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Nathan Halper business records, 1952-1979

Nathan Halper business records, 1952-1979

Halper, Nathan, 1907-1983

Dealer, Gallery director

Representative image for Nathan Halper business records, 1952-1979

This site provides access to the papers of Nathan Halper in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2011. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 5,282 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 4.2 linear feet

Summary: Records of four of Nathan Halper's Provincetown galleries measure 4.2 linear feet and date from 1952-1979. The records relate to Kootz Gallery, H-C Gallery, HCE Gallery, and Sun Gallery-all based in Provincetown. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with artists, estate executors, collectors, galleries, and museums. There are also scattered business and financial records documenting operations and sales, photographs and slides, printed materials, and one poem. Correspondents include Milton Avery, Anthony Caro, John Murray Cuddihy, Marsden Hartley, Hans Hoffman, Samuel Kootz, Robert Motherwell, David Smith, Richard Stankeiwicz, and many others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Nathan Halper (1907-1983) was an art dealer and gallery director from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Halper graduated from Columbia University in 1927, and was primarily a writer and James Joyce scholar. Beginning with a partnership with Samuel Kootz, he managed the Samuel Kootz Gallery in Provincetown from 1953-1954. With John Murray Cuddihy, Halper formed the H.C. Gallery (1956) and H.C.E. Gallery (1957-1967), the latter gallery's name being inspired by FINNEGAN'S WAKE. Halper managed the Sun Gallery for a couple of years to aid the younger artists who had started it.

Provenance

The Nathan Halper business records were donated by Nathan Halper in 1979. Additional materials were donated in 1983 and 1984 by his wife Helen Marjorie Windust Halper.

Related Materials

Funding

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

A Finding Aid to the Nathan Halper business records,
1952-1979
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.halpnath
Author
Finding aid prepared by Judy Ng
Biographical/Historical note
Nathan Halper (1907-1983) worked in Provincetown, Massachusetts as a contemporary American art dealer, writer, and James Joyce scholar.
Nathan Halper first moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1936 where he met and eventually married his wife, Helen Marjorie Windust Halper. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, their circle of friends included artists, writers, and academics drawn to the Provincetown art colony. Through friendships with Adolph Gottlieb and Fritz Bultman, Halper was introduced to Hans Hofmann, his students, and other abstract expressionist artists.
In 1949, Halper was invited to give a talk on James Joyce at Forum 49, a Provincetown summer lecture series on the future of art organized by Weldon Kees and held in a gallery at 200 Commercial Street. Speakers ranged from Jackson Pollock to poet laureate Howard Nemerov, and the series also presented one of the first major exhibitions of abstract expressionism in America. In 1952, Halper became the treasurer of the Provincetown Art Association (est. 1914), an influential social nexus that connected artists, galleries, patrons, and the public through memberships and annual events.
In 1953, he entered into a partnership with New York art dealer Sam Kootz and helped establish the Kootz Gallery in Provincetown. Their stable initially consisted of abstract expressionists Kootz represented in New York: Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Fritz Bultman, and William Baziotes. Halper and Kootz mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership in 1954 and Halper opened the H-C Gallery with John Murray Cuddihy in 1955. After Cuddihy's departure at the end of the 1956 season, Halper opened the HCE Gallery (1957-1967), a name inspired by Joyce's
Finnegan's Wake
. In 1962, Halper entered into a one year partnership with Noah Goldowsky to help finance and run the Sun Gallery.
After the dissolution of the Kootz Gallery, Halper continued to represent Motherwell and, for a short time, Gottlieb in the Provincetown area, but quickly added other artists to the HCE stable. Through its relationship with New York dealers, such as Martha Jackson Gallery, Andre Emmerich Gallery, and Waddington Galleries, HCE was able to exhibit and sell works by Milton Avery, Gandy Brodie, Anthony Caro, Edwin Dickinson, Marsden Hartley, Hans Hoffman, Wolf Kahn, William King, Jan Muller, Elie Nadelman, David Smith, Richard Stankiewicz, Tal Streeter, and Anthony Vevers, among others.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1953-1970 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1952-1979 (Boxes 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Business Records, 1953-1970 (Box 2; .7 linear feet)
Series 4: Financial Material, 1953-1970 (Boxes 3-4; 2 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1952-1976 (Box 5; 3 folders)
Series 6: Photographic Material, 1953-1969 (Box 5; 11 folders)
Scope and Contents note
Records of four of Nathan Halper's Provincetown galleries measure 4.2 linear feet and date from 1952-1979. The records relate to Kootz Gallery, H-C Gallery, HCE Gallery, and Sun Gallery - all based in Provincetown. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with artists, estate executors, collectors, galleries, and museums. There are also scattered business and financial records documenting operations and sales, photographs and slides, printed materials, and one poem. Correspondents include Milton Avery, Anthony Caro, John Murray Cuddihy, Marsden Hartley, Hans Hoffman, Samuel Kootz, Robert Motherwell, David Smith, Richard Stankeiwicz, and many others.
Biographical material consists of one literary poem.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with many artists, estate executors, gallery partners, collectors, galleries, and museums regarding works of art, sales, account balances, requests for information, and general updates.
Scattered business records are found for all four galleries and include a Kootz Gallery guest register, address books, corporation and partnership agreements for the Kootz, H-C, HCE, and Sun galleries, insurance policies, and a Kootz Gallery employee file. Both the guest register and address books were also used as general business related notebooks.
Financial material consists of inventory stock books, price lists and sales, checkbook registers, and general expense invoices/receipts for the four galleries. The undated stock books list artists' names, general artwork identification information, and prices. Additional sales information is found in price lists, correspondence, sales notebooks, and checkbook registers. Invoices and receipts also document general operating expenses.
Printed material includes newspaper clippings on the Provincetown art scene and major artists represented by Halper, three exhibition catalogs, and an event calendar from the National Association of Women Artists.
Photographic material consists of prints and slides of the Kootz, H-C, and HCE galleries; black and white and color prints of exhibitions by Harry Botkin, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, and Hans Hofmann; and black and white prints, color slides, and transparencies of select works of art shown at the galleries.
Provenance
The Nathan Halper business records were donated by Nathan Halper in 1979. Additional materials were donated in 1983 and 1984 by his wife Helen Marjorie Windust Halper.
Related Archival Materials note
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Kootz Gallery records and oral history interviews with Nathan Halper conducted by Dorothy Seckler, July 17, 1963 and by Robert Brown, July 8-August 14, 1980. Columbia University also holds Nathan Halper's papers concerning his literary scholarly work.
Processing Information note
The collection was fully processed and arranged by Jean Fitzgerald in 1991. The collection was prepared for digitization and described by Judy Ng in 2011, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2011 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Materials which have not been scanned include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, unannotated photographs of artwork, duplicates, insurance policies, and routine financial transactions that do not document sales of artwork. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned.

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

Nathan Halper business records, 1952-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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