Morris Louis and Morris Louis Estate papers, circa 1910s-2007, bulk 1965-2000

Louis, Morris, b. 1912 d. 1962
Active in New York, N.Y.; Baltimore, Md.

Collection size: 17.8 linear feet

Collection Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, photographs, receipts, banking and tax records, notes, writings, printed material, interviews, and a sample of canvas reflect the career of Morris Louis. The remaining half, documenting the administration of Louis' estate, includes gallery files, general correspondence, notes, writings, clippings, photographs, interviews, and business records, many relating to the sale of Morris Louis' work . Also included is video footage (0.4 linear ft.) on Betamax and U-matic tapes produced and directed by Mark Muheim, Muheim Motion Pictures, for Marcella Brenner of the exhibition, "Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited," at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 2007. The final product, a comprehensive video using the footage from this project, was never created.

Biographical/Historical Note: Morris Louis (1912-1962) was a painter in Washington, D.C. Born Morris Louis Bernstein in Baltimore, Maryland. He participated in the WPA Easel Painting Project, and adopted the name Morris Louis.
Marcella Louis became administrator of his estate of paintings, as a result of an agreement with his family, the Bernsteins. In 1964 she married scientist Abner Brener.

Donated in 1976, 1986 and 1988 by Marcella Brenner, Louis' widow and again in 2009 and 2012 by Brenner via Ann M. Garfinkle, Executor. Twenty-five exhibition catalogs included in the Louis Estate papers were transferred to the NMAA/NPG library in 1988. Microfilmed in 1994 with funding provided by grants from Jack Amsterdam, the Bezalel Foundation, Inc. (Henry Sonneborn III), Ms. Miriam Klein, Philip L. Milstein, Norman M. Morris, and Solomon Star, Esq.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 4988-4994 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
    Audio of interviews with Corenlia Noland, Liz Quisgard, Betty Schach ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required of the person interviewed.
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