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More Information | A Finding Aid to the Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1918-1971

Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1918-1971

More Information

A Finding Aid to the Colette Roberts Papers and Interviews with Artists,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Megan McShea
Scope and Content Note
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 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 Mary Bauermeister, Romare Bearden, Dorothy Dehner, John Ferren, Ray Johnson, Ivan Karp, Thérèse Le Prat, Richard Lindner, Marisol, 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 all, over 100 artists are represented in Roberts' interviews. Other recordings found include lectures and interviews conducted by people other than Roberts.
Multiple languages
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.
Separated Material
A copy of a 1967 oral history with Adolf Gottlieb conducted by Dorothy Seckler for the Archives of American Art oral history program, which was found in Roberts' papers, has been returned to the Archives' oral history collection.
Related Material
Additional papers and recordings of Colette Roberts are held by Syracuse University Library Special Collections Research Center.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc.
Processing Information
Interviews and papers were initially maintained as two separate collections, and Colette Roberts papers were loosely arranged and microfilmed upon accession on reels 2743-2745 and 3471; the microfilm is no longer in circulation. The recordings were digitized for preservation and access in 2009 and 2010. Papers were integrated with the recordings, and the entire collection was re-processed by Megan McShea in 2010.