Harriet E. Shapiro and Christopher DeMairo
Scope and Contents note
The records of the Sheldon Ross Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, measure 2.2 linear feet and are dated 1970-2007, with the bulk of materials dating from 1976-1995. The majority of the collection consists of artists' files. About half of the materials relate to Romare Bearden's work and his relationship with Sheldon Ross, the gallery owner. Also included are artists' files regarding George Grosz and Michigan artists. The contents of artists' files vary but generally include biographical information, printed materials and photographic images. The collection also contains correspondence, exhibition files, and photographs documenting the gallery's activities.
The gallery records document its exhibition history, exhibition reviews, sales of artwork, and Ross' significant projects. Also included are photographs and slides documenting much of the artwork exhibited. Materials relating to Romare Bearden include exhibition files, writings by and about Bearden and his artwork, and correspondence between Bearden and Ross during the years 1976-1989. There are many catalogs of Bearden's solo exhibitions at galleries, museums, and institutions, as well as exhibition reviews from newspapers and magazines, and images of Bearden's works.
The gallery exhibited other well-known artists including 20th century American artists and German Expressionists, notably George Grosz, who instructed Bearden at the Art Students League in New York. Found in the records are exhibition catalogues, price lists, inventory cards and artists' background materials. Also found is correspondence with museums, artists and clients, and slides and other photographic material of artwork offered by the gallery. Of note is correspondence between Sheldon Ross and the FBI concerning Ross' participation as an expert witness in a prosecution of individuals who were involved in Romare Bearden forgeries.
There are drawings of Sheldon Ross and The Sheldon Ross Galley by his son, Robert Ross. Photographs are of Sheldon Ross and Romare Bearden, Sheldon Ross with family and friends, and the predecessor gallery, Middle Earth Gallery.
The records were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2010 and 2022 by Phyllis Ross, widow of Sheldon Ross.
Support for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. A small portion of the collection was processed with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
The collection was processed by Harriet E. Shapiro in 2011. The 2022 addition to the collection was processed and added to the finding aid by Christopher DeMairo in 2022.