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Los Angeles Art Association records, 1922-1990

Los Angeles Art Association records, 1922-1990

Los Angeles Art Association

Collection Information

Size: 12.6 linear feet

Summary: The Los Angeles Art Association records measure 12.6 linear feet and date from 1922-1990. Almost a third of the collection consists of artists' files containing a wide variety of materials documenting the association's relationship with numerous California and international artists. Also found are ten scrapbooks documenting exhibitions and events over the course of 50 years, administrative files, correspondence, subject files, exhibition files, financial and legal records, printed material, and photographic material depicting artists, events, and artwork. Scattered files of Executive Director Helen Wurdemann's are also found throughout the collection.

Administrative records include board of trustees' meeting minutes, membership correspondence, materials relating to publicity, visitor and artist registers, founding documents, and files on the history of the organization. Files about or created by Executive Director Helen Wurdemann are also found.

Correspondence, including greeting cards and notes, documents the LAAA's relationship with artists, other associations, museums, and collectors. Hans Burkhardt, Emil J. Kosa Jr., Roger Kuntz, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Arnold Menches, and Peter Selz are among the correspondents.

Subject files compiled and maintained by the LAAA document special interests, events, and projects. There are files for various arts organizations, Stendhal Gallery, and the Watts Towers Commission.

Exhibition files are found for "Loan Exhibition of International Art" (1937), "Photographs of the George Eastman House Collection 1840-1915" (1968), "Independent Artists of Los Angeles" (1923), and "Top Flight Artists of Southern California" (1941), among others.

Almost a third of the collection consists of artists' files documenting the LAAA's relationship with many California and international artists over the years. Files are varied but often include artists' biographical information, resumes, photographs, price lists, artist statements, and printed materials. Artists include Hans Burkhardt, Jules Engel, and Jack Zajac, among many others.

Financial and legal records consist of daily and exhibition ledgers, art rental and sales files, audit reports and financial statements, billing receipts, bankruptcy legal papers, a prints price list, and miscellaneous financial notes.

Printed material consists of museum and LAAA bulletins, clippings, art school catalogs and brochures, exhibition announcements and catalogs, bulletins and newsletters from other organizations, periodicals, proofs of the "Loan Exhibition of International Art" (1937) exhibition catalog, and a limited edition copy of the book, "Paintings," by William Merritt Chase signed to the LAAA by B. M. Newhouse.

Photographs, slides, negatives, and copy prints depict LAAA events and gallery openings, artists and people, Executive Director Helen Wurdemann, and works of art by various artists. There are also photographs for publications and a photograph album of artwork by Douglass Parshall.

Ten scrapbooks document LAAA events and exhibitions through clippings, articles, photographs, notes and annotations, announcements, and printed materials.

Biographical/Historical Note

Originally founded as the Museum Patrons Association in 1925, the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) supported California artists and played an integral role in developing the Los Angeles art community.

Provenance

The Los Angeles Art Association records were donated to the Archives of American in 1990 and 1991 by Richard Campbell of the Los Angeles Art Association.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

A Finding Aid to the Los Angeles Art Association Records, 1922-1990, in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
Originally founded as the Museum Patrons Association in 1925, the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) supported California artists and played an integral role in developing the Los Angeles art community.
The original intent of the Museum Patrons Association was to purchase works of art for the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. In 1933, the organization separated from the museum and was renamed the Los Angeles Art Association with a primary goal to connect to the broader Los Angeles art community through exhibitions, limited sales, rentals, events, and education. In 1944, with Helen Wurdemann (1892-1988) as Executive Director, the LAAA began to focus more on contemporary local artists, providing a place for the Southern California “hard-edge” abstractionist movement to flourish. In 1951, California painter Lorser Feitelson curated an exhibition of Hans Burkhardt, the LAAA's first solo exhibition of a local artist. Throughout its existence and continuing today, the LAAA has served as a place for arts education, outreach, and community-from its representation of artists studying under the GI bill between 1953 and 1965, to its participation in Monday night art-walks after its move to “Gallery Row” in 1960.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 9 series. Records are generally arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.
Series 1: Administrative Records, 1925-1989 (Box 1; 0.75 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1933-1990 (Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Subject Files, 1924-1987 (Box 2; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1923-1982 (Boxes 2-3; 0.45 linear feet)
Series 5: Artists' Files, 1926-1986 (Boxes 3-6; 3.6 linear feet)
Series 6: Financial and Legal Records, 1932-1987 (Boxes 6-8; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1922-1987 (Boxes 8-9; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographic Materials, 1925-1980 (Boxes 9-10, 13; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1934-1985 (Boxes 10-12, 14; 2.8 linear feet)
Provenance
The Los Angeles Art Association records were donated to the Archives of American in 1990 and 1991 by Richard Campbell of the Los Angeles Art Association.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2015, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.

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

Los Angeles Art Association records, 1922-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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