A Finding Aid to the Balcomb and Gertrude Greene Papers,
circa 1880s-2009 , in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Balcomb (1904-1990) and his wife Gertrude (1904-1956) were painters in New York, N.Y. John Wesley Greene (known professionally as Balcomb Greene), born May 22, 1904 in Millville, New York, was the youngest child of Reverend Bertram Stillman Greene, a Methodist minister. After his wife died in 1907, Reverend Greene and the children moved several times when he accepted assignments at small town churches in Iowa, South Dakota, and Colorado.
The recipient of a scholarship for sons of Methodist ministers, Greene entered Syracuse University in 1922, intending to become a minister. He studied philosophy, psychology, literature, and art, eventually deciding to pursue a career as a writer. When visiting the Metropolitan Museum during his senior year, Greene was introduced to Gertrude Glass by her cousin. They married soon after his graduation in 1926.
The newlyweds moved to Austria where he had a fellowship to study psychology at the University of Vienna. Greene was very interested in Freud's work and hoped to become his student; although he attended Freud's lectures and met the eminent psychologist once, this ambition was not realized. After returning to New York in 1927, Greene began studying for a master's degree in English literature at Columbia University. He specialized in the novel, and wrote three (none were published). When his thesis about prostitutes as portrayed in seventeenth century literature was submitted, Greene's major professor was on sabbatical; although the subject had been approved, the interim replacement rejected it as unsuitable. Greene left Columbia without obtaining a degree.
Greene then accepted a position at Dartmouth College where he taught literature from 1928-1931. The Greenes spent summers together in the city and visited frequently throughout the academic year. He continued writing and in 1930 began painting. Because there were already two artists named John Green then in New York, Greene soon adopted the name Balcomb (his maternal grandmother's maiden name). Although he was known as Balcomb for the remainder of his life, his name was never changed legally.
Balcomb Greene's first solo exhibition was held at Dartmouth College in 1931. After his resignation from the Dartmouth faculty in 1931, Balcomb and Gertrude spent a year in Paris. She found a studio and set to work. He planned to write, but was distracted by the desire to paint. He began independent study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and in 1932 exhibited his work in Paris. Throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s Greene produced very flat geometric abstractions, adding biomorphic and anthropomorphic forms over time. By the mid-1940s, he found himself bored by pure abstraction and introduced figures, focusing on mass and space rather than line.
Greene quickly established himself as an artist, developed a wide circle of friends and was recognized as a leader of the abstract movement. He and Gertrude were both drawn to political causes that affected artists; along with friends they began the Unemployed Artists' Group (which later became the Artists' Union) and staged public demonstrations demanding government assistance so that artists would not be completely dependent on private patronage. He published articles in Art Front, the magazine of the Artist's Union, and served on its editorial board between 1935 and 1936. Balcomb and Gertrude Greene were among the founding members of American Abstract Artists; he served as the group's first chairman.
Like many artists during the Great Depression, Balcomb Greene found it very difficult to maintain a steady income. During this period he held many different jobs, among them: writing for the sensationalist newspapers Broadway Brevities and Graft, serving on the crew of a schooner searching for pirate gold in the South Pacific, and working at the non-profit Emily Francis Contemporary Gallery. Eventually, he secured a teaching position with the Federal Art Project. He later switched to the mural section where assignments included painting murals for the Williamsburg Housing Project in Brooklyn and the Federal Hall of Medicine at the 1939 World's Fair, and designing a stained glass window for a school in the Bronx.
Because he did not want to support his career by teaching painting, in 1940 Balcomb Greene began graduate work in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He earned a master's degree in 1942 and that same year began teaching history of art and culture at Carnegie Institute of Technology, a position he held until 1959. Gertrude set up a studio in their Pittsburgh home, but continued to maintain her New York studio, commuting between the two cities until war conditions made the trip too difficult. They returned to New York each summer, and in 1947 bought property on Long Island at Montauk Point where Balcomb constructed a modern house of cement blocks.
In addition to teaching and painting, Greene continued to write. Several articles about art and philosophy appeared between 1936 and 1950 in publications such as Art Front, College Art Journal, Art News, and Art Journal. He also wrote many poems. During his tenure at Carnegie Tech Balcomb Greene worked on but did not complete a book tentatively titled "The Villain and the School" and formulated ideas for another.
While Gertrude was terminally ill with cancer, and after her death in 1956, Balcomb reduced his teaching commitments, staying in Pittsburgh for only one semester each year. After retiring in 1959, he painted at Montauk and traveled. While in Paris, Greene met journalist Terryn Trimpen, whom he married in 1961.
Balcomb Greene was represented by Bertha Schaefer Gallery, Saidenberg Gallery and ACA Gallery, in New York, and by the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, Florida. He exhibited widely, participating in the annual exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Art Institute of Chicago, and in group shows at the Walker Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, and other venues. Solo shows included exhibitions at the Forum Gallery, ACA Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Fairweather-Hardin Gallery, Chicago; and the Oceanographic Institute and Harmon-Meeks Gallery in Florida. Greene's work is in the permanent collections of many museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
During the last five years of his life, Balcomb Greene was in frail health and unable to paint. He died November 12, 1990 at his Montauk Point home.
Gertrude Glass (who worked as an artist using her married name Gertrude Greene) was the daughter of Siegfried and Berta Glass, prosperous Latvian immigrants who owned a Brooklyn department store. At age 18, Gertrude and an older sister left home and organized a pre-school. From 1924 to 1928, Gertrude attended evening sculpture classes at the newly opened Leonardo Da Vinci Art School, a very traditional school in Manhattan that offered free instruction. Although the school itself was conservative, there Gertrude met and identified with a group of fairly radical students who were interested in the abstract art then emerging.
Glass and Greene were married in 1926 and spent the next year in Vienna. Upon returning to New York, she continued to make sculpture. Once they relocated to New Hampshire Gertrude was able to have her own sculpture studio. New Hampshire did not suit her and she gradually drifted back to the art world of New York. After Balcomb resigned from the Dartmouth faculty in 1931, the couple spent a year in Paris. They met many artists and frequented galleries where they saw the latest contemporary art. Gertrude worked on her sculpture and Balcomb, who had planned to write, began concentrating on painting; this was the only time the two shared a studio. When they moved to Pittsburgh, Gertrude kept her New York studio, expecting to commute regularly between the two cities, but war constraints soon made that plan impractical.
Gertrude Greene was active in liberal political causes, especially ones that affected artists and encouraged the formation of WPA programs to help struggling artists. She was an active member of the Federation of Painters and Sculptors, the Artists' Union, and a founding member of American Abstract Artists. As AAA's first paid employee, Gertrude served as gallery attendant. Before moving to Pittsburgh, both Greenes were very active on AAA committees, worked to further acceptance of abstract art, and picketed on many occasions. Typical of AAA actions was a 1937 demonstration against Museum of Modern Art exhibition policies that gave short shrift to abstract work by American artists.
Gertrude Greene was among the very earliest of American artists - quite possibly the first - to produce non-objective relief sculptures in the early 1930s. Over time, she absorbed Cubist tradition and ideas of the Russian Constructivists, synthesizing them into her own work. By the 1940s, she had become interested in Mondrian and Neo-Plasticism, influences that are reflected in her constructions of the period. Her final sculpture was produced in 1946 and for the remainder of her career she focused exclusively on abstract painting.
She participated in many group exhibitions, the first of which was at Wildenstein Gallery in 1945. Grace Borgenicht Gallery presented the first solo exhibition of Gertrude Greene's work in 1952, and another was held at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in 1955. In 1982, there was a major retrospective of her work at ACA Gallery. Gertrude Greene's work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass.
Gertrude Greene's health began deteriorating in 1956; eventually, cancer was diagnosed. Later that year, on November 25, she died at a New York City hospital.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Balcomb and Gertrude Greene papers, circa 1880s-2009, bulk circa 1905-1990, measure 9.8 linear feet. Balcomb Greene's career as a painter, educator, and writer - and to a lesser extent his personal life - is documented by biographical material, letters, subject files,writings, artwork, audio-visual recordings, printed material, and photographs. Documentation about sculptor Gertrude Greene, from 1926 until her death in 1956, consists of printed material, photographs, two letters to her, and a brief handwritten list of paintings and constructions.
All biographical material relates to Balcomb Greene. Letters are almost exclusively incoming letters; two copies of outgoing letters written by Terryn Greene are included. Those addressed to Balcomb Greene regard articles, his will, an appraisal of a painting by him, and greeting cards with notes from friends. The two letters addressed to Gertrude Greene are photocopies. One from A. E. Gallatin concerns her work selected for the permanent collection of the Museum of Living Art at New York University; the other, a fragment from an unidentified correspondent, is about American Abstract Artists dues and exhibitions. The letters addressed to Terryn Greene concern her husband's career or mention him.
Subject files relate to activities and topics of interest to Greene or aspects of Greene's career; some concern estate matters. Of particular interest are: "Balcomb and Gertrude Greene in the WPA," consisting of Terryn Greene's research correspondence on the subject; and a file documenting a Judith Rothschild Foundation grant for conservation of paintings damaged in the 1996 fire that destroyed Balcomb Greene's studio.
Writings are by Balcomb Greene, Gertrude Greene, and other authors. Balcomb's writings include articles, novels, short stories, poems, journal entries, lecture notes, student writings, and a thesis. Gertrude Greene's writings consist of a handwritten list of paintings and constructions, noting the dimensions, date, and price of each piece. The writings of other authors are about Balcomb and Gertrude Greene. They include notes for an interview, a poem, student papers, and a thesis.
Art work consists of a collage probably by Balcomb Greene, and a sketchbook containing two of his drawings dated January 1976. Another drawing is signed [H?.] R. Balcomb Greene's register of paintings documents each completed painting on a separate sheet containing a small photograph or sketch, title, date of execution, and code or negative number, along with notes relating to exhibitions, loans, and ownership; some sheets bear the notation "destroyed." The register is incomplete, and the surviving portion bears evidence of the 1996 fire that gutted his studio. The least damaged portion documents works from 1941-1948, 1963-1964, and 1980-1982; the remaining part of the register consists of partial pages that are missing titles, dates of execution, or other salient information.
Exhibition catalogs and articles from newspapers and periodicals represent the majority of the printed material about or mentioning Balcomb and Gertrude Greene. In addition, there are articles by Balcomb published in a number of periodicals. Museum publications, annual reports, bulletins and newsletters mention the Greenes. Also found are issues of Art Front, 1934-1938 (Balcomb served on the editorial board and contributed articles), and his well-used copy of Modern Art by Katherine S. Drier.
Audio-visual recordings consist of interviews with Balcomb Greene and a "McCarthy tape" (Balcomb and Terryn helped organize "Montauk's Day for McCarthy"). Among the video recordings is a videocassette of Greene's 1990 memorial service.
Photographs are of art work, events, exhibition installations, miscellaneous subjects, people, and places. Art work of both Balcomb and Gertrude is documented. Among the photographs of people are images of Balcomb Greene, Gertrude Greene, Terryn Greene, family, friends and other individuals (identified and unidentified). Greene family photographs, some surviving from the 19th century, portray three generations. Photographs of events include documentation of the damage caused by the 1996 fire that destroyed Balcomb Greene's studio. Installation photographs document exhibitions that featured Balcomb Greene, the couple, and Gertrude Greene. Of particular interest is a view of Gertrude's contribution to the American Abstract Artists' 1937 show at Squibb Gallery. Miscellaneous subjects are Greene's Rolls Royce and pets. Places recorded include Greene's boyhood homes and churches, the house Balcomb built at Montauk, Gertrude's studio, and travel pictures of Europe and Asia. Also found are a small number of negatives, 35-mm slides, and color transparencies of art work, miscellaneous subjects, and people.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged as 9 series:
- Series 1: Biographical Material, 1926-1981 (Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
- Series 2: Letters, 1936-2005 (Box 1; 3 folders)
- Series 3: Subject Files, 1939-2008 (Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
- Series 4: Writings, circa 1927-1984 (Boxes 1-3; 2.1 linear ft.)
- Series 5: Art Work, 1976 (Box 3; 2 folders)
- Series 6: Register of Paintings, undated (Box 3; 0.4 linear ft.)
- Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1930-2009 (Boxes 4-7, 11, OV 12; 3.9 linear ft.)
- Series 8: Audio-visual Recordings, 1963-1990 (Box 7; 0.3 linear ft.)
- Series 9: Photographs, circa 1880s-1996 (Boxes 7-11; 2.6 linear ft.)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- United States.--Works Progress Administration
- Art--Study and teaching
- Artists' studios--Photographs
- Authors--New York (State)--New York
- Educators--New York (State)--New York
- Painters--New York (State)--New York
- Sculptors--New York (State)--New York
Types of Materials:
- Lecture notes
- Short stories
- Sound recordings
- Video recordings
- Greene, Gertrude, 1904-1956
- Greene, Terryn
- Gallatin, A. E.(Albert Eugene), 1881-1952
Donated in 2009 by Terryn Trimpen Greene, widow of Balcomb Greene.
Separated and Related Materials
Among the Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records, 1914-1975, owned by the Archives of American Art are 58 letters from Balcomb Greene about sales and exhibitions (reel 271), and a scrapbook containing printed material about him (reel 42).
The holdings of the Archives of American Art include several interviews with Balcomb Greene. In 1972, he was interviewed by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art's oral history program (reel 4210). Greene is included among the Karl E. Fortess taped interviews with artists conducted 1963-1985 (not transcribed). Marian L. Gore's "Art Scene" interviews aired on Los Angeles radio station KPFK, 1962-1964, include one with Balcomb Greene (not transcribed). An interview with Balcomb Greene (transcribed) is among the Brooklyn Museum interviews of artists conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz, circa 1965-1985. The Anne Bowen Parsons collection of interviews on art, 1967-1968, contains an interview with Balcomb Greene (transcribed). Susan C. Larsen's interview with Balcomb Greene is part of oral history interviews relating to the American Abstract Artists Group, 1973-1978 (not transcribed).
Also available at the Archives of American Art is a video recording (VHS videocassette) "Balcomb Greene: 50 Years of Painting, Harmon Gallery," edited and directed by George Mauro, 1982.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2009.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Balcomb and Gertrude Greene papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
How to Cite this Collection
Balcomb and Gertrude Greene papers, circa 1880-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Biographical Material, 1926-1981
(Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
All biographical material relates to Balcomb Greene. Awards consist of plaques presented to him by the National Academy of Design, the Putnam Society of Ohio University, and the Isaac Shelby Society of Centre College of Kentucky. Legal documents are a discharge of the guardian of the Estate of J. Wesley [Balcomb] Greene and French police reports concerning Greene's identification card and vandalism to his car.
|1||1||Automobile Insurance Card, 1967|
Awards, 1981, undated
|1||4||Legal Documents, 1926, 1960-1962|
(Box 1; 3 folders)
Letters are almost exclusively incoming letters; two copies of outgoing letters written by Terryn Greene are included. Those addressed to Balcomb Greene regard articles to be published, a codicile to his will, appraisal of a painting by him, and greeting cards with notes from friends. Both of the letters addressed to Gertrude Greene are photocopies. A letter from A. E. Gallatin concerns art works by Gertrude selected for the permanent collection of the Museum of Living Art at New York University; the other is from an unidentified correspondent promising to pay dues and apologizing for not participating in a recent Abstract American Artists exhibition. Letters addressed to Terryn Greene concern her husband's career or mention him.
|1||5||Letters to Balcomb Greene and to Balcomb and Terryn, 1936-1988, undated|
|1||6||Letters to Gertrude Greene (photocopies), 1937-1943|
|1||7||Letters to Terryn Greene and Letters from Terryn Greene (photocopies), 1966-2005, undated|
Subject Files, 1939-2008
(Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
Subject files include a variety of materials, among them: research correspondence, printed material, contracts, a grant application, and a legal opinion. "Balcomb and Grertrude Greene in the WPA" consists of Terryn Greene's research correspondence on the subject. The Judith Rothschild Foundation file documents a grant received for conservation of paintings damaged in the 1996 fire that destroyed Balcomb Greene's studio. Also of interest are executive committee reports and minutes of the Committee for Cultural Freedom.
|1||8||"Balcomb and Gertrude Greene in the WPA," 1988-1990, undated|
|1||9||Committee for Cultural Freedom (Executive Committee minutes and reports), 1939-1940|
|1||10||Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, circa 1940s|
|1||11||Gift to Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida, 1995|
|1||12||Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1996-1997|
|1||13||Legal Opinion Concerning Possession and Sale of "Obscene Literature," 1948|
|1||14||Guild Hall and Parrish Art Museum, 1988-1991|
|1||15||Terra Foundation for the Arts (Musée d'Art Américain and Terra Museum of American Art), 2001-circa 2004|
|1||16||Permissions for Reproduction and Publication of Art Work, 1975-2008, undated|
|1||17||Riker's Island Mural, 1940|
|1||18||Society of Modern Artists (Foreword of the Constitution), undated|
Writings, circa 1927-1984
(Boxes 1-3; 2.1 linear ft.)
The writings of Balcomb Greene include articles, novels, short stories, poems, journal entries, lecture notes, student writings, and a thesis.
Notes drafts, notes and partial manuscripts of two books - "The Villain and the School" and a book "about what happens ? when an artist joins a university faculty" - several novels, and short stories, are all unpublished. Extensive lecture notes survive for the history of art and culture courses he taught at Carnegie Institute of Technology. Included among the notes and fragments of Balcomb Green's non-fiction writings are portions of what most likely were student papers for undergraduate courses in philosophy and psychology; those concerning art history may be parts of papers written as a graduate student, lecture notes for courses taught at Carnegie Institute of Technology, or articles.
Journal entries record a visit to Mondrian's studio, lunch with A. E. Gallatin, "Peter's" [Gertrude's] burial, meeting with Herald Tribune art writer Yvonne Hagen at Karol Kuka's studio, and reasons for Greene's difficulties in keeping a journal. Also found are reflections on Camus, thoughts about Ad Reinhardt on the day of his funeral, and mention of David Smith and Albert Swinden. Miscellaneous writings concern the nomination of Calvin Albert for membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Gertrude Greene's writings consist of a handwritten list of paintings and constructions, noting the dimensions, date, and price of each piece. The writings of other authors are about Balcomb and Gertrude Greene. They include notes for an interview, a poem, student papers, and a thesis.
The series is arranged as 3 subseries:
- Subseries 4.1: By Balcomb Greene, circa 1927-1979
- Subseries 4.2: By Gertrude Greene, circa 1951
- Subseries 4.3: By Other Authors, circa 1959-1984
4.1: By Balcomb Greene, circa 1927-1979
|1||19||Articles, 1945-1965, undated|
|1||20||Artist's Statements, 1942-1959, undated|
"The Villain and the School" (manuscript), circa 1940s
|1||23||"The Villain and the School" (edited draft), circa 1940s|
|1||24||Untitled (proposal, outline, and first draft), undated|
|1||25||Journal Entries, 1942-1973, undated|
|1||Lecture Notes - Carnegie Institute of Technology|
|1||26||"Classicism - Romanticism," circa 1942-1959|
|1||27||"The Dance in 17th and 18th Centuries," circa 1942-1959|
|1||28||"General Pittsburgh Notes - A," circa 1942-1959|
|1||29||"HAC [History of Art and Culture], 1st Sem.", 1942-1943|
|1||30||"HAC [History of Art and Culture], second semester plan," circa 1942-1943|
"Medieval and Renaissance Music," 1953-1954
|1||33||"Modern Painting, first sem.," circa 1942-1959|
|1||34||"MSCN" (Modern), 1945|
|1||35||Neo-Classicism - Realism, and "The Arts in Modern Times, 1870- ," 1943-1944|
|1||36||"Pre-History - Gothic," 1944-1945|
|1||37||"Renaissance and Reformation," 1943-1944|
|1||38||Lecture Notes - Dartmouth College, Literature Course, circa 1927-1930|
|2||1||Miscellaneous Writings, 1979|
|2||Notes and Fragments|
|2||2||Fiction, circa 1927-1930s|
"As the River Flows or No Middle Ground," circa 1930s
"The Fothering Manner," circa 1930s
|2||18||"It's 57th Street" (outline, list of characters, fragments), circa 1930s|
"It's Love and Revolution" (outline for a rewrite of "Revolt Out of Town"), 1948
(See also: box 2, folders 25-26)
"The Poem Thud" (manuscript and drafts), circa 1930s
"Revolt Out of Town," circa 1930s
(3 folders; See also: box 2, folder 19)
|2||27-28||"Women Under the Aspens," circa 1927-1930 (2 folders)|
Numbered (1-68), undated
|3||3||Titled (A-Z) and Untitled, undated|
|3||4||Themes of Love, Death, and the Sea, undated|
|3||5||Submitted to The Paris Review, 1972, undated|
|3||6||Short Stories (A-Z by title), circa 1930s|
|3||7||Course Notes, NYU, Classical - Modern, with Charts, circa 1940-1942|
Course Notes, NYU, Foundations of Modern Art (Prof. Dmitri Tselos), circa 1940-1942
|3||10||Course Notes, NYU, includes "History of Criticism" and "Rubens," circa 1940-1942|
|3||11||Course Notes, NYU, "Italian Painting..Tables?and notes of," circa 1940-1942|
|3||12||Course Notes, NYU, Review Outlines (Egyptian - Greek and Roman), circa 1940-1942|
|3||13||Paper, NYU, Principles of Modern Art (Prof. Dmitri Tselos) "The 'Machine Esthetic' - Sources," 1940|
|3||14||Paper, NYU, "The Mechanized Human Figure in Painting from 1909-1921," 1942|
|3||15||Papers and Course Notes, NYU, "Art History..general Papers and notes.." (includes "The Mechanized Human Figure in Painting from 1909-1921"), circa 1940-1942|
|3||16||Thesis, NYU, "Mechanistic Tendencies in Painting from 1901-1908," 1942|
2: By Gertrude Greene, circa 1951
|3||17||List of Paintings and Constructions, circa 1951|
3: By Other Authors, circa 1959-1984
About Balcomb Greene, circa 1959-1960, 1974, undated
|3||About Balcomb and Gertrude Greene|
|3||19||Lippman, Carol. "Balcomb and Gertrude Greene: Mutual Influences" (student paper), 1984|
|3||About Gertrude Greene|
|3||20||Moss, Jacqueline. "The Constructions of Gertrude Greene" (M.A. Thesis, Queens College, City University of New York, 1980), circa 1980|
Unidentified (by Moss?), undated
Art Work, 1976
(Box 3; 2 folders)
Art work consists of a collage, one drawing, and a sketchbook. The collage, composed of a black and white photographic print with paper and paint, probably was executed by Balcomb Greene. The drawing, signed H[?]. R., is of a seated female nude. Balcomb Greene's sketchbook contains two drawings dated January 1976; the remaining pages of the volume are blank.
|3||22||Collage and Drawing, undated|
Register of Paintings, undated
(Box 3; 0.4 linear ft.)
Balcomb Greene's register of paintings bears evidence of the 1996 fire that destroyed his Montauk studio, and it is likely that portions did not survive. A separate page for each completed painting contains a small photograph or sketch, with the title, date of execution, and code or negative number indicated. Many pages include notes relating to exhibitions, loans, and ownership; some contain the notation "destroyed."
Sheets documenting works executed during the periods 1941-1948, 1963-1964, and 1980-1982 are the least damaged sections of the register. The remaining portion consists of partial pages missing titles, dates of execution, and other salient information.
Register of Paintings (executed 1941-1982), undated
Printed Material, circa 1930-2009
(Boxes 4-7, 11, and OV 12; 3.9 linear ft.)
Issues of Art Front are dated 1934-1938. Balcomb Greene served on the magazine's editorial board during 1935-1936 and contributed articles during that period. Modern Art by Katherine S. Dreier is Greene's well-used copy; his name is inscribed on the flyleaf, and affixed inside the front cover is a copy of a newspaper review.
Articles by Balcomb Greene were published in Art Front, College Art Journal and other periodicals. Some representative titles are: "The Function of Leger," "The Problem of Expression in Art," "Basic Concepts for Teaching Art," and "The Doctrine of Pure Aesthetic."
Exhibition catalogs and articles from newspapers and periodicals represent the majority of the printed material about or mentioning Balcomb and Gertrude Greene. Museum publications consist of annual reports, bulletins and newsletters.
Among the miscellaneous items pertaining to Balcomb and Gertrude Greene are a program for a house tour that included Greene's home, biographical notes about the University Center in Virginia's visiting fellows, a calendar and book of postcards reproducing art work.
Art Front, 1934-1938
(oversized material housed in box 11)
|4||2||By Katherine S. Dreier. Modern Art, 1926|
|4||By Balcomb Greene|
|4||4||Articles, 1948-1966, undated|
|4||5||Letters to the Editor, 1967-1975, undated|
|4||6||By Terryn Greene - Letters to the Editor, 1968-1991, undated|
|4||About/Mentioning Balcomb and Gertrude Greene|
|4||Advertisements and Listings|
|4||7||Balcomb Greene, 1951-2003, undated|
|4||8||Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1988|
|4||9||Gertrude Greene, 1981-2007|
|4||Articles - Newspaper Clippings|
Balcomb Greene, circa 1930-2005, undated
|4||16||Gertrude Greene, 1956-1991|
|4||Articles - Periodicals|
Balcomb Greene, 1940-1991
|4||20||Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1976-1988|
|4||21||Gertrude Greene, 1951-1981|
|4||22||Balcomb Greene, 1964-1968|
|4||23||Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1988|
|4||24||Hale, Robert Beverly and Niké Hale. The Art of Balcomb Greene, 1977|
|4||25||Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff. Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America (Balcomb and Gertrude included), 1951|
Balcomb Greene, 1942-1977
|4||30||Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1996|
|4||Exhibition Catalogs, Announcements, etc.|
Balcomb Greene 1941-1946
Balcomb Greene, 1947-1963
Balcomb Greene, 1964-2009, undated
(14 folders; oversized material housed in box 11 and OV 12)
Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1938-1983
Balcomb and Gertrude Greene, 1986-2007, undated
Gertrude Greene, 1951-2007, undated
Miscellaneous Items, 1959-1981
(oversized material housed in box 11)
Museum Publications, 1959-1981
|7||9||Reproductions of Art Work by Balcomb Greene, undated|
Oversized Printed Material, 1934-1966, undated
|OV 12||Oversized Printed Material (exhibition poster), 1973|
Audio-visual Recordings, 1963-1990
(Box 7; 0.3 linear ft.)
Recordings consist of interviews with Balcomb Greene, a video recording documenting Greene's 1990 memorial service, and a "McCarthy tape." During the 1968 presidential campaign, both Balcomb and Terryn Greene were supporters of Eugene McCarthy, and Terryn was involved with organizing "Montauk's Day for McCarthy." Audio recordings are on 3 sound tape reels (7 in., 5 in., and 4 in. tape).
Balcomb Greene interviewed by Marian Gore for "The Art Scene," KPFK radio, Los Angeles, 1963
(1 sound tape reel)
Balcomb Greene interviewed by Karl E. Fortess, 1975
(1 sound tape reel)
"McCarthy tape," circa 1968
(1 sound tape reel)
"Balcomb Greene Memorial Service at the Parrish [Museum],"
(1 videocassette: VHS)
Balcomb Greene, guest on "Sarasota Forum: Balcomb Greene, Artist" and "50 Years of Painting," The Harmon Gallery, Naples, FL, 1980, undated
(2 videocassettes: U-matic)
Photographs, circa 1880s-1996
(Boxes 7-10; 2.6 linear ft.)
Photographs are of art work, events, exhibition installations, miscellaneous subjects, people, and places.
Around 1940, Balcomb became interested in photography. He did not develop his own film, but preferred to produce the prints himself. He sometimes used photographs as notes for planning paintings and often experimented with lighting to produce different effects. It is highly likely that Balcomb took many of the photographs of his own and Gertrude's work that survive among their papers. Many of the photographs - especially those of art work - bear evidence of smoke and water damage sustained in the 1996 fire that destroyed Balcomb Greene's studio.
Photographs of people include Balcomb Greene, Gertrude Greene, Terryn Greene, family, friends and other individuals (identified and unidentified). There are pictures of Balcomb with fellow students, friends, juries, and Terryn; one photograph of Balcomb with others [probably artist colleagues] is by Hans Namuth. Also found are photographs of three generations of the Greene family showing Balcomb as a young boy (identified as John Wesley or Wesley on the prints), and a few of his mother's relatives.
Events include photographic documentation of the damage caused by the 1996 fire that destroyed Balcomb Greene's studio. Miscellaneous subjects are Greene's Rolls Royce, and pet cats and dogs.
Places recorded are: Greene's boyhood homes and churches in New York, Iowa, and unidentified locations; his mother's family house; Gertrude and Balcomb's cottage in Hopewell Junction, New York, where they spent summers before building their house at Montauk; the Greenes' house at Montauk; Gertrude's studio; travel pictures of Europe and Asia; and unidentified interiors.
Also found in this series are a small number of negatives, 35-mm slides, and color transparencies that document art work, miscellaneous subjects, people, and places.
|7||Art Work by Balcomb Greene|
Paintings (executed circa 1930-1954), undated
|8||1-30||Paintings (executed 1955-1986), undated|
|8||31||Paintings (A-Z by title), undated|
Geometric Abstractions, undated
Abstract Compositions, undated
Figures and Heads, undated
|8||38||Seascapes and Landscapes, undated|
|8||Art Work by Gertrude Greene|
|8||39||Constructions (A-Z, by title; executed circa 1935-1946), undated|
Constructions and Paintings, Unidentified, undated
|8||42||Paintings (A-Z, by title; executed 1946-1956, undated), undated|
|8||43||Sculpture (executed circa 1932-1940s), 1932, undated|
|8||44||Drawings of Sculpture, undated|
|9||1||Ramsey Clark Congressional Campaign visits Montauk, 1974|
|9||2||Montauk Studio Fire Damage, 1996|
|9||Exhibition Installations (Balcomb Greene)|
|9||3||ACA Galleries, New York, 1977|
|9||4||Arlene Bujese Gallery, East Hampton, NY, 2000|
Harmon-Meeks Gallery, Naples, Florida, undated
|9||7||Oceanic Institute, Bay Harbor Island, Florida, undated|
|9||8||Phoenix Gallery, Washington, DC, 1982-1983|
|9||9||Saidenberg Gallery, New York, undated|
|9||10||Unidentified Venues, undated|
|9||Exhibition Installations (Balcomb and Gertrude Greene)|
|9||11||Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery, New York, 1998|
|9||Exhibition Installations (Gertrude Greene)|
|9||12||American Abstract Artists, Squibb Gallery, San Antonio, 1937, undated|
Balcomb Greene, circa 1914-1980s
|9||Balcomb Greene with Others|
|9||25||Class Pictures, 1912-1913, undated|
|9||26||With Syracuse University Fencing Club, 1923|
|9||27||With Friends aboard Ship, circa 1931-1932|
|9||28||With Friends at Montauk House (during construction), circa 1947|
|9||29||With Terryn Trimpen Greene, circa 1960s|
|9||30||With Fashion Model in Studio (for Ladies' Home Journal feature article, Jan.-Feb. 1963 issue), circa 1962-1963|
|9||31||With Colleagues (Hans Namuth, photographer) and with Exhibition Jury, undated|
|9||32||Gertrude Glass Greene, circa 1940s-1956|
|9||33||Terryn Trimpen Greene , circa 1960s, undated|
|9||34||Bertram Stillman Greene, circa 1880s-1929|
|9||35||Bertram Stillman Greene and Florence Stover Greene, circa 1890s-1907|
|9||36||Bertram Stillman Greene and/or Florence Stover Greene with their Children (John Wesley [Balcomb], Fidelia, and Dorothy), circa 1905-1920|
|9||37||Clayton Greene, circa 1900|
|9||38||Dorothy Greene, circa 1918 and circa 1923|
|9||39||Harvey S. Greene, 19th century|
|9||40||John Wesley [Balcomb], with sisters Fidelia, and Dorothy Greene, circa 1905-circa 1910|
|9||41||Groups (identified family members), circa 1900-circa 1907|
|9||42||Groups (unidentified family members), 19th century-1900s|
Individuals (identified), 1925-1953, undated
Individuals and Groups (unidentified), 1961-1980, undated
|9||Boyhood Homes and Churches|
|9||46||Millville, New York, circa 1900, undated|
|9||47||Arthur, Iowa, 1916|
|9||48||Unidentified Location, undated|
|9||49||Mother's Family House ("Stover Farm House"), New York, circa 1900|
|9||Greene's House at Montauk, New York|
|9||50||Construction, circa 1947|
|9||51||Exterior, circa 1950s-1970|
|9||52||Exterior after Snow Storm, undated|
|9||53||Interior, circa 1947-1970s|
|9||54||Studio (pre-fire), undated|
Studio (fire damage),
|9||56||Montauk Landscapes (includes 1978 storm damage), 1978, undated|
|9||57||Greene's Summer Cottage, Hopewell Junction, New York, circa 1940s|
|9||58||Gertrude Greene's Studio, New York City, circa 1930s-1940s|
|9||62||Unidentified Interiors, undated|
|10||1||Art Work (by Balcomb Greene),|
|10||2||People (Balcomb Greene, unidentified individuals), undated|
|10||3||Greene's Summer Cottage at Hopewell Junction, New York, undated|
|10||4||Travel Pictures (unidentified), undated|
|10||6||Pets (cats), undated|
Slides (35 mm), undated
(slide box 1)
|10||Art Work by Balcomb Greene (paintings, A-Z by title; unidentified paintings, executed 1934-1971)|
Slides (35 mm), undated
(slide box 2)
|10||9||Transparencies (art work by Balcomb Greene), undated|