Scope and Contents
The records of the New York Galerie Chalette measure 24.15 linear feet and date from 1916-1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1994. The collection documents this contemporary art gallery's operations from its founding in 1954 through Madeleine Lejwa's later years as an independent dealer. Included are correspondence, artists' files, financial and legal records, printed materials, clippings, exhibition catalogs, audio and video recordings, and motion picture film; about half of the collection consists of photographs. Arthur Lejwa's profession as a biochemist prior to becoming a gallery owner is also documented in this collection. The collection also contains personal records of the Lejwas, including correspondence, legal papers, photographs, photo albums, and printed material.
Among the artists represented in the artists' files are Jean Arp, Max Bill, Burgoyne Diller, Wojciech Fangor, Sue Fuller, Julio Gonzalez, Roberta Gonzalez, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, William Reimann, George Rickey, Leon Polk Smith, Victor Varsarely, Max Weber, and various Dada artists. Many artists are represented in the large collection of photographs as is the Lejwa's personal collection. Included in the business records are invoices, receipts for works sold, yearly sales and purchase ledgers, checks for artwork purchases, and index card files recording sales. Legal records include files related to litigation, primarily Lebenstein v. Lejwa. The collection includes film reels and audio recordings of lectures, broadcasts, and exhibits from the 1960s-1990s. It also includes two film reels from a French television program about Jean Arp.
Among the personal records are biographical information, correspondence, legal records mostly related to the settlement of Arthur Lejwa's estate, a significant quantity of snapshots, negatives and slides, and newspaper clippings chronicling Arthur Lejwa's work as a biochemist and the Robert Gould Research Foundation. Arthur Lejwa's scientific career is also represented in biographical information, publications, research notebooks, and photographs. Much of the personal correspondence is from 1939-1951 and is written in Polish, Yiddish and German. The Lejwa's philanthropic donations, especially in Israel, are documented in correspondence, papers, and photographs. Many of the photographs and photo albums record Madeleine Lejwa's travels in the 1970s-1990s.
The records were donated by Robert Warshaw, executor of the Madeleine Chalette Lejwa estate in two accessions in 1997 and 2005.
Papers related to Leon Chalette's imprisonment in Sachsenhausen concentration camp were transferred to the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, N.Y. in 2010.
Addition papers related to Leon Chalette and Madeleine Chalette are located at Leo Baeck Institute, New York, N.Y.
The bulk of the first accession was fully processed by Jordan Patty in 2005. In 2009, the remainder of the first accession and the second accession received a minimal level of processing, and the entire collection was arranged and described by Sarah Haug. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.