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David Herbert papers, circa 1909-1996, bulk bulk 1945-1995

Herbert, David, 1920-1995

Gallery owner

Collection Information

Size: 5.8 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert measure 5.8 linear feet and date from circa 1909-1996, with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1995. Herbert's papers document his years working for Betty Parsons Gallery, Sidney Janis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and others; the operation of the David Herbert Gallery from 1959-1962; Herbert's partnerships and agreements with Richard Feigen and others; and his activities as an independent dealer. Records include biographical material, correspondence, notebooks, subject files, artist files, exhibition files, business records, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material includes address books and calendars, educational records, records of Herbert's military service in the United States Naval Construction Battalion in Japan, and resume's charting his career.
Correspondence is with Herbert's parents, friends, business colleagues, and artists. It includes documentation of Herbert's partnership with Richard Feigen, and his cooperative work with Irving Blum and Walter Hopps of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London. Also documented are Herbert's relationship with Jaime Andrade and Andrade's family, and a lawsuit Herbert brought against Aaron Berman relating to the ownership of an Ellsworth Kelly drawing. There are scattered letters and postcards from artists and collectors, including Martin Blaszko, Lloyd Cotsen, Martin Hoffman, Ray Johnson, Josephine Merck, Alfonso Ossorio, Paul Sorel, and Clyfford Still.
Notebooks provide brief notes on Herbert's day-to-day business dealings. Subject files, consisting primarily of printed material, document Herbert's interests in several art world figures, subjects such as ancient art, and travel to locations such as Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Greece.
Exhibition files include installation shots and catalogs for many of the exhibitions held at the David Herbert Gallery between 1959 and 1962.
Artist files document Herbert's interest in individual artists, such as William Draper, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Sven Lukin, Edgar Negret, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Padovano, Eduardo Ramirez, and Jeanne Reynal, through printed material, photographs of artwork, scattered artist letters, and sales documentation.
Business records document the financial details and overall goals of Herbert's various business ventures. There is a sales book for Betty Parsons Gallery and Sidney Janis Gallery; Herbert's appraisal, consignment, commission, sales, and loan records; Herbert's business plans and projections; financial statements from the David Herbert Gallery; sales records for Graham Gallery; and records of Herbert's partnership with Douglas McKelvy.
Printed material includes announcements and catalogs from galleries Herbert worked for or collaborated with, including Graham Gallery, Betty Parsons Gallery, Feigen/Herbert Gallery, Stewart Neill Gallery, and Robert Fraser Gallery. Also found are obituaries and other new clippings of interest to Herbert.
Photographs are of Herbert, family members, and friends and colleagues, including his companion, Jaime Andrade, Leona Carrington, William Draper, Jon Carsman, Hans Namuth, and Leon Polk Smith. Many are color snapshots collected in two photographs albums. Also found are photographs taken in Japan and Iwo Jima in 1945-1946 of street scenes, Naval Construction Battalion facilities, and Herbert's army colleagues and friends.

Biographical/Historical Note

New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert (1920-1995, born David Herbert Schmerer), worked for a number of important galleries in New York, had his own eponymous gallery from 1959-1962, operated as a private dealer, and was in partnership with dealer Richard Feigen from 1962-1964.


The David Herbert papers were given to the Archives of American Art by Jaime Andrade, Herbert's companion, in 1999.

Language Note

The collection is in English.