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Louis E. Stern papers, 1897-1978

Stern, Louis E., 1886-1962

Lawyer, Art patron


Collection Information

Size: 0.8 Linear feet, (partially microfilmed on 2 reels)

Summary: Correspondence, writings, art work, photographs and printed material relating to Stern's art collection and his relationships with Marc Chagall and family, and with Reuvin and Esther Rubin.
Correspondence is with museums and dealers concerning Stern's collection, 1917-1978; correspondence with and greeting cards from Marc Chagall and family, 1942-1961; and correspondence with Reuven Rubin while Rubin was living in Israel and Rumania during the post World War II era, undated and 1946-1961, much of it concerning the establishment of Israel as a state and the war with the Arab states following World War II.
Writings consist a debate text, c. 1909, and a published speech "Russia Today," 1924, by Stern, and a poem, in French, "Esprit" by Henry Brigul ?. Financial material includes a notebook, 1924-1928, "Catalogue of Original Etchings," listing titles, date of purchase, and price, arranged by artist, and a list of works in Stern's collection used for probate of his estate, 1962. Art work, 1944-1962, includes 2 sketches and 2 greeting cards by Rubin, greeting cards by Chaim Gross, and 1 bookplate designed by Chagall.
Photographs and slides are of Stern and his collection, ca. 1897-1962; one of a reception in Tel Aviv attended by Stern, David Ben-Gurion, Arthur Rubinstein, and Isaac Stern; one of Reuven Rubin, 1946; 2 of Chagall, one with Stern, 1957; and 23 stereo slides of Stern, Miss Foster, Alice, and Stern's collection taken in his apartment. Printed material consists of 18 clippings, 1925-1963; an exhibition catalog for Rubin, 1955; an exhibition announcement for Chagall, 1957; 2 exhibition catalogs for the Stern collection, 1962-1964; a copy of "Brandt vs. Pennsylvania Steel" and related clippings concerning the first court decision won by Stern, 1916.

Biographical/Historical Note

Art collector, attorney; New York, N.Y. Born in Balta, Russia, Stern joined his father in America ca. 1900, and earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1909. An avid patron of the arts, Stern's collection was notable for its illustrated artists' books, prints, sculpture, ancient and primitive objects, and paintings, in particular his many works by Marc Chagall. Upon his death, his collection was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, his art library to Rutgers, and other additional items to the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.


Donated 1991 by Andrew Pincus, whose mother was Stern's half sister; his father, Bernard, was the executor of Stern's estate. Microfilmed 1994 with funding provided by the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

Language Note

24 letters are in French.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 4545-4546 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. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Louis E. Stern papers, 1897-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.