Scope and Contents
The Washburn Gallery records measure 47.9 linear feet and 4.805 gigabytes. The collection dates from 1906-2017, with the bulk of material dating from 1971-2010. Founded in 1971 by Joan Washburn, the New York gallery specializes in the work of 19th and 20th American artists, and has mounted hundreds of exhibitions in its four decade history. The collection documents the gallery's activities through administrative records, correspondence and subject files, artist files, exhibition files, art fair files, printed material, photographic material, and records from the Peridot Gallery, purchased by Washburn in 1971.
Administrative records document the administrative and business operations of the gallery including building rentals, audits, insurance, and fraud and theft claims. Services sought by the gallery are also documented here and include advertising, conservation, framing, photography, and printing.
Correspondence and subject files pertain to the gallery's operation, promotion of its artists, research related to artworks, exhibitions, loans, sales, acquisitions, consignments, and publication requests and is with collectors, dealers, consultants, authors, journalists, curators, auction houses, as well as other colleagues.
Artist files comprise a significant bulk of the collection at 31.5 linear feet, and contain correspondence, appraisals, financial statements, sales records, inventories, loan agreements, consignments forms, photographic material, printed material, writings, and a few interview transcripts related to Washburn Gallery's stable of artists and those they exhibited. Frequent topics include sales, exhibitions at other institutions, special projects and commissions, conservation, and estate matters. With the exception of Ronald Bladen and Bruce Kurland, correspondence with the artists is rare.
Exhibition files document the gallery's four decade exhibition history and contain correspondence, price lists, floor plans, loan agreements, shipping receipts, invoices, sales records, photographic material of artworks and installations, digital images, and printed material including press releases, reviews and exhibition brochures. The exhibition files reflect the Washburn Gallery's history of mounting both solo exhibitions for their stable of artists as well as group exhibitions highlighting significant movements and themes in art history.
Art fair files document the Washburn Gallery's participation in the ACRO Art Fair, the Armory Show, Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Chicago, Art Miami, The Art Show, the San Francisco International Art Expo, VIP (Viewing in Private), and Works on Paper.
The printed material series primarily documents the activities of Washburn Gallery and its artists. Included is a comprehensive selection of brochures and announcements that the Washburn Gallery produced for each of its exhibitions. The photographic material series is small, and includes Joan Washburn and the gallery, artworks by various artists not included in the Art Files series, and slides for lectures given by Washburn. The bulk of the printed and photographic material is organized by artist and arranged in the Artist Files series.
Peridot Gallery records date from 1948-1971 and include printed material, photographs, and five scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain clippings of reviews, as well as exhibition announcements and brochures from the gallery.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives of American Art in 2017 by Joan Washburn, gallery founder and director.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Joan Washburn conducted by James Wechsler in 2007 and letters from Washburn in response to Lee Hall's book, Elaine and Bill: Portrait of a Marriage.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Hilary Price in 2017.