Skip to main content

Charles Cajori papers, 1940-2015

Charles Cajori papers, 1940-2015

Cajori, Charles, 1921-2013


Collection Information

Size: 5.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York painter, Charles Cajori, measure 4.0 linear feet and date from 1942-2011. The collection documents Cajori's activities as a painter, educator, and co-founder of the Tanager Gallery that was located on the Lower East Side in New York through correspondence; writings and notes; interviews, talks, and panel discussions on art and artists; and printed materials.

Correspondence is personal and professional and consists of mostly incoming letters to Cajori from artists, friends, family, art historians, and academic institutions. There are a few letters from Charles Cajori, including draft of his letters. Among the correspondents are Pat Adams, Leland Bell, Bernard Chaet, Cooper Union, Cleve Gray, Louis Finkelstein, Philip Pearlstein, Sidney Simon, Norman Turner, and the University of California at Berkeley. Of interest, are letters from the founders of the Tanager Gallery, such as Lois Dodd, Angelo Ippolito, and William King. Correspondence also documents Cajori's dealings with galleries and museums as well as his involvement in arts organizations; included are letters from American University, Watkins Gallery; Bertha Schaffer Gallery; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Gallery Association of New York; Museum of Modern Art; Roko Gallery; Stable Gallery; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Writings and notes are and about Charles Cajori. Cajori's writings include drafts on painting and drawing that Cajori prepared for classroom lectures and panel discussions; essays on Paul Cézanne and Chaim Soutine; and his account of the founding of the Tanager Gallery. Cajori's writings also include a biographical account and an artist's statement. There are writings by Louis Finkelstein, Andrew Forge, and Mercedes Matter about Cajori's work. Included are several guest registers for Cajori's exhibitions at the David Findlay Gallery, Lohin Geduld Gallery, and the New York Studio School.

Interviews, talks, and panel discussions include a transcript of an interview with Charles Cajori, audiotaped and videotaped interviews with Charles Cajori, and panel discussions with Cajori and others. Panel discussions with Cajori and others cover such topics as the New York school artists and Chaim Soutine. Many of recordings focus on Cajori's association with the Tanager Gallery, the art scene in New York during the 1950s, and his reflections on art. Also included are miscellaneous videotaped recordings.

Printed material contains exhibition catalogs, checklists, announcements, invitations, press releases, clippings, reviews, brochures, and miscellaneous printed material. A file of printed materials on the Tanager Gallery includes exhibition catalogs and clippings.

An addition of 1.7 feet donated 2015 includes correspondence (mostly posthumous regarding Cajori's death), writings, photographs, printed material, medals, and a sound recording relating to Charles Cajori and the Tanager Gallery.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles F. Cajori (1921-2014) was a painter in New York, New York and Watertown, Connecticut. Cajori was co-founder of the Tanager Gallery with Lois Dodd, Phillip Pearlstein, William Knig, Angelo Ippolito, and Fred Mitchell.


Donated 2011 by Charles F. Cajori and in 2015 by Barbara Grossman, Charles Cajori's wife and executor.

A Finding Aid to the Charles Cajori Papers,
in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Painter and teacher Charles Cajori (b. 1921-) has worked in New York City and Connecticut.
Born in Palo Alto, California in 1921, Charles Cajori studied painting at Colorado College and the Cleveland Art School. Cajori served in the United States Air Force during World War II. Upon his return, he attended Columbia University and then spent two years at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he became acquainted with Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other Abstract Expressionist artists.
Charles Cajori was one of the founding members of the Tanager Gallery, an early artists' cooperative gallery, originally located at 90 East Tenth Street in New York, which provided a venue for contemporary artists to exhibit their work. In 1956, Charles Cajori had his first solo exhibition at the Tanager Gallery and since then, has been continuously showing his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad including American University, Bertha Schaeffer Gallery, David Findlay Jr. Gallery, El Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Ingber Gallery, Lohin Geduld Gallery, Mattatuck Museum, New Arts Gallery, Paesaggio Gallery, Sala di Esposizione della Biblioteca Americana, Stable Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Charles Cajori's work is represented in a number of public and private collections including the Ciba-Geigy Corporation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, Walker Art Center, and the Weatherspoon Museum.
In conjunction with his activities as an artist, Charles Cajori has taught painting and drawing at major academic institutions and art schools: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Cooper Union, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Cajori was a co-founder of the New York Studio School, where he continues to serve on the faculty.
Charles Cajori has received many honors for his work including the 1959 Distinction in the Arts, Yale University; Benjamin Altman, Figure Prize at the National Academy, 1983, 1987; the Childe Hassam Purchase Award by the Institute of Art and Letters Award, 1975-1976, 1980; and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, 1979. Also, Cajori was awarded a Fulbright grant to Italy, 1952-1953 and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1981.
Charles Cajori is married to the painter Barbara Grossman and they live in Watertown, Connecticut.
The collection is arranged as 4 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-2011 (Boxes 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Writings and Notes, 1949-2010 (Box 2; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Interviews, Talks, and Panel Discussions, 1983-2010 (Boxes 2-3; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1950s-2010 (Boxes 3-4; 1.4 linear feet)
Donated 2011 by Charles F. Cajori and in 2015 by Barbara Grossman, Charles Cajori's wife and executor.
Processing Information
The papers were processed to a minimal level by Joy Weiner in 2011.

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

Charles Cajori papers, 1940-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available