Skip to main content

Bernard J. Reis papers, circa 1913-1983

More Information

Rebecca McCormick
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York accountant and art collector Bernard J. Reis measure 2.1 linear feet and date from circa 1913 to 1983. The papers document his friendships with artists, his role as accountant for Art of This Century and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, and executor of the Mark Rothko Estate. Included are biographical and family papers, correspondence, professional files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical and family papers includes a biographical essay, a caricature of Bernard Reis by Abe Birnbaum, documents regarding Rebecca Reis's 1963 cookbook and Barbara Reis Poe's art career, as well as memorabilia from tours of the Reis house and art collection.
Correspondence is with family, friends, and artists, such as Marc Chagall, Sir Herbert Read, and Robert Motherwell. Also found is correspondence with art organizations, galleries, and museums, including the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern Art.
A small set of professional files include copies of others' correspondence, miscellaneous legal documents and reports, Marlborough Gallery records from Reis's time as a New York Director, and copies of wills drawn up by Reis, including those of Edward Albee, Willem De Kooning, Peggy Guggenheim, Beverly Pepper, Abraham Rattner, Man Ray, and Larry Rivers.
Art of This Century and Peggy Guggenheim Foundation records are comprised of accountant's reports, an architect's essay, papers concerning exhibitions and films, a catalog of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Foundation dissolution documents, meeting minutes, gift agreements, and news clippings. Also included is correspondence between Peggy Guggenheim and Bernard and Rebecca Reis, correspondence between Peggy Guggenheim and her son, Sindbad Vail, and financial correspondence.
Mark Rothko Estate papers include administrative records, financial documents, inventories, sales records, papers concerning the Mary Alice "Mell" Rothko Estate, news clippings, and two scrapbooks. Also found are Mark Rothko's correspondence and estate correspondence. Of note are papers related to the Rothko estate trial.
Printed material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, copies of articles by Reis, news and magazine clippings, and printed materials regarding Marc Chagall.
Photographs depict Bernard Reis, Reis with wife Rebecca and friends, the Reis home and collection, and Reis at events. Also found are photographs of Peggy Guggenheim's Palazzo in Venice.
The papers were donated in 1979 and 1980 by Bernard J. Reis's widow, Rebecca G. Reis.
Related Materials
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an interview of Bernard Reis conducted June 3-10, 1976, by Paul Cummings. Bernard and Rebecca Reis papers, circa 1924-1985, are also located at the Getty Research Institute in California.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and described in a finding aid by Rebecca McCormick in 2017.