Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and teacher Julian E. Levi date from 1846 to 1981, and comprise 6.9 linear feet. They consist of biographical information, correspondence, artwork, writings and notes, financial records, scrapbooks, printed material, miscellaneous records and photographs that document Levi's professional career and personal life.
Biographical information includes French documents regarding his trips to Paris in 1920 and 1926-1927. Julian E. Levi's Correspondence, 1914-1981, and undated, concerns professional and personal matters and consists primarily of incoming letters from friends and colleagues, arts organizations, museums, schools, and galleries. Also found are approximately sixty letters he wrote to his family circa 1927, while living in Paris. In addition, a small number of Henderson Family letters, 1846-1886, are included with the Julian E. Levi papers; their relationship to Levi is unclear. Found within the correspondence are illustrated letters and original artwork in the form of greeting cards. Additional Artwork consists mainly of pencil drawings and sketches by Levi, including a large number of stage costume designs.
Writings by Levi consist of brief statements concerning his work and other artists, brief reminiscences of friends, a poem, and the text of a speech. Notes contain miscellaneous jottings, lists of paintings, addresses and telephone information, and address books. Among the writings by others are catalog introductions for Levi exhibitions by unknown authors, and by Lewis Mumford and Archibald MacLeish for An American Group, Inc.
Financial Records concern both business and personal transactions and document art sales, commissions, consignments, and gallery expenses. Also included are receipts, a small number of banking and tax records, and scattered documentation of purchases, appraisals, and sales of antiques in his collection.
Scrapbooks (2 disbound volumes) contain clippings, other printed items, and a few photographs documenting Levi's exhibitions. There are a substantial number of exhibition catalogs and announcements. Miscellaneous printed material includes brochures, newsletters and publications, clippings, invitations, announcements of meetings, blank postcards, travel brochures and printed souvenirs. Also found is a copy of his book, Modern Art: An Introduction, and one of the articles he published in the American expatriate periodical Gargoyle.
Items of note among the Miscellaneous Records pertain to the American Artists' Congress, An American Group, Inc., Downtown Gallery, and New York City Council for Art Week. Other items of interest are a blueprint of plans for Levi's studio at his home in Easthampton, New York, and records regarding the New School for Social Research where Levi taught for many years.
Photographs of artwork include a disbound album of Levi's work and exhibition installation views that show paintings by Levi. Pictures of Levi include some taken when he was a young child, along with many views of him in his studio, with students, and others. Many views of places probably were used as reference for paintings. Other places recorded in photographs include Downtown Gallery, Stuart Davis's grave, and studios he occupied while in Paris, circa 1926-1927 and at the American Academy in Rome, 1967-1968. Of particular note are copies of Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration photographs.
The papers were a gift received in several accessions between 1969-1982 from Julian E. Levi and his estate (Herman Englander, executor). Portions of the collection were microfilmed upon receipt.
Material received between 1969-1972 was microfilmed upon receipt on reels 483-486. Material donated 1973-1982 was microfilmed on reels 1817-1818. The papers were processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2005, merging all previously filmed and unfilmed materials according to archival standards. The arrangement of the collection does not match the microfilmed order of the papers.