Schaefer, Bertha, b. 1895 d. 1971
Gallery director, Interior designer
Active in New York, N.Y.
Collection size: 4.5 linear ft. (partially filmed on 6 microfilm reels)
Collection Summary: Correspondence (1932-1971), notes (1950-1954), writings (1959-1965), drawings, subject and project files (1930-1965), scrapbooks (1927-1975) on several artists who exhibited at her gallery, printed material (1922-1971), and photographs document Bertha Schaefer's career as an interior designer and director of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery.
REEL N69-115: A scrapbook about Alfred H. Maurer contains 14 exhibition announcements and catalogs (1946-1969), clippings (1945-1960) including Willard Huntington Wright's essay about Maurer's 1916 exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, and a photograph of Maurer.
REEL 440 AND SCANNED One photograph of Alfred H. Maurer, which was previously microfilmed under Photos of Artists I and has subsequently been scanned and returned to the Schaefer papers.
REEL N69-126: Two scrapbooks on Will Barnet contain exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, and press releases (1946-1963).
REEL N70-60 (frames 177-208): A scrapbook about Hale Woodruff contains 13 clippings (1927-1950) and 6 exhibition catalogs (1953-1954).
REEL 42: Three scrapbooks contain exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, press releases and miscellaneous printed material on Balcomb Greene (1945-1961), Ben-Zion (1946-1959), and Nicolas Vasilieff (1947-1951).
REEL 271: Correspondence between Schaefer and colleagues, including Ben-Zion, Lynn Chadwick, Elisabeth Frink, and 58 letters from Balcomb Greene, primarily concerns the sale and exhibition of work and the representation of artists by the Bertha Schaefer Gallery (1932-1971). One letter from Jackson Pollock apologizes for his "inconsiderate behavior" (1948), one from David Smith discusses the availability of his work (1958), one from Will Barnet severs his business relations with the gallery (1964), and 2 letters from Carl Sprinchorn discuss Schaefer's visit (1968).
REEL 271: Subject files contain letters, notes, drawings of floorplans, receipts, price lists, and exhibition catalogs concerning interior design (1930-1960) and Ben-Zion (1942-1954). Printed material consists of clippings (1923-1968), mostly about Schaefer's interior and furniture design, exhibition catalogs, press releases, programs, brochures, membership lists, and telegrams of condolence (1953-1971). Approximately two hundred photographs show interiors designed by Schaefer, including the first domestic installation of fluorescent lighting (1943-1958), and works by Hale Woodruff, Roger Jorgensen and architect Huson Jackson. Other material includes a drawing by Ben-Zion and Schaefer's diploma (1914) and resume (1959).
REEL 2129: Announcements and catalogs from exhibitions held at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery (1944-1975).
UNMICROFILMED: Letters (1940-1971) from friends and colleagues including William Baziotes (1948), Dorothy Farr (1953-1961), John von Wicht (1960), and Hale Woodruff (1966) discuss work and exhibitions. Writings consist of Schaefer's essays and notes on interior design (1959) and essays on art and design by Mary Coggeshall and David Porter (1964-1965). Artist files contain letters, price lists, clippings, and exhibition announcements and catalogs (1946-1966). Photographs show interiors designed by Schaefer (1951-1954), Schaefer with friends and colleagues, a painting by Hale Woodruff, and Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in Pollock's studio. Twenty-five client files contain letters, photographs, floor plans, layout drawings, and samples of fabric, tile, and wallpaper (1954-1964).
Unfilmed: Artist files contain letters, price lists, clippings, exhibition announcements and photographs for Alfred Jensen (1957-1958), Henry Toledano (1953-1954), and the "Self-Portrait Sculptures by the Blind" exhibition. Printed material includes clippings (1948-1971), and exhibition announcements and catalogs (1946-1966).
Biographical/Historical Note: Interior designer and gallery director. Graduated from the Mississippi State College for Women and the Parsons School of Design. In 1924, she opened Bertha Schaefer Interiors. In 1944, she opened the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York City primarily to show the work of American painters and sculptors, but eventually included European artists. In 1972, following her death, the gallery's name was changed to the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery.
The bulk of the collection was given or lent by Bertha Schaefer. Some materials were originally given by Schaefer to the George Arents Research Library, Syracuse University, then transferred to the Archives of American Art. Material on reel 2129 was donated by Paul Creamer, an associate of Schaefer. Several scrapbooks are listed on the microfilm reels by the name of the artist, not by Schaefer, including those of Will Barnet, Hale Woodruff and Alfred Maurer.
How to Use this Collection
- Microfilm reels N69-115, N69-126, N70-60, 42, 271, and 2129 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
- Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
- For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.