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Walter Pach papers, 1857-1980

Walter Pach papers, 1857-1980

Pach, Walter, 1883-1958

Curator, Art historian, Painter, Author, Etcher, Art critic

Representative image for Walter Pach papers, 1857-1980

This site provides access to the papers of Walter Pach in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2015, and total 14,923 images.

Funding for the initial digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Gladys K. Delmas Foundation. Funding for the processing of the addition to the Walter Pach papers and digitization of the fully re-processed collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 20.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York artist, critic, historian, writer, art consultant and curator Walter Pach, measure 20.7 linear feet and date from 1857-1980. The collection documents Pach's promotion of modernism through his role in the landmark 1913 Armory Show, his relationships with artists and art-world figures and his extensive writings on art. Records include biographical material, correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues including noted artists, handwritten and edited versions of manuscripts by Pach, diaries and journals, business records, printed material, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and artwork by Pach and others, and photographs of Pach and his family, friends, and colleagues. The collection also includes 12 linear feet of selections from Walter Pach's library.

Biographical/Historical Note

New York artist, critic, writer, art consultant, and curator, Walter Pach (1883-1958) was an influential promoter of modern art and was instrumental in organizing the landmark Armory Show in 1913.

Provenance

The Walter Pach papers were acquired in several installments. After Pach's death his widow, Nikifora Pach, sold Pach's papers to Salander-O'Reilly Galleries. They were purchased by the Archives of American Art in 1988 with a grant from the Brown Foundation, Inc. Eight family photographs, donated by Raymond Pach, son of Walter Pach, were received in 1990. In 2012, Francis M. Naumann donated an additional 5.7 linear feet of material to the Archives of American Art.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the initial digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Gladys K. Delmas Foundation. Funding for the processing of the addition to the Walter Pach papers and digitization of the fully re-processed collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Walter Pach Papers, 1857-1980, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.pachwalt2
Author
Finding aid prepared by Nancy Malloy, Catherine Stover and Stephanie Ashley
Biographical/Historical note
New York artist, critic, writer, art consultant, and curator, Walter Pach (1883-1958) was an influential promoter of modern art and was instrumental in organizing the landmark Armory Show in 1913.
Walter Pach was born in New York City, July 11, 1883. His father, Gotthelf Pach, was a prominent commercial photographer who, along with his family, ran the New York firm of Pach Brothers. The company did the bulk of the photographic work for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the young Pach often accompanied his father on museum assignments. In 1903, Pach graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in art. He also studied with Robert Henri at the New York School of Art and went abroad to paint with William Merritt Chase in the summers of 1903 and 1904.
In 1906 Pach presented his first art history lecture at the Westfield State Normal School in Westfield, Massachusetts.
In 1907, Pach went to France and as an artist and critic moved among the Parisian avant-garde and became part of the Gertrude and Leo Stein circle. Gertrude Stein's "Portrait of Walter Pach was painted in 1908. Pach wrote extensively about modern art and through his numerous books, articles, and translations of European art texts, brought an emerging modernist viewpoint to the American public. In 1908 he wrote the first article published in America on Cézanne, and also wrote on such established artists as Claude Monet, whom he interviewed in 1908 for
Scribner's Magazine.
.
Pach organized exhibitions of contemporary art for important New York City galleries of the period, as well as the landmark exhibition of 1913, "The International Exhibition of Modern Art," commonly known as the Armory Show. Along with painters Arthur B. Davies and Walt Kuhn, he brought together leading contemporary European and American artists. Pach served with Kuhn as administrator, publicist and gallery lecturer for the Armory Show Chicago for the run of the exhibition.
Pach helped to form major collections for John Quinn and Walter Arensberg. He was also instrumental in securing individual works of art for museums, such as a portrait for the Louvre Museum by American master Thomas Eakins, and Jacques-Louis David's
Death of Socrates
for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Pach married artist Magdalene Frohberg in February 1914, and their son Raymond was born at the end of that year. The Pachs lived primarily in New York, but spent time abroad from 1928 to 1932. Intermittently, they lived on the West Coast, where Pach taught at the University of California at Berkeley. In the 1920s he taught at the University of Mexico on a Shilling Fund grant, lecturing and writing on Native American art and developing a strong interest in Pre-Columbian art. He took an active interest in organizing exhibitions and raising money for a museum to be dedicated to the indigenous art of the Americas. In addition, he was a friend of José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera and helped organize the Mexican chapter of the Society of Independent Artists, the New York-based organization he founded in 1917 with Walter Arensberg and Marcel Duchamp.
While not well known today as a painter, Walter Pach devoted much of his creative effort to painting. He considered himself both an artist and a writer, even though friends like art historian Bernard Berenson urged him to devote all his time to writing. Among his writings are monographs on a wide range of subjects, social commentary on the art world, and a book on museum structures. Among his first publications were a series of brochures produced for the 1913 Armory Show, including
Odilon Redon
and, in the same year,
A Sculptor's Architecture
, a book about the work of Raymond Duchamp-Villon, a close friend whom he admired greatly. In 1923, Pach wrote
Georges Seurat
, a book later cited by art historian John Rewald as an important early text on the artist.
Masters of Modern Art
and the monograph
Raymond Duchamp-Villon
were published the following year, and in 1928 Pach's well-known indictment of opportunistic artists and corruption in the art world,
Ananias, or The False Artist
, created a stir in art circles. Pach considered Vincent Van Gogh to be a seminal figure in the development of modern art and was the first historian to lecture on him in America. In 1936, he published his well-received monograph,
Vincent Van Gogh
. His recollections of a life spent in art,
Queer Thing, Painting
appeared in 1938.
Ingres
was published in 1939, as well as
Masterpieces of Art
, written for the 1939 New York World's Fair, for which Pach was exhibition director. His
Art Museum in America
, published in 1948, called into question the relevance, responsibility, and future direction of the American art museum. He long championed the artists of Mexico and published an essay on
Diego Rivera
in 1951 for the National Museum of Fine Arts, Mexico, for its 50-year retrospective exhibition on the artist.
The Classical Tradition in Modern Art
, Pach's last book, was published posthumously in 1959.
Pach's fluency in French, German, and Spanish allowed him to understand and interpret new avant-garde ideas developing in Europe and to translate them for an English-speaking audience. His language skills also allowed him to communicate personally with many noted artists in Europe and Mexico and to mediate between gallery dealers and museum curators on their behalf. His correspondence with major figures in 20th-century art are a fascinating and important source of information, not only about the artists themselves but about the art world in general during the first half of this century.
Chronology of Exhibitions and Writings
1908
"Cézanne," by Walter Pach, the first American article on the subject, published in December issue of
Scribner's
.
1911
"Albert P. Ryder," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Scribner's
.
1912
Met with Arthur B. Davies and Walt Kuhn to begin preparations for the Armory Show. Was responsible for the exhibition's European operations. Completed
Portrait of Gigi Cavigli
(exhibited at the Armory Show the following year). "Pierre-Auguste Renoir," by Walter Pach, published in May issue of
Scribner's
.
1913
Exhibited 5 paintings and 5 etchings in "The International Exhibition of Modern Art" (Armory Show), which opened in New York City on February 13. Served as administrator, publicist, and gallery lecturer for the Armory Show Chicago with Kuhn for the run of the exhibition. At the close of the show, Matisse, Brancusi, and Pach were hanged in effigy by the students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
1915
Publication of
The John Quinn Collection
, catalog of a collection Pach was instrumental in assembling.
1916
Founded Society of Independent Artists in collaboration with Marcel Duchamp, Walter Arensberg, and others. Adviser to collector Walter Arensberg.
1917
Designed sets for Wallace Stevens's play,
Bowl, Cat and Broomstick
, produced at the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York City. Arranged a Gino Severini exhibition at Stieglitz's 219 gallery, New York City.
1918
"Universality in Art," by Walter Pach, published in February issue of
Modern School
. "Jean Le Roy," by Walter Pach, published in October issue of
Modern School
1919
"The Schamberg Exhibition," by Walter Pach, published in May 17 issue of the
Dial
. Wrote introduction for
Odilon Redon
, the catalog for a graphics show at Albert Roulliers Gallery, Chicago.
1920
"The Art of the American Indian," by Walter Pach, published in January 20 issue of the
Dial
. His paintings abandoned the cubist-futurist mode and returned to a more naturalistic style.
1921
Publication of
History of Art: Ancient Art
, volume 1, by Elie Faure, translated by Walter Pach.
1922
Lecturer, University of Mexico, where he developed a strong interest in Pre-Columbian art. Lectured at Société Anonyme. Publication of
History of Art: Mediaeval Art
, volume 2, by Elie Faure, translated by Walter Pach. Contributed a chapter, "Art," to
Civilization in the United States: An Inquiry by Thirty Americans
, edited by Harold E. Stearns.
1923
Publication of
Georges Seurat
by Walter Pach. Publication of
The Art of Cineplastics
and
History of Art: Renaissance Art
, volume 3, by Elie Faure, translated by Walter Pach. "Georges Seurat," by Walter Pach, published in March issue of the
Arts
.
1924
Publication of
Masters of Modern Art
, by Walter Pach. Publication of
Raymond Duchamp-Villon
, by Walter Pach. Publication of
History of Art: Modern Art
, volume 4, by Elie Faure, translated by Walter Pach. "The Greatest American Artist," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Harper's Magazine
.
1926
"Graveur Américain," by Léon Rosenthal, an article about Pach's graphics (illustrated with an original etching,
New York)
, published in September issue of
Byblis, Miroir des Arts du Livre et de L'Estampe
. "Brancusi," by Walter Pach, published in December 1 issue of the
Nation
. Instructor, New York University. First solo exhibition at Brummer Gallery, New York, New York.
1927
"What Passes for Art," by Walter Pach, published in June issue of
Harper's Magazine
1928
Publication of
Ananias, or The False Artist
, by Walter Pach. Pach family relocated to Europe.
1929
"The Evolution of Diego Rivera," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Creative Art
. "John Ruskin and Walter Pach: Defenders of the Faith," by W.H. Downes, published in August issue of
American Museum Art
.
1930
Publication of
An Hour of Art
, by Walter Pach. Publication of
History of Art: The Spirit of the Forms
, volume 5, by Elie Faure, translated by Walter Pach. "Notes sur le classicisme de Delacroix," by Walter Pach, published in June issue of
L'Amour de L'Art
.
1931
Solo exhibition at Kraushaar Gallery, New York City, with review published in March 21 issue of
Art News
. "Raymond Duchamp-Villon," by Walter Pach, published in May issue of
Formes XV
.
1932
"Le Classicisme de Barye," by Walter Pach, published in November issue of
L'Amour de L'Art
. Returned to the United States.
1933
"Address at the Worcester Opening of International, 1933," by Walter Pach, and "Georges Rouault," by Walter Pach, both published in January issue of
Parnassus
. "American Art in the Louvre," by Walter Pach, published in May issue of
Fine Arts 20
. "On Owning Pictures," by Walter Pach, published in August issue of
Fine Arts 20
. "Rockefeller, Rivera and Art," by Walter Pach, published in September issue of
Harper's Magazine
.
1934
Organized Maurice Prendergast retrospective for Whitney Museum of American Art.
1935
Exhibition at Knoedler Gallery, New York City included Walter Pach's
Respice, Adspice, and Prospice
, a fresco commissioned for the City College of New York by the Class of 1903.
1936
Exhibition of watercolors at Kleemann Galleries, New York City. Publication of
Vincent Van Gogh
, by Walter Pach." The Raphael from Russia," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Virginia Quarterly Review
. "First Portfolio of American Art," by Walter Pach, published in October 3 issue of
Art News
. Wrote foreword to
First Exhibition in America of Géricault
, catalog of exhibition at Marie Sterner Gallery, New York City. "The Outlook for Modern Art," by Walter Pach, published in April issue of
Parnassus
. Article about Pach's City College mural published in February issue of
City College Alumnus Magazine
.
1937
Publication of
The Journal of Eugène Delacroix
, translated by Walter Pach. Publication of
Thomas Eakins
, by Walter Pach, catalog of exhibition at Kleemann Gallery, New York City.
1938
Publication of
Queer Thing, Painting: Forty Years in the World of Art
, by Walter Pach. "Delacroix Today," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Magazine of Art
.
1939
Publication of
Ingres
, by Walter Pach. Appointed general director, "Masterpieces of Art" exhibition, New York World's Fair.
1940
Publication of
Masterpieces of Art, New York World's Fair, 1940, Official Illustrated Catalogue
, by Walter Pach.
1941
Solo exhibition at Schneider-Gabriel Gallery, New York City.
1942
"Newly Discovered Ingres: The Lovers," by Walter Pach, published in October issue of
Art in America
Exhibition at Whitney Museum of American Art, "Between the Wars: Prints by American Artists, 1914-1941," included Walter Pach's etching
Saint-Germain-des-Pres
(1911). Lecturer, University of Mexico, Shilling Fund grant.
1943
"A Newly Found American Painter: Hermenegildo Bustos," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Art in America
. "Unknown Aspects of Mexican Painting," by Walter Pach, published in October issue of
Gazette des Beaux-Arts
. Marriage of son, Raymond.
1944
"The Eight, Then and Now," by Walter Pach, published in January issue of
Art News
. "Problemas del arte americano," by Walter Pach, published in December issue of
Origenes
.
1946
"La Barricade in America," by Walter Pach, published in July issue of
Art News
. "On Art Criticism," by Eugène Delacroix (first published in
Revue de Paris
, May 1829), translated by Walter Pach for catalog of exhibition at Curt Valentin, New York City.
1947
Publication of
Picasso
, by Juan Larrea, edited by Walter Pach. Publication of "Museums Can Be Living Things," by Walter Pach, in
Laurels Number One
, Laurel Gallery. Etching,
Scopasian Head
, by Walter Pach, included in
Laurels Number Two
, Laurel Gallery.
1948
Publication of
The Art Museum in America
, by Walter Pach. "The Past Lives On," by Walter Pach, parts 1 and 2, published in October and November issues of
American Artist
.
1949
"Thus Is Cubism Cultivated," by Walter Pach, published in May issue of
Art News
.
1950
Contributed a chapter, "The State of the Arts in the Democratic Way of Life: A Postscript," to
Perspectives on a Troubled Decade: Science, Philosophy and Religion, 1939-1949
, edited by Lyman Bryson, Louis Finkelstein, and R. M. MacIver. Death of wife, Magdalene.
1951
"Reaciones entre la cultura nordeamericana y la ombre de Diego Rivera," a major essay by Walter Pach published in
Diego Rivera, 50 años de su labor artistica, exposition de normenaje nacional
, Museo nacional de artes plasticas, Mexico City. Married Nikifora.
1953
"A Modernist Visits Greece," by Walter Pach, reprinted in autumn issue of
Archaeology
.
1954
"John Sloan," by Walter Pach, published in August issue of
Atlantic Monthly
.
1956
"Introducing the Paintings of George Of (1876-1954)," by Walter Pach, published in October issue of
Art News
.
1958
Professor, City College of New York. Died, New York City, following an operation for stomach ulcers.
1959
Publication of
The Classical Tradition in Modern Art
, by Walter Pach.
1986
Exhibition, "Walter Pach, A Retrospective," at Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina.
1988
Exhibition, "The Art of Walter and Magda Pach," at Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.
1990
Exhibition, "Discovering Modernism: Selections from the Walter Pach Papers," at the Archives of American Art, New York City.
1991
Exhibition, "The Paintings of Walter Pach," at Forum Gallery, New York City.
Arrangement note
The Walter Pach papers are arranged as ten series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1884-circa 1950s (Box 1, 9; 9 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1883-1980 (Box 1-3, 23; 2.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, 1899-circa 1950s (Box 3-5; 2.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Diaries and Journals, 1903-circa 1950s (Box 5; 5 folders)
Series 5: Business Records, circa 1913-circa 1960s (Box 5-6; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1900-1977 (Box 6-7, 9; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 7: Scrapbooks, circa 1890-circa 1940s (Box 7, 9; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1860-circa 1950s (Box 7, 10; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, 1857-1959 (Box 7-8, 10; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 10: Selections from Walter Pach's Library, 1880-1963 (Box 11-22; 12 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York artist, critic, historian, writer, art consultant and curator Walter Pach, measure 20.8 linear feet and date from 1857-1980. The collection documents Pach's promotion of modernism through his role in the landmark 1913 Armory Show, his relationships with artists and art-world figures and his extensive writings on art. Records include biographical material, correspondence with family, friends and colleagues including noted artists, handwritten and edited versions of manuscripts by Pach, diaries and journals, business records, printed material, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and artwork by Pach and others, and photographs of Pach and his family, friends, and colleagues. The collection also includes 12 linear feet of selections from Walter Pach's library.
Biographical material includes a copy of Pach's birth certificate and two passports for Walter and Magda Pach, in addition to address books, association membership cards and certificates.
Correspondence is both personal and professional. Family correspondence includes letters from Pach's son, Raymond, his first wife Magdalene (Magda), and his second wife Nikifora, whom he married in 1951 following the 1950 death of Magda. General correspondence includes letters from artists including Jean Charlot, Arthur B. Davies, Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Maurice Prendergast, Diego Rivera, Morton Livingston Schamberg, John Sloan, and Jacques Villon; and other art-world figures including writers Van Wyck Brooks and Elie Faure, and Bryson Burroughs, curator of painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Writings series represents an extensive collection of hand-written manuscripts, typescripts, annotated drafts and notes for published and unpublished writings by Pach, including lectures, monographs such as
Queer Thing, Painting
and
Ananias, or The False Artist
, and journal and newspaper articles such as "Pierre-Auguste Renoir" (1912).
Diaries and journals include one of particular note recording Pach's trip to Europe circa 1903-1904, with William Merritt Chase's class.
Business records include 2 notebooks recording sales at the Armory Show in New York, Boston and Chicago, a record book with handwritten lists of paintings owned and sold by Pach in the early 1930s, and two books, one maintained by Nikifora Pach, recording pictures sold, lectures and publications by Pach from the early 1900s to the early 1960s.
Printed material documents Pach's career through exhibition catalogs of Pach's solo and group exhibitions, news clippings about Pach, including reviews of his writings on art, and an almost comprehensive collection of copies of Pach's published journal and newspaper articles.
Scrapbooks include a book of reviews and original letters pertaining to Pach's book
Ananias or the False Artist
, and a scrapbook documenting Pach's activities during the 1920s which included his first one-man show at the Brummer Gallery in New York and the publication of his books
Masters of Modern Art
and
Raymond Duchamp-Villon
.
Artwork inlcudes a small group of drawings and three sketchbooks by Pach. Also of note are two print portfolios published in 1947 by the Laurel Gallery which include an essay and an etching by Pach, in addition to hand-pulled prints by artists such as Milton Avery, Reginald Marsh and Joan Miro.
Photographs are of Pach from childhood through to the 1950s, in addition to Magda and Raymond Pach and other family members, artists, colleagues and friends. Included are photographs of William Merritt Chase's class and Robert Henri's class at the New York School of Art, circa 1904, and photos of artists including Robert Henri, Moriye Ogihara, and Pablo Picasso. Photographs of artwork by Pach and other artists can also be found here including Mexican mural projects by José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera, and works by Antoine-Louise Barye and George Of.
Selections from Pach's library include works written by or translated by Pach, and items central to Pach's interests and work.
Provenance
The Walter Pach papers were acquired in several installments. After Pach's death his widow, Nikifora Pach, sold Pach's papers to Salander-O'Reilly Galleries. They were purchased by the Archives of American Art in 1988 with a grant from the Brown Foundation, Inc. Eight family photographs, donated by Raymond Pach, son of Walter Pach, were received in 1990. In 2012, Francis M. Naumann donated an additional 5.7 linear feet of material to the Archives of American Art.
Separated Materials note
When the Archives of American Art acquired the Walter Pach Papers, some portion of his library was also received. The bulk of the library was transferred to the Smithsonian's American Art/Portrait Gallery Library where the items could be properly cataloged, cared for, and used.
Processing Information note
The 1988 accession of the Walter Pach papers was processed by Nancy Malloy and Catherine Stover and the bulk of the collection, with the exception of Walter Pach's library, was microfilmed in 1997. The microfilm was digitized in 2008 with funding provided by the Gladys Delmas Foundation.
In 2012 these papers were merged, fully processed, arranged and described with the 1990 and 2012 additions, by Stephanie Ashley, and the bulk of the collection was digitized in 2014 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2014 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Material which has not been scanned includes duplicates, blank pages of bound volumes, some business records and sensitive personal financial and medical records, negatives, audiovisual material, and Series 10: Selections from Walter Pach's Library.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Walter Pach papers, 1857-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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