The papers of social realist painter, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 25.0 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.
The papers of painter, printmaker, and illustrator Bernarda Bryson Shahn measure 14.6 linear feet and date from 1872 to 2004, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1904-2004. Found within the papers are family and biographical materials, correspondence, writings including sound recordings of lectures by the Shahns, voluminous notebooks, five diaries, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, seven scrapbooks, one sketchbook and other art work, and photographs. Although the bulk of the collection documents Bernarda's work, there are materials about or created by Ben Shahn scattered throughout the collection. There is a 2.7 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated 2011 that includes administrative files regarding Bernarda Shahn's work on the board of Skowhegan correspondence of both Bernarda and Ben Shahn; an inventory ledger with names of works of art by Ben Shahn; a scrapbook regarding Ben Shan's work in Japan; photographs of Ben and Bernarda Shahn and images of works of art by Ben Shahn; sketchbooks and notebooks by Ben and Bernarda Shahn; and printed material.
The scattered records of the New York contemporary American art Eva Lee Gallery measure 4.0 linear feet and date from 1921-1973. Artist files contain provenance notes, photographs of artwork, records of sales and consignments, exhibition catalogs from other galleries, and reference information on numerous contemporary artists, many represented by the gallery. There are also scattered letters and artwork from artists, scattered sales records of J.B. Neuman's New Art Circle Gallery, and a photocopy of an auction catalog for Korvettes Art Galleries in Douglastan, New York. A significant amount of information is found within the collection about Alexander Calder, Lovis Corinth, Salvadore Dali, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz, Robert Indiana, Harry Lieberman, Rene Magritte, John Marin, Lowell Nesbitt, Ben Shahn, Victor Vasarely, and Max Weber.
The papers of Mildred Constantine measure 5.3 linear feet and are dated 1945-2009. Subject files, writings, photographs, and a scrapbook provide an overview of her curatorial work in the Architecture and Design department of the Museum of Modern Art, and subsequent activities as an independent curator, and art consultant. Especially well documented is Whole Cloth, a book written with Laurel Reuter that presents an historical overview of how artists have used cloth in their work.
Correspondence with artists kept by Russell Lynes in his capacity as managing editor of Harper's Magazine, measures one linear foot and dates from 1946 to 1965. The files consist primarily of correspondence with young artists and illustrators wishing to submit material to the magazine. Biographical notes from the magazine's "Personal and Otherwise" column about the artists whose material was accepted, clippings, scattered original artwork, and printed reproductions of artwork, are also included.
The Boris Mirski Gallery records measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1936-2000, bulk 1945-1972. They include gallery administrative files; artist files including correspondence, exhibition and loan paperwork as well as photographic documentation of artwork; gallery correspondence; financial materials including outgoing and incoming invoices and sales records; printed materials promoting the gallery and its artists; press materials; and a number of photographs of Boris Mirski at events and with others, as well as photographs of artwork. Artists particularly well represented in the collection include David Aronson, Leonard Baskin, Hyman Bloom, Esther Geller, Rico Lebrun, Michael Mazur, Arthur Polonsky, Ben Shahn, Mitchell Siporin, Barbara Swan, and Karl Zerbe.
Interviews of 72 artists, and transcripts for all but five, conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz, the Associate Curator for the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum, between 1965 and 1968. The artists discuss their work in the museum collection. Also included are 38 edited excerpts of the interviews, approximately 2-3 min. in length, used as "audio-labels" in the 1968 "Listening to Pictures" installation at the museum.
The papers of New York City and Gainesville, Florida based painter Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1939-2015. The collection documents Mesches' politically-engaged career and work process through biographical material, correspondence, writings, gallery and exhibition files, project files, subject files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material. Project files comprise a bulk of the collection and include grant files, activism files, project notebooks, and over 100 art project files containing drawings, source material, and photographic material for individual artworks.
The papers of New York painter and muralist George Biddle (1885-1973), measure 0.76 linear feet and date from circa 1910-1970. The collection includes a certificate signed by President Harry Truman, transcripts of Biddle's diaries, a manuscript of a memoir about meeting President Franklin Roosevelt, three letters from William Hunt Diederich's daughter, transcripts of letters from Bernard Berenson, sketches and mural studies, and two glass plate negatives.
The Dorothy Gees Seckler collection of sound recordings relating to art and artists measures 1.6 linear feet and dates from 1962 to 1976. Recordings include 17 interviews conducted by Seckler, one interview by John Jones, and 17 additional recordings of mostly contemporary art-related programs and interviews taped from radio and television broadcasts. Recordings are on 26 sound cassettes and 25 sound tape reels.