Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk, 1953-1970

A Finding Aid to the Stable Gallery Records, 1916-1999 , bulk 1953-1970, in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines

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Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation.

Table of Contents:



Historical Information

Established in 1953 by Eleanor Ward (1911-1984), the Stable Gallery derived its name from its first home, a former livery stable on Seventh Avenue at West 58th Street, New York City. Long interested in art and recognized for her "good taste" and "flair," Mrs. Ward had vaguely considered the idea of opening her own gallery for some time and received encouragement from Christian Dior, with whom she had worked in Paris. In 1952, opportunity arose to lease a suitable building that would later become a gallery. At first, Ward and a friend sold mannequins and made the large, empty space available for fashion photography; in December, she operated a Christmas boutique for a few weeks.

The Stable Gallery opened in 1953 with an exhibition of work by Ward's friend Mike Mishke, a commercial artist. She then arranged for the Stable Gallery to host a sequel to the 1951 Ninth Street Show (the initial show, organized by the Club with financial assistance from Leo Castelli, was held in an empty store on Ninth Street). The New York Artists Annual, better known as the Stable Annual, was selected by the artists themselves; this well-attended, widely-reviewed, and influential exhibition continued until 1957. Participating artists included Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Willem deKooning, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Stankiewicz, and Jack Tworkov.

The Stable Gallery soon became a gathering place for artists, including some not in Stable's "stable." Over the years, the Stable Gallery presented the first one-man shows of Robert Indiana, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. Among the artists closely associated with the gallery were: Joseph Cornell, Edward Dugmore, John Ferren, Alex Katz, Conrad Marca-Relli, Marisol, Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, Richard Stankiewicz, Cy Twombly, Jack Tworkov, and Wilfred Zogbaum. The gallery was known for dramatic, somewhat theatrical installations, and occasionally presented exhibitions beyond its usual focus (photographs by Hans Namuth and pre-Columbian sculpture, which personally interested Ward).

When the block where the Stable Gallery stood was razed in 1960 to make way for a high rise apartment building, Mrs. Ward moved her gallery to 33 East 74th Street, where she was able to maintain an apartment for herself upstairs. Quite abruptly, Ward closed the Stable Gallery in 1970, noting changes in the art scene, growing commercialization, and a loss of enthusiasm that made the gallery merely a business for her. Alan Groh (1923-1996), who started as Eleanor Ward's assistant in 1956 and was eventually named gallery director, became director of A. M. Sachs Gallery. Mrs. Ward traveled widely and acted as an art consultant to selected clients.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Stable Gallery records measure 2.7 linear feet and are dated 1916-1999 (bulk 1953-1970). The gallery was known for its representation of the New York School. Records consist mainly of artist files containing biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, sales and payment information, printed matter, and photographs. A small number of gallery administrative and financial records are included, along with printed matter, photographs, personal papers, and estate records of gallery founder and owner Eleanor Ward. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a sound cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a videoreel (1/2 inch) documentary of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection.

The Stable Gallery's administrative records includes miscellaneous correspondence, lists, financial records, printed matter, and photographs of unidentified artwork and exhibition installations. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a film recording of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection. Additional Stable Gallery administrative and financial information, as well as related printed matter is included with the artist files.

Artist files contain biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, printed matter, and photographs of artists and artwork. The correspondence includes memoranda regarding payments to artists and sales information. Among the printed matter is documentation of the Stable Gallery and other exhibitions, reviews, and miscellaneous articles. Unfortunately, no records about the famous Stable Annuals held between 1953 and 1957 survive.

Artwork consists of 4 sketchbooks and loose sheets with charcoal drawings by unidentified artist(s).

The Eleanor Ward papers include miscellaneous personal papers and records concerning her estate. Photographs in the series are of Eleanor Ward, friends and family, parties, and the interior and exterior of Ward's Connecticut house.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as four series:

Subjects and Names

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

  • Groh, Alan, 1923-1996
  • New York School of poets and painters.
  • Scull, Robert, 1917-1986 -- Art collections
  • Ward, Eleanor, 1912-1984
  • Art galleries, Commercial--New York (State)--New York
  • Art, Modern--20th century--Exhibitions
  • Art, Modern--20th century--New York (State)--New York
  • Drawings
  • New York school of art
  • Photographs
  • Sketchbooks
  • Sound recordings
  • Video recordings

Provenance

The Stable Gallery records were the gift of the Estate of Eleanor Ward. In 1984, artist files were received from Alan Groh, executor of Ward's estate and her assistant at the Stable Gallery. Additional records were donated in 1997 by Buzz Miller on behalf of the Estate of Eleanor Ward; Mr. Miller was Alan Groh's partner and executor of his estate. A final addition was received in 1999 from Paul Gardner, executor of the Estate of Buzz Miller.

Separated and Related Materials

Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Eleanor Ward conducted by Paul Cummings, February 8, 1972.

How the Collection was Processed

Materials received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation and were microfilmed onto reels 5821-5823. All materials were merged and described by Catherine S. Gaines in 2002. In 2007, the motion picture film material was preserved and transferred with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. All materials were prepared for digitization by Judy Ng in 2016 and scanned with funding provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Stable 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 bulk of the collection was digitized in 2016 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Materials which have not been scanned include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned. Some of the recordings in this collection have been copied for research access and digital copies are available in the Archives of American Art offices.

How to Cite this Collection

Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk 1953-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Administrative, 1955-1986
0.3 Linear feet; Box 1, 4

The Stable Gallery's administrative records includes miscellaneous correspondence, lists, and printed matter of a general nature, or ones concerning multiple artists. Financial material includes banking and investment records, miscellaneous sales, and invoices. Photographic material is of exhibition installations and unidentified artwork. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a sound cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a videoreel (1/2 inch) documentary of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection. Additional Stable Gallery administrative and financial information, as well as related printed matter are included with the artist files.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Materials are arranged by document type.

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence, Miscellaneous, 1961-1970
1 2 Documentary, Auction, 1973
1 Videoreel (1/2 inch) ; Original
2 Videocassettes (Digital Betacam) ; Duplicate
1 Videocassette (VHS) ; Duplicate
Anthology of the New York Art Scene (work in progress). A selection of fity works from the collection of Robert C. Scull at auction, Parke-Bernet Galleries. A documentary showing some of the contemporary artworks sold, narrated by Rene Metsch. Artists whose works are represented include Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Indiana. Includes an interview with Eleanor Ward of the Stable Gallery. Oversized material housed in Box 4, Folder 1.
1 3 Interview (Eleanor Ward), circa 1969-1970
1 Sound cassette ; Original
Ward reminiscing about the Stable Gallery and discussing with Rupert and Bonnie [?] the possibility of writing a book about her experiences as an art dealer.
1 4 Writings, Interview Transcript (E. Ward with Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art), 1972, 1986
1 5 Writings, Memoir by Alan Groh (with Groh's r�sum�), circa 1971-1973
1 6 Writings, Notes and Lists, circa 1955-1975
1 7 Financial Records (banking, investments, miscellaneous sales, and invoices), 1956-1971
1 8 Printed Material, Clippings, 1958-1988
1 9 Photographs, Graham Foundation Exhibition, circa 1955-1970
1 10 Photographs, Unidentified Exhibitions, circa 1961
1 11 Photographs, Unidentified Sculpture, circa 1955-1970
1 12 Negatives, Unidentified Artwork, circa 1955-1970
Box Folder
4 1 Oversized Auction Recordings from Box 1, Folder 2, 1973

Series 2: Artist Files, 1952-1997
1.6 Linear feet; Box 1-2

Artist files contain various combinations of biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, printed matter, and photographs of artwork. The correspondence includes memoranda regarding payments to artists and sales information. Among the printed matter is documentation of the Stable Gallery and other exhibitions, reviews, and miscellaneous articles. There are no files for some artists (e.g. Louise Bourgeois, Hans Namuth, Robert Rauschenberg, Jon Schueler) who are known to have exhibited with the gallery. A few of the artists for whom files exist may not have been associated with the Stable Gallery, but perhaps were of interest as potential gallery artists or for Ward's private collection. In a small number of instances, material post-dating the closing of Stable Gallery has been added.

The bulk of this series has been scanned. In some cases exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by artist name.

Box Folder
1 13 Anderson, Jeremy R., 1954-1957
1 14 Biala, Janice, circa 1970
1 15 Birmelin, Robert, 1963-1967
1 16 Boghosian, Varujan, 1963-1965
1 17 Borgrave, Elie, 1955-1960
1 18 Briggs, Ernest, 1955-1960
1 19 Brooks, James, circa 1957
1 20 Brustlein, Daniel, 1962
1 21 Bultman, Fritz, 1954-1958
1 22 Burlin, Paul, circa 1955-1960
1 23 Burri, Alberto, 1953-1957
1 24 Cage, John, 1958
1 25 Carone, Nicholas, circa 1955-1960
1 26 Cavallon, Giorgio, 1954-1960
1 27 Chase, Janet, circa 1955-1960
1 28 Cornell, Joseph, 1954-1968
1 29 Cox, Jan, circa 1955-1960
1 30 de Kooning, Elaine, 1955-1956
1 31 Diebenkorn, Richard, circa 1955-1960
1 32 Downing, Thomas, 1963-1965
1 33 Dugmore, Edward, 1953-1958
Includes photograph of the artist.
1 34 Engman, Robert, 1960-1963
1 35 Ernesto, 1957
Includes photograph of the artist.
1 36 Ferren, John, 1954-1959
1 37 Ferren, John (photographs), circa 1955-1960
Includes photograph of the artist.
1 38 Fiore, Joe, 1954-1956
1 39 Garrigues, Ron, 1963-1964
1 40 Goodnough, Robert, circa 1955-1960
Includes photograph of the artist.
1 41 Graham, John D., 1961
1 42 Heller, Dorothy, circa 1955-1960
1 43 Hyde, Solomon, circa 1955-1960
1 44 Indiana, Robert (biographical materials), 1962-1968
1 45 Indiana, Robert (correspondence), circa 1962-1968
1 46-48 Indiana, Robert (correspondence), 1962-1966
1 49-50 Indiana, Robert (correspondence), 1967-1968
1 51 Indiana, Robert (contract, writings, notes), 1965
Box Folder
2 1 Indiana, Robert (printed material, photographs), 1962-1968
2 2 Insley, Robert, 1968
2 3 Katz, Alex, 1960-1962
2 4 Katz, Alex (photographs), circa 1960-1962
Includes photograph of the artist.
2 5 Krasner, Lee, circa 1955-1960
2 6 Loew, Michael, circa 1955-1960
2 7 Marca-Relli, Conrad, 1954-1959
2 8 Marca-Relli, Conrad (photographic material), circa 1954-1959
2 9 Marisol, 1961-1965
2 10 Mitchell, Fred, 1955-1957
2 11 Mitchell, Joan (biographical material), 1959-1962
2 12 Mitchell, Joan (correspondence), circa 1954-1979
2 13-14 Mitchell, Joan (correspondence), 1954-1967, 1979
2 15 Mitchell, Joan (clippings), circa 1957-1965
2 16 Mitchell, Joan (printed material), 1952-1965
2 17 Mitchell, Joan (notes, photographs), circa 1955-1975
Includes photograph of the artist.
2 18 Morris, Kyle, 1956-1958
2 19 Motherwell, Robert, 1955
2 20 Nesbitt, Lowell, 1967, 1970
2 21 Noguchi, Isamu, 1954-1961
2 22 Opper, John, 1961
2 23 Ortman, George, 1957-1961
2 24 Pace, Stephen, circa 1955-1960
2 25 Plate, Walter, 1956-1959
2 26 Reynal, Jeanne, 1956-1957
Includes photographs of Jain temple, the artist, and exhibition installation.
2 27 Sihvonen, Oli, 1963-1964
2 28 Stankiewicz, Richard, 1959-1969, 1982
2 29 Thek, Paul, 1970, 1990
2 30 Twombly, Cy, 1953-1958
Includes photograph of the artist.
2 31 Tworkov, Jack, 1957-1961
2 32 Warhol, Andy, 1962-1997
2 33 Welliver, Neil, 1962-1964
2 34 Zakanych (a.k.a. Zakanitch), Robert, 1968
2 35 Zanartu, Henrique, 1954-1955
2 36 Zogbaum, Wilfred, 1957-1961

Series 3: Artwork, circa 1955-1970
3 Folders; Box 4

Artwork consists of 4 sketchbooks and loose sheets with charcoal drawings by unidentified artist(s).

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Materials are arranged by document type.

Box Folder
4 2 Sketchbooks, Vol. 1-2, circa 1955-1970
4 3 Sketchbooks, Vol. 3-4, circa 1955-1970
4 4 Sketches (loose sheets; includes a few ballpoint pen drawings), circa 1955-1970

Series 4: Eleanor Ward Papers, 1916-1999
0.5 Linear feet; Box 2-4

The Eleanor Ward papers consists of miscellaneous personal papers and records concerning her estate, in addition to miscellaneous books, exhibition catalogs, and clippings. These include clippings about Eleanor Ward's New York apartment and her house in Connecticut. Also included are two exhibition catalogs, A Contemporary Collection of Painting and Sculpture Selected from the Collection of Eleanor Ward, Lyman Allen Museum, 1965, and In Honor of Alan Groh '49: The Buzz Miller Collection of American Art, Bayley Art Museum, University of Virginia, 1999 (the collection was acquired mainly from Stable Gallery and donated in honor of Alan Groh, Ward's close friend and long-time assistant).

The bulk of this series has been scanned. In some cases exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned.

Materials are arranged by document type.

Box Folder
2 37 Correspondence, circa 1965-1983
Includes letters from Ad Reinhardt.
2 38 Estate Records, circa 1982-1986
Includes will and personal/art inventories.
2 39 Financial Records, 1966-1976
2 40 Floorplan, "The Barnhouse," 1964
2 41 Artifact, Cigarette Holder, circa 1950
Box Folder
3 1 Published Materials, Books, 1916-1978
Odette: A Fairy Tale for Weary People (1916) by Ronald Firbank; Po�sies (1943) by Paul Val�ry; Fishtiary (1978, poems) by Michael Braude, drawings by Ralph Carpentier; and The Bel Canto Pet (circa 1920-1970). Oversized material housed in Box 4, Folder 5.
3 2 Published Materials, Clippings, Eleanor Ward, circa 1960-1984
3 3 Published Materials, Clippings, Food and Recipes, circa 1975-1980
3 4 Published Materials, Clippings, Health and Beauty, circa 1975-1980
3 5 Published Materials, Clippings, Miscellaneous, circa 1975-1980
3 6 Published Materials, Exhibition Catalogs, 1965-1999
Contemporary Collection of Painting and Sculpture from the Collection of Eleanor Ward; Small Works by Artist Members, Annual Guild Hall Artist Members, 1983; Hubert Long; and Buzz Miller Collection of American Art.
3 7 Published Materials, Paul Verlaine, circa 1970
1 Sound disc (vinyl)
3 8 Photographs, Eleanor Ward, 1958-1980
3 9 Photographs, Eleanor Ward with Others, circa 1950-1962
With Christian Dior, Alan Groh, Buzz Miller, and unidentified individuals.
3 10 Photographs, Family [?], circa 1950-1980
Great nephew Toby Ferguson, and unidentified individuals.
3 11 Photographs, Individuals, circa 1960-1980
Alan Groh, Buzz Miller, and unidentified individuals.
3 12 Photographs, Groups, circa 1950-1980
Mainly parties, some at Ward's home; few individuals are identified.
3 13 Photographs, Groups (parties), circa 1975-1980
3 14 Photographs, Places, Ward's "Barnhouse" (exterior views), circa 1970-1980
3 15 Photographs, Places, Ward's "Barnhouse" (interior views), circa 1970-1980
3 16 Photographs, Places, Ward's Connecticut Summer House, circa 1960
3 17 Photographs, Places, Unidentified, circa 1979
3 18 Photographs, Dog, circa 1965-1970
3 19 Photographs of Artwork, Still Life with Eleanor as Eleanor of France, circa 1980
Drawing by Josef Levi with photocopies of art historical references.
3 20 Negatives of Artwork, Pre-Columbian Sculpture from the Ward Collection, circa 1955-1975
Oversized Book from Box 3, Folder 1, 1954
Bruno Caruso (1954) by Leonard Sinisgalli