O'Brien Galleries records

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.obrigall
Creators:
O'Brien Galleries (Chicago, Ill.)
Dates:
1811-1970
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
3 Microfilm reels
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, business records, notes and writings, printed material, and photographs chart the gallery's history.
Scope and Contents
REELS 4180-4181: Correspondence from artists, patrons, and others (1811-1952) includes 8 letters from Winslow Homer (1898-1902). Business records include financial and legal documents (1857-1941), name lists and lists of paintings sold, painting and print registers (1898-1954), and minutes from corporation meetings (1901-1941). Howard O'Brien's writings include poems (1909-1944), some illustrated with photographs; a script "Cherchez La Femme"; and a typescript "The Long Trail". Printed material includes advertisements, clippings (1900-1970), exhibition catalogs (1921-1924), a sale catalog, and a booklet (1927) on landscape painters of America. An album contains photographs of portraits painted by Louis Betts, an artist promoted by O'Brien. Other photographs (1885-1936) show O'Brien family members, Winslow Homer, and one of Irene Dunne (an autographed publicity shot).
Scope and Contents
REEL 4193: A scrapbook contains exhibition announcements, clippings, and brochures from Chicago (1873-1941) and Arizona (1953-1958).

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Art gallery; Chicago, Ill. and Scottsdale, Az. Chicago's first art gallery and one of the oldest family owned and operated gallery in the United States. It opened in 1855 as a frame shop, offering a variety of services to both artists and collectors. It was called by several names, including O'Brien's Art Emporium, O'Brien Art Galleries, O'Brien Galleries, House of O'Brien, and M. O'Brien & Sons. The gallery remained in Chicago until 1941, closed during the war, and resumed operation in Scottsdale, Arizona in the 1950s.
Biographical / Historical
Three generations of O'Briens (Martin, William, and William Jr.) ran the gallery before it moved to Arizona; all were committed to bringing culture and the visual arts to Chicago. O'Brien's Art Emporium was a vital factor in shaping art collections and attitudes in the city; it supported and sold work by conservative, academic painters, developing and reflecting the taste of the majority of Chicagoans.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
35mm microfilm reels 4180-4181, and 4193 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Existence and Location of Originals
Originals returned to the lenders, Stephanie Roberts and Bill Dickerson, after microfilming.
Author
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Lent for microfilming 1986 by the current owners of the gallery, Stephanie Roberts and her husband, Bill Dickerson.

Other Title
Other Title
O'Brien's Art Emporium (microfilm title)

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers -- Illinois -- Chicago Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- Illinois -- Chicago Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Betts, Louis, 1873-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Homer, Winslow, 1836-1910 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, Martin, 1834-1917 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, William Vincent, 1859-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, William Vincent, 1902-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
House of O'Brien Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
M. O'Brien & Son Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien Art Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien's Art Emporium 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/