Please note, we are experiencing issues connecting to our Research Request System, Aeon. To request collection materials, please contact us through the Ask Us form

Louis K. Meisel Gallery selected records, 1964-2003

A Finding Aid to the Louis K. Meisel Gallery Selected Records, 1964-2003 in the Archives of American Art, by Joy Weiner

Download PDF Version of this page [Download PDF Version]

Table of Contents:

Historical Information

Louis K. Meisel (1942- ) opened the Louis K. Meisel Gallery on Prince Street in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City in 1966. The gallery has promoted the work of realist painters, sculptors, and photographers. Louis K. Meisel Gallery has also championed another genre of American realism, the Pin-up; the gallery has an extensive collection of vintage and contemporary Pin-ups. Artists represented include: John Baeder, Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Chuck Close, Audrey Flack, Ronald Kleemann, Mel Ramos, and Theodoros Stamos, among others.

Born in 1942 in Brooklyn, Louis K. Meisel has had a varied career as an art dealer, writer, and collector. Meisel attended Columbia University, 1964 and the New School for Social Research in New York, 1963-1965. Credited with coining the phrase, Photorealism in the late 1960s, Meisel defined the qualities of the Photorealist artist.

Louis K. Meisel has written numerous books and articles on Photorealism, the American Pin-Up, and other art-related topics. He has also lectured at academic and art-related institutions, including the Arts and Crafts Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1978; Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1980, 2002; the Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 1993; and the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, 2002. His collecting interests have been wide-ranging. In addition to his extensive collection of Photorealist paintings and Pin-up illustrations, Meisel is a collector of 1940s Moderne, tin toys, Art Deco statues, and naturalia.

Since 2000, Louis K. Meisel, in partnership with Frank Bernarducci, has operated the Bernarducci. Meisel. Gallery on 57th Street in New York as a venue for established and emerging artists.

Return to top

Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Louis K. Meisel Gallery selected records measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1964-2003. The records of this New York gallery consist of correspondence with artists and other individuals, writings by Louis K. Meisel, subject files on Gregory Battcock and Jason Seley, and photographs. Correspondence documents the gallery's dealings with its artists.

Among the correspondents are John Baeder, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Richard McClean, Theodoros Stamos, and others. Also found are letters from Larry Rivers, Anwar el-Sadat, Robert Hughes, and Tom Messer.

Writings include a typescript by Louis K. Meisel on becoming an art dealer. A subject file on art historian Gregory Battcock contains several reviews, scattered materials including letters, clippings, lists, press releases, and a photograph of Battcock with David Bourdon, Hilton Kramer, Rosalind Krauss, Barbara Rose, and others attending an International Art Association of Art Critics conference. There are subject files on Jason Seley containing photographs, correspondence, and printed materials.

Photographs include a photograph of Louis K. Meisel and his wife, Susan Meisel with Photorealists artists at a book party. Also found are photographs of John Baldesarri with Herbert and Dorothy Vogel; and Andy Warhol and Elizabeth Taylor.

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 terms:


  • Baldessari, John, 1931-
  • Battcock, Gregory, 1937-
  • Bourdon, David
  • Kramer, Hilton
  • Krauss, Rosalind E.
  • Meisel, Susan Pear
  • Rose, Barbara
  • Taylor, Elizabeth, 1932-2011
  • Vogel, Dorothy
  • Vogel, Herbert
  • Warhol, Andy, 1928-


  • Art galleries, Commercial--New York (State)--New York

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs


  • Baeder, John
  • Close, Chuck, 1940-
  • Eddy, Don, 1944-
  • Estes, Richard, 1932-
  • Flack, Audrey
  • Goings, Ralph
  • Meisel, Louis K.
  • Messer, Thomas M.
  • Rivers, Larry, 1925-2002
  • Sadat, Anwar, 1918-1981
  • Stamos, Theodoros, 1922-1997


The Louis K. Meisel Gallery selected records were donated by Louis K. Meisel in 1990 and 2009.

How the Collection was Processed

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

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Louis K. Meisel Gallery selected 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

Louis K. Meisel Gallery selected records, 1973-2003. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Return to top

Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1964-2003
(Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Correspondence is mostly professional in content; topics center on artist's activities, discussions on Photorealism, exhibitions and sales of artwork. Also included in the files are artist's statements, clippings, photographs; and illustrated letters and greeting cards, some original artwork. Of interest, are letters from Theodoros Stamos to Louis K. Meisel about his work. Also found are letters from several prominent individuals, such as Robert Hughes, Thomas Messer, Joan Mondale, and Anwar al-Sadat.

Correspondence, including files with individual artists, is arranged alphabetically; letters within the folders are filed in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 A-B, 1965-1999
  • Adams Davidson Galleries
  • Basq, Carlos
  • Benke, Ernest
  • Brunelli, Anthony J.
  • Bull, Frances
1 2 D, 1982-1986
  • De Andrea, John
  • Doyle, Joe
1 3 H-M, 1969-1985
  • Hanson, Duane
  • Hess, Thomas
  • Hughes, Robert
  • Louis K. Meisel Gallery (exhibition invitation)
  • Mendenhall, Jack
  • Mondale, Joan
  • Morley, Frances
  • Mott, E.
1 4 O-P, 1964-1978
  • Oppenheim, Dennis
  • Rivers, Larry
  • Sadat, Anwar El
  • Louis K. Meisel Gallery (exhibition invitation)
  • Shestack, Mel
  • Mondale, Joan
  • Morley, Frances
  • Mott, E.
1 5 W, 1973-1980
  • Wilson, Gahan
  • Wyeth, James
1 6 Baeder, John, 1980-1993, undated
1 7 Bechtle, Bob, 1973-1985, undated
1 8 Blackwell, Tom, 1983, undated
1 9 Close, Chuck 1976-2000, undated
1 10 Cottingham, Tom, 1973-1998, undated
1 11 Eddy, Don, 1980-1983, undated
1 12 Estes, Richard, 1980-1989
1 13 Flack, Audrey, 1983-1984
1 14 Goings, Ralph, 1973-1993
1 15 Kleemann, Ronald, 1973-1981, undated
1 16 McClean, Richard, 1973-1993, undated
1 17 Parrish, David, 1973-2003
1 18 Ramos, Mel, 1974-1991
1 19 Ruckle, Ernest, 1972-1985, undated
1 20 Salt, John, 1979-2002
1 21 Stamos, Theodoros, 1967-1981
1 22 Unidentified Correspondents (surnames omitted), 1976, undated

Series 2: Writings, circa 1970s
(Box 1; 1 folder)

This series contains a typescript of Louis K. Meisel's "The World Needs Art (Therefore Dealers)." In this article-length piece, Meisel writes about the preparation an individual should undertake before becoming an art dealer. He also describes in detail how the dealer should renovate a gallery space as well as select and arrange artwork for display.

Box Folder
1 23 Writings by Louis K. Meisel, circa 1970s

Series 3: Subject Files, 1974-1981
(Box 1; 5 folders)

This series includes subject files on Gregory Battcock and Jason Seley. There are typescripts of Battcock's review of a book party for the art historian Robert Rosenbaum and his reviews of exhibition openings at the Museum of Modern Art and the Institute for Art and Urban Resources. Also found are letters, scattered lists, clippings, press releases, and a photograph of Gregory Battcock with David Bourdon, Hilton Kramer, Rosalind Krauss, and Barbara Rose at the International Art Association of Art Critics conference. Four folders of materials on Jason Seley include printed materials, photographs, and correspondence

Box Folder
1 24 Gregory Battcock, 1974-1977
1 25-28 Jason Seley, 1965-1981
(4 folders)

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1980s-1993
(Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

This series includes a color photograph of Louis K. Meisel and his wife, Susan Meisel, at a party held at his New York City loft for his book, Photorealism Since 1980. Included in the group shot are John Baeder, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Ronald Kleemann, Jack Mendenhall, John Salt, among others.

Also found are black and white photographs of artists with others: Andy Warhol with Elizabeth Taylor at a benefit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and John Baldessari with Herbert and Dorothy Vogel at an exhibition opening for Kenneth Noland at the Whitney Museum in New York.

Photographs are arranged by subject and thereafter filed in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 29 Photograph of Louis K. Meisel with Photorealist Artists, 1993
1 30 Photographs of Artists with Others, circa 1980s