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Chaim Gross papers, 1920-2001

Chaim Gross papers, 1920-2001

Gross, Chaim, 1904-1991

Art teacher, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 22.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of sculptor and instructor Chaim Gross (1904-1991) measure 10.4 linear feet and date from 1920-2001. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, exhibition and event files, photographs, art work, printed material, and motion picture film. An addition of 11.5 linear feet donated 2016 and 2017 includes 105 sketchbooks, 1933-1991; awards and honors; condolence letters to Renee Gross on the death of her husband, Chaim; professional correspondence; photographs of Chaim Gross, his family, friends, colleagues, events and works of art; writings about Gross; files on exhibitions and events; and printed material including magazines, newsletters, articles, catalogs, brochures, and bulletins.

Circa 900 letters and greeting cards, 1939-1963, to Gross from collectors, museums, art organizations, and colleagues; contracts and receipts, 1941-1959; a drawing of African sculptures; 4 sketches drawn on envelopes and letters received; minutes of an exhibit committee meeting, 1962; and printed material, mainly exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1942-1962, and invitations to art-related events, 1948-1959. Correspondents include: John I. H. Baur, Isabel Bishop, Cornelia Van Auken Chapin, Henry Di Spirito, Eliot Elisofon, Juliana Force, Hy Freilicher, Al Hise, Edward Hopper, Mervin Jules, Benjamin Kopman, Leon Kroll, Paul Manship, Frances M. Morgan, Arnold Newman, Elias Newman, Abbo Ostrowsky, Ann Cole Phillips, Edna Reindel, Hugo Robus, Edward Rowan, Charles Salerno, Paul Sample, Mitchell Siporin, Henry Strater, Isaac Stern, Egon Weiner, Anita Weschler, Warren F. Wheelock, Harry H. Wickey, Carl Zigrosser, and William Zorach.

Ten record books of Gross' sculpture, 1926-1975, containing rough drawings of works, dimensions, titles, dates, materials, production locations, and information regarding owners.

Eighty sketchbooks, 1920-1968.

Letters, 1942-1969, from universities, museums, galleries, and colleagues including Ben-Zion, George Biddle, Peter Blume, Federico Castellon, Joseph Floch, Jo Hopper, Karl Knaths, Arnold Newman, Elliot Offner, Paul Suttman, Stuyvesant Van Veen, and William Zorach; miscellaneous writings by Gross and others; 3 lists of works; and printed material.

Letters and postcards, 1934-1974, many illustrated, from Mimi Gross and her husband, Red Grooms; eight illustrated letters and two envelopes from Mimi Gross to her parents Renee and Chaim Gross, written while she was traveling in Italy, Macedonia, Greece, and Yugoslavia in 1961 and 1968; 3 sketches; 2 clippings; and an exhibition announcement for Red Grooms, undated.

Thirteen postcards, 1951-1954, from friends who were traveling.

Primarily correspondence (7.2 linear feet), 1926-1983, with galleries, philanthropic organizations, and colleagues, including Isabel Bishop, Peter Blume, Jose De Creeft, Allen Ginsberg, John Graham, Joseph Hirsch, Joseph and Olga Hirshhorn, Jacob Kainen, Leon Kroll, Arnold Newman, Elias Newman, Abraham Rattner, Warren Robbins, Edward Rowan, Isaac Singer, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Isaac Stern, William Zorach, and an undated letter containing a photograph of Merce Cunningham.

Photographs, 1935-1982, are of Gross, his children, art-related events, gallery receptions, gatherings at Gross' home, exhibition installations, of art work executed between 1920 and 1979, and colleagues, including Sam Adler, George Constant, José De Creeft, Alexander Dobkin, Philip Evergood, Ernest Fiene, Joseph Floch, Eugenie Gershoy, Vincent Glinsky, Aaron Goodelman, Adolph Gottlieb, Lena Gurr, Cleo Hartwig, Joseph Hirshhorn, Leon Kroll, Jack Levine, Louise Nevelson, Arnold Newman, Warren Robbins, Nelson Rockefeller, Isaac Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Stuyvesant Van Veen, Karl Knaths posing for Gross, and Joseph Stella posing for Moses Soyer.

Other material includes contracts, loan agreements, receipts; minutes of meetings; lists of art work and people; writings by Gross and others; 2 drawings; clippings; exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1935-1982; a catalog, 1977, for "The Sculptor's Eye," an exhibition of African art from Gross' collection; press releases; programs; brochures; 2 books, "Chaim Gross: The Jewish Holidays" (1972) and "The Sculpture Reliefs of the Ten Commandments by Chaim Gross" (1973); and reproductions of art works. Motion picture films include "A Sculptor Speaks," directed by Lewis Jacobs (1956) and "Artist and Model," a silent film shot by Thea Bay in Provincetown and edited by Bob Worth (1976).

Biographical/Historical Note

Chaim Gross (1904-1991) was a sculptor and instructor from New York, N.Y. Born in a small village in Austria-Hungary, Gross studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts (Budapest) in 1919, and at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Vienna) in 1920. Immigrating to New York City in 1921, he attended classes at the Educational Alliance Art School from 1921-1926 and befriended Raphael and Moses Soyer. He also studied at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and with Robert Laurent at the Art Students League. Gross taught at the Educational Alliance Art School from 1927-1990, and at the New School of Social Research from 1950-1990. A renowned collector of African sculpture, Gross was active in many art-related and philanthropic organizations. His daughter, Mimi, was married to Red Grooms in 1964.


Material on reels D115, N69-35, N69-36, and 4913-4923 donated by Gross from 1963-1983. (Missing originals filmed on D115: fr. 81, 873, and 1296-1303). Sketchbooks and record books lent for microfilming 1966-1975 by Gross. His daughter, Mimi, donated additional letters in 2005, some of which were lent for with material for microfilming on reels 2320-2321 in 1981. Postcards on reel 2813 were donated by Mrs. Irving Marantz in 1975. Additional material donated 2016 by the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation via Susan Fisher, Executive Director and 2017 by the Foundation via Sasha Davis, Interim Director and Curator of Collections. Funding for microfilming provided by the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Inc., the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, and the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation.

Related Materials

Chaim Gross papers also at Syracuse University.

Location of Originals

  • Sketchbooks, record books, and material on reels D115a, N69-7, N69-8, N69-19, N69-20, N69-28, N69-29, N69-34, N69-52, 924-925, and 2320-2321: Originals returned to the lender, Chaim Gross, after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels D115-D115a, N69/7-8, N69/19-20, N69/28-29, N69/34-36, N69-52, 924-925, 2813, 2320-2321, and 4913-4923 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is temporarily closed to researchers due to archival processing and digitization. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Eight letters and two envelopes (partially microfilmed on reels 2320-2321) Permission to reproduce for purposes of publication requires written permission from: Mimi Gross 4 White Street, 3rd floor, New York, N.Y. 10013-3508

How to Cite This Collection

Chaim Gross papers, 1920-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.