A Finding Aid to the David Herbert papers, circa 1909-1996, bulk 1945-1995, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.herbdavi
Creators:
Herbert, David, 1920-1995
Dates:
circa 1909-1996
bulk 1945-1995
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
5.8 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert measure 5.8 linear feet and date from circa 1909-1996, with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1995. Herbert's papers document his years working for Betty Parsons Gallery, Sidney Janis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and others; the operation of the David Herbert Gallery from 1959-1962; Herbert's partnerships and agreements with Richard Feigen and others; and his activities as an independent dealer. Records include biographical material, correspondence, notebooks, subject files, artist files, exhibition files, business records, printed material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert measure 5.8 linear feet and date from circa 1909-1996, with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1995. Herbert's papers document his years working for Betty Parsons Gallery, Sidney Janis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and others; the operation of the David Herbert Gallery from 1959-1962; Herbert's partnerships and agreements with Richard Feigen and others; and his activities as an independent dealer. Records include biographical material, correspondence, notebooks, subject files, artist files, exhibition files, business records, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material includes address books and calendars, educational records, records of Herbert's military service in the United States Naval Construction Battalion in Japan, and resume's charting his career.
Correspondence is with Herbert's parents, friends, business colleagues, and artists. It includes documentation of Herbert's partnership with Richard Feigen, and his cooperative work with Irving Blum and Walter Hopps of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London. Also documented are Herbert's relationship with Jaime Andrade and Andrade's family, and a lawsuit Herbert brought against Aaron Berman relating to the ownership of an Ellsworth Kelly drawing. There are scattered letters and postcards from artists and collectors, including Martin Blaszko, Lloyd Cotsen, Martin Hoffman, Ray Johnson, Josephine Merck, Alfonso Ossorio, Paul Sorel, and Clyfford Still.
Notebooks provide brief notes on Herbert's day-to-day business dealings. Subject files, consisting primarily of printed material, document Herbert's interests in several art world figures, subjects such as ancient art, and travel to locations such as Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Greece.
Exhibition files include installation shots and catalogs for many of the exhibitions held at the David Herbert Gallery between 1959 and 1962.
Artist files document Herbert's interest in individual artists, such as William Draper, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Sven Lukin, Edgar Negret, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Padovano, Eduardo Ramirez, and Jeanne Reynal, through printed material, photographs of artwork, scattered artist letters, and sales documentation.
Business records document the financial details and overall goals of Herbert's various business ventures. There is a sales book for Betty Parsons Gallery and Sidney Janis Gallery; Herbert's appraisal, consignment, commission, sales, and loan records; Herbert's business plans and projections; financial statements from the David Herbert Gallery; sales records for Graham Gallery; and records of Herbert's partnership with Douglas McKelvy.
Printed material includes announcements and catalogs from galleries Herbert worked for or collaborated with, including Graham Gallery, Betty Parsons Gallery, Feigen/Herbert Gallery, Stewart Neill Gallery, and Robert Fraser Gallery. Also found are obituaries and other new clippings of interest to Herbert.
Photographs are of Herbert, family members, and friends and colleagues, including his companion, Jaime Andrade, Leona Carrington, William Draper, Jon Carsman, Hans Namuth, and Leon Polk Smith. Many are color snapshots collected in two photographs albums. Also found are photographs taken in Japan and Iwo Jima in 1945-1946 of street scenes, Naval Construction Battalion facilities, and Herbert's army colleagues and friends.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as nine series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1920-circa 1995 (0.7 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-1996 (1 linear foot; Boxes 1-2)
  • Series 3: Notebooks, circa 1950s-circa 1995 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 4: Subject Files, 1950s-1992 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
  • Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1959-1963 (0.25 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 6: Artist Files, 1950s-1993 (0.75 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 7: Business Records, 1950s-1992 (0.6 linear feet; Box 4)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1949-circa 1995 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 5-7)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1909-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 7)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
New York gallery owner and art dealer, David Herbert (1920-1995, born David Herbert Schmerer), worked for a number of important galleries in New York, had his own eponymous gallery from 1959-1962, operated as a private dealer, and was in partnership with dealer Richard Feigen from 1962-1964.
Herbert served in the United States Naval Construction Battalion from 1943-1946 and was posted to Japan in 1945-1946. After receiving a BA in art history from Syracuse University in 1951, he worked for Betty Parsons Gallery (1951-1953) and Sidney Janis Gallery (1953-1959), selling the work of contemporary American painters and sculptors, handling publicity, and installing exhibitions.
Herbert forged strong connections with artists and collectors alike, and was instrumental in launching the careers of a number of important artists. One such artist was Ellsworth Kelly, whom he recommended to Parsons, triggering Kelly's New York career. He opened the David Herbert Gallery in 1959, with investment from Douglas McKelvy, promoting the works of artists including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Louise Nevelson, to leading collectors and museums.
Herbert often worked in cooperation with colleagues Irving Blum and Walter Hobbs in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London. After closing his gallery in 1962, Herbert entered a partnership with dealer Richand Feigen, operating the Feigen/Herbert Gallery from 1962-1964. From 1964-1969 he worked as a private dealer specializing in twentieth century works of art and serving as a consultant to collectors, museums, artists, and corporate interests. From 1969-1975 he was Director and Art Salesman of contemporary and 19th Century American Art at Graham Gallery. Herbert subsequently continued as a private dealer from 1975 until his death.
Herbert traveled extensively, visiting museums, collectors, and galleries in England, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Hawaii, and Japan. Through Edgar Negret, whom Herbert represented, he met Jaime Andrade, who became his assistant at the Feigen/Herbert Gallery in 1963. In turn Andrade shared with Herbert an interest in pre-Columbian art and contemporary Spanish and Latin America art, hosting multiple visits to his native Ecuador by Herbert and others, including artist William Draper.
Andrade served as executor of Herbert's estate, following Herbert's death in 1995.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Stephanie Ashley in 2017 using accelerated processing strategies implemented by the Archives to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The David Herbert papers were given to the Archives of American Art by Jaime Andrade, Herbert's companion, in 1999.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The David Herbert 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.
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.
Preferred Citation
David Herbert papers, circa 1909-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greece -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ecuador -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Puerto Rico -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japan -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iwo Jima (Japan) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
David Herbert Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berman, Aaron Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blaszko, Martin, 1920- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lukin, Sven Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andrade, Jaime, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blum, Irving, 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Namuth, Hans Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carrington, Leona Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merck, Josephine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cotsen, Lloyd E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McKelvy, Douglas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carsman, Jon, 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Draper, William F., 1912- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ossorio, Alfonso, 1916-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Negret, Edgar, 1920-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feigen, Richard L., 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sorel, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fraser, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hoffman, Martin Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Leon Polk, 1906-1996 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Ray, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hopps, Walter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Betty Parsons Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Padovano, Anthony Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robert Fraser Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reynal, Jeanne, 1903- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sidney Janis Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kelly, Ellsworth, 1923- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stewart Neill Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ramirez, Eduardo 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/