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Lena Gurr papers, 1908-1979

Lena Gurr papers, 1908-1979

Gurr, Lena, 1897-1992

Painter, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 7.0 linear feet

Summary: Resumes, correspondence, notes, an interview on a phonograph record, art work, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs document Gurr's career as well as that of her husband, Joseph Biel.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lena Gurr (1897-1992) was a painter and printmaker from Brooklyn, N.Y. Attended the Maxwell Training School for Teachers, 1915-1917, the Educational Alliance Art School, 1919, and studied under John Sloan and Maurice Sterne at the Art Students League, 1920-1922. Gurr also studied in Paris, Nice, and Mentone, France. Her first solo exhibition was in 1932 at the Brooklyn Museum. She married painter and photographer Joseph Biel (1891-1943) on November 24, 1931. Biel was born in Russia and studied in the Russian Academy in Paris, and at the Workman's College, Melbourne, Australia. He also established the first Jewish library in Melbourne. Upon his arrival in the United States, he studied under George Grosz at the Art Students League.

Provenance

Donated by Lena Gurr, 1966-1979. Material on reels 4940-48 microfilmed in 1994 with funds provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.

A Finding Aid to the Lena Gurr Papers,
1908-1979
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.gurrlena
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Biographical Note
Born October 27, 1897, in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Gurr was the daughter of Hyman and Ida (Gorodnick) Gurr. She attended the Maxwell Training School for Teachers from 1915 to 1917, then turned her energies toward art. She studied painting and printmaking at the Educational Alliance Art School in 1919, and at the Art Students League (1920-1922), where she was a student of John Sloan and Maurice Stern. She also studied art in Paris, Nice, and Mentone, France. Her first solo exhibition was in 1932 at the Brooklyn Museum.
On November 24, 1931, Gurr married painter and photographer Joseph Biel. He was born October 27, 1891 in Russia, studied at the Russian Academy in Paris, and at the Workman's College, Melbourne, Australia. He also established the first Jewish Library in Melbourne. Upon his arrival in the United States, he studied under George Grosz at the Art Students League. Biel died in April 1943 of a heart ailment.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into eight series. Material within each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1968, undated (box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1979, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.1 linear ft.)
Series 3: Notes, 1926-1972 (box 4; 4 folders)
Series 4: Interview, 1950 (box 4; 1 folder)
Series 5: Artwork, circa 1908-1951 (box 4; 36 folders)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1912-1948 (boxes 4-5, 8-11; 1.45 linear ft.)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1926-1978 (box 5; 21 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, 1912-1978 (boxes 5-7; 1.05 linear ft.)
Scope and Content Note
The Lena Gurr papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of Gurr's career as a painter and printmaker, and her relationship with her husband, painter Joseph Biel. Through biographical material, correspondence, notes, an interview with Lena Gurr, original artwork by Gurr and others, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs of Gurr, family, and friends, and photographs of artwork by Gurr and others, the collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
Provenance
Donated by Lena Gurr, 1966-1979. Material on reels 4940-48 microfilmed in 1994 with funds provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Jean Fitzgerald in 1994. The finding aid was modified during conversion to EAD by Stephanie Ashley in 2002.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reels 8 and 4940-4948 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Lena Gurr papers, 1908-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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