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Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk, 1953-1970

Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk, 1953-1970

Stable Gallery

Representative image for Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk, 1953-1970

This site provides access to the Stable Gallery records in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2016, and total 4,070 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation. Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

Collection Information

Size: 2.7 linear feet

Summary: The Stable Gallery records measure 2.7 linear feet and are dated 1916-1999 (bulk 1953-1970). The gallery was known for its representation of the New York School. Records consist mainly of artist files containing biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, sales and payment information, printed matter, and photographs. A small number of gallery administrative and financial records are included, along with printed matter, photographs, personal papers, and estate records of gallery founder and owner Eleanor Ward. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a sound cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a videoreel (1/2 inch) documentary of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection.

Biographical/Historical Note

Stable Gallery (established 1953; closed 1970) was an art gallery in New York, New York, owned by Eleanor Ward. Ward opened the Stable Gallery on West 58th Street in 1953 and gained a reputation for showing controversial new artists in the 1950's and 1960's. The gallery closed in 1970.

Provenance

The Stable Gallery records were the gift of the Estate of Eleanor Ward. In 1984, artist files were received from Alan Groh, executor of Ward's estate and her assistant at the Stable Gallery. Additional records were donated in 1997 by Buzz Miller on behalf of the Estate of Eleanor Ward; Mr. Miller was Alan Groh's partner and executor of his estate. A final addition was received in 1999 from Paul Gardner, executor of the Estate of Buzz Miller.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation. Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

A Finding Aid to the Stable Gallery Records,
1916-1999
, bulk 1953-1970
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.stabgall
Author
Finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines
Historical Note
Established in 1953 by Eleanor Ward (1911-1984), the Stable Gallery derived its name from its first home, a former livery stable on Seventh Avenue at West 58th Street, New York City. Long interested in art and recognized for her "good taste" and "flair," Mrs. Ward had vaguely considered the idea of opening her own gallery for some time and received encouragement from Christian Dior, with whom she had worked in Paris. In 1952, opportunity arose to lease a suitable building that would later become a gallery. At first, Ward and a friend sold mannequins and made the large, empty space available for fashion photography; in December, she operated a Christmas boutique for a few weeks.
The Stable Gallery opened in 1953 with an exhibition of work by Ward's friend Mike Mishke, a commercial artist. She then arranged for the Stable Gallery to host a sequel to the 1951
Ninth Street Show
(the initial show, organized by the Club with financial assistance from Leo Castelli, was held in an empty store on Ninth Street). The
New York Artists Annual
, better known as the
Stable Annual
, was selected by the artists themselves; this well-attended, widely-reviewed, and influential exhibition continued until 1957. Participating artists included Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Willem deKooning, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Stankiewicz, and Jack Tworkov.
The Stable Gallery soon became a gathering place for artists, including some not in Stable's "stable." Over the years, the Stable Gallery presented the first one-man shows of Robert Indiana, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. Among the artists closely associated with the gallery were: Joseph Cornell, Edward Dugmore, John Ferren, Alex Katz, Conrad Marca-Relli, Marisol, Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, Richard Stankiewicz, Cy Twombly, Jack Tworkov, and Wilfred Zogbaum. The gallery was known for dramatic, somewhat theatrical installations, and occasionally presented exhibitions beyond its usual focus (photographs by Hans Namuth and pre-Columbian sculpture, which personally interested Ward).
When the block where the Stable Gallery stood was razed in 1960 to make way for a high rise apartment building, Mrs. Ward moved her gallery to 33 East 74th Street, where she was able to maintain an apartment for herself upstairs. Quite abruptly, Ward closed the Stable Gallery in 1970, noting changes in the art scene, growing commercialization, and a loss of enthusiasm that made the gallery merely a business for her. Alan Groh (1923-1996), who started as Eleanor Ward's assistant in 1956 and was eventually named gallery director, became director of A. M. Sachs Gallery. Mrs. Ward traveled widely and acted as an art consultant to selected clients.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as four series:
Series 1: Administrative Records, 1955-1986 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1, 4)
Series 2: Artist Files, 1952-1997 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 3: Artwork, circa 1955-1970 (3 folders; Box 4)
Series 4: Eleanor Ward Papers, 1916-1999 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 2-4)
Scope and Content Note
The Stable Gallery records measure 2.7 linear feet and are dated 1916-1999 (bulk 1953-1970). The gallery was known for its representation of the New York School. Records consist mainly of artist files containing biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, sales and payment information, printed matter, and photographs. A small number of gallery administrative and financial records are included, along with printed matter, photographs, personal papers, and estate records of gallery founder and owner Eleanor Ward. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a sound cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a videoreel (1/2 inch) documentary of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection.
The Stable Gallery's administrative records includes miscellaneous correspondence, lists, financial records, printed matter, and photographs of unidentified artwork and exhibition installations. There are also reminiscences by gallery owner Eleanor Ward and her assistant Alan Groh, a cassette recording of Eleanor Ward, and a film recording of a 1973 Sotheby auction of works from the Robert C. Scull collection. Additional Stable Gallery administrative and financial information, as well as related printed matter is included with the artist files.
Artist files contain biographical notes, correspondence, price lists, printed matter, and photographs of artists and artwork. The correspondence includes memoranda regarding payments to artists and sales information. Among the printed matter is documentation of the Stable Gallery and other exhibitions, reviews, and miscellaneous articles. Unfortunately, no records about the famous Stable Annuals held between 1953 and 1957 survive.
Artwork consists of 4 sketchbooks and loose sheets with charcoal drawings by unidentified artist(s).
The Eleanor Ward papers include miscellaneous personal papers and records concerning her estate. Photographs in the series are of Eleanor Ward, friends and family, parties, and the interior and exterior of Ward's Connecticut house.
Provenance
The Stable Gallery records were the gift of the Estate of Eleanor Ward. In 1984, artist files were received from Alan Groh, executor of Ward's estate and her assistant at the Stable Gallery. Additional records were donated in 1997 by Buzz Miller on behalf of the Estate of Eleanor Ward; Mr. Miller was Alan Groh's partner and executor of his estate. A final addition was received in 1999 from Paul Gardner, executor of the Estate of Buzz Miller.
Related Archival Materials note
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Eleanor Ward conducted by Paul Cummings, February 8, 1972.
Processing Information
Materials received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation and were microfilmed onto reels 5821-5823. All materials were merged and described by Catherine S. Gaines in 2002. In 2007, the motion picture film material was preserved and transferred with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. All materials were prepared for digitization by Judy Ng in 2016 and scanned with funding provided by the Lichtenstein Foundation.

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. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Stable Gallery records, 1916-1999, bulk, 1953-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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