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Henri Gallery records, circa early 1900s, 1940-1996, bulk 1957-1995

Henri Gallery records, circa early 1900s, 1940-1996, bulk 1957-1995

Henri Gallery (Washington, D.C.)

Collection Information

Size: 54.8 linear feet

Summary: The records of Henri Gallery, a Washington, D.C. gallery which showed painters from the Washington Color School and emerging artists, measure 54.8 linear feet and date from circa early 1900s, 1940 to 1996, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1957 to 1995. The gallery's relationship with artists and clients, exhibitions, sales, and other business is documented in alphabetical files containing a wide variety of materials, including correspondence, sales records, printed materials, photographs, slides, and motion picture film. Additional correspondence, newspaper clippings, 114 exhibition posters, scattered drawings, illustrated cards, and photographic materials are also found in the collection.

General Correspondence includes incoming business correspondence with artists, clients, galleries, and museums, regarding artwork, exhibitions, and other business issues. Also found here are holiday cards, handmade cards, and illustrated correspondence.

The bulk of the records consist of Alphabetical Files contains materials regarding artists, clients, exhibitions, galleries, museums, and various subjects of interest, originally arranged alphabetically by folder title. Folders range in quantity and variety of materials, including correspondence, printed materials, photographs, sales and consignment records, resumes, price lists, exhibition records, and motion picture film. There are especially rich or extensive files for Darryl Abraham, Harry Anderson, Cynthia Bickley-Green, Robert Clements, Mary Beth Edelson, Leslie Exton, Colin Greenly, Mimi Herbert, Traute Ishida, Kiki Kogelnik, Ida Kohlmeyer, Ed McGowin, Tom Nakashima, Graeme Outerbridge, Martin Puryear, Italo Scanga, Robert Stackhouse, Philip Van Brunt, and May Wilson. Of interest is the complete series of Eleanor Antin's, "100 Boots" postcards.

The bulk of Printed Materials are newspaper clippings regarding artists, exhibitions, and Henri Gallery. There are also 114 posters dating from 1959-1979 from Henri Gallery exhibitions and other galleries' exhibitions of artists in which the Henri Gallery represented.

Artwork is comprised of loose drawings and sketches, many of Henri. Photographic Materials contains black and white photographs, scattered color photographs, snapshots, and slides of artwork, exhibitions, Henri, the galleries spaces, and the Not New shop. Most photographs are undated.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henri Gallery (founded 1957; closed 1996) was an art gallery, in Washington, D.C. Operated by Henrietta Ehrsam (d. 1996), known as Henri. Est. 1957 in Alexandria, Virginia, moving ten years later to 21st and P Sts. in Washington, D.C. Among the artists exhibited were the painters of the Washington Color School, and young artists.


Henri donated the Henri Gallery records in three accessions between 1980 - 1981. Henri's daughter, Helen Schnoebelen donated additional records in 1996.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund.

A Finding Aid to the Henri Gallery Records, circa early 1900s, 1940-1996, bulk 1957-1995, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
In 1957, Henrietta Ehrsam, known as "Henri," opened her eponymous gallery on South Royal Street in Alexandria, Virginia. Earlier, Henri and her partner Florie King had sold clothing, antiques, accessories and decorative arts alongside works of art at their consignment shop "Not New" in the same location.
In the 1960s, Henri showed painters Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, and Howard Mehring of the Washington Color School. In the summer of 1967, Henri Gallery moved to 1500 21st Street NW, closer to the Dupont Circle art galleries in Washington, D.C. Henri showed many young and emerging artists, including Cynthia Bickley-Green, William Christenberry, Mary Beth Edelson, Ed McGowin, and Robert Stackhouse. In 1970, Henri opened a second location, Henri 2, at 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW to exhibit large scale works. In 1972, Henri 2 held Martin Puryear's first solo exhibition in the United States. Henri passed away in 1996 and both gallery locations closed shortly thereafter.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: General Correspondence, 1949-1996 (2.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 55-56)
Series 2: Alphabetical Files, 1947-1996 (50.1 linear feet; Boxes 3-52, 55-57, OV58)
Series 3: Printed Materials, circa early 1900s, 1940-1995 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 52-53, 57, OVs 59-61)
Series 4: Artwork, 1952-circa 1996 (5 folders; Boxes 53, 57)
Series 5: Photographic Materials, 1940s-1981 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 53-54, 57)
Henri donated the Henri Gallery records in three accessions between 1980 - 1981. Henri's daughter, Helen Schnoebelen donated additional records in 1996.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Haug in 2012, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund.
The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase access to more of our collections. Minimal processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles and dates, but not arranged further. Folder titles were transcribed from original folder headings or, to a much lesser extent, supplied by the processing archivist. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders. Staples and other fasteners were not removed, but correspondence was removed from envelopes and filed behind the envelope. Materials were removed from binders or damaged binding when necessary.
Materials with Social Security numbers were redacted with copies left in the collection. The original documents are maintained separately.

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

Henri Gallery records, circa early 1900s, 1940-1996, bulk 1957-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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