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Tanager Gallery records, 1952-1979

Tanager Gallery records, 1952-1979

Tanager Gallery (New York, N.Y.)

Collection Information

Size: 2.6 linear ft.

Summary: The records of contemporary New York City Tanager Gallery measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1952 to 1979. Found are administrative files, financial and legal records, including detailed receipt books, scattered correspondence, artists' files for circa 70 artists, that include price lists and biographies, two scrapbooks of printed materials, newsclippings, exhibition announcements and other printed materials, and five photographs of openings at the gallery and of the exterior of the building.

Administrative files include four day books, lists of artists and exhibitions, historical sketches, and an address book. There are two ledger books of expenses for shows and four receipt books from 1959-1962 which are organized by date and list artist, and artwork, buyer, and price. Correspondence is arranged chronologically and comprised mainly of copies of letters sent by the Gallery to artists as invitations to exhibit. Also found are scattered letters from museums and artists.

There are artists' files for circa 70 artists that contain a variety of materials, including price lists and biographies or resumes. Artists files are found for Anne Arnold, James Brooks, Charles Cajori, Herman Cherry, Lois Dodd, Sally Hazelet Drummond, Perle Fine, Helen Frankenthaler, Sidney Geist, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Angelo Ippolito, Philip Pealstein, Alex Katz, William King, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Theordore Stamos, and Tom Wesselmann among many others.

The collection includes two scrapbooks containing mostly newsclippings and exhibition announcements, as well as additional loose newsclippings, numerous exhibition announcements and catalogs, and press releases. There are five photographs of gallery openings and the exterior of the building, the latter taken by Rudy Burckhardt.

Biographical/Historical Note

Tanager Gallery (founded 1952; closed 1962) was an art gallery in New York, N.Y. Operated on E. 10th St., 1952-1962 as a cooperative outlet for a group of New York artists, primarily abstract expressionists. The founding members were Lois Dodd, Charles Cajori, Angelo Ippolito, William King and Fred Mitchell.


Lois Dodd, co-founder of the Tanager Gallery, donated the Tanager Gallery records in several increments between 1972 and 1989.

Related Materials


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

A Finding Aid to the Tanager Gallery Records,
, in the Archives of American Art
Historical Note
The Tanager Gallery operated from 1952-1962 in New York City. The gallery was one of the first artist cooperative galleries formed on 10th Street in Manhattan to provide an alternative to the larger upscale galleries of Madison Avenue.
In 1952, the artist cooperative Tanager Gallery opened at 90 East 10th Street in Manhattan. Co-founders included Charles Cajori, Lois Dodd, Angelo Ippolito, William King, and Fred Mitchell. The Tanager offered open spaces for young artists to show their work and to sell art on their own terms. Membership at the Tanager included American Realists Alex Katz and Philip Pearlstein, and the Pop art/found-art collagist Tom Wesselmann. Later artists to join the cooperatiive included Mary Abbott, Perle Fine, Sidney Geist, Joseph Groell, Nanno de Groot, Sally Hazelet, Ben Isquith, Lester Johnson, Nicholas Marsicano, George Earl Ortman, Charlotte Park, Philip Pearlstein, Frank Stout, Raymond Rocklin, and Sal Sirugo. From 1952 to 1962, the Tanager Gallery exhibited works from about 250 artists.
The opening of Tanager and other 10th Street galleries was a radical change for the New York arts scene and for emerging New York artists who generally found representation with uptown gallery owners and/or art dealers on 57th Street or Madison Ave. In the 1950s, Manhattan's 10th Street was a gathering place for young artist-bohemians. The galleries were often the centers for anything avant-garde or new, such as art installations, happenings, poetry readings, jazz sessions, and performance art. For example, Tanager Gallery hosted a series of forums with local artists who would discuss their work and objectives.
Tanager Gallery received attention and respect from the more established art galleries and critics in New York, including Dore Ashton, Leo Castelli, Tom Hess, Martha Jackson, and Dorothy Miller. The Tanager Gallery closed in 1962.
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Administrative Files, 1952-1979 (Boxes 1, 4; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Financial and Legal Records, 1952-1962 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Correspondence, 1952-1967 (Boxes 1-2; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 4: Artists Files, circa 1952- circa 1962 (Box 2; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, circa 1962 (Boxes 2-3; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1952-1971 (Boxes 2, 4; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1952-circa 1959 (Box 2; 2 folders)
Lois Dodd, co-founder of the Tanager Gallery, donated the Tanager Gallery records in several increments between 1972 and 1989.
Processing Information
A portion of the Tanager Gallery records were originally loaned for microfilming in 1963 onto reels 3976 and D136; these reels are no longer in circulation. The records orginally loaned for microfiling, along with additional records, were later donated. All accretions were fully merged, processed, and described by Jayna Hanson in 2012 with funds provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

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

Tanager Gallery records, 1952-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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