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Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1918-1971

Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1918-1971

Roberts, Colette Jacqueline, 1910-1971

Author, Gallery director, Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 10.2 linear ft.

Biographical/Historical Note

Colette Roberts (1910-1971) was an art critic and former director of the Grand Central Moderns Gallery, New York, N.Y.

Provenance

The sound recordings and transcripts of interviews with artists, were donated by Colette Roberts in 1970. The remaining papers were donated by her son, Richard B. Roberts, in 1973.

Related Materials

Additional papers and recordings of Colette Roberts are held by Syracuse University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Scope and Contents

The papers of New York City and Paris art historian, educator, and gallerist Colette Roberts measure 10.2 linear feet and date from 1918 to 1971. Papers include correspondence, writings, teaching records, project proposals, gallery records from Grand Central Moderns Gallery, clippings, Roberts' printed articles, press releases, exhibition catalogs, posters, photographs, and a few works of art on paper. Also found are 124 interviews with contemporary artists conducted by Roberts.

Significant correspondents include Sam Adler, Erwin Barrie, Hubert Damisch, George Deem, Mesdames de Harting and de Tinan, Lamar Dodd, Hélène Drude (Le Point Cardinal gallery), Arne Ekstrom, Albert M. Fine (Fluxus artist), Iqbal Geoffrey, R.G. Gilllet, Adolph Gottlieb, Cleve Gray, Leon Hartl, Jennett Lam, Alberto Cifolelli Lamb, Mike Nevelson, Norman Norotzky, Jacqueline Pavlowsky, Abe Rattner, Ad Reinhardt, H. Sandberg, Philippe Stern, Russell Twiggs, and Zuka.

Writings by Roberts include manuscripts and articles about artists, writings about her own art, personal writings, working notes from interviews and classes, reviews, and translations between English and French.

Among the personal records are Robert's files relating to teaching, charitable activities, and exhibitions. Also found are gallery records from Grand Central Moderns Gallery, including artist résumés, a card file of Page 3 artworks with provenance information, exhibition catalogs and announcements, membership records, posters, publicity, and sales records.

Printed materials in the collection include clippings, Roberts' printed articles, press releases, and other exhibition catalogs and announcements. Photographs are of Roberts, artists, including Ad Reinhardt, classes, art spaces, and works of art. A small number of artworks on paper are also found, including Fluxus art stamps and a printed picture of Ray Johnson stamped "DOUGHNUT FESTIVAL."

Documentation of interviews with artists conducted by Roberts includes a card index file, a few transcripts, and the original sound recordings. Most of the recordings are interviews with artists that Roberts created during a class she taught at New York University between 1957 and 1971 called "Meet the Artist," including Dorothy Dehner, John Ferren, Ray Johnson, Ivan Karp, Thérèse le Prat, Richard Lindner, Seong Moy, Brian O'Doherty, Man Ray, Ethel Schwabacher, Hedda Sterne, Marie Helena Vieira da Silva, and many others. In preparation for magazine articles, Roberts conducted more extensive interviews with Chryssa, Marcel Duchamp, Adolph Gottlieb, and Louise Nevelson. A few of the recordings of Marcel Duchamp were not created by Roberts. In addition to Roberts' interviews, a few scattered recordings of lectures, interviews conducted by people other than Roberts, and other miscellany are found among the sound recordings.

All of the sound recordings in this collection were digitized for research access in 2009-2010 and are available at the Archives of American Art offices. Researchers may view the original sound tape reels for the archival notations on them, but original reels are not available for playback due to fragility.

Bauermeister, Duchamp (spring 1963 interview only), Gottlieb (1964 interview only), Hultberg, Lam (Apr-May 1968 only), Lindner (1965 only), and Nevelson (1968 only): are transcribed.

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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