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Carlen Galleries, Inc. records, 1775-1997, bulk 1940-1986

Carlen Galleries

Collection Information

Size: 10.4 linear feet

Summary: Correspondence, business records, subject files, a scrapbook, printed matter, photographs, and selections from Robert Carlen's library document the operation and activities of Carlen Galleries, Inc. and its founder Robert Carlen.
Correspondence, 1937-1986, with artists, dealers, curators, and collectors, mainly about sales and purchases; correspondence files concerning sales of art work by Maurice Prendergast and Käthe Kollwitz; artist files, 1944-1976, regarding Albert Davies, Edward Hicks, and Horace Pippin containing letters, financial records, and printed matter; subject files, 1933-1977, on black artists, Raymond Feuillate, the French Moderns, and letters to Mrs. Almon Kidder concerning Raphaelle Peale; and business records, 1906-1977, including loan forms, records of Carlen Galleries exhibitions, miscellaneous art work information, photographs, inventories, advertising, a guest book, a scrapbook, clippings, conservation reports, and financial records.
Letters, 1941-1986, from and about Horace Pippin, about Edward Hicks, and gallery business; business records, 1937-1946, consisting of account books and receipts; printed matter, 1937-1947, including exhibition announcements, catalogs, and clippings; a scrapbook, 1937-1947, about Horace Pippin; and photographs, 1944, of works of art and portrait of Allan Freelon. (Note: some of the Horace Pippin and Edward Hicks material microfilmed in 1988 with part 2 was lent again in 2002 for microfilming, and is duplicated in part 4, although there was a significant amount rearranged in the interim.)
Letters, 1962-circa 1980, from Charles M. Mount about John Singer Sargent; business records, 1979, consisting of a sales receipt and list of paintings to be appraised; and photographs, circa 1940, circa 1950, of Robert Carlen, and Carlen with Mr. and Mrs. Horace Pippin.
Correspondence, 1943-1997, concerning purchase and sale of art and antiquities, Carlen Galleries exhibitions, loans, and reference requests; a small amount of personal correspondence with the Carlen's daughters and friends; business records, 1941-1989, including appraisals, receipts, and contract for Carlen's participation in the University Hospital Antiques Show; subject files, 1937-1997, about Edward Hicks, Anatol Jal, the Captain James Lawrence goblet, Horace Pippin, and Antoine Roux, containing correspondence, printed matter, and photographs; and five notebooks, 1928-1994, about Horace Pippin (3 volumes), Edward Hicks, and Robert Carlen and the gallery, containing correspondence, printed matter, financial records, and photogaphs.
Selections from the library of Carlen Galleries, Inc., 1835-1992, including catalogs, pamphlets, and periodicals. A small number of folders include notes, photographs, and photocopies of archival material. (The filing order and subject designations were supplied by the donor.)

Biographical/Historical Note

Carlen Galleries, Inc. (founded 1937) is an art gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carlen specialized in American folk, primitive and decorative art, but also sold African, European, and Oriental Art. Over the years Carlen worked with Alfred Frankenstein on William Harnett, with Mary Black on a variety of projects, and uncovered many Edward Hicks paintings. Carlen was also Horace Pippin's dealer.


Papers on reels 4166-4175 were donated 1986 by Robert Carlen. Material on reel 4175, frames 1-283 (second series) mainly relating to Horace Pippin were loaned by Carlen 1988. In 2002, Carlen's daughter, Nancy Carlen, donated 2 feet of records, and loaned 3 feet for microfilming (the loan portion partially duplicates the 1988 loan, but material was significantly reorganized in the intervening years).

Location of Originals

  • Reels 4175 (fr. 01-283) and 5746-5748: Originals returned to the lenders after microfilming.