Scope and Contents
The papers of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005. The collection documents the activities of Chaim Koppelman and his wife, Dorothy Koppelman, as artists and educators, and their affiliation with the Terrain Gallery and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Materials include biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, scrapbooks, printed material, sketches, sketchbooks, and photographs.
Scattered biographical material includes resumes, artist's statements, copies of entries in Who's Who directories, and miscellaneous items.
Correspondence includes personal correspondence and general correspondence. Personal correspondence mostly consists of Chaim Koppelman's letters written to Dorothy while he was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He describes his daily activities, observations on army life, and his travels while stationed in England, France, and Germany. Of interest is Chaim Koppelman's letter to Dorothy describing his meeting Picasso and visiting the artist's studio. Personal correspondence also includes Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman's letters with family and friends. Notable correspondents include Sari Dienes, Nat Herz, Sheldon Kranz, Amédée Ozenfant, Hilla Rebay, and Theodoros Stamos. Hilla Rebay's letters to Chaim Koppelman discuss museum-related activities at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, including the Guggenheim's memorial exhibition for Wassily Kandinsky. There is also a file of letters from Eli Siegel to Chaim Koppelman. General correspondence includes mostly incoming letters to Chaim Koppelman from collectors, colleagues, students, and arts institutions. Frequent correspondents include: Associated American Artists, American Federation of the Arts, Audubon Artists, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, Pratt Graphics Center and Print Council of America.
Writings and notes contain annotated typescripts and handwritten drafts by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Chaim Koppelman's writings include essays and talks on art, artists, and printmaking based on Aesthetic Realism; also found are some poems. Dorothy Koppelman's writings consist of artist's statements and essay-length pieces that were prepared for Aesthetic Realism talks on the work and lives of artists, held at the Terrain Gallery of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation and other venues. Also found is a sound recording of Chaim Koppelman's 1968 conversation with Richard Anuszkiewicz, Roy Lichtenstein, and Clayton Pond; the artists discuss the influence of the Siegel Theory of Opposites on their work.
Subject files document the activities, projects, and professional affiliations of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. Included are materials on exhibitions, applications for fellowships and grants, awards, drafts of writings, donations and acquisitions of artwork by museums. Teaching files provide an overview of the faculty positions held by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman over the course of their careers. Found are extensive files on Chaim Koppelman's tenure at the School of Visual Arts. Exhibition files chronicle the Koppelmans' solo and group shows at the Terrain and other venues; substantive files contain Chaim Koppelman's correspondence with museums and arts institutions and sales information.
Two scrapbooks contain exhibition-related materials, such as artists' statements, press releases, awards, printed material, and photographs of artwork. Artwork includes sketches and illustrated letters by Chaim Koppelman. There are twenty annotated sketchbooks by Chaim Koppelman and a sketchbook by Dorothy Koppelman. Photographs and snapshots are of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman; many of the snapshots of Chaim Koppelman and others document his army service while stationed in the United States and Europe. Four photograph albums include black and white photographs of Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in their studio; included are snapshots of the Koppelmans with family and friends at exhibition openings, gatherings, and on their travels. There are photographs of Regina Dienes, Gerson Lieber, Bernard Olshan, Joseph Solman, and Theodoros Stamos.
The collection was donated by Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman in 2006.
The Archives of American Art also holds the Terrain Gallery records of which Dorothy Koppelman is the director.
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared in 2012 by Joy Weiner. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders within boxes were not numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.