Scope and Contents
The Victor D. Spark papers measure 22.2 linear feet and date from circa 1830 to 1983, with the bulk of the material from 1930 to 1970. The papers document Spark's career as a New York City art dealer and appraiser who was most active during World War II up through the 1970s with a focus on Old Masters paintings as well as 19th and early 20th century American art. Found within the papers are biographical materials, artist files, client files, financial records, legal records, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical materials contain greeting cards and post cards, annotated appointment calendars, miscellaneous notes and lists, and an apartment lease.
Artists' files include photographs of artwork, artist biographies, printed materials, and some correspondence with and about the artist. Many of the photographs are annotated. Files are found for Old Masters and American artists, including James G. Clonney, Jon Singleton Copley, Jeremiah P. Hardy, Martin Johnson Heade, Rembrandt Peale, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, Thomas Sully, and many others. There is also a letter written in 1924 by Ruth Moran along with a photograph of a painting by the artist Thomas Moran, signed by him on the verso.
Extensive client files include notes, correspondence, bills, receipts, and clippings regarding sales and appraisals. Spark's clients included museums, collectors, art dealers, most of which are represented in the files. Notable clients and colleagues include Jacob S. Berliner, Charles W. Engelhard, Alfred V. Frankenstein, Hubert L. Grigaut, Charlotte W. Hardy, Robert Lehman, and Leon Medina. There are also files for many universities, businesses, museums, and galleries.
Financial records comprise the largest series in the collection and include ledgers, stock books, consignment records, scattered banking records, bills, tax documents, auction price lists, check stubs, and cancelled checks.
A small amount of legal records document two legal cases: Rauch v. IRS and Kaufman v. Phoenix (Travelers) Insurance Company for which Spark provided testimony.
Printed materials include clippings, exhibition and auction catalogs, newsletters, bulletins, a membership roster for the San Diego Arts Society, and several 19th century printed items.
Two black and white photographs are of a steam locomotive and an unidentified portraitist in his studio.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Victor D. Spark papers were acquired between 1954 and 1996. The first accession of 19th century printed materials and a letter by Ruth Moran was donated by Spark in 1954. The bulk of the collection was purchased jointly by the Archives of American Art and the National Gallery of Art at auction in July 1987. Subsequently, photographs of works of art documenting the collections of the National Gallery of Art were separated and retained by the National Gallery of Art. The papers remained at the Archives of American Art; three letters were later transferred to the Archives from the National Gallery of Art in 1996.
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Victor D. Spark conducted August 5, 1975 by Paul Cummings.
The National Gallery of Art maintains 12,000 photographs and negatives of artwork in their Victor D. Spark photograph collection.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
This collection was fully processed by Rihoko Ueno in July 2013 with funding provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The collection was also scanned in 2013 with funding provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.