A Finding Aid to the Little Gallery records, 1918-1985, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.littgall
Creators:
Little Gallery (Birmingham, Mich.)
Dates:
1918-1985
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
11.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The Little Gallery records measure 11.5 linear feet and date from 1918 to 1985. The collection documents Little Gallery's operations through artist, exhibition, and subject files, printed material, photographs, and one sound recording. The collection also includes personal and professional papers, photographs, and some printed material related to Marguerite (Peggy) and Albert deSalle.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Little Gallery records measure 11.5 linear feet and date from 1918 to 1985. The collection documents Little Gallery's operations through artist, exhibition, and subject files, printed material, photographs, and one sound recording. The collection also includes personal and professional papers, photographs, and some printed material related to Marguerite (Peggy) and Albert deSalle.
Artist files consist of photographs of artwork, correspondence, price lists, shipping information, biographical summaries, and some printed material pertaining to various artists represented at the Little Gallery. Two artists particularly documented in these records are Francis De Erdely and Jean Lamouroux, who were both friends of Peggy deSalle and her husband Albert.
Exhibition files contain correspondence, shipping information, price lists, inventories, publicity material, and several pieces of posterboard signage. Little Gallery's subject files consist of correspondence, photographs, financial information, printed material, and other items that relate to advertising, other galleries and museums, contributions of artwork, collectors, and more.
Peggy and Albert deSalle's personal and professional papers include papers related to Peggy's career as an artwork photographer, writings, correspondence with artists, price lists, inventories, artist biographies, and photographs that document Peggy deSalle's transition into selling the art of European craftsmen.
Printed material documents Little Gallery exhibitions and events, as well as activities of Peggy and Albert deSalle outside the gallery, artists, and events at other galleries and organizations. Also found is a deSalle family scrapbook.
Photographs are primarily of Peggy and Albert deSalle, gatherings with friends, and professional events, including interior and exterior photos of the Little Gallery.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as six series.
  • Series 1: Artist Files, 1950-1982 (Box 1-4; 4 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1956-1975 (Box 5; .4 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Subject Files,1950-1988 (Box 5-9; 4 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Peggy and Albert deSalle Personal and Professional Papers, 1918-1985 (Box 9-11; 2.3 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1922-1984 (Box 11, 13; .5 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Photographs, 1920s-1980s (Box 11-13, .4 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Established in 1950 by Marguerite (Peggy) deSalle, the Little Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan was the first gallery in the region to deal in and exhibit contemporary art. Initially deSalle primarily handled the work of local artists starting out in their careers, and the work of faculty from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. deSalle's ex-husband and close friend, artist Zoltan Sepeshy, assisted her in meeting local artists to show at the gallery. Over time, Little Gallery added the works of artists from Europe, Africa, and other parts of the United States. deSalle also established a framing gallery in the basement, and showed jewelry and pottery in addition to paintings and sculptures.
Peggy deSalle (1903-1985) was born in Hungary where she lived until her family emigrated to New York when she was six years old. As a young woman she frequented the studio of Michigan painter Paul Honore, where she met Albert deSalle and Zoltan Sepeshy. In the 1920s she worked as a photographer for William Suhr, a restorer of paintings, at the Detroit Institute of Arts. While working there, she was offered the opportunity to learn photography at various museums in Europe, particularly Germany.
In the 1940s, prior to opening the Little Gallery, deSalle worked out of her home selling art, antiques, silver, goblets, bowls, and paintings brought to the United States by German political refugees. At one point her inventory was approximately 200 works of art.
Albert deSalle served in the U.S. army and was honorably discharged in 1918. In the 1920s and 1930s, deSalle performed in the theatre and worked in a secretarial and managerial capacity for artist Paul Honore. Not long after Peggy began Little Gallery, Albert joined the gallery's staff and remained there until his death in 1964.
In 1983, Peggy donated funds for the founding of the Peggy and Albert deSalle Gallery of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Administration
Author
Christopher DeMairo
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 1985 by William E. Woolfenden as personal representative of the estate of Marguerite L. deSalle.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2021.

Using the Collection
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.
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.
Preferred Citation
Little Gallery records, 1918-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Women art dealers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- Michigan Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DeSalle, Peggy Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DeSalle, Albert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sepeshy, Zoltan, 1898-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Erdely, Francis, 1904-1959 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lamouroux, Jean 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/