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Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980

Otto and Ilse Gerson papers, 1933-1980

Gerson, Otto, 1902-1962


Collection Information

Size: 3 linear feet

Summary: Records relating to galleries owned and operated by the Gersons, including Fine Arts Associates, Gerson Gallery, and the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery.

Among the correspondence with clients, museums, dealers and artists are a 1937 letter from Ernst L. Kirchner to dealer Curt Valentin, letters from Gerhard Marcks, a 1962 letter from Otto to Ilse about improving their life together, a letter detailing cash flow of the estate, and congratulatory letters to Ilse on her retirement from Marlborough-Gerson Gallery.

Also includes estimates and invoices for sales of art works, as well as files on Paul Cezanne, Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, David Smith, Joseph M. Turner, and Fritz Wotruba containing correspondence, financial and sales records and printed material. Files on collectors Walter Bareiss, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley, Ralph F. Colin, Joseph Hirshhorn, Herbert Klotz, the Georg-Kolbe Museum, Alvin S. Lane, John A. MacAulay, May D. Morton, Joseph Pulitzer, and the Uris Brothers Foundation contain correspondence, purchase invoices, market value affidavits, photographs of works, and a list of collectors of Georges Braque bronzes.

A file on the Dina Vierny Gallery (Paris) contains correspondence relating to sales of works by Constantin Brancusi, Fernand Leger, Aristide Maillol and others. Additional business records include certificates of authenticity for works by Georges Braque, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, and others; purchase and sale records (1948-1963); a sales ledger; balance sheets; audit reports for Fine Arts Associates and Otto Gerson Gallery; merger agreement and related correspondence between Gerson Gallery and Marlborough Gallery; tax return for XYZ Liquidating Corporation; inventories; a stock book; stock lists; and stock cards recording the names of buyers, sellers, and prices. Photographs show the galleries, art works, and the Gersons. Other materials consist of exhibition catalogues, clippings and Ilse Gerson's will.

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.


Laurence Schmeckebier, who appraised Ilse Gerson's estate for Indian Head Bank North, suggested that the papers be given to the Archives of American Art. Some artists' files appear to be missing as only six files have been located. The bank's representative has no knowledge of the whereabouts of any additional material.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reels 4049-4053 available 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.

How to Cite This Collection

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