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Avis Berman research material on Adelyn Breeskin, 1976-1977

Avis Berman research material on Adelyn Breeskin, 1976-1977

Berman, Avis, 1949-

Art historian, Author

Collection Information

Size: 5 items (partially microfilmed on 1 reel)

Summary: Transcripts of interviews with Breeskin, Gertrude Rosenthal, and James Foster; and a draft of Part 1, and copy of Part 2 of her "Profile of Adelyn Breeskin." UNMICROFILMED: Interview of Adelyn Breeskin conducted by Berman September 8 and November 2, 1976. Breeskin speaks of her educational background; working at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum; her early interest in reading and illustrated books; her role as Curator of Prints and Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Sadie May, Claghorn, Garrett, and Cone Collections; the financial management of the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Venice Biennale, 1960; and her research concerning Mary Cassatt and Romaine Brooks. She recalls Katherine B. Child, Claribel and Etta Cone, William Ivins, Jr., Gertrude Stein, Alicie B. Toklas and others. Also included are transcripts of interviews with Gertrude Rosenthal, January 14, 1977, and James Foster, December 10, 1976, in which they discuss working with Breeskin. REEL 2786: A copy of Berman's article "Adelyn Breeskin: 50 Years of Excellence, Part I," which appeared in the Feminist Art Journal, Summer 1977; and a manuscript draft and photocopied pages of "Profile of Adelyn Breeskin, Part 2" by Berman. (An abbreviated version of this article appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Oct. 30, 1977).

Biographical/Historical Note

Art historian; New York, N.Y. Breeskin was an art historian and museum director.


Donated February 1, 1987 by Avis Berman.

A Finding Aid to the Avis Berman Research Material on Katharine Kuh,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Joy Weiner
Biographical Note
Writer and art historian, Avis Berman lives and works in New York City. Berman was a close friend of Katharine Kuh's and is Kuh's literary executor. Berman compiled Katherine Kuh's research materials for the memoir that she was working on at the time of her death; the book was subsequently published as
My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator in 2006
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was a curator and art dealer born in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in 1925, where she studied art history under Alfred Barr. In 1928, she earned her Master's in Art History at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, Kuh developed an interest in modern art, particularly the work of European artists.
Kuh married George Kuh, a businessman in 1930. She and Kuh divorced six years later.
In 1935, she established the Katharine Kuh Gallery in Chicago. The gallery was dedicated to featuring the works of contemporary European and American painters and sculptors, such as Alexander Archipenko, Alexei Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Gyorgy Kepes, Paul Klee, Gaston Lachaise, Fernand Léger, Carlos Mérida, Joan Miro, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Pablo Picasso, as well as Charles Biederman, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, and Isamu Noguchi, among others. The Katharine Kuh Gallery was one of the first galleries in Chicago to show photography as art. Kuh held exhibitions for Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Edward Weston, and she also showed the photographs of Gyorgy Kepes and Man Ray.
At the gallery, Kuh taught classes on an informal basis to individuals interested in modern art. During this period, she spent her summers as a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University School of Fine Arts of San Miguel in Guanajuarto, Mexico (1938-1940). With the onset of America's involvement in World War II, Kuh realized that the war would curtail her contact with many of the European artists whose works she had promoted and in 1942, she decided to close the gallery.
In 1943, Katharine Kuh took a position in the public relations department at the Art Institute of Chicago. The following year, Kuh was asked to take over the Gallery of Art Interpretation at the Art Institute. Later she was appointed the Curator of Painting and Sculpture; in this role, she developed a close collaborative relationship with the Director of the Art Institute, Daniel Catton Rich. From 1946-1953, she served as the Editor of the
Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly
She left the Art Institute in 1959 and settled in New York City. She served as an art editor at the
Saturday Review
World Magazine
. She was also an art consultant for the First National Bank of Chicago from 1968-1979.
Katharine Kuh traveled extensively and often wrote about the art of the places she visited such as Sicily, Turkey, and the Yucatan. In the 1940s Kuh developed an interest in the wood carvings of the Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest. The University of Alaska awarderd her an honorary doctorate for her efforts to preserve the indigenous artwork of the region's Native Americans.
Her publications on twentieth-century art included:
Art Has Many Faces
The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Artists
Break-up: The Core of Modern Art
(1965), and
The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art
(1971). Kuh also wrote the catalog that accompanied the "Fernand Léger Retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago" (1953). At the time of her death, Katharine Kuh had completed a final draft of her memoir, which she had tentatively titled,
Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in an Art Odyssey
In 1994, Katharine Kuh died in New York City.
The collection is arranged as 4 series:
Series 1: Katharine Kuh Files, 1944-2003 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 2:
Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in an Art Odyssey
by Katharine Kuh, 1939-2006 (Boxes 1-3; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Avis Berman Files, 1950s-2006 (Box 3; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Memorabilia, 1976, 1977 (0.1 linear feet)
Scope and Content Note
The Avis Berman research material on art dealer and curator Katharine Kuh measures 3.0 linear feet and dates from 1939 to 2006. The materials were compiled by art historian Avis Berman in preparing Katharine Kuh's memoir, which was published posthumously as
My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator
. The collection includes Katharine Kuh's files; Kuh's drafts, manuscripts and interviews for her memoir; and Avis Berman's files relating to the book's publication. Also included is memorabilia.
The Katharine Kuh files contain correspondence; exhibition files; writings and notes; and Kuh's interview with Lily Harmon on J. B. Neumann. Correspondents include Walter Arensberg, Marcel Duchamp, and Edgar Kaufmann. Also included is the scattered correspondence of Daniel Catton Rich with Walter Arensberg, Chester Dale, Katharine Kuh, Samuel Marx, and others. Exhibition files pertain to exhibitions curated by Katharine Kuh for the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection and one-man shows for Rico Lebrun and Mark Tobey, respectively.
Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in An Art Odyssey
contains Katharine Kuh's draft versions of book chapters; her manuscripts and interviews; and drafts of chapters that were not incorporated in the published memoir. Also included are manuscripts for the memoir and an annotated version of Avis Berman's interview with Kuh.
The Avis Berman files include correspondence, writings, printed material, clippings, press releases, and miscellaneous printed material. Files document Berman's activities concerning the publication of the memoir.
Memorabilia consists of a monograph and a memorial booklet.
Donated February 1, 1987 by Avis Berman.
Related Material
The Archives of American Art holds the Katherine Kuh papers, 1908-1994. Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Katharine Kuh conducted by Avis Berman, March 18, 1982-March 23, 1983. Additional Katharine Kuh material is located at the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level by Joy Weiner in 2009.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reel 2786 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Avis Berman research material on Adelyn Breeskin, 1976-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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