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J. B. Neumann papers, 1905-1967

J. B. Neumann papers, 1905-1967

Neumann, J. B. (Jsrael Ber), 1887-1961

Publisher, Dealer, Gallery director

Collection Information

Size: 2.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of gallery director, art dealer and publisher Jsrael Ber Neumann (1887-1961) measure 2.1 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1967. The papers document Neumann's career as the director of galleries in Berlin and Munich, Germany (1910-1924) as well as the New Art Circle gallery in New York City (1924-1952). Neumann was a respected art dealer, publisher of Artlover periodical, founder of Gehenna Press, and frequent lecturer. Found within his papers are correspondence with artists and museums, writings, printed materials mostly comprised of exhibition catalogues, artwork, and photographic materials.

Correspondence is between Neumann and friends, colleagues, and museums. There is also correspondence with notable artists, including Josef Albers, Leonard Baskin, Max Beckmann, Wassily Kandinsky, and Abraham Rattner, among others. There are also condolence letters from friends and colleagues to Elsa Schmid, Neumann's wife.

Scattered writings consist of typescript drafts of Neumann's speeches and one article on expressionism. There is also one speech written by curator Richard Klein.

Printed materials comprise the bulk of the collection and include a bound gallery guest register, a disbound scrapbook, exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, magazines, posters, and news clippings. There are many exhibition catalogs from Neumann's galleries in Berlin and Munich as well as from the New Art Circle gallery in New York. Artwork consists of two etchings and one drawing by an unknown artist or artists.

Photographic materials include black and white photographs and negatives, including notable portraits of Neumann by photographers Helen Balfour Morrison, Clarence White, and Hans Namuth.

Biographical/Historical Note

J. B. (Jsrael Ber) Neumann (1887-1961) was a gallery director, art dealer and publisher.

Provenance

The J.B. Neumann papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments between 1973-2007 by Eva Lee (family friend), Joy Weber, Max Weber's daughter, Neil Richmond, and Hellie Neumann, J.B. Neumann's granddaughter. Additional materials were loaned for microfilming in 1966-1967 by Neumann's wife Elsa Schmid.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art also holds a collection of Josef Albers letters to J. B. Neumann, 1934-1947 on microfilm reel 911.

Additional J.B. Neumann papers are also located at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The museum microfilmed a portion of these papers and donated a copy of that film to the Archives. This material may be viewed on reel NJBN5.

A Finding Aid to the J. B. Neumann papers, 1905-1967, in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
J. B. (Jsrael Ber) Neumann (1887-1961) was a gallery director, art dealer and publisher. After immigrating to the U.S., Neumann founded the New Art Circle Gallery in New York City. Before then, he had art galleries in Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf and Bremen, Germany.
J. B. Neumann was born in Austria in 1887. His father was an oil and lumber dealer. Neumann initially studied business but later apprenticed to a book and picture dealer when he was nineteen. While working as a clerk in a large bookstore in London, Neumann had the opportunity to work at the rare book dealer's table in the British Museum. The job allowed him to assess and handle fine and rare books, starting a lifelong passion, and Neumann went on to amass a substantial personal library.
In 1910, Neumann returned to Berlin, Germany and in 1911 opened a book and art shop where he exhibited the work of Edvard Munch and others. Neumann had many friends who were artists and in 1915-1916 he was secretary to the Berlin Secession, a prominent German artist association. By 1922 Neumann had branch offices in Bremen, Dusseldorf and Munich.
Neumann immigrated to America in 1923 and left the Berlin gallery to the directorship of Karl Nierendorf and the Munich gallery to Günther Franke. Neumann settled in New York City and one year later he opened a 57th Street gallery and bookshop, first called J.B. Neumann's Print Room and later the New Art Circle gallery. He supported numerous artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, and Georges Rouault. Elsa Schmid, Neumann's wife, was an artist who worked in mosaics.
Neumann also worked as a publisher. He created the printing company Gehenna Press and published a series of periodicals including
Bilderhefte
(Berlin, 1920-1922) and
Artlover
(New York, 1926-1945, 1959). The New Art Circle gallery closed circa 1952 and, after working as its director for nearly three decades, Neumann became a consultant for museums and collectors. He was also a lecturer and he frequently spoke about art at universities, museums and galleries.
Neumann died in Rye, New York on April 28, 1961. He is survived by his widow, Elsa Schmid (d. 1970); two sons, Peter and Albrecht; and a daughter, Mrs. Johanna Lam.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1925-1961 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Writings, 1919, 1954-circa 1960 (5 folders; Box 1)
Series 3: Printed Materials, 1910-1967 (1.7 linear feet; Box 1-4)
Series 4: Artwork, 1919-circa 1960 (3 folders; Box 3-4)
Series 5: Photographic Materials, 1905-circa 1950 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3-4)
Provenance
The J.B. Neumann papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments between 1973-2007 by Eva Lee (family friend), Joy Weber, Max Weber's daughter, Neil Richmond, and Hellie Neumann, J.B. Neumann's granddaughter. Additional materials were loaned for microfilming in 1966-1967 by Neumann's wife Elsa Schmid.
Processing Information note
Several increments of gifts were microfilmed separately on reels N69/93-94, 3533, 3947, NJBN 1. All filmed and unfilmed gifts were integrated and fully processed by Rihoko Ueno in March 2013 with funding provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Additional Forms Available

Portions of the collection are also available on 35 mm microfilm reels NJBN 1; N69/93-94; 3533; and 3947. While the microfilm is available for consultation at Archives of American Art offices, affliate centers, and through interlibrary loan, researchers are advised that the microfilm does not reflect the current order of the papers as described in this finding aid and may not be complete.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

How to Cite This Collection

J. B. Neumann papers, 1905-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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