Skip to main content

Kootz Gallery records, 1923-1966

Kootz Gallery records, 1923-1966

Kootz Gallery (N.Y.)

Collection Information

Size: 7.1 linear ft.

Summary: The records of modernist New York City Kootz Gallery measure 6.5 linear feet and date from 1923-1966. They consist of scattered correspondence and exhibition files; photograph files of artists, including ones for Picasso, William Baziotes, and Hans Hofmann, among many others; photographs and slides of the gallery and exhibitions; and scattered personal papers of Samuel M. Kootz. The bulk of the records consist of 23 scrapbooks that contain primarily printed materials.

There are two folders of scattered routine incoming letters. Three folders of exhibition files contain limited documentation of the 1952 Kootz Gallery exhibition "To South America," and printed material related to the 1951 exhibition "Art for a Synagogue" held at the Synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey.

Artists' Photograph Files contain mostly photographs of 52 artists, their artwork, and their exhibitions. In addition to photographs, there is one folder of artists' autographs. Pablo Picasso and Hans Hofmann's close friendship with Kootz is reflected in this series, as numerous informal personal photos are found in their respective files. A few folders also contain documents, such as transcript notes for a lecture and other writings by Hans Hofmann and a brief review of the work of Georges Braque and David Hare.

Artists' Files consist of one folder of artist autographs and reproductions of artwork for 52 artists that exhibited at the Kootz Gallery. The files of artists that were part of the Kootz Gallery stable typically include original photos of the artist and/or their exhibitions. Pablo Picasso and Hans Hofmann's close friendship with Kootz is reflected in this series, as numerous informal photos can be found in their respective files. Transcript notes for a lecture and other writings by Hans Hofmann and a brief review of the work of Georges Braque and David Hare and can also be found in their files.

Printed Material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, advertisements, and newspaper and magazine clippings on the gallery and artists associated with the gallery. There are catalogs for Kootz Gallery exhibitions, including "The Intrasubjectives" show of 1949.

Twenty-three scrapbooks date from 1931 through 1966 and include exhibition announcements, catalogs, photographs, clippings, and miscellaneous printed material. Scrapbook 1, 1939-1948, focuses on Pablo Picasso. Scrapbooks 2-21 document approximately each year of Kootz Gallery events and press coverage from 1945 to 1966, and Scrapbooks 22-23, 1950-1958, focus on architectural models and exhibitions.

Photographic material includes photographs, transparencies, and slides of Kootz Gallery New York and Kootz Gallery Provincetown; interior design photographs showcasing Kootz Gallery artwork hanging in office and residential spaces; group and unidentified exhibitions; group and unidentified artists/artwork; and informal photographs of Samuel Kootz and of his wife, Jane.

Samuel Kootz Personal Papers consist of a cocktail party invitation and a copy of the 1923 Phi Epsilon Pi Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kootz Gallery (1945-1966) was an art gallery in New York, N.Y. Kootz Gallery was founded 1945 by Samuel M. Kootz.

Provenance

Samuel M. Kootz donated the gallery records in two increments in 1971. Nearly all of the same records had been loaned in 1965 for microfilming.

Related Materials

Also found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Samuel M. Kootz by John Morse on March 2, 1960 and by Dorothy Seckler on April 13, 1964. Records of Kootz Gallery are also interspersed among the records of Nathan Halper's galleries.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Reel NY65-1: Originals returned to the lender after microfilming; the catalog, Intrasubjectives, was subsequently donated.

A Finding Aid to the Kootz Gallery Records,
1923-1966
in the Archives of American Art
AAA.kootgall
Biographical/Historical note
Samuel M. Kootz officially opened the Kootz Gallery in 1945 in New York City. In 1953, he opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that closed one year later.
Samuel M. Kootz (1898-1982) received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1921 and practiced law briefly before moving to New York City to accept a job as an advertising account executive. While still in law school, he began visiting New York art galleries and was particularly drawn to works by modern artists that were showing at the Stieglitz Gallery and the Charles Daniel Gallery. In 1930, he independently published his first book,
Modern American Painters
and began to regularly contribute articles on painting and photography to various periodicals, including
The Times
. In 1942, he curated an abstract expressionist showcase for Macy's and published
New Frontiers in American Painting
one year later. Kootz's second book was one of the first to examine the emerging abstract expressionist movement and marked the beginning of his full transition into the art world.
In 1944, Kootz resigned from his advertising job to represent Robert Motherwell and William Baziotes as a professional art dealer. He officially opened the Kootz Gallery opened in 1945 and showcased the work of both American and European abstract expressionists, including Hans Hofmann and Adolph Gottlieb. In 1946, during the Kootz Gallery's preparation for Pablo Picasso's first one man exhibition in America, Picasso became quite friendly with Kootz and his wife Jane. Upon the artist's suggestion, Kootz agreed to close his gallery and represent Picasso and his other artists as a private dealer. Although this was a successful venture, Kootz missed the structure of an office and decided to reopen his gallery on Madison Avenue in 1949. The gallery's first show at the new location was "The Intrasubjectives," a term Kootz had coined for abstract expressionists. The exhibition included four artists from his stable, William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, and Hans Hofmann, along with Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Bradley Walker Tomlin.
In 1953, Kootz opened a satellite gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts that was managed and operated by gallerist Nathan Halper. In 1954, they mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership and Kootz focused his energies on his New York gallery, which grew to include Herbert Ferber, David Hare, Philippe Hosiasson, Ibram Lassaw, Conrad Marca-Relli, Georges Mathieu, Raymond Parker, William Ronald, Gerard Schneider, Emil Schumacher, and Pierre Soulages.
A number of factors, including competition from new galleries, commoditization of art by investment collectors, and the public's interest in emerging pop art, influenced Kootz's decision to close his gallery in 1966.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1950-1962 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 2: Exhibition Files, circa 1944-1966 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 3: Artists Photographs Files, 1936-1966 (Boxes 1-2, 5; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1944-1966 (Boxes 2, 5; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1931-1966 (Box 3, BV 6-23; 4 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1944-1966 (Boxes 4-5; 11 folders)
Series 7: Samuel Kootz Personal Papers, circa 1923-1957 (Box 4; 2 folders)
Provenance
Samuel M. Kootz donated the gallery records in two increments in 1971. Nearly all of the same records had been loaned in 1965 for microfilming.
Location of Originals
  • Reel NY65-1: Originals returned to the lender after microfilming; the catalog, Intrasubjectives, was subsequently donated.
Processing Information note
Portions of the records were initially microfilmed on reels 1318-1320, 1322-1323, and 3090; reel 3090 is no longer in circulation. Loaned materials were filmed on reel NY65-1 and returned. All later gift portions were integrated and fully processed by Judy Ng in 2011, and five scrapbooks were scanned for preservation in 2011 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

Scrapbooks 1-5 from 1939-1948 were digitized for preservation in 2011 and are available via the Archives of American Art's website. Blank pages and blank versos of photographs have not been scanned. The bulk of the photographs and scrapbooks 6-23 are available on microfilm reels 1318-1320 and 1322-1323 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the current arrangement of the collection may not match the order of the microfilm.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment. All scrapbooks are CLOSED due to their fragile condition; #1-#5 have been digitized and are available on the Archives of American Art's website, and #6-#23 are only available for use on microfilm reels 1318-1320 and 1322-1323.

How to Cite This Collection

Kootz Gallery records, 1923-1966. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available