Size: 5.7 Linear feet
Summary: The records of Santa Barbara, California art gallery, Esther Bear Gallery, measure 5.7 linear feet and date from 1928 to 1985, with the bulk of the records dating from 1954 to 1977. The collection comprises administrative records that include exhibition files, photographs, records documenting the gallery's operations, and files for the Donald Bear Collection and Endowment Fund; professional correspondence with artists, clients, and galleries regarding exhibitions, sales and loans, and other business dealings; and artist files for Thomas Cornell, Antonio Frasconi, Ynez Johnston, Miguel Marina, Alfred Martinez, and Nina de Creeft Ward, among others.
The Esther Bear Gallery was a commercial art gallery located in Santa Barbara, California, that specialized in contemporary art. The gallery exhibited artists such as Leonard Baskin, Antonio Frasconi, Rico Lebrun, Lee Mullican, Nina de Creeft Ward, Cady Wells, and other prominent artists including Donald Bear, husband of the gallery's owner Esther Bear and director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from 1940 to 1952. Esther Bear retired in 1977.
The Esther Bear Gallery records were donated by Esther Bear in 1978 and 1987.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Donald Bear papers, 1923-1960.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.