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Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980

Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980

Gerson, Otto, 1902-1962

Dealer

Collection Information

Size: 3 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Otto Gerson married Ilse Goehler in 1939, and together they became important dealers in New York, circa 1940-1962, bringing works by noted post-war European (and some American) artists to the American market.

Provenance

The Otto and Ilse Gerson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1984 by Indian Head Bank North on behalf of Otto and Ilse Gerson.

A Finding Aid to the Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.gersotto
Author
Finding aid prepared by Rihoko Ueno
Biographical/Historical note
Otto Gerson was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where he met and married Ilse Goehler in 1939. They both became U.S. citizens and together they rose to prominence as art dealers in New York City, circa 1940-1962, bringing works by noted post-war European (and some American) artists to the American market.
The Gersons also owned and operated galleries in New York, including Fine Arts Associates and Gerson Gallery. The Gerson Gallery was located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City and later merged with another gallery to form the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery around 1963, shortly after Otto Gerson's death.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1933-1973 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1980 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Turner Exhibition Files, 1960-1961 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 4: Artists' Files, 1950-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 5: Collectors' Files, 1956-1966 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 6: Business Records, circa 1945-1964 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 7: Inventory and Stock Records, 1946-1965 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1951-1962 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1945-circa 1960 (2 folders; Box 3)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York art dealers and gallery owners Otto and Ilse Gerson measure 3 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1980. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, exhibition files, artists' files, collectors' files, business records, inventory and stock records, printed materials, and photographs.
Biographical material consists of Otto and Ilse Gerson's naturalization certificates and Ilse Gerson's will.
Correspondence includes a mixture of personal and professional letters. There are a few scattered letters between Otto and Ilse Gerson as well as correspondence with clients, museums, dealers, and artists. Notable correspondents include art dealer Curt Valentin and the artist Gerhard Marcks. There is also correspondence with the Dina Vierny Gallery in Paris, France.
There is a small number of files on the Joseph Mallord William Turner exhibition at Gerson Gallery in 1960 which include correspondence, loan forms, and printed material.
Artists' files contain correspondence, estimates, inventories, sales records, and printed material for art work by five different artists such as Jacques Lipchitz, David Smith, and Fritz Wotruba.
Collectors' files include correspondence, invoices, photographs, and other material related to purchases by various art collectors.
Business records consist of purchase and sales records, audit reports, balance sheets, certificates of authenticity, a sales ledger, and legal documents regarding the business conducted by Fine Arts Associates and Otto Gerson Gallery, and legal agreements and contracts related to the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery merger.
Inventory and stock records include assorted art inventories, a stock book, and stock cards for artists.
Printed material includes a few Gerson Gallery exhibition catalogs and clippings of exhibition reviews.
Photographs consists of a few snapshots of Otto and Ilse Gerson and images of gallery installations.
Provenance
The Otto and Ilse Gerson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1984 by Indian Head Bank North on behalf of Otto and Ilse Gerson.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed by Rihoko Ueno in 2017.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4049-4053 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the papers on microfilm due to reprocessing.

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

Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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