Oral history interview with Edith Gregor Halpert

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.halper62
Creators:
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington), 1920-
Dates:
1962-1963
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
436 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Scope and Contents
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
Scope and Contents
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Scope and Contents
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Scope and Contents
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
35mm microfilm reel 5130 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.

General
General
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Economic aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Camouflage Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barrie, Erwin S., 1886-1983 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brackman, Robert, 1898- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bridgman, George Brant, 1864-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brixey, Richard de Wolfe Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cary, Elisabeth Luther, 1867-1936 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coleman, Glenn O., 1887-1932 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crowninshield, Frank, 1872-1947 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Daniel, Charles, 1878-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Demuth, Charles, 1883-1935 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Deskey, Donald, 1894- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dove, Arthur Garfield, 1880-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dudensing, F. Valentine, 1892-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fergusson, John Duncan, 1874-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Field, Hamilton Easter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Force, Juliana, 1876-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ford, Ford Madox,, 1873-1939 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frost, Robert, 1874-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Halpert, Samuel, 1884-1930 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hopkinson, Charles, 1869-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johns, Jasper, 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Knox, Seymour H., 1898-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kroll, Leon, 1884-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laurent, Robert, 1890-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levine, Jack, 1915-2010 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levy, Julien Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Locke, Charles, 1899- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Luks, George Benjamin, 1867-1933 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marin, John, Jr., 1915?-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McBride, Henry, 1867-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mellon, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mercer, Henry Chapman Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Montross, N. E. (Newman E), 1849-1932 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Keeffe, Georgia , 1887-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pascin, Jules, 1885-1930 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rockefeller, Abby Aldrich Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robinson, Edward G., 1893-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Saarinen, Aline B. (Aline Bernstein), 1914-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Saklatwalla, Beram K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Siporin, Mitchell, 1910-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soutine, Chaim, 1893-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stella, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stern, Louis E., 1886-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tannahill, Robert Hudson Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vollard, Ambroise, 1867-1939 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weber, Max, 1881-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wittenberg, Philip, 1895-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zorach, William, 1887-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zorach, Marguerite, 1887-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Daniel Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ferargil Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grand Central Art Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
M. Knoedler & Co. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Montross Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate 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/