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Holly Solomon Gallery records, circa 1948-2003

Holly Solomon Gallery records, circa 1948-2003

Holly Solomon Gallery

Collection Information

Size: 196.7 linear feet

Summary: The records of Holly Solomon Gallery, a New York City gallery specializing in contemporary American art, measure 196.7 linear feet and date from circa 1948-2003. The gallery's activities are documented through alphabetical files, dealer files, subject files, artists' files, inventories, sales and loan records, administrative and financial records, printed materials, photographic materials of artwork and exhibitions, sound, video, and film recordings, and scattered electronic records. Also found are records of the alternative space, 98 Greene Street Loft, as well as Holly Solomon's personal papers.

Alphabetical files span from 1991-2000 and contain correspondence with clients, galleries, and museums, as well as related documentation regarding loans, inquiries, sales, exhibitions, and travel plans. These general files were maintained separately from the gallery's subject and artists' files but may overlap in subject matter.

The dealer files contain gallery correspondence to and from art dealers regarding inquiries on works and artists. These files are sparse and particular to the early 1980s. Subject files are mainly comprised of correspondence but also include printed materials, slides, and other related documents. Subjects include dealers, organizations, museums, clients, art fairs, travel, and projects that the gallery or Holly Solomon worked with.

Artists' files consist of correspondence, printed material, slides, photographs, and scattered inventory records, regarding the sale of artwork, as well as shipping records and insurance claims. Also included is correspondence between the gallery and the artist. There is substantial documentation on artists Kim MacConnel, Nam June Paik, Izhar Patkin, William Wegman, and Joe Zucker. Inventory records include inventory lists created by Holly Solomon Gallery as well as an art inventory card file. Inventory cards note the title, date, and size of the work as well as the dates and movements of the work, and may include a photograph.

Administrative records contain general office materials such as phone messages books, staff notebooks, exhibition guest books, and business diaries, exhibition documentation, notes, and mail from prospective artists. Records primarily cover the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to business diaries, Holly Solomon also created "Dear Diary" binders which contain a collection of contact information and notes on clients and events. Some of these diaries were maintained for specific events.

Sales and loan records consist of in and out sheets, consignments, and sales invoices. Also in this series are sales and loan logs and files that track the same information but from different access points, including sales by artist. Financial records document the financial activities of the galleries, apart from sales, and include shipping records, tax and insurance information, and accounting statements and reports. Also found in this series are bills, receipts, and several ledgers. Legal records primarily document issues with the landlord of the gallery space.

Printed material consists of artist clippings, gallery exhibition catalogs, press releases, posters, and miscellaneous books, magazines, and clippings regarding the gallery. Included are clippings pertaining to the Pattern and Design art movement. Photographic material includes photographs and slides documenting artists' work and gallery exhibitions. Sound, video, and film recordings include artworks created by gallery artists, performances recorded live at the gallery, and the publicity Holly Solomon, the gallery, and its artists received. The work of video artist Nam June Paik is highly represented through some of his video artworks, as well as television interviews with him. Prominent artists William Wegman and Laurie Anderson are also represented through original artworks and publicity. Publicity videos include Holly Solomon herself, being interviewed for television and documentaries.

The records of 98 Greene Street Loft include a large quantity of sound, video, and film recordings of poetry readings, live music, art, and theatrical performances that took place from 1971-1973, as well as scattered paper records such as play scripts, photographs, a guest book from 1971, printed material, and posters.

Holly Solomon's personal papers consist of biographical documents, correspondence, memorabilia, printed material, motion picture film, and photographs collected by Holly Solomon throughout her life. Included are school records, letters, notes and cards from friends and artists she represented at her gallery, photographs, invitations, event fliers, and other mementos. Printed material, mostly magazines and newspapers document her accomplishments.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Holly Solomon Gallery (estab. 1975; closed 2002) was an art gallery in New York, N.Y., run by Holly Solomon.


Donated 2010 by Thomas and John Solomon, Holly Solomon's sons.

A Finding Aid to the Holly Solomon Gallery Records,
circa 1948-2003
, in the Archives of American Art
Historical Note
The Holly Solomon Gallery was established in 1975 by Holly Solomon and her husband, Horace Solomon, at 392 West Broadway in New York City's SoHo area. The gallery focused on contemporary art.
The gallery represented artists such as William Wegman, Nam June Paik, Laurie Anderson, and Robert Kushner. In 1983, the gallery moved uptown to 724 Fifth Ave at 57th, but then moved again in the early 1990s back downtown to SoHo at 172 Mercer Street. After the gallery closed Holly Solomon continued to deal art from the Chelsea Hotel until her death in 2002.
Holly Solomon was born Hollis Dworken in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1934. She started college at Vassar College, and later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College where she graduated in 1955. In 1953 she married Horace Solomon. Holly Solomon was an aspiring stage actress and was enrolled at Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio shortly after moving to Manhattan. Although she was not a successful actress she and her husband began collecting art and were fans of the Pop Art movement. In 1969 the couple opened an alternative work and performance space for artists named 98 Greene Street Loft. The space provided a venue for poets, actors, and artists to work and perform. Solomon wrote and produced a five part documentary from performances at 98 Greene Street, and in 1972 it was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. 98 Greene Street Loft closed in 1973. Holly Solomon was also a proponent of the Pattern and Decoration, or "P and D", art movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many of the artists featured in her gallery were involved in the P and D movement including Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Ned Smyth, and Brad Davis.
The collection is arranged as 14 series:
Series 1: Alphabetical Files, 1991-2001 (Boxes 1-9; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Dealer Files, 1980-1990 (Box 9-10; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Subject Files, circa 1975-2002 (Boxes 11-25; 15.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Artists' Files, circa 1975-2002 (Boxes 26-47; 22.0 linear feet)
Series 5: Inventory Records, 1975-2001 (Boxes 48-66, 157-162; 25.0 linear feet)
Series 6: Administrative Records, circa 1980-2003 (Boxes 67-81, OV 202; 15.1 linear feet)
Series 7: Sales and Loan Records, circa 1975-2001 (Boxes 82-87; 6.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Financial and Legal Records, circa 1969-2001 (Boxes 88-114, 191, 192; 27.7 linear feet)
Series 9: Printed Material, circa 1968-2002 (Boxes 115-135, 193-194, OV 203-222, RD 223; 23.5 linear feet)
Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1969-2000 (Boxes 136-156, 194-196, 201, OV 224; 22.2 linear feet)
Series 11: 98 Greene Street Loft, circa 1969-1973 (Boxes 166-169, 197-200, OV 225-227; 5.5 linear feet)
Series 12: Holly Solomon Personal Papers, circa 1948-2002 (Boxes 170-182, 194; 13.1 linear feet)
Series 13: Sound, Video, and Film Recordings, circa 1966-2001 (Boxes 183-190; 7.6 linear feet)
Series 14: Electronic Records, (Box 190; 0.4 linear feet)
The collection has been minimally arranged into series based on the found arrangement upon receipt, assumed to be the original arrangement of the gallery. Folders have been arranged within series and general folder contents verified, but in most cases, item level arrangement has not been completed.
Donated 2010 by Thomas and John Solomon, Holly Solomon's sons.
Processing Information
The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart, Caitlin Lampman, and Rachel Rosenfeld in 2011.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is ACCESS RESTRICTED. Use requires written permission. Financial and Legal Records (Series 8) are closed to researchers until they can be processed to a more detailed level.

How to Cite This Collection

Holly Solomon Gallery records, circa 1948-2003. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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