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Charles Campbell Gallery records, 1960-2001

Charles Campbell Gallery records, 1960-2001

Charles Campbell Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)

Collection Information

Size: 17.6 linear feet

Summary: The records of the Charles Campbell Gallery in San Francisco date from 1960 to 2001 and measure 17.6 linear feet. The records include business correspondence with galleries, curators, trusts, and individual buyers and sellers; business records consisting of administrative files, business notebooks, and financial material; artist and exhibition files; and Charles Campbell's related personal files that include correspondence, catalogs, newsletters, and clippings about jazz, and photos and travel. Substantial artist files exist for Nathan Oliveira, which contain original artwork and photos of the artist, Peter Allegaert, Gordon Cook, Charles Griffin Farr, Morris Graves, Robert Harvey, Geer Morton, Fred Reichman,Jean Rustin, Stephani Sanchez, and Wayne Thiebaud, among others.

The records are a rich resource for documenting the Bay Area Figuration art movement in the San Francisco region.

Business correspondence is with galleries, curators, trusts, and individuals mostly regarding loans and sales. Correspondents include Allan Stone Gallery, Bryce Bannatyne Gallery, Canfield Gallery, Forum Gallery, Felix Landau Gallery, Henri Ghent, Barbara Guest, Phyllis Hattis, and Trini Gallery, among many others. Although there is scattered correspondence with artists filed among the business correspondence, the bulk of the gallery's correspondence with artists is found in the Artist and Exhibition Files.

Business records include administrative files comprised of mailing lists, business registration records, newsletters, information about affiliated organizations (including The San Francisco Art Dealers Association), and records and clippings about arts law. Gallery notebooks contain information about the gallery's day-to-day activities and also include inventories, contacts, accounting information, and lists of business arrangements and dealings. Financial materials include appraisal and consignment records, invoices, insurance records, donation records, and a vendor analysis report comprise the financial material.

Almost two-thirds of the collection is comprised of artist and exhibition files. In addition to the artistis listed above, there are substantial artist files for Ruth Asawa, E. J. Bellocq, Elmer Bischoff, Robert Berlind, John Battenberg, Joan Brown, William Theophilus Brown, Charles Mattox, Robert Qualters, Beth Van Hoesen, Carlos Villa, Paul Wonner, among many others. The artist files also include artwork, such as pen and ink and pencil sketches by Peter Allegaert, ink and gouache sketches by Nathan Oliveira, and a pen and ink sketch by John Goray. Scattered photos depict artists (notably Oliveira), their studios, artwork and installation shots, and exhibition attendee notebooks document shows from 1978 to 1987.

The collection also contains personal correspondence and files relating to Charles Campbell's interest in jazz and travel. These records include music catalogs, clippings, newsletters, correspondence, brochures, tickets, maps, travel agendas, and photos. Campbell's personal correspondence is scattered throughout the collection, and documents Charles' and his wife Esther's friendships with artists and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Charles Campbell Gallery was established by Charles Campbell in 1972 in North Beach, San Francisco, following his ownership of The Louvre, a frame shop that he established in 1947.


Charles Campbell donated the Charles Campbell Gallery records in 2002.

A Finding Aid to the Charles Campbell Gallery Records, 1960-2001, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
The Charles Campbell Gallery was established by Charles Campbell in 1972 in North Beach, San Francisco, following his ownership of The Louvre, a frame shop that he established in 1947. The Charles Campbell Gallery was among the most important San Francisco galleries of that era, especially for showing local artists. Campbell was a close friend of many of the leading Bay Area artists, most of whom had exhibibitions at his gallery, including Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, Hassel Smith, Elmer Bischoff, and Gordon Onslow-Ford. Some of the artists represented and shown at the gallery were later identified with the region’s signature art movement, Bay Area Figuration, including Nathan Oliviera, Paul Wonner, Gordon Cook, William Theophilus Brown, James Weeks, and Joan Brown.
Campbell partnered with Paul Thiebaud in 1990 and the gallery changed its name to the Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, and began to show a fresh roster of artists. The partnership ended on friendly terms in 2001, with the business becoming the Paul Thiebaud Gallery. After this, Campbell re-established his independent gallery for a short while collaborating with a former gallery assistant Steven Lopez. This collaboration ended in a lawsuit resolved in 2007-2008 that essentially dissolved the gallery in all but name.
Campbell was also very interested in jazz and he was at one point the manager of trombone player Turk Murphy. They briefly ran a club together in San Francisco, The Italian Villa.
Charles Campbell died in 2014 at the age of 99.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: Business Correspondence, 1968-1996 (Boxes 1-3; 2.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Business Records, circa 1968-2001 (Boxes 3-5; 2.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Artist and Exhibition Files, 1960-1999 (Boxes 5-15; 10.7 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Files, circa 1972-circa 1998 (Boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1965-2000 (Boxes 17-19; 0.7 linear feet)
Charles Campbell donated the Charles Campbell Gallery records in 2002.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Eden Orelove in 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian's Collection Care and Preservation Fund. 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. The administrative files were compiled from scattered records throughout the collection and the artist and exhibition files were rearranged into three subseries. Otherwise, the original order was largely maintained. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.

Restrictions on Access

Use of papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Serices for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Charles Campbell Gallery records, 1960-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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