Charles Cajori papers, 1940-2015

A Finding Aid to the Charles Cajori Papers, 1942-2011, in the Archives of American Art, by Joy Weiner

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Painter and teacher Charles Cajori (b. 1921-) has worked in New York City and Connecticut.

Born in Palo Alto, California in 1921, Charles Cajori studied painting at Colorado College and the Cleveland Art School. Cajori served in the United States Air Force during World War II. Upon his return, he attended Columbia University and then spent two years at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he became acquainted with Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other Abstract Expressionist artists.

Charles Cajori was one of the founding members of the Tanager Gallery, an early artists' cooperative gallery, originally located at 90 East Tenth Street in New York, which provided a venue for contemporary artists to exhibit their work. In 1956, Charles Cajori had his first solo exhibition at the Tanager Gallery and since then, has been continuously showing his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad including American University, Bertha Schaeffer Gallery, David Findlay Jr. Gallery, El Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Ingber Gallery, Lohin Geduld Gallery, Mattatuck Museum, New Arts Gallery, Paesaggio Gallery, Sala di Esposizione della Biblioteca Americana, Stable Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Charles Cajori's work is represented in a number of public and private collections including the Ciba-Geigy Corporation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, Walker Art Center, and the Weatherspoon Museum.

In conjunction with his activities as an artist, Charles Cajori has taught painting and drawing at major academic institutions and art schools: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Cooper Union, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Cajori was a co-founder of the New York Studio School, where he continues to serve on the faculty.

Charles Cajori has received many honors for his work including the 1959 Distinction in the Arts, Yale University; Benjamin Altman, Figure Prize at the National Academy, 1983, 1987; the Childe Hassam Purchase Award by the Institute of Art and Letters Award, 1975-1976, 1980; and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, 1979. Also, Cajori was awarded a Fulbright grant to Italy, 1952-1953 and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1981.

Charles Cajori is married to the painter Barbara Grossman and they live in Watertown, Connecticut.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of New York painter, Charles Cajori measure 4.0 linear feet and date from 1942-2011. The collection documents Cajori's activities as a painter, educator, and co-founder of the Tanager Gallery that was located on the Lower East Side in New York through correspondence; writings and notes; interviews, talks, and panel discussions on art and artists; and printed materials.

Correspondence is personal and professional and consists of mostly incoming letters to Cajori from artists, friends, family, art historians, and academic institutions. There are a few letters from Charles Cajori, including draft of his letters. Among the correspondents are Pat Adams, Leland Bell, Bernard Chaet, Cooper Union, Cleve Gray, Louis Finkelstein, Philip Pearlstein, Sidney Simon, Norman Turner, and the University of California at Berkeley. Of interest, are letters from the founders of the Tanager Gallery, such as Lois Dodd, Angelo Ippolito, and William King. Correspondence also documents Cajori's dealings with galleries and museums as well as his involvement in arts organizations; included are letters from American University, Watkins Gallery; Bertha Schaffer Gallery; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Gallery Association of New York; Museum of Modern Art; Roko Gallery; Stable Gallery; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Writings and notes are and about Charles Cajori. Cajori's writings include drafts on painting and drawing that Cajori prepared for classroom lectures and panel discussions; essays on Paul C�zanne and Chaim Soutine; and his account of the founding of the Tanager Gallery. Cajori's writings also include a biographical account and an artist's statement. There are writings by Louis Finkelstein, Andrew Forge, and Mercedes Matter about Cajori's work. Included are several guest registers for Cajori's exhibitions at the David Findlay Gallery, Lohin Geduld Gallery, and the New York Studio School.

Interviews, talks, and panel discussions include a transcript of an interview with Charles Cajori, audiotaped and videotaped interviews with Charles Cajori, and panel discussions with Cajori and others. Panel discussions with Cajori and others cover such topics as the New York school artists and Chaim Soutine. Many of recordings focus on Cajori's association with the Tanager Gallery, the art scene in New York during the 1950s, and his reflections on art. Also included are miscellaneous videotaped recordings.

Printed material contains exhibition catalogs, checklists, announcements, invitations, press releases, clippings, reviews, brochures, and miscellaneous printed material. A file of printed materials on the Tanager Gallery includes exhibition catalogs and clippings.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 4 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms:

  • Adams, Pat, 1928-
  • American University. (Washington, D.C.)
  • Bell, Leland
  • Bertha Schaefer Gallery (New York, N.Y.).
  • Chaet, Bernard
  • Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
  • C�zanne, Paul, 1839-1906
  • David Findlay Galleries. (New York, N.Y.)
  • Dodd, Lois, 1927-
  • Finkelstein, Louis
  • Forge, Andrew
  • Gallery Association of New York State
  • Gray, Cleve
  • Ippolito, Angelo
  • King, William, 1925-
  • Lohin Geduld Gallery.
  • Matter, Mercedes
  • Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.).
  • New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture.
  • Pearlstein, Philip, 1924-
  • Roko Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
  • Simon, Sidney, 1917-1997
  • Soutine, Chaim, 1893-1943
  • Stable Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
  • Tanager Gallery (New York, N.Y.).
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • Watkins Art Gallery. (American University)
  • Whitney Museum of American Art.
  • Educators--New York (State)--New York
  • Interviews
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Sound recordings
  • Transcripts
  • Video recordings


The collection was donated by Charles Cajori in 2011.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed to a minimal level by Joy Weiner in 2011.

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 Charles Cajori 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

Charles Cajori papers, 1942-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-2011
(Boxes 1-2; (1.1 linear feet)

This series includes letters to Charles Cajori from artist friends, family, art historians, and others. Correspondents discuss the art scene, ongoing projects, and activities; among the correspondents are: Pat Adams, Leland Bell, Bernard Chaet, Cooper Union, Richard Diebenkorn, Cleve Gray, Lawrence Fane, Louis Finkelstein, Barbara Grossman, Karl Kasten, Mercedes Matter, Philip Pearlstein, Anne Poor, Paul Resika, Irving Sandler, Sidney Simon, Norman Turner, and the University of California at Berkeley. Interspersed among the correspondence are letters from museums, galleries, and academic institutions relating to the scheduling of exhibitions, acquisitions, sales of Cajori's work, and faculty appointments, including American University, Watkins Gallery; Bertha Schaffer Gallery; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Gallery Association of New York; Museum of Modern Art; University of Washington, Henry Gallery; University of Texas at Austin; and the Whitney Museum of Art.

Correspondence consists of letters, e-mails, invitations, telegrams, greeting cards, postcards. Many of the letters include enclosures, such as informational sheets; exhibition itineraries; loan receipts and agreements; price lists; miscellaneous receipts; and printed material, such as clippings and reproductions.

Correspondence is arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence, undated
1 2 Correspondence, 1942-1949
1 3 Correspondence, 1950-1955
1 4 Correspondence, 1956-1959
1 5 Correspondence, 1960
1 6 Correspondence, 1961-1962
1 7 Correspondence, 1963
1 8 Correspondence, 1964
1 9 Correspondence, 1965
1 10 Correspondence, 1966
1 11 Correspondence, 1967
1 12 Correspondence, 1968-1969
1 13 Correspondence, 1970
1 14 Correspondence, 1971-1972
1 15 Correspondence, 1974-1975
1 16 Correspondence, 1976
1 17 Correspondence, 1977
1 18 Correspondence, 1978-1979
1 19 Correspondence, 1980-1981
1 20 Correspondence, 1982,1985
1 21 Correspondence, 1989
1 22 Correspondence, 1990
1 23 Correspondence, 1991-1992
1 24 Correspondence, 1993
1 25 Correspondence, 1994-1996
1 26 Correspondence, 1997-1999
1 27 Correspondence, 2000
1 28 Correspondence, 2001
1 29 Correspondence, 2002
1 30 Correspondence, 2003-2004
1 31 Correspondence, 2005
1 32 Correspondence, 2006-2007
Box Folder
2 1 Correspondence, 2008-2009
2 2 Correspondence, 2010-2011
2 3 Unidentified Correspondents, Surnames Omitted, undated
2 4 Correspondence, Fragments, undated
2 5 Loose Envelopes, 1998, 1990

Series 2: Writings and Notes, 1949-2010
(Box 2; 0.3 linear feet)

This series contains typescripts and handwritten drafts of Charles Cajori's writings and notes and writings by others. Included are Cajori's drafts of lectures and essays on drawing, painting, and other art-related topics; essays on Paul C�zanne and Chaim Soutine; and biographical information. A file on the Tanager Gallery includes Cajori's account of the founding of the gallery and its place in the New York art community, a press release, the transcript of his interview with Lois Dodd, "Reminiscences of the Tenth Street Days" conducted by Joellen Bard and correspondence relating to the interview.

Writings about Charles Cajori contain a typescript of Louis Finkelstein's review of Charles Cajori's one-man exhibition at the Tanager Gallery in 1961 and drafts of Alexander Forge's essay on Charles Cajori. Of interest, is Mercedes Matter's handwritten assessment of Charles Cajori's work. Also found are miscellaneous writings and notes.

There are several guest registers for Cajori's exhibitions at the David Findlay Gallery, Lohin Geduld Gallery, and the New York Studio School.

Box Folder
2 Writings by Charles Cajori
2 6-7 On Art and Artists, 1949-2000, undated
(2 folders)
2 8 On the Tanager Gallery, 1950s-1977
2 9 Notes on Art and Artists, circa 1977-2010, undated
2 10 Writings about Charles Cajori, 1961-1992, undated
2 11 Miscellaneous Writings and Notes, 1965-1977, undated
2 12 Guest Registers, 1992-2007

Series 3: Interviews, Talks, and Panel Discussions, 1983-2010
(Boxes 2-3; 1.2 linear feet)

This series includes a transcript of a Charles Cajori interview conducted by Gary Lenhart for Transfer; audio and videotaped interviews with Charles Cajori; and a videotaped recording, An Afternoon with the New York School Artists, 1992 with Charles Cajori taking part in the panel discussion. Also there is a gallery talk to students at the Gross-McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a classroom lecture at an unidentified venue.

Included are: 11 recordings on videocassettes; 2 sound recordings on audiocassettes; a floppy disc; and a CD. The sound and picture quality on some of the videorecordings are poor.

Recordings are arranged by subject and thereafter in chronological order.

Box Folder
2 Interviews with Charles Cajori
2 13 Charles Cajori Interview (1988, September 22), 1988
(floppy disk)
2 14 Charles Cajori Interview (transcript), circa 1989-1990
2 15 Charles Cajori Interview (1991, October 28), 1991
(videocassette: VHS)
2 16 Charles Cajori, Artists Talk on Art (1995, April 28), 1995
(videocassette: VHS)
2 17 Charles Cajori on His Work (1996, April 9), 1996
(videocassette: VHS)
2 Talks
2 18 Charles Cajori Talk to Students at Gross McCleaf Art Gallery, circa 1980s
(2 sound cassettes)
2 19 Charles Cajori Talk to Students at Unidentified Venue (1983, August 10), 1983
(videocassette: VHS)
2 Panel Discussions
2 20 An Afternoon with the New York School Artists (1992, November 8), 1992
(videocassette: VHS)
2 21 An Afternoon with the New York School Artists (1993, May 2), 1993
(videocassette: VHS)
Box Folder
3 1 Sources of Creativity: A Discussion by New York Artists (1996, May), 1996
(videocassette: VHS)
3 2 Growth of Artistic Ideas Toward the Realm of the Spritual (1997, May 4), 1997
(videocassette: VHS)
3 3 Panel Discussion on Chaim Soutine (1998, April 21), 1998
(videocassette: VHS)
3 4 WNYC's Fishko Files, Discussion on Post-War Painters (2010, October 1), 2010
3 Miscellaneous Recordings, 2010
3 5 Max, a film by Jeffrey Solon, 1992
(videocassette: VHS)
3 6 Florian Cajori and the Golden Age of Colorado College, 1992
(videocassette: VHS)

Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1950s-2010
(Boxes 3-4; 1.4 linear feet)

This series houses exhibition catalogs; scattered checklists; announcements; posters; invitations; press releases; printed material, such as clippings, articles, brochures, and miscellaneous printed material. Exhibition catalogs and checklists document Charles Cajori's solo and group exhibitions from 1953 through 2010.

A file of printed materials relating to the Tanager Gallery consists of exhibition catalogs and brochures; announcements and invitations; and clippings.

Printed Material is arranged by format and thereafter in chronological order.

Box Folder
3 7-9 Tanager Gallery, Exhibition Catalogs and Brochures; Announcements and Invitations; and Clippings, 1952-2002
(3 folders)
3 Catalogs of Charles Cajori's Exhibitions
3 10 Solo Exhibitions, 1972-2007
3 11-14 Group Exhibitions, 1953-1972
(4 folders)
Box Folder
4 1-3 Group Exhibitions, 1973-2010
(3 folders)
4 4 Checklists, circa 1960s-1997
4 5-11 Announcements, 1950s-2010, undated
(7 folders)
4 12 Invitations, circa 1959-2009, undated
4 13 Press Releases, 1967-2009, undated
4 14-15 Clippings, 1957-2010
(2 folders)
4 16 Brochures, 1984-2005
4 17 Miscellaneous Printed Material, circa 1950s-2001