Sarah Haug and Christopher DeMairo
Scope and Contents
The records of the New York City gallery James Graham & Sons measure 103.6 linear feet and date from 1815, 1821, circa 1896-2011 (bulk 1950s-1980s). The collection generally documents the gallery's contemporary art department during the time in which Robert Claverhouse Graham, Sr. worked at the gallery (1940-1979); records prior to 1954 are sparse and scattered. Gallery records include artist files; correspondence; exhibition files; financial records; inventory records; printed materials; sales, loans, and consignment records; scrapbooks; and photographic materials. Also found are records from Coe Kerr Gallery regarding exhibitions of artwork by Jamie Wyeth, and to a lesser extent, Andrew and N.C. Wyeth.
Over the years, the gallery changed names and established contemporary art departments. In addition to records of James Graham & Sons, the collection holds the records of Duveen-Graham Modern Art (in partnership with Albert Duveen), Graham Gallery, Graham Modern, JG|Contemporary, and, to a lesser extent, The Clapp and Graham Co.
Alphabetical files are a mix of business correspondence and business records. The bulk of the series contains correspondence with galleries, museums, other institutions, and, to a lesser extent, clients regarding sales, consignments, and loans of artwork. Also found are materials relevant to the daily operations of the gallery, including correspondence, subject files, and scattered financial, business and legal records.
Exhibition files provide scattered documentation of the gallery's exhibitions through catalogs, clippings, correspondence, guest books, notes, photographs, press materials, price lists, and sales receipts and other financial records.
Artists' Files document the numerous artists who have been represented by the gallery, especially modern American artists. Folders for each artist can contain a variety of materials, including correspondence with the artist or with institutions regarding consignments, loans, sales and exhibitions; photographic materials primarily of artwork; sales invoices; exhibition catalogs, postcards, and other printed materials; press releases; magazine and newspaper clippings; price lists; artist binders; and research materials on artists and artwork. Also found are some subject files, per original arrangement. There is extensive material related to artists Carmen Cicero, Susan Crile, Elaine De Kooning's portrait of President John F. Kennedy, Edwin Dickinson, muralist Seymour Fogel, Nancy Fried, Irving Kriesberg, Gari Melchers, Jonathan Santlofer, Reeve Schley, Peter Stevens, Joan Thorne, and Selina Trieff.
Artwork files document sales, consignments, and loans of artwork primarily from the mid-1980s to 2000s. Materials include agreements and contracts; condition reports; correspondence; invoices and receipts; photographs of artwork; shipping records; and photocopied printed material and other documentation. This series requires written permission from the donor in order to access.
Sales records from 1959-1984 (missing 1974) are found in the Financial Records series. Also found are check stub books from the mid-late 1950s; price lists; records for the Four Seasons Charter Corp.; and scattered banking, consignment, tax, and other financial records. Inventory cards from mid-1950s-1970s and inventory lists, often with notations and prices, are found in the series Inventory Records.
Coe Kerr Gallery Records regarding the Wyeths document Jamie Wyeth's exhibitions primarily from the mid-1970s-early 1980s. Also found is limited material regarding Andrew Wyeth and N.C. Wyeth. Materials include correspondence, photographs, exhibition printed materials, and extensive newspaper clippings.
There are exhibition catalogs, books, announcements, magazines, clippings, postcards, posters and other printed materials related to artists, John Graham & Sons exhibitions, and exhibitions by Graham artists held at other galleries and museums. Also found is an 1815 fifty cent note which was redeemed in 1821.
Seven scrapbooks document discrete aspects of the business, including the gallery's advertising, participation in an art fair, and the careers of artists Guy Coheleach and Van Dearing Perrine. Materials housed in the scrapbooks include clippings, catalogs, photographs, and other printed materials.
Photographic Materials include mostly black and white photographs, negatives, slides and transparencies of artwork; scattered photographs of installations, artists, and the gallery; and a handful of personal snapshots. The bulk of the photographs are undated, but were likely printed between 1950s-1990s.
The James Graham & Sons records were donated in 2007, 2008, and 2012 by Priscilla Caldwell and Jay Grimm of James Graham & Sons and in 2018 by Cameron Shay of James Graham & Sons.
Among the other resources relating to James Graham & Sons in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Robert Claverhouse Graham, November 19, 1976, and the David Herbert papers, 1950-1995.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Haug in 2012. Folder titles were transcribed from original folder headings; additional information provided by the processing archivist was written in brackets. The addition to the collection, boxes 102-110, was processed and added to the finding aid by Christopher DeMairo in 2022.