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De Hirsh Margules papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1923-1965

De Hirsh Margules papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1923-1965

Margules, De Hirsh, 1899-1965

Painter, Poet

Collection Information

Size: 5.6 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of painter De Hirsh Margules measure 5.6 linear feet and date from 1888-2001, with the bulk dating from 1923-1965. The papers contain biographical material, and business and personal correspondence, including letters from Alfred Stiegliz, John Marin, Henry Miller, Max Schnitzler, Charles J. Connick, Louis M. Eilshemius, Alex King, and Myron Lechay. Also found are writings, printed material, scrapbooks, photographs, works of art, and audio recordings documenting Margules' personal life and professional career.

Biographical material consists of Margules' curriculum vitae, address books, war ration books, press credentials, passports, naturalization documents, membership and social security cards, and memorial material on De Hirsh and Blanche Margules.

Correspondence of De Hirsh Margules covers both personal and business matters. Family correspondents include his wife Blanche London, her parents, De Hirsh's mother Rosa and his sister Sam. There is correspondence with Jean and Harrison Horblit, friends and business associates of the Margules, as well as correspondence with his girlfriend, Marieli Kailin Mandel. Other correspondents include Alfred Stieglitz, John Marin, Henry Miller, Max Schnitzler, Charles J. Connick, Louis M. Eilshemius, Alex King, Myron Lechay, and two letters from New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman. There are single letters from Sasha Kolin; New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay; Lawrence F. O'Brien, special assistant to President John F. Kennedy; Buckminster Fuller. This last letter was not addressed exclusively to Margules. Other personal correspondence includes letters, postcards and greeting cards from family members and friends. Other business correspondents include galleries and museums such as Babcock Galleries, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Niveau Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Brooklyn Museum, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Ferargil Gallery, Feigl Gallery, Guggenheim Museum, Worcester Art Museum and Walker Art Center.

Writings consist mostly of poems by De Hirsh Margules, sometimes appearing in multiple draft forms, as well as a longer work titled "Mulberry Bend." Also included within the series are notebooks filled with poems and works of prose, the latter expounding upon his theories and ideas. Writings by other authors range from poetry to works of prose, criticism and biography, including A. Lincoln Gillespie, Jr., Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin, David Weber, Aaron Frankel, James Grady, Dick Higgins, and Esther Gilman, among others. There are three illustrated writings by Alfred Jensen. Audio recordings contain a sound tape reel of De Hirsh Margules reciting his poems Rainbow and Mulberry Bend.

Printed material includes newspaper and magazine clippings, press releases, exhibition announcements, catalogues, and books. Scrapbooks include printed material, newspaper and magazine clippings, and exhibition announcements on the career of De Hirsh Margules. Also included are two scrapbooks by Blanche London Margules, representing newspaper clippings of her writing, among others.

Works of Art include an oil painting on wood and sketchbooks by Margules. Also included are six collages in a series by Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin titled "Eye Poems"; and text-based drawings/writings by A. Lincoln Gillespie, Jr.

Photographs, transparencies and slides include works of art by De Hirsh and Blanche London Margules. Also included are personal photographs of the Margules', their friends, family and students, and two folders of photographs of Marieli Kailin Mandel.

Biographical/Historical Note

De Hirsh Margules (1899-1965) was a painter and a poet from New York, N.Y.


Donated 2005 by Elita Agee, who curated an exhibition on Margules at the Babcock Gallery in New York, 1994. Agee received the papers from the Horblit family who previously purchased them.

A Finding Aid to the De Hirsh Margules Papers,
bulk 1923-1965
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
De Hirsh Margules (1899-1965) was a painter in New York, NY. Margules was born in Jasse, Romania and arrived in New York City at only ten months of age. His parents were in the Yiddish Theater; his father, Edouard was a playwright/director, and his mother, Rosa, was an actress. Margules received much of his art education outside of the conventional art institutional framework. Early on, he studied with Edwin Randby in Pennsylvania from 1917-1918, but it was really his neighbor, the painter Benno Greenstein, who encouraged Margules to pursue a career in the arts. From 1919-1921 he studied period architecture, design and decoration at the New York Evening School of Art and Design.
By 1922, Margules began working nights as a police reporter for the City News Association of New York, a job he would hold until 1942. However, he continued to study and paint during the day, this time working with Myron Lechay.
In 1927 Margules took a leave of absence from the City News Association to travel to Paris. He studied at the Musée du Louvre, and painted landscapes in Montmartre, Paris; Fontenay-près-Vézelay, Burgundy; and Tunis, Africa. In 1929 Margules returned to New York and met artist/dealer Alfred Stieglitz, who quickly became his most trusted friend and advisor. It was through Stieglitz that Margules was introduced to John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Rosenfeld, Stuart Davis and Jan Matulka. While Margules would benefit from his relations with all of these artists, it was John Marin who would become his most important mentor. He felt that Marin was the only one who could help him with the formal problems he was having with painting.
Margules lived most of his life in Greenwich Village and was a well-known member of the colorful and vivacious arts community. He was commonly recognized by his affable demeanor, but mostly it was his attire, particularly the dark blue beret that he was rarely seen without. To his friends he was known simply as "the Baron."
De Hirsh Margules has been called an abstract realist. He used saturated colors and bold textures in the construction of his abstract landscapes, but more specifically it was his interest in the concept of "time painting" or "time perspective" that propelled his work. It was through the physical rendering and representation of his subject matter that he explored the psychological concepts of time. From 1936-1937 Margules established "Another Place," an exhibition space set up in his New York City apartment at 43 West 8th Street. Over a two year period there were fourteen solo-exhibitions by Margules and other artists.
He taught painting in 1951 at Ball State College in Muncie, Indiana, and at the New York Equity Workshop in 1952. In 1951 Elaine de Kooning wrote a piece about his working methods in the December edition of
Art News
De Hirsh Margules died from a heart attack in 1965. He was 65 years old.
The De Hirsh Margules papers are organized into 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1888-1978, undated (Box 1, 6; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-2000, undated (Box 1-3; 2.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, 1936-1965, undated (Box 4; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1933-2001, undated (Box 5; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1922-1957, undated (Box 5, 7; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1926-1992, undated (Box 5, 7; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 7: Works of Art, 1948, undated (Box 6, 7; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Audio Recordings, undated (Box 6; 1 folder)
Donated 2005 by Elita Agee, who curated an exhibition on Margules at the Babcock Gallery in New York, 1994. Agee received the papers from the Horblit family who previously purchased them.
Processing Information
The papers were processed by Justin Brancato in May, 2009.

Restrictions on Access

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

How to Cite This Collection

De Hirsh Margules papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1923-1965. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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