A Finding Aid to the Emily Hall Tremaine Papers, circa 1890-2004, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.trememil
Creators:
Tremaine, Emily Hall, 1908-1987
Dates:
circa 1890-2004
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
8.9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of art collector Emily Hall Tremaine measure 8.9 linear feet, date from circa 1890 to 2004, and document the development of Tremaine's seminal collection of modernist, pop, and contemporary art. The papers comprise biographical material including a sound recording, personal correspondence, art collection files, artist files, exhibition loan files including a video recording, and reproduction request files. Also found are two scrapbooks documenting Tremaine's first marriage to Baron Maximilian von Romberg; and photographs of Tremaine, her family and friends, and works of art from her collection.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of art collector Emily Hall Tremaine measure 8.9 linear feet, date from circa 1890 to 2004, and document the development of Tremaine's seminal collection of modernist, pop, and contemporary art. The papers comprise biographical material including a sound recording, personal correspondence, art collection files, artist files, exhibition loan files including a video recording, and reproduction request files. Also found are two scrapbooks documenting Tremaine's first marriage to Baron Maximilian von Romberg; and photographs of Tremaine, her family and friends, and works of art from her collection.
Biographical material relates to the Hall, von Romberg, and Tremaine families, and includes a sound recording about the Tremaine family. Correspondence is with family members, including Tremaine's three husbands, her mother, and her sister Elizabeth, and includes Christmas cards with reproductions of artwork from Tremaine's collection.
Art collection files include inventory binders and document the purchase dates, prices, market value, and provenance of artwork purchased by the Tremaines. Artist files provide further detail on works by individual artists, and track the purchase, sale, trade, loan, and donation of many of those works. Of note is extensive documentation of the provenance, restoration, and sale of Piet Mondrian's Victory Boogie Woogie which was sold in 1988.
Exhibition loan files document loans from the Tremaine collection for exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Records of a 1984 Wadsworth Atheneum exhibition of artwork from the Tremaine collection include a video recording of a lecture by Philip Johnson. Requests for permission to reproduce images from the Tremaine collection document the extensive publication history of many of the works of art.
Two scrapbooks document the courtship and marriage of Emily Hall and Maximilian von Romberg and record von Romberg's passions for polo and aviation.
Photographic material primarily documents Tremaine's personal life, through portraits of Tremaine, her sister, and parents; wedding pictures from her marriage to von Romberg; photos of friends and members of Santa Barbara high society, including Clark Gable, Ruth and Walter Pidgeon, and Jeanne and Juan Reynal; and photos of the home Emily shared with von Romberg on the Brunninghausen Estate in Montecito, California. Two dismantled photograph albums include photos of artwork in the Tremaine collection.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as eight series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, circa 1910-1980 (7 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1905-1985 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Art Collection Files, circa 1950-1985 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 1, 9)
  • Series 4: Artist Files, 1936-2004 (4.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-6, 9)
  • Series 5: Exhibition Loan Files, 1960-2001 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 6-7)
  • Series 6: Reproduction Request Files, circa 1964-1989 (0.6 linear feet; Box 8)
  • Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1931-1937 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 9-10)
  • Series 8: Photographic Materials, circa 1890-1997 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 8, 10-11)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Art collector Emily Hall Tremaine (1908-1987) lived in New York City and Madison, Connecticut, and was known for having assembled one of the most noteworthy collections of post World War II art focused on modernist, pop, and contemporary artists.
Tremaine was born in Butte, Montana, to mining executive William Hubbard Hall and his wife, Elizabeth Smith Hall. Her first marriage to Baron Maximilian von Romberg was well publicized in the society pages of the time and ended with von Romberg's death in a plane accident in 1938. Tremaine's second marriage to sugar heir Adolph B. Spreckels, Jr., ended in divorce in 1940.
While Tremaine collected art in the 1930s, it was not until her 1945 marriage to industrial executive Burton Tremaine that she began acquiring works in earnest. Together, the Tremaines assembled a collection that initially focused on American and European modern artists and would eventually include emerging pop and contemporary art. Their first purchase was Piet Mondrian's unfinished painting, Victory Boogie Woogie, now owned by the Gemeentemuseum. The collection would eventually number over four hundred works of art and range from paintings by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Georges Braque to works by Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. While single pieces were sold, traded, or donated throughout Tremaine's active collecting years, the bulk of the collection was sold at auction in 1988 and 1991 to raise funds for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Tremaine died from complications of emphysema in 1987.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available on the Archives of American Art website. Items not digitized include duplicate photographic material, blank versos of photographs, and other blank pages. Some of the items in the scrapbooks were not digitized due to fragility. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had only their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized.
The sound recording in this collection was digitized for research access and is available at Archives of American Art offices.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Judy Ng in 2015, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The collection was further processed by Stephanie Ashley in 2018-2019 and was digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.
Author
Judy Ng and Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the The Brent R. Harris Charitable Fund. Funding for the digitization of the papers was provided by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Researchers are invited and encouraged to inform the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation of publication efforts at collection@tremainefoundation.org.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 2005 by Tremaine's step-grandson, Burton G. Tremaine III.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Emily Hall Tremaine papers, circa 1890-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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 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.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Emily Hall Tremaine conducted by Paul Cummings, January 24, 1973.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collectors -- Connecticut Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collectors -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wadsworth Atheneum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Von Romberg, Maximillian (Baron) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mondrian, Piet, 1872-1944 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/