Kootz Gallery records, 1923-1966

A Finding Aid to the Kootz Gallery Records, 1923-1966 in the Archives of American Art, by Judy Ng

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

Table of Contents:



Historical Information

Samuel M. Kootz officially opened the Kootz Gallery in 1945 in New York City. In 1953, he opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that closed one year later.

Samuel M. Kootz (1898-1982) received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1921 and practiced law briefly before moving to New York City to accept a job as an advertising account executive. While still in law school, he began visiting New York art galleries and was particularly drawn to works by modern artists that were showing at the Stieglitz Gallery and the Charles Daniel Gallery. In 1930, he independently published his first book, Modern American Painters and began to regularly contribute articles on painting and photography to various periodicals, including The Times. In 1942, he curated an abstract expressionist showcase for Macy's and published New Frontiers in American Painting one year later. Kootz's second book was one of the first to examine the emerging abstract expressionist movement and marked the beginning of his full transition into the art world.

In 1944, Kootz resigned from his advertising job to represent Robert Motherwell and William Baziotes as a professional art dealer. He officially opened the Kootz Gallery opened in 1945 and showcased the work of both American and European abstract expressionists, including Hans Hofmann and Adolph Gottlieb. In 1946, during the Kootz Gallery's preparation for Pablo Picasso's first one man exhibition in America, Picasso became quite friendly with Kootz and his wife Jane. Upon the artist's suggestion, Kootz agreed to close his gallery and represent Picasso and his other artists as a private dealer. Although this was a successful venture, Kootz missed the structure of an office and decided to reopen his gallery on Madison Avenue in 1949. The gallery's first show at the new location was "The Intrasubjectives," a term Kootz had coined for abstract expressionists. The exhibition included four artists from his stable, William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, and Hans Hoffman, along with Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Bradley Walker Tomlin.

In 1953, Kootz opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that was managed and operated by gallerist Nathan Halper. In 1954, they mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership and Kootz focused his energies on his New York gallery, which grew to include Herbert Ferber, David Hare, Philippe Hosiasson, Ibram Lassaw, Conrad Marca-Relli, Georges Mathieu, Raymond Parker, William Ronald, Gerard Schneider, Emil Schumacher, and Pierre Soulages.

A number of factors, including competition from new galleries, commoditization of art by investment collectors, and the public's interest in emerging pop art, influenced Kootz's decision to close his gallery in 1966.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The records of modernist New York City Kootz Gallery measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1923-1966. They consist of scattered correspondence and exhibition files; photograph files of artists, including ones for Picasso, William Baziotes, and Hans Hofmann, among many others; 23 scrapbooks, photographs and slides of the gallery and exhibitions; and scattered personal papers of Samuel M. Kootz.

There are two folders of scattered routine incoming letters. Three folders of exhibition files contain limited documentation of the 1952 Kootz Gallery exhibition "To South America," and printed material related to the 1951 exhibition "Art for a Synagogue" held at the Synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey.

Artists' Photograph Files contain mostly photographs of 52 artists, their artwork, and their exhibitions. In addition to photographs, there is one folder of artists' autographs. Pablo Picasso and Hans Hofmann's close friendship with Kootz is reflected in this series, as numerous informal personal photos are found in their respective files. A few folders also contain documents, such as transcript notes for a lecture and other writings by Hans Hoffman and a brief review of the work of Georges Braque and David Hare.

Printed Material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, advertisements, and newspaper and magazine clippings on the gallery and artists associated with the gallery. There are catalogs for Kootz Gallery exhibitions, including "The Intrasubjectives" show of 1949.

Twenty-three scrapbooks date from 1931 through 1966 and include exhibition announcements, catalogs, photographs, clippings, and miscellaneous printed material. Scrapbook 1, 1947-1948, focuses on Pablo Picasso. Scrapbooks 2-21 document approximately one year of Kootz Gallery events and press coverage from 1945 to 1966, and Scrapbooks 22-23, 1950-1958, focus on architectural models and exhibitions.

Photographic material includes photographs, transparencies, and slides of Kootz Gallery New York and Kootz Gallery Provincetown; interior design photographs showcasing Kootz Gallery artwork hanging in office and residential spaces; group and unidentified exhibitions; group and unidentified artists/artwork; and informal photographs of Samuel Kootz and of his wife, Jane.

Samuel Kootz Personal Papers consist of a cocktail party invitation and a copy of the 1923 Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Subjects and Names

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

  • Baziotes, William, 1912-1963 -- Photographs
  • Braque, Georges, 1882-1963
  • Hare, David, 1917-1992
  • Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966 -- Photographs
  • Kootz, Samuel M., 1898-1982
  • Marca-Relli, Conrad, 1913 -- Photographs
  • Mathieu, Georges, 1921 -- Photographs
  • Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973--Photographs
  • Ronald, William, 1926 -- Photographs
  • Soulages, Pierre, 1919 -- Photographs
  • Sugai, Kumi, 1919 -- Photographs
  • Art dealers--New York (State)--New York
  • Art galleries, Commercial--New York (State)--New York
  • Artists--United States--Exhibitions
  • Notes
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Signatures (names)

Provenance

Samuel M. Kootz donated the gallery records in two increments in 1971. Nearly all of the same records had been loaned in 1965 for microfilming.

Separated and Related Materials

Records loaned for microfilming in 1965 included eight articles from the publication Modern Artists in America (1951), that were not included in the later donation and are now available on microfilm reel NY65-1.

Also found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Samuel M. Kootz by John Morse on March 2, 1960 and by Dorothy Seckler on April 13, 1964. Records of Kootz Gallery are also interspersed among the records of Nathan Halper's galleries.

How the Collection was Processed

Portions of the records were initially microfilmed on reels 1318-1320, 1322-1323, and 3090; reel 3090 is no longer in circulation. Loaned materials were filmed on reel NY65-1 and returned. All later gift portions were integrated and fully processed by Judy Ng in 2011, and five scrapbooks were scanned for preservation in 2011 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. All scrapbooks are CLOSED due to their fragile condition; #1-#5 have been digitized and are available on the Archives of American Art's website, and #6-#23 are only available for use on microfilm reels 1318-1320 and 1322-1323.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Kootz 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.

How to Cite this Collection

Kootz Gallery records, 1923-1966. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1950-1962
2 Folders; Box 1

Correspondence consists of one folder of incoming letters and one folder of institutional newsletters and bulletins.

Box Folder
1 1 Kootz Gallery, Incoming Letters, 1950-1957
1 2 Kootz Gallery, Incoming Newsletters and Bulletins, 1952-1962

Series 2: Exhibition Files, circa 1944-1966
3 Folders; Box 1

Exhibition Files include an artists' chart, a press release for the 1952 Kootz Gallery exhibition "To South America," and printed material related to the 1951 exhibition "Art for a Synagogue" held at the Synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey.

Box Folder
1 3 Artists' Chart, circa 1944-1966
1 4 Press Release, "To South America," 1952
1 5 Symbols and Inscriptions in the Synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel, 1952

Series 3: Artists Photograph Files, 1936-1966
1.5 Linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 5

Artists Photograph Files consist primarily of photographs of 52 artists associated with the gallery, their works, and their exhibitions. Pablo Picasso and Hans Hofmann's close friendship with Kootz is reflected in this series, as numerous informal and personal photos are found in their respective files. Transcript notes for a lecture and other writings by Hans Hoffman and a brief review of the work of Georges Braque and David Hare and can also be found in their files.

The following artists have particularly large artist files that include both photos of the artist and of their exhibitions: William Baziotes, Hans Hofmann, Philippe Hosiasson, Georges Mathieu, Pablo Picasso, Gerard Schneider, Pierre Soulages, and Zao Wou-ki.

The series also includes photos of Herbert Ferber, Ibram Lassaw, Conrad Marca-Relli, Raymond Parker, William Ronald, Emil Schumacher, Jesus Soto, Leo Steppat, and Kumi Sugai, and photos of gallery exhibitions/architectural models for Karel Appel, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, David Hare, Robert Jacobsen, Robert Motherwell, Abraham Rattner, and Jaroslav Serpan.

There is one file of artist's autographs, including those of William Baziotes, Romare Bearden, Georges Braque, Byron Browne, Adolphe Gottlieb, Carl Holty, Hans Hofmann, and Robert Motherwell.

Box Folder
1 6 Artist Autographs, circa 1944-1966
1 7 Appel, Karel, 1953
1 8 Arp, Hans, circa 1944-1966
1 9 Baziotes, William, 1950-1959
1 10 Braque, Georges, circa 1944-1966
1 11 Brooks, James, 1960
1 12 Cavallon, Giorgio, 1960-1961
1 13 Cherry, Herman, 1950-1951
1 14 Davis, Stuart, circa 1944-1966
1 15 de Niro, Robert, circa 1944-1966
1 16 de Vlaminck, Maurice, circa 1944-1966
1 17 Dubuffet, Jean, 1946-1961
1 18 Ferber, Herbert, 1954-1959
1 19 Frankenthaler, Helen, 1956
1 20 Gorky, Arshile, 1950
1 21 Gottlieb, Adolph, circa 1944-1966
1 22 Graves, Morris, circa 1944-1966
1 23 Hanck, Frank, 1950
1 24 Hare, David, 1958
1 25 Hoflehner, Rudolf, circa 1944-1966
1 26 Hofmann, Hans, 1940-1965
Oversized material housed in Box 5, F1
1 27 Hofmann, Hans, slides, circa 1944-1966
1 28-33 Hofmann, Hans, transparencies, 1936-1965
6 Folders
1 34 Hofmann, Hans, writings, 1950
1 35 Hosiasson, Philippe, 1955-1959
1 36 Jacobsen, Robert, 1961-1962
1 37 Lassaw, Ibram, 1958-1963
1 38 Leger, Fernand, circa 1950s
1 39 Leiter, Saul, circa 1944-1966
1 40 Machado, William, circa 1944-1966
1 41 Marca-Relli, Conrad, 1959-1961
1 42 Mathieu, Georges, 1956-1959
1 43-44 Mathieu, Georges, artwork, 1951-1960
2 Folders
1 45 Mathieu, Georges, slides and transparencies, circa 1944-1966
1 46 Metzinger, Jean, circa 1950s
1 47 Miro, Joan, circa 1950s
1 48 Morris, Kyle, 1960, undated
1 49 Motherwell, Robert, circa 1944-1966
1 50 Palozzi, Eduardo, 1956-1957
1 51 Parker, Raymond, 1959-1964
1 52-54 Picasso, Pablo, circa 1947-1965
3 Folders
1 55-56 Picasso, Pablo, artwork, circa 1940-1965
2 Folders
1 57 Picasso, Pablo, slides and transparencies, circa 1947-1965
Box Folder
2 1 Rattner, Abraham, 1956
2 2 Ronald, William, circa 1944-1966
2 3-4 Ronald, William, artwork, 1956-1963
2 Folders
2 5 Ronald, William, slides and transparencies, circa 1956-1963
2 6 Rosenthal, Bernard, 1961
2 7 Schnabel, Day, 1956-1957
2 8 Schneider, Gerard, circa 1944-1966
2 9 Schneider, Gerard, artwork, 1955-1960
2 10 Schumacher, Emil, circa 1944-1966
2 11 Schumacher, Emil, artwork, 1959-1960
2 12 Serpan, Jaroslav, 1956-1958
2 13 Soto, Jesus, 1951-1965
2 14 Soulages, Pierre, 1955-1967
2 15 Soulages, Pierre, artwork, 1951-1967
2 16 Soulages, Pierre, slides and transparencies, circa 1951-1967
2 17 Steppat, Leo, circa 1944-1966
2 18 Sugai, Kumi, 1956-1963
Oversized material housed in Box 5, F2
2 19 Sugai, Kumi, transparencies, circa 1956-1963
2 20 Thomas, Jon, circa 1944-1966
2 21 Twombly, Cy, circa 1944-1966
2 22 Utrillo, Maurice, circa 1950s
2 23 Vicente, Esteban, circa 1944-1966
2 24 Wou-ki, Zao, circa 1944-1966
2 25 Wou-ki, Zao, transparencies, circa 1944-1966
Box Folder
5 1 Hofmann, Hans, 1955
Oversized material from Box 1, F26
5 2 Sugai, Kumi, 1957
Oversized material from Box 2, F18

Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1944-1966
1.5 Linear feet; Boxes 2, 5

Printed Material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, advertisements and proofs, magazine and newspaper clippings, and miscellany.

There are catalogs for the individual artists Fritz Bultman, Jean Dubuffet, Conrad Marca-Relli, Pablo Picasso, Jaroslav Serpan, and Pierre Soulages, and for the Kootz Gallery group exhibitions, "The Intrasubjectives" (1949) and "Art for a Synagogue" (1951, 1953).

Box Folder
2 26-31 Exhibitions Announcements and Catalogs, circa 1946-1961
Oversized material housed in Box 5, F3
2 32 Kootz Gallery Publications, Advertising, 1947
2 33 Kootz Gallery, Advertising, 1948-1958
2 34 Kootz Gallery, Advertising Proofs, 1954-1958
2 35-36 Periodicals, 1946-1962
2 Folders
2 37-42 Articles, circa 1944-1963
6 Folders
2 43 Clippings, circa 1944-1963
2 44-48 Clippings, 1944-1953
5 Folders
2 49-53 Clippings, 1954-1963
5 Folders
2 54 Miscellaneous Furnishing Advertisements, circa 1944-1966
Box Folder
5 3 Exhibitions Announcements and Catalogs, 1949
Oversized material from Box 2, F28

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1931-1966
4 Linear feet; Box 3, BV 6-23

Twenty-three scrapbooks document Kootz Gallery artists, exhibitions, and press coverage from 1931 to 1966. The scrapbooks include exhibition announcements, catalogs, photographs, clippings, and miscellaneous printed material. Scrapbook 1 (1947-1948) focuses on Pablo Picasso and Scrapbooks 22-23 (1950-1958) focus on architectural models and exhibitions. Scrapbooks 2-21 each document approximately one year of Kootz Gallery events and press coverage from 1945 to 1966.

The first five scrapbooks in this series (1931-1948) have been digitized for preservation. The remaining scrapbooks are fragile and are only available for use on microfilm.

Box Folder
3 1 Scrapbook #1, 1947-1948
3 2 Scrapbook #2, 1931-1945
3 3 Scrapbook #3, 1945-1946
3 4 Scrapbook #4, 1946-1947
3 5 Scrapbook #5, 1947-1948
Box
BV 6 Scrapbook #6, 1949-1950
Box
BV 7 Scrapbook #7, 1950-1951
Box
BV 8 Scrapbook #8, 1951-1952
Box
BV 9 Scrapbook #9, 1952-1953
Box
BV 10 Scrapbook #10, 1953-1954
Box
BV 11 Scrapbook #11, 1954-1955
Box
BV 12 Scrapbook #12, 1955-1956
Box
BV 13 Scrapbook #13, 1956-1957
Box
BV 14 Scrapbook #14, 1958-1959
Box
BV 15 Scrapbook #15, 1959-1960
Box
BV 16 Scrapbook #16, 1960-1961
Box
BV 17 Scrapbook #17, 1961-1962
Box
BV 18 Scrapbook #18, 1962-1963
Box
BV 19 Scrapbook #19, 1963-1964
Box
BV 20 Scrapbook #20, 1964-1965
Box
BV 21 Scrapbook #21, 1965-1966
Box
BV 22 Scrapbook #22, 1950-1958
Box
BV 23 Scrapbook #23, 1958-1963

Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1944-1966
11 Folders; Boxes 4-5

Photographic Material includes photographs, transparencies, and slides of Kootz Gallery New York and Kootz Gallery Provincetown; interior design photographs showcasing Kootz Gallery artwork hanging in office and residential spaces; group and unidentified exhibitions; group and unidentified artists and artwork; and informal photographs of Samuel Kootz and of his wife, Jane.

The group exhibitions include an architectural model exhibition by William Baziotes, Adolph Gottlieb, and David Hare, and an exhibition of three unidentified sculptors.

Box Folder
4 1 Photographs and Negatives of Kootz Gallery, New York, New York, circa 1944-1966
4 2 Photographs and Negative of Kootz Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts, circa 1953-1954
4 3 Photographs of Kootz Gallery, Interior Design and Artwork Samples, circa 1944-1966
Oversized material housed in Box 5, F4
4 4 Photographs of Kootz Gallery, Group Exhibition "Muralist and the Modern Architect," 1950
Related photographs of this exhibition appear in the following artists' files in Series 3: Baziotes, Gottlieb, Hare, Hofmann, and Motherwell.
4 5 Slides of Kootz Gallery, Three Sculptors Exhibition, circa 1944-1966
4 6 Photographs, Negatives, and Slides of Kootz Gallery, Unidentified Exhibitions, circa 1944-1966
4 7 Photographs and Negative of Kootz Gallery, Artists, circa 1944-1966
4 8 Photographs and Transparency of Kootz Gallery, Unidentified Artists and Artwork, circa 1944-1966
Oversized material housed in Box 5, F5
4 9 Photographs, Negative, and Transparencies of Samuel Kootz and Family, circa 1944-1966
Box Folder
5 4 Photographs of Kootz Gallery, Interior Design and Artwork Samples, circa 1944-1966
Oversized material from Box 4, F3
5 5 Photograph of Kootz Gallery, Unidentified Artist, circa 1944-1966
Oversized material from Box 4, F8

Series 7: Samuel Kootz Personal Papers, circa 1923-1957
2 Folders; Box 4

Two folders of Samuel Kootz's personal papers include a cocktail party invitation and a copy of the 1923 Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1.

Box Folder
4 10 Invitation, circa 1950-1957
4 11 Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1923