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Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876, 1890s-1996, bulk 1920s-1930s

Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876, 1890s-1996, bulk 1920s-1930s

Vose Galleries of Boston

Collection Information

Size: 25.6 linear feet

Summary: The records of Vose Galleries of Boston measure 25.6 linear feet and date from circa 1876, 1890s-1996 with the bulk of materials dating from 1920s-1930s. Nearly 90 percent of the collection documents the gallery's handling of American paintings and portraits through incoming and outgoing business correspondence with artists, clients, galleries, and museums, including considerable correspondence with portrait artist Alfred Jonniaux and clients regarding commissioned portraits. Other materials include client files; artists' biographies; records of sales, consignments, framing, restoration, and banking, mostly from the 1940s-1960s; and scattered exhibition catalogs, newspaper clippings, and postcards. Also found is a handwritten manuscript regarding the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a 1991 videotape about the Vose Galleries and its founding family.

Correspondence of note is with artists Childe Hassam, Malvina Hoffman, Alfred Jonniaux, and John Singer Sargent; galleries Ehrich Galleries, Clapp & Graham Co., M. Knoedler & Co., Macbeth Galleries, Milch Galleries, Newhouse Galleries, Arthur U. Newton Galleries, Norton Galleries, and Howard Young Galleries; the estates of Anna Coleman Ladd and William E. Norton; and the family of Abbott H. Thayer.

Researchers should note that the records do not comprehensively span the gallery's history or operations. The bulk of the collection is correspondence from the 1920s-1930s and, lesser so, from the 1970s. There is little material in the collection which dates before the 1910s or the 1950s-1960s, other than correspondence regarding Alfred Jonniaux and some financial records. Records loaned for microfilming should be consulted for materials outside of the bulk dates of this collection, especially for materials from the late 1800s-early 1900s.

Biographical/Historical Note

Vose Galleries (founded 1841) is a long time family run art gallery based in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

Provenance

The Vose Galleries of Boston records were donated in several installments from 1974 to 1997 by Robert C. Vose, Jr.

Related Materials

Reel B1 contains a scrapbook compiled by Seth Vose and annotated by Robert Vose that contains clippings, 1886-1900, and an 1889 letter from author and critic Alfred Trumble; and a scrapbook compiled and annotated by Robert C. Vose spanning the years 1920-1940, 1897, and 1905, and containing clippings and handwritten lists.

Reel 2380 contains numerous photographs, circa 1890-1964, of Seth Morton Vose, Robert C. Vose, Sr., artists, collectors, and dealers associated with Vose Galleries; a Macbeth Gallery "smoker" in honor of Emil Carlsen; a drawing of Charles Emil Heil by George F. Wing, and a charcoal drawing after Monticelli by Albion Harris Bicknell. Many of the photographs are annotated by Robert C. Vose.

Reels 3936-3940 contain account books, 1871-1887; a journal, 1889-1903, a ledger, 1889-1901; invoice books, 1896-circa 1954, inventories of paintings and drawings in stock, 1884, 1892 and 1906; exhibition records, 1911-1982?; traveling exhibition records, 1915-1949; and a record of paintings sold, 1876-1894. Written permission is required to access these reels.

Reels 4593-4594 contain clippings, undated and 1891-1989, chiefly about purchases, sales and exhibitions, but also pertaining to art dealers, museums, artists, and art events.

Reel 4909 contains a scrapbook of clippings, announcements, programs, and other printed materials, 1882-1993.

The Archives of American Art holds several separately cataloged collections related to Vose Galleries of Boston, including the Carrig-Rohane Shop records (1903-1962); oral history interviews with Seth Morton Vose (July 24, 1986 - April 28, 1987) and Robert C. Vose, Jr. (June 27 - July 23, 198

Funding

Funding for processing was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund.

Location of Originals

  • Reels B1, 2380 & 3936-3940: Originals in the possession of the Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts.

A Finding Aid to the Vose Galleries of Boston Records, circa 1876, 1890s-1996, bulk 1920s-1930s, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.vosegall
Biographical/Historical note
Vose Galleries is a long time family run art gallery based in the Boston, Mass. area.
In 1841, Joseph Vose purchased Westminster Art Gallery, a small Providence, Rhode Island art gallery founded by Ransom Hicks. At the age of 19 in 1850, Joseph's son Seth Morton Vose joined the gallery and five years later became director. The gallery's primary business until the late 1860s was frame making, gilding and art supplies. Seth Morton Vose had a passion for art, especially the French painters of the Barbizon School and he slowly began buying and exhibiting artwork. By 1882, the gallery regularly exhibited in Boston.
Seth's son Robert C. Vose joined the business in 1896, and managed the gallery's Boston office from 1897. Robert broadened the gallery's horizons by showing his fine stock of Barbizon, Dutch, English and American artists throughout America, while his younger brother, Nathaniel, and his cousin, Charles Thompson, handled the Boston gallery. During the next sixty-seven years, Robert C. Vose moved the gallery into a position of national prominence.
In 1924, Nathaniel left the gallery and established his own gallery in Providence. The Boston gallery's name changed to Robert C. Vose Galleries, and around the same time, took over the Carrig-Rohane framing company. In 1931-1932, Robert's three sons, Robert C. Vose, Jr., Seth Morton Vose II, and Herbert Vose, joined the firm. The gallery continued to show exhibitions in Boston, and the sons took turns joining their father on the road. The gallery's name was changed to Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc. in 1952. In 1963, Vose Galleries moved to their current location at 238 Newbury Street in Boston. Robert C. Vose passed away in 1964.
Robert C. Vose, Jr.'s sons, Abbot W. Vose and Robert C. Vose III, joined the gallery in 1968 and 1970, respectively. Robert C. Vose, Jr. passed away in 1998. The Vose Galleries of Boston continues to operate at Newbury Street under the direction of the sixth generation of the Vose family.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1895-1996 (Boxes 1-23; 22.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Customer Files, 1912-1946 (Boxes 23-24; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Art-Related Files, circa 1876, 1890s-1947 (Box 24; 7 folders)
Series 4: Financial Records, 1911-1962, 1991 (Boxes 24-25; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1904-1990 (Boxes 25-26; 0.4 linear feet)
Provenance
The Vose Galleries of Boston records were donated in several installments from 1974 to 1997 by Robert C. Vose, Jr.
Location of Originals
  • Reels B1, 2380 & 3936-3940: Originals in the possession of the Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Haug in 2012, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles and dates, but not arranged further. Folder titles were transcribed from original folder headings; additional information provided by the processing archivist was written in brackets. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders. Staples and other fasteners were not removed, but materials were removed from binders or damaged binding when necessary.

Additional Forms Available

Materials lent for microfilming on reels B1, 2380, 4593-4594, and 4909 available for use at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Reels 3936-3940 available for use only at Archives of American Art offices.

Restrictions on Access

REELS 3936-3940: ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Reels 3936-3940: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from an officer of the Vose Galleries, 238 Newbury St., Boston, Mass.02116

How to Cite This Collection

Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876, 1890s-1996, bulk 1920s-1930s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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