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Clement Greenberg papers, 1937-1983

Clement Greenberg papers, 1937-1983

Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994

Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 8.6 linear ft.

Biographical/Historical Note

Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) was an art critic from New York, N.Y. Greenberg was a highly influential critic of the 1940s who advocated the formal purity of flatness in modernism. Greenberg studied at the Art Students League and at Syracuse University.

Provenance

Clement Greenberg donated his papers in several accretions between 1984 to 1991; portions had initially been lent for microfilming, 1968-1969.

Related Materials

The Portland Art Museum holds Clement Greenberg's private art collection as well as a library of exhibition catalogs.

Scope and Contents

The papers of influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg measure 8.6 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1983. The bulk of the papers (7 feet) consists of letters from art critics, artists, family, friends, galleries, and museums, with some letters from Greenberg.

Correspondents include Edward Avedisian, Darby Bannard, Ethel Barziotes, Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Gene Davis, Richard Diebenkorn, Piero Dorazio, Friedel Dzubas, Andre Emmerich, Paul Feeley, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Goodnough, Adolf Gottleib, Hans Hofmann, Philippe Hosiasson, Jacob Kainen, Rosalind Krauss, Robert Motherwell, Ken Moffett, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Beverly Pepper, Ludwig Sander, David Smith, Kimber Smith, Clyfford Still, Anne Truitt, and Leslie Waddington.

Biographical materials include a transcript of an interview with Greenberg conducted by Deborah Solomon in 1983. Greenberg's personal business and financial records include correspondence regarding his lectures and seminars, requests for his writings, student queries, documents regarding his television and radio appearances, royalty statements, and receipts for gifts of works of art. Also found within business records are documents relating to Greenberg's testimony at the Mark Rothko Trial in 1974.

Artwork consists of one etching by Kurt Wisenski entitled "Spring." The papers contain very few of Greenberg's writings about art. Found are lists of artists, and reports written by Greenberg on the state of art in Japan and India in 1967, likely related to his membership in the American Committee for Cultural Freedom. Printed material includes scattered clippings concerning art and exhibition announcements.

One series of ACCESS RESTRICTED papers contains documents relating to Greenberg's role as a trustee in the David Smith estate; correspondence between Greenberg with Andre Emmerich and Peter Fuller, Nuala O'Faolain, and the Greenberg family; and some financial materials regarding the sale and loan of Greenberg's art collection.

Portions of the papers were originally microfilmed as loans and are still available on microfilm reels N69-91, N70-7, and N737 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. The arrangement of the papers on microfilm does not match the current arrangement of the papers.

Material on estate of David Smith; loan agreements, 1963-1974; a selection of documents concerning sales; and correspondence with Peter Fuller and Nuala O'Faolain: ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required

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

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