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Catherine Viviano Gallery records, 1930-1990, bulk 1949-1978

Catherine Viviano Gallery records, 1930-1990, bulk 1949-1978

Catherine Viviano Gallery.

Collection Information

Size: 11.6 linear feet

Summary: The records of the Catherine Viviano Gallery measure 11.6 linear feet and date from 1930-1990, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1949-1978. Established in New York City in 1949, the gallery specialized in contemporary painting and sculpture primarily by American and European artists. The collection consists of artists' files; correspondence with artists, collectors, dealers, museum directors, curators, and publishers; business records; printed material; and photographs of artwork and artists. Also included are records relating to Catherine Viviano's activities as a private dealer and consultant after she closed the gallery in 1970.

Artists' files include biographical material; artists' statements; correspondence; sales and expense reports; lists and notes; guest lists; writings by others; receipts, invoices, and statements; printed material, including press releases, exhibition announcements, brochures, catalogues, clippings; and photographs of artwork and artists. Included are extensive files on Afro Basaldella, Renato Birolli, Robert Broderson, Anselmo Franesconi, Joseph Glasco, Manabu Mabe, César Manrique, Luciano Minguzzi, Ennio Morlotti, Bernard Perlin, Daniel Rice, and Bernard Rosenthal. There are also files on Jan Cox, Kay Sage, and Kazuo Wakabayashi.

Correspondence comprises the largest series in the collection and consists of general correspondence; correspondence with museums, galleries, and art-related institutions in the United States; and correspondence with museums, galleries, and art-related institutions abroad. Letters focus on routine business matters, e.g., appraisals and sales, acquisitions, and organizing exhibitions at the Catherine Viviano Gallery and other venues.

General correspondence includes letters between Catherine Viviano and artists and their family members. Among the correspondents are: Mary Callery, Bernard Chaet, Piero and Virginia Dorazio, Jean Dubuffet, Dallas Ernst, Karl Fortress, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Sage Goodwin, Morris Graves, José Guerrero, Earle Ludgin, Joan Miro, Alfonso Ossorio, Dorothea Tanning, Stuyvesant Van Veen, Adja Yunkers and his wife, Dore Ashton, among others. Also found is Viviano's correspondence with clients, many of whom were prominent collectors, e.g., Richard Brown Baker, Carl and Joan Fisher, Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman, Joseph Hirschhorn, Marc Moyens, Vincent Price, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Nelson Rockefeller, Stanley Seeger, and Frederick and Dorothy Zimmerman. Of interest, are letters from Elizabeth Bishop inquiring about the purchase of a work of art from the gallery. Included are letters from art historians, museum directors, curators, representatives at other art-related institutions, and publishers including Walter Bareiss, Walter Barker, Dominque De Menil, Valentine Dudensing, William Eisendrath, S. Lane Faison, Emily Genauer, Bertram Goodhue, Erhard and Barbara Göpel, James Laughlin, Porter McCray, Abram Lerner, Doris Meltzer, Stephen Robson Miller, John Bernard Myers, Perry Rathbone, Belle Krasne Ribicoff, Meyer Shapiro, George Stout, and Curt Valentin.

Correspondence with museums, galleries, and art-related institutions in the United States contains letters between Viviano and museum directors, curators, dealers, artists, and collectors pertaining to loans, shipping and delivery of artwork, appraisals and sales, and acquisitions. Files include substantive correspondence with the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Federation of the Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Arts Club of Chicago, the Barnes Foundation, Bristol Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Bundy Art Gallery, Carnegie Institute, City Art Museum of St. Louis, Cleveland Museum of Art, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Denver Art Museum, Des Moines Art Center, Detroit Institute of Arts, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Art Museum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, Museum of Modern Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, University of Nebraska Art Galleries, University of Virginia, Mary Washington College, Wadsworth Atheneum, Walker Art Center, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, Atkins Museum of the Fine Arts, World House Gallery, and Yale University Art Library.

Correspondence with museums, galleries, and art-related institutions abroad primarily concerns the lending of artwork for exhibitions, acquisition and sales; also included are letters requesting biographical information on artists. Letters between Catherine Viviano and representatives of Max Beckmann Gesellschaft Archiv and Galerie Gunther Franke contain provenance-related information on Beckmann's work.

Business records document the routine business operations of the gallery. Printed material includes an incomplete run of Catherine Viviano Gallery exhibition catalogues; invitations and announcements from other galleries and institutions; and miscellaneous printed material.

Photographs include three images of miscellaneous artwork used for art reference.

Biographical/Historical Note

Catherine Viviano (1889-1992) was an art dealer and consultant from New York, N.Y. In 1950 Catherine Viviano established her gallery at 42 East 57th Street, New York, NY.; the gallery was closed in 1970.


Donated 2003 by Margaret Viviano, Catherine Viviano's sister. The Estate of Catherine Viviano was left to her sister Margaret Viviano. Power of attorney for Margaret Viviano has been invested in her grandnephew, Peter C. Salerno who signed the deed.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Catherine Viviano Gallery records, 1930-1990, bulk 1949-1978, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Catherine Viviano (1889-1992) opened her gallery in 1949 on 42 East 57th Street in New York City. Specializing in contemporary American paintings and sculpture, the gallery featured younger American and European artists, e.g., Robert Broderson, Carlyle Brown, Jan Cox, Joseph Glasco, Peter Lanyon, Manabu Mabe, César Manrique, Bernard Perlin, Joseph Rollo, Bernard Rosenthal, and Kay Sage, among others. The gallery was also notable for introducing the work of Italian artists, who had been cut off from the American art scene during World War II, including Afro Basaldella and his brother Mirko Basaldella, Renato Birolli, Leonardo Cremonini, and Luciano Minguzzi.
Born in Italy in 1899 and raised in Chicago, Catherine Viviano came to New York in the early 1930's to work at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, where she remained for sixteen years before founding the Catherine Viviano Gallery.
In 1970, Catherine Viviano closed the gallery, though she continued to work from her home as an art dealer and consultant. She died of a stroke at the age of ninety-two in 1992.
Arrangement note
Records are generally arranged by material type and in chronological order thereafter. Artists' files and correspondence files are arranged in alphabetical order and materials within the folders are arranged chronologically
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: Artists' Files, 1945-1986 (Boxes 1-3; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1939-1985 (Boxes 3-6; 5.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Business Records, 1949-1972 (Boxes 10-11; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1930-1990 (Boxes 11-13; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 5: Photographs (1948-1954), undated (Box 14; 1 folder)
Donated 2003 by Margaret Viviano, Catherine Viviano's sister. The Estate of Catherine Viviano was left to her sister Margaret Viviano. Power of attorney for Margaret Viviano has been invested in her grandnephew, Peter C. Salerno who signed the deed.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed by Joy Weiner in 2010.

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

Catherine Viviano Gallery records, 1930-1990, bulk 1949-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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