Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, California and New York, New York) records, 1959-circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971

A Finding Aid to the Dwan Gallery Records, 1959-circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971, in the Archives of American Art, by Jayna M. Hanson

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Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Table of Contents:



Historical Information

In 1959, Virginia Dwan opened her first gallery on 1091 Broxton Avenue in the Westwood Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Her independent wealth allowed her to open a gallery without worrying about business and sales. Three years after opening, the Dwan Gallery moved into a new Westwood Village space especially designed to express the gallery's contemporary aesthetic. In 1965, Virginia Dwan moved to New York City and founded an east coast branch of the Dwan Gallery at 29 West 57th Street.

Early exhibitions at the Dwan Gallery showed Abstract Expressionist artists and works of art from New York which Dwan consigned from other galleries. After traveling to New York and France, Virginia Dwan's interests and tastes manifested in exhibitions by 1961 with Yves Klein. Through Klein, Dwan made connections to other Nouveaux R´┐Żalistes artists that the gallery featured in solo and group shows. Later exhibitions featured Land and Minimilist artists. Dwan recognized that many of her shows were not considered salable but continued to show the avant-garde. She saw the gallery as an opportunity to expose the public to different styles of art.

Virginia Dwan maintained a close and personal relationship with many of her artists. She allowed large stipends to gallery artists and invited them to spend time at her home in Malibu, California. When working with artists concentrating on found objects, Dwan would accompany them on scavenger hunts and shopping trips. In the case of Robert Smithson and other Land Art artists, she traveled to offsite locations to visit works of art in progress. Dwan relied on her longtime gallery director, John Weber to interact with collectors as she preferred to maintain her connection with the artists.

The Dwan Gallery Los Angeles closed in mid-1967 but the New York branch remained open. By 1971, Virginia Dwan felt pressure to support her thirteen artists through a period of economic insecurity. She decided to close the gallery secretly and only informed her artists at the last minute. The final exhibition at Dwan Gallery New York closed in June of 1971.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Dwan Gallery records measure 2.3 linear feet and consist primarily of files of exhibitions curated by Virginia Dwan at Dwan Galleries in Los Angeles (1959-1967) and New York (1965-1971). Found within this nearly comprehensive set of exhibition files may be lists of exhibited works, price lists, photographs, slides or color transparencies of installations, invitations, full-size posters, magazine and newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs.

Artists that held exhibitions at the Dwan Gallery in New York and Los Angeles include: Robert Goodnough, Robert Richenburg, Larry Rivers, Philip Guston, Yves Klein, Salvatore Scarpitta, Arakawa, Martial Raysse, Ad Reinhardt, Arman, Franz Kline, Edward Kienholz, Claes Oldenburg, Niki de Sainte Phalle, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Raymond Parker, Kenneth Snelson, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, and Anastasi. Also, the exhibition files are nearly comprehensive and include: Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read annual series (1967-1970), Boxes (1964), Earth Works (1968), My Country 'tis of Thee (1962) and 10 (1967 and 1968). Many of the multiple artist shows were created and organized by gallery director John Weber and/or Virginia Dwan. Many of these exhibition files include full-sized posters and panoramic photos showing installations.

Also found are records created by a consulting firm hired by the Dwan Gallery to inventory the exhibition files prior to donation to the Archives of American Art. These guides appear at the beginning of each series and outline a chronology of exhibitions held at each branch.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into two series:

Subjects and Names

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

  • Anastasi, William, 1933-
  • Andre, Carl, 1935-
  • Arakawa, Shusaku, 1936-
  • Arman, 1928-
  • Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Dwan Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
  • Dwan, Virginia
  • Flavin, Dan, 1933-
  • Goodnough, Robert, 1917-
  • Guston, Philip, 1913-
  • Kienholz, Edward, 1927-
  • Klein, Yves, 1928-1962
  • Kline, Franz, 1910-1962
  • Lewitt, Sol, 1928-
  • Mitchell, Joan, 1926-
  • Morris, Robert, 1931-
  • Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
  • Parker, Raymond, 1922-
  • Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-
  • Raysse, Martial, 1936-
  • Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967
  • Richenburg, Robert
  • Rivers, Larry, 1925-
  • Saint-Phalle, Niki de, 1930-
  • Scarpitta, Salvatore, 1919-
  • Smithson, Robert
  • Snelson, Kenneth, 1927-
  • Weber, John, 1932-
  • Abstract expressionism
  • Art galleries, Commercial--California--Los Angeles
  • Art galleries, Commercial--New York (State)--New York
  • Art--California--Los Angeles--Exhibitions
  • Art--New York (State)--New York--Exhibitions
  • Artists--United States
  • Earthworks (Art)
  • Minimal art
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)

Provenance

The Dwan Gallery records were donated in 1996 by Virginia Dwan, the former owner of the gallery.

Separated and Related Materials

Dwan Gallery exhibition catalogs that were donated to the Archives in 1989 were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution American Art and National Portrait Gallery Library.

Bard College's Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture holds Dwan Gallery materials related to exhibitions in the Library and Archives.

Also found within the Archives of American Art is an interview with Virginia Dwan conducted March 21 through June 1, 1984 by Charles Stuckey.

How the Collection was Processed

The records were fully processed and described by Jayna M. Hanson in 2008. In 2013, the papers were digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Dwan Gallery records 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.

Available Formats

The collection was digitized in its entirety in 2013 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

How to Cite this Collection

Dwan Gallery records, 1959-circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Los Angeles Exhibition Files, 1959-1965, after 1981
1.3 Linear feet; Box 1-2, 5, OV6, OV8

Found within this series may be lists of exhibited works, price lists, photographs, slides or color transparencies of installations, invitations, full-size posters, magazine and newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs. Noteworthy exhibitions include artists Robert Goodnough, Raymond Parker, Yves Klein, Salvatore Scarpitta, Arakawa, Martial Raysse, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Sainte Phalle, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Rivers and Kenneth Snelson. Other important exhibitions include Boxes (1964), My Country 'tis of Thee (1962), and 10 (1967).

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

This series is arranged in chronological order according to the opening date of each exhibition. Exhibition posters and photos of installations were placed into oversized folders.

Box Folder
1 1 Guides to Los Angeles Exhibtions, after 1981
1 2 Stanley Twardowicz, 1959 October 19
1 3 Various Artists: Prints, 1959 November 17
1 4 Drawings, Watercolors, Collages, 1959 December 12
1 5 Matsumi Kanemitsu, 1960 January 19
1 6 Reginald Pollack: Recent Paintings, 1960 February 9
1 7 Friedel Dzubas, 1960 March 8
1 8 Paul Brach, 1960 April 4
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 9 Robert Goodnough, 1960 May 2
1 10 Seymour Boardman: Paintings, 1960 May 31
1 11 Harry Nadler, 1960 June 27
1 12 15 of New York, 1960 October 10
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 13 Robert Richenburg, 1960 November 14
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 14 Various Artists, 1960 December 19
1 15 Stanley Twardowicz, 1961 January 9
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 16 Stephen Pace, 1961 March 6
1 17 Larry Rivers, 1961 February 6
1 18 Franz Kline and Philip Guston, 1961 April 3
1 19 Raymond Parker, 1961 May 1
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 20 Yves Klein: Le Monochrome, 1961 May 29
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 21 Salvatore Scarpitta, 1961 June 24
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 22 Joan Mitchell, 1961 September 18
1 23 Six Sculptors, 1961 October 16
1 24 Matsumi Kanemitsu, 1961 November 13
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 25 Robert Goodnough, 1962 January 27
1 26 Ad Reinhardt, 1962 February 4
1 27 Robert Rauschenberg, 1962 March 4
1 28 William Waldren, 1962 April 1
1 29 Arman, 1962 May 13
1 30 Various Artists, 1962 June 11
1 31 Harry Nadler, 1962 July 9
1 32 Various Artists, 1962 September 7
1 33 Raymond Parker, 1962 October 7
1 34 My Country 'tis of Thee, 1962 November 18
1 35 Matsumi Kanemitsu: Recent Paintings, 1962 December 16
1 36 Martial Raysse, 1963 January 6
1 37 Dealer's Choice, 1963 February 10
1 38 Franz Kline: Memorial, Paintings 1950-1961, 1963 March 3
Oversized material housed in OV8
1 39 Larry Rivers, 1963 April 15
1 40 Jean Tinguely, 1963 May 13
Oversized material housed in OV8
1 41 Edward Kienholz, 1963 June 17
1 42 Claes Oldenburg, 1963 October 1
1 43 Sven Lukin, 1963 October 27
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 44 Ad Reinhardt: Recent Paintings, 1963 November 24
Oversized material housed in OV8
1 45 Various Artists, 1963 December 29
1 46 Niki de Sainte Phalle, 1964 January 5
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 47 Boxes, 1964 February 2
Oversized material housed in Box 5
1 48 William Waldren, 1964 March 1
Oversized material housed in OV6
1 49 Arakawa: Diagrams, 1964 March 29
Oversized material housed in OV8
1 50 Martial Raysse, 1964 May 4
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
Box Folder
2 1 Gallery Artists, 1964 June 1
2 2 New York, New York, 1964 June 29
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 3 Edward Kienholz: 3 Tableaux , 1964 September 29
2 4 James Rosenquist, 1964 October 27
2 5 Lucas Samaras, 1964 November 24
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 6 Arena of Love, 1965 January 1
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 7 Oldenburg, Whitman, Dine and Talbert, 1965 February 9
2 8 Dakota Daley and Nicholas Quennell, 1965 March 16
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 9 Robert Rauschenberg: Drawings, 1965 April 13
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
2 10 Charles Frazier, 1965 May 11
2 11 Various Artists, 1965 June 8
2 12 Mark Di Suervo: Two Large Works, 1965 September 29
2 13 Larry Rivers, 1965 November 16
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 14 Various Artists, 1965 December 21
2 15 Allen D'Archangelo, 1966 January 18
2 16 Neil Williams, 1966 February 15
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 17 Robert Morris: Sculpture, 1966 March 15
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 18 Arakawa, 1966 May 10
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
2 19 Various Artists, 1966 May 10
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 20 Robert Grosvenor, 1966 April 12
2 21 Summer Show, 1966 July 5
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
2 22 Anthony Magar and Forrest Myers, 1966 October 4
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 23 David Novros: Five Paintings, 1966 November 1
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
2 24 John Chamberlain, 1966 November 29
Oversized material housed in OV6, OV8
2 25 Kenneth Snelson, 1967 January 9
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 26 DWNY at DWLA, 1967 February 7
Oversized material housed in OV8
2 27 Carl Andre: Cuts, 1967 March 8
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 28 Sol LeWitt, 1967 April 4
2 29 10, 1967 May 2
Oversized material housed in OV6
2 30 Martial Raysse: Retrospective, 1967 June 31
Oversized material housed in OV8
Box
5 Oversized Boxes Catalog, 1964 February 2
Material scanned with Box 1, F47
Box
OV6 Oversized Exhibition Posters, 1960-1967
Material scanned with Box 1, F8, 12-13, 15, 19-21, 24, 43, 46, 48, 50 and Box 2, F9, 13, 16-18, 21-25, 27, 29
Box
OV8 Oversized Photographs, 1963-1967
Material scanned with Box 1, F38, 40, 44, 49-50 and Box 2, F2, 5-6, 8-9, 18-19, 23-24, 26, 30

Series 2: New York Exhibition Files, 1965-1971, after 1982
1 Linear foot; Box 2-4, OV7

Found within this series may be lists of exhibited works, price lists, photographs, slides or color transparencies of installations, invitations, full-size posters, magazine and newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs. Noteworthy exhibitions include artists Arakawa, Anastasi, Kenneth Snelson, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and Walter De Maria. Other important exhibitions include 10 (1966), Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read (1967-1970), and Earth Works (1968).

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

This series is arranged in chronological order according to the opening date of each exhibition. Exhibition posters have been placed into oversized folders.

Box Folder
2 31 Guides to New York Exhibitions, after 1982
2 32 Edward Kienholz: The Beanery, 1965 November 23
Oversized material housed in OV7
2 33 Arakawa: For Instance, Instant, 1966 January 4
Oversized material housed in OV7
2 34 Anastasi: Sound Object, 1966 February 1
Oversized material housed in OV7
2 35 Tom Doyle, 1966 March 1
Oversized material housed in OV7
2 36 Kenneth Snelson, 1966 April 12
Oversized material housed in OV7
2 37 Sol LeWitt, 1966 May 10
2 38 10, 1966 October 4
Box Folder
3 1 Michael Steiner, 1966 November 1
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 2 Robert Smithson, 1966 November 29
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 3 Scale Models and Drawings, 1967 January 7
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 4 Edward Kienholz: Concept Tableaux, 1967 February 4
3 5 Richard Baringer, 1967 March 4
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 6 David Novros: Paintings, 1967 April 1
3 7 Anastasi: Six Sites, 1967 April 29
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 8 Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read, , 1967 June 3
3 9 Tim Doyle, 1967 October 7
3 10 Arakawa, 1967 November 4
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 11 Carl Andre: Periodic Table, 1967 December 2
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 12 Kenneth Snelson, 1968 January 6
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 13 Sol LeWitt: 46 3 Part Variations, 1968 February 3
3 14 Robert Smithson, 1968 March 2
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 15 Michael Steiner, 1968 March 30
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 16 Charles Ross: Prisms, 1968 April 27
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 17 Language II, 1968 May 25
3 18 Earth Works, 1968 October 5
3 19 Dan Flavin: Cool White, etc., 1968 November 2
3 20 Erwin Heerich: Cardboard Sculpture, 1968 November 30
3 21 Fred Sandback: Five Situations, 1969 January 4
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 22 Robert Smithson: Lake Site-Nonsite, 1969 February 1
3 23 Charles Ross: Prisms, 1969 March 1
Oversized material housed in OV7
3 24 Walter De Maria: Bed of Spikes, 1969 March 29
3 25 Carl Andre, 1969 April 26
Box Folder
4 1 Language III, 1969 May 24
4 2 Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawing, 1969 October 4
4 3 Arakawa: Decisive Ending, 1969 November 1
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 4 Dwan, 10 Years, 1969 November 29
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 5 Michael Heizer: New York/ Nevada, 1970 January 10
4 6 Dan Flavin: Cornered Installations, 1970 February 7
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 7 Kenneth Snelson, 1970 March 7
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 8 Fred Sandback, 1970 April 4
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 9 Anastasi: Sculpture, 1970 May 2
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 10 Anastasi: Continuum, 1970 May 16
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 11 Language IV, 1970 June 2
4 12 Richard Long: Sculpture, 1970 October 3
4 13 Robert Smithson: Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1970 October 31
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 14 Gallery Artists, 1970 November 28
4 15 Charles Ross: Sunlight Dispersion, 1971 January 6
4 16 Robert Ryman: Paintings, 1971 February 6
4 17 Carl Andre, 1971 April 3
4 18 Sol LeWitt: Paintings and Drawings, 1971 May 1
4 19 Dan Flavin: to Barnett Newman, 1971 March 6
Oversized material housed in OV7
4 20 Final Exhibition, Gallery Artists, 1971 June 1
Box
OV7 Oversized Exhibition Posters, 1965-1971
Material scanned with Box 2, F32-36, 38, Box 3, F1-3, 5, 7, 10-12, 14-16, 21, 23, and Box 4, F3-4, 6-10, 13, 19