Henry Botkin papers, 1917-1979

Botkin, Henry, b. 1896 d. 1983
Active in New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 3.5 linear ft. (on 10 microfilm reels)
4 sound tapes ; 7 & 5 in.

Collection Summary: Biographical material (1945-1965), letters (1917-1979), notes (1950-1970), writings (1944-1970), business records (1927-1977), art works (1932-1964), subject files (1952-1955), scrapbook (1927-1939), printed material (1923-1977), and photographs (1922-1968) documenting Botkin's career and his friendship with George and Ira Gershwin and other entertainment and artistic figures.

Among the correspondents and subjects of photographs or letters are: George and Ira Gershwin, their sister Frances Godowsky, Botkin's brother Benjamin, Botkin's daughter Toinette Botkin Laurent, and grandson Alexander Laurent, composer Harold Arlen, Fanny Brice and her son William Brice, artists Chaim Gross, Saburo Hasegawa, Hans Hofmann, Karl Knaths, Paul Manship, Paul Mocsanyi, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Wallace Putnam, Abrahmam Rattner, Hugo Robus, Arnold Schoenberg, Jack Shadbolt, John Von Wicht, and Abraham Walkowitz. Also included are photographs of Botkin's studio, night picnic in Provincetown attended by many artists; and material relating to American Abstract Artists, New School Art Center, Provincetown Art Association, and the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. [See Finding Aid for information on location of items on the microfilm].

UNMICROFILMED: 3 untranscribed interviews of Botkin, 1 done for the "Today" show, NBC, June 4, 1965; 1 for Colette Roberts "Meet the Artist" Program, undated, and 1 by an unidentified interviewer. Also included is an untranscribed monologue, Oct. 11, 1970.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painter; New York, N.Y. and Provincetown, Mass. Born in Boston and attended art schools there from 1913-1917. From 1917-1920, he attended the Art Students League and was employed as an illustrator for prominent magazines until 1929. Traveling abroad between 1926 and 1933, he attained his first one-man show in 1927 at the Billiet Galleries in Paris. Through his cousin, composer George Gershwin, Botkin became acquainted with people active in the performing arts, such as Harold Arlen, Fanny Brice, Harry Kurnitz, and Bert Lahr. Botkin was also involved in the American Abstract Artists, Artists Equity Association, Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, and Gallery 256 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Donated 1969-1982 by Henry Botkin and by his son Glenn and his assistant Rene Barilleaux. Many items were returned to Botkin after microfilming.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels D388, N69-67 - N69-68, N69-91, N70-25, N70-48, 2895-2897, and 4314 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Patrons must use microfilm copy. Use of untranscribed tapes requires an appointment at the Washington, D.C. office.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

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Henry Botkin papers also at Syracuse University.

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