Betty Esman papers, 1926-1980

Esman, Betty, b. 1904 d. 1996
Painter, Art patron
Active in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Collection size: 0.4 linear ft. (microfilmed on 1 partial reel)
Addition: 0.2 linear ft.

Collection Summary: Primarily correspondence, mail art, and printed material documenting Esman's career and her personal and professional relationships with artists Ray Johnson, Rufino Tamayo, Jacques Lipchitz and others.

REEL 4861: Included are: a resume; letters, 1936-1979 from Ulla and Jacques Lipchitz, James Johnson Sweeney of the Guggenheim Museum, Ben Shahn, Chaim Gross, and museums, galleries, publishers, and associations regarding personal relationships, travel, exhibitions, and sales. One file on Rufino Tamayo contains letters from Tamayo to Esman and printed material, 1956-1971, and two files contain undated mail art from Ray Johnson to Esman and others. Printed material, 1932-1980, includes exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, and autographed Abraham Walkowitz exhibition catalogs, 1944-1950. Photographs, many taken by Vernon Samuels, Esman's husband, are of Esman, friends, artists and works of art. Original works of art include handpainted cards from Yasu Kobashi, 1970, 1976 and undated, and an undated woodcut print by Tamayo.

ADDITION: A resume; five figure drawings by Esman, 1926-1928 and ca. 1939-1945; photographs, including 7 of Esman with Jacques Lipchitz and his family taken by Samuels, 3 of the old sculpture garden at MoMA, a signed photograph of Tamayo, 2 of Esman in her studio, and 2 of other artists taken by Samuels. Also included are a signed exhibition catalog, "Rufino Tamayo: Myth and Magic, and an article on Mexico's Tamayo Museum, Smithsonian Magazine, August 1975.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painter, collector, art patron; New York, N.Y.

Material on reel 4861 donated 1986-1989 by Esman; it was microfilmed in 1994 with funding provided by the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund. The remainder was donated October 1994 by Esman.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reel 4861 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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