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Ankrum Gallery records, circa 1900-circa 1990s, bulk 1960-1990

Ankrum Gallery records, circa 1900-circa 1990s, bulk 1960-1990

Ankrum Gallery

Collection Information

Size: 41.5 linear feet

Summary: The Ankrum Gallery records measure 41.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 1990s, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1990. The papers include over 395 artists files, general gallery correspondence, project files, administrative records, exhibition files, collector and client files, financial material, printed material, 1 unbound scrapbook, and photographs. Also included are personal papers of gallery founder Joan Ankrum and her nephew, artist Morris Broderson.

General correspondence is with artists, museums, collectors, and clients, and generally concerns sales, exhibitions, and consignments. Correspondents include Irving Block, Morris Broderson, Naomi Caryl, Suzanne Jackson, Joseph and Olga Hirshhorn, among many others. Correspondence is also found in the artists' files and the collector/client files.

Project files document various events, benefits, and projects undertaken by the gallery, including a UNICEF benefit, "Up Against Hunger," the Exceptional Children's foundation, and the Young Art Patrons.

Administrative files document many activities of the gallery, such as the gallery's and Joan Ankrum's membership in the Black Arts Counts, the California Arts Council, and the Art Dealers Association of California of which Joan Ankrum was a primary organizer. Also found are publicity files, a file on the history of the gallery, leases, floor plans, insurance documents, lists of graphics for sale, and other miscellany.

Exhibition files appear to be incomplete, but do include files for Huichol Indian's art, "The Art of African Peoples" (1973), "Five Contemporary Mexican Painters" (1977), Ethiopian Folk Painting (1978), San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild All Media Exhibition (1982), "25th Anniversary Exhibition" (1985), among several others.

Extensive artists' files include correspondence, price lists,photographs and slides, resumes and biographical material, and sales invoices. Files are found for Benny Andrews, Carlos Almaraz, Richard Bauer, Irving Block, Naomi Caryl, Bernie Casey, Frank Duveneck, Lorser Feitelson, Bruno Groth, David Herschler, Jessie Homer, Suzanne Jackson, Buffie Johnson, Samella Lewis, Helen Lundeberg, Arnold Mesches, Henry Miller, Melvin Schuler, Arthur Secunda, Ken Shores, Jean Varda, and Zev, among many others. Files for Pat Alexander and Andy Nelson also contain motion picture film.

Collector and client files document the gallery's relationship with over 115 collectors, museums, and art centers. Files may include correspondence and sales records. Files are found for Edith Halpert, Olga and Joseph Hirshhorn and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Krannert Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Palm Spring Desert Museum, Paramount Pictures, San Diego Museum of Art, Staempfli Gallery, and Storm King Art Center, among many others.

Financial material documents sales through numbered invoices, consignments, loans, and insurance valuations. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, bulletins, periodicals, and newspaper clippings. One unbound scrapbook contains clippings and exhibition materials.

Photographs are of artwork, artists, and gallery openings. Additional photographs are found in the artists' files.

Joan Wheeler Ankrum personal papers document her personal and professional relationship with family, artists, and collectors. They include correspondence, personal writings, personal financial materials, printed material and loose scrapbook materials, family photographs and photographs of her as an actress, and artwork from various artists.

The papers of artist Morris Broderson, nephew of Joan Ankrum, document his professional relationship with the gallery as his primary dealer. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, publicity files, travel files, projects, exhibitions, collector/client files, financial material, printed material, photographs, and artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Ankrum Gallery was established 1960 in Los Angeles by American film actress Joan Wheeler Ankrum and William Chalee. The gallery closed in 1989.

Provenance

The Ankrum Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Joan Ankrum in 1995.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Ankrum Gallery Records, circa 1900-circa 1990s, bulk 1960-1990, in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
The Ankrum Gallery was established 1960 in Los Angeles by American film actress Joan Wheeler Ankrum and William Chalee. The gallery closed in 1989.
Joan Wheeler Ankrum and William Challee opened Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1960 with a one-man show of Ankrum's nephew Morris Broderson. With a focus on contemporary California artists, Ankrum Gallery represented over 395 artists during its 30 years in operation, including Benny Andrews, Carlos Almaraz, Richard Bauer, Irving Block, Naomi Caryl, Bernie Casey, Frank Duveneck, Lorser Feitelson, Bruno Groth, David Herschler, Jessie Homer, Suzanne Jackson, Buffie Johnson, Samella Lewis, Helen Lundeberg, Arnold Mesches, Henry Miller, Melvin Schuler, Arthur Secunda, Ken Shores, Jean Varda, and Zev. In addition, the gallery was among the earliest to exhibit the work of black artists. The gallery also held exhibitions of world artists, which included “Art of African Peoples” (1973), “Yarn Paintings of the Huichol Indians” (1973), “Five Contemporary Mexican Painters” (1977), and “Ethiopian Folk Painting” (1978). Ankrum Gallery closed in 1989.
Art dealer and gallery owner, Joan Wheeler Ankrum was an actress before establishing the Ankrum Gallery primarily to showcase the work of her deaf nephew, Morris Broderson. Born in 1913 in Palo Alto, California, she began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse where she met her first husband Morris Ankrum with whom she had two sons, David and Cary Ankrum. She married gallery co-owner and partner William Challee in 1984. She helped organize the Los Angeles Art Dealers Association and the Monday Night Art Walks on La Cienega Boulevard. She was a member of the relatively short-lived Black Arts Council. Joan Wheeler Ankrum died in 2001 at the age of 88.
Morris Broderson (1928-2011) was a deaf painter. His first one-man show was at the Stanford Museum in 1957, followed by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. By 1959 he’d won two awards from the Los Angeles County Museum, and appeared in the Whitney Museum’s “Young America” show in 1960. His travels influenced his work, including the hand gestures of Kabuki art in Japan. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among others. Following Joan Ankrum’s death in 2001, Broderson was represented by her son David Ankrum.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 12 series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1961-1994 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Project Files, 1965-1987 (0.25 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Administrative Records, 1961- circa 1990s (1 linear foot; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1961-1991 (1 linear foot; Boxes 2-3)
Series 5: Artists’ Files, 1957-1994 (22.5 linear feet; Boxes 3-25, 41-42, FC 43-45)
Series 6: Collector and Client Files, 1960-1994 (3.2 linear feet; Boxes 25-28)
Series 7: Financial Material, 1962-1990 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 28-30)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1957-1994 (2 linear feet; Boxes 30-32, 41)
Series 9: Scrapbook, 1960-1988 (3 folders; Box 32)
Series 10: Photographs, circa 1960s-circa 1990s (0.35 linear feet; Boxes 32, 42)
Series 11: Joan Ankrum Personal Papers, circa 1900-1993 (2 linear feet; Boxes 32-34, 41)
Series 12: Morris Broderson Papers, 1941-1989 (7.2 linear feet; Boxes 34-42)
Provenance
The Ankrum Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Joan Ankrum in 1995.
Processing Information note
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2015 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing strategies when possible to increase information about and provide access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing tactics included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator’s original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Ankrum Gallery records, circa 1900-circa 1990s, bulk 1960-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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