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The ACA Galleries records, 1917-1963

ACA Galleries

This site provides access to the records of ACA Galleries in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2010. The records have been scanned in their entirety, and total 1,439 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 1 Linear foot

Summary: The scattered records of the ACA (American Contemporary Art) Galleries date from 1917 through 1963 and include writings by founder Herman Baron, artists Philip Evergood and Anton Refregier, and art critic Elizabeth McCausland; printed materials; and photographs of Baron, ACA artists, art collectors, works of art, and exhibitions. Correspondence is with David Burliuk, Philip Evergood, William Gropper, Lewis Mumford, Moses Sawyer, Max Weber, and others. Also found is a small group of Herman Baron's personal papers.
The records are a rich resource for documenting the Social Realist artists and the militant socialist artists during the great depression and the post-World War II era of "McCarthyism".
Correspondence with ACA artists consists of letters from Philip Evergood, David Burliuk, William Gropper, Robert Gwathmey, Joseph Hirsch, Lewis Mumford, Elizabeth Olds, Alton Pickens, Moses Soyer, Max Weber, and Art Young. Some of the letters concern the socialist and communist views of some of the artists, including responses to Congressional Representive George A. Dondero's public statements and attacks on modern art as a conspiracy to spread communism in the United States. There is a letter written by Holger Cahill to the editor of Time magazine concerning WPA artists. Also found is a letter from Raphael Soyer written to the ACA Galleries concerning the American Artists' Congress.
Writings include Herman Baron's written history of the ACA Galleries and scattered pages of Baron's book on Joe Jones and William Gropper. There are essays and writings by art critic Elizabeth McCausland, and artists Anton Refregier and Philip Evergood. Printed materials consist of ACA publications, newspaper clippings, published articles, printed illustrations by Philip Evergood, and printed materials about Congressman Dondero.
Photographs are of David Burliuk, Bruce Calder, Nicolai Cikovsky, Hy Cohen, Robert Cronbach, Alexander Dobkin, Philip Evergood, Mike Gold, Chaim Gross, William Gropper, Joe Jones, Mervin Jules, Irene Rice Pereia, Geri Pine, Philip Reisman, Vic Shifreen, Harry Sternberg, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, James Baare Turnbull, Nicky Walker, Abraham Walkowitz, Nat Werner, and Art Young. Photographers include Berenice Abbott, Arnold Newman, and Alfredo Valente. Additional photographs are of unidentified installations or exhibitions.
Herman Baron's personal papers include letters written to his wife and friends during World War I, writings by Baron for various magazines including Glazier's Journal. Personal photographs are of Herman Baron in his army uniform. There is also an obituary for Herman Baron written by art critic Elizabeth McCausland.

Biographical/Historical Note

Herman Baron, Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Adolf Dehn founded the American Contemporary Art (ACA) Galleries on August 16, 1932. Located at 1269 Madison Avenue in New York City, the galleries' first show featured watercolorist Hy Cohen. Baron encouraged freedom of expression and did not censor the artworks displayed in his gallery. As a result, the gallery became an outlet for generally unknown and socially conscious artists, including the Social Realists.


Ella Baron, widow of the ACA Galleries' founder Herman Baron, donated the records to the Archives of American Art in 1965 and 1966.

Related Materials


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