dill, Laddie Dill, John Altoon, Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, John Coplans, DeWain Valentine, and many more; personal correspondence with James Lee Byars and other artists; audiovisual material regarding William Wegman, Lynda Benglis, and many more; published material including magazines and magazine clippings regardingn artists and the Grinsteins; documentation regarding the Grinstein's art collection; and project plans and blueprints related to Elyse's career as an architect. Materials date from circa 1937-2020.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material and Letters, 1937-2008 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Artist Files, circa 1961-2010 (Box 1, OV 3; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Professional Activities, 1937-1990s (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1964-circa 1988 (Boxes 1-2, OV 3; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Photographs, circa 1960s-circa 1970s (Box 2; 8 folders)
  • Series 6: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1937-2020 (Boxes 4-20, OV 21-24; 14.2 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Los Angeles art collectors and philanthropists Stanley and Elyse Grinstein were known for their patronage of West Coast artists for over forty years and were important catalysts of the nascent Los Angeles art scene.
Following their marriage in 1952, the Grinsteins began collecting art as a way to pursue a shared hobby. Stanley Grinstein (1927-2014) was the proprietor of a forklift business and Elyse Grinstein (1929-2016) had been an elementary school teacher. The couple co-founded Gemini G.E.L., which published artist editions, with Rosamund and Sidney B. Felsen in 1966. Through celebrated collaborations with Josef Albers, David Hockney, Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, and many others, the studio quickly became the West Coast destination for innovative printmaking.
In addition to having a passion for art, Elyse Grinstein was also an architect who earned her master's degree in architecture from the University of California Los Angeles in the 1970s, graduating at the age of 50. She interned with close friend Frank O. Gehry before forming her own company, Grinstein/Daniels, Inc., with Jeffrey Daniels. Her subsequent work included remodeling David Hockney's Hollywood Hills home, remodeling areas of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) campus after the 1994 earthquake, and designing the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant with partner Jeff Daniels in L.A.'s Koreatown. Elyse Grinstein was also a philanthropist who raised money relentlessly for art and medical institutions, and devoted time to political campaigns and other causes.
In 1965 the Grinsteins bought a house in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles and moved with their three daughters to the Rockingham Avenue home. In the ensuing years they hosted legendary parties and receptions for their friends in the art world, providing an environment that fostered the relationships and emerging ideas of the burgeoning West coast art scene and helped introduce Los Angeles artists to a wide network of East Coast and international artists. The couple also offered invaluable practical support, that often enabled artists to keep working, buying work they loved for their home, providing other occasional financial assistance, and offering free accommodation and a place to work for their out-of-town artist, writer, and musician friends.

Administration
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2022. The 2022 donation of additional papers has not been processed.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 2017 and 2022 by the Grinstein family, via Ayn Grinstein, Ellen Grinstein Perliter, and Nancy Grinstein, executors.
Existence and Location of Copies
A portion of the collection was digitized in 2022 and is available on the Archives of American Art website.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is temporarily closed to researchers due to archival processing. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is the William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings collection donated in 2017 by the Grinstein family, via Ayn Grinstein, Ellen Grinstein Perliter, and Nancy Grinstein, executors.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- California -- Los Angeles Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architects -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philanthropists -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collectors -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printers -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women architects Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gehry, Frank O., 1929- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glass, Philip Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gemini G.E.L. (Firm) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hockney, David 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