Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the James Cohan Gallery Records Relating to Robert Smithson, circa 1960s-2018, bulk 1998-2014, in the Archives of American Art

Collection ID:
James Cohan Gallery
bulk 1998-2014
circa 1960s-2016
Physical Description:
5 Linear feet
21.8 Gigabytes
The James Cohan Gallery records relating to Robert Smithson measure 5.0 linear feet and 21.8 Gigabytes, and date from circa 1960s-2018, bulk 1998-2014. The records consist of the correspondence, loans and consignment records, exhibition files, artwork and project documentation, inventories, writings, press files, and the photographic material related to artworks created by artist Robert Smithson.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The James Cohan Gallery records relating to Robert Smithson measure 5.0 linear feet and 21.8 Gigabytes, and date from circa 1960s-2018, bulk 1998-2014. The correspondence series is primarily with institutions or collectors and includes publication requests and prospective book projects. The loans and consignments series includes documents arranging terms for prospective sale or loan for exhibition with a variety of international private collections and institutions including galleries and museums. The exhibition files include documentation related to the organizing of exhibitions including those held at James Cohan Gallery, as well as large retrospective exhibitions that received the gallery's planning support. The artwork and project files include documentation of both recreated and historic works by Smithson, and features photographs and video documentation, certificates of authenticity, condition reports, and conservation records.
The inventories series includes a range of lists related to Smithson's Estate including storage inventories, Smithson's library inventory compiled shortly after his death, checklists, and lists of works for sale, among others. The writings series includes both copies of original writing by Smithson including work descriptions and certificates of authenticity, as well as articles and presentations by others, including Nancy Holt, and a symposium held at Whitney Museum of American Art in 2005. Also included are copies of notes by Lawrence Alloway on Smithson. The press files series contains both original clippings and copies of published articles on Smithson maintained since 1968, and presumably was transferred from John Weber Gallery and then maintained. The photographic material series includes copies of slides and photographs of both Smithson and his artworks and projects.

The collection is arranged in 8 series:
  • Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1983-2016 (0.2 Linear feet, Box 1)
  • Series 2: Loans and Consignments (1.1 Linear feet: Boxes 1-2; 2.1 Gigabytes: ER001)
  • Series 3: Exhibition Files, circa 1997-2003 (0.7 Linear feet: Box 2; 3 Gigabytes: ER03-ER04)
  • Series 4: Artwork and Project Documentation, circa 1969-2016 (5.11 Gigabytes: ER005-ER014, ER024-ER026; 0.5 Linear feet: Box 3)
  • Series 5: Inventories, circa 1970-2015 (0.6 Linear feet: Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 6: Writings (10.6 Gigabytes: ER015-ER016; 0.1 Linear feet: Box 4)
  • Series 7: Press Files, circa 1968-2014 (1.3 Linear feet: Boxes 4-5)
  • Series 8: Photographic Material, circa 1960-2015 (0.5 Linear feet: Box 5; 2.01 Gigabytes: ER017-ER023)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The James Cohan Gallery (1999- ) is an art gallery in Manhattan, New York. The gallery represents the estate of Robert Smithson. Robert Smithson (1938-1973) was a pioneer of land and earthworks art. He was also a noted sculptor, painter, writer, and lecturer working primarily in New York City.

Ryan Evans
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 2021 by James Cohan.

Using the Collection
Terms of 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. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
James Cohan Gallery records relating to Robert Smithson, circa 1960s-2018, bulk 1998-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds the Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers and the Nancy Holt estate records.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Earthworks (Art) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithson, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Holt, Nancy, 1938-2014 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alloway, Lawrence, 1926-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
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Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001