Monthly Archives: July 2013

Kraushaar Gallery Exhibition Catalogs

We have a collection of 70 exhibition catalogs from the Kraushaar Gallery. These exhibitions were held between 1920 and 1936, when the gallery was located at 680 Fifth Avenue in New York City. At the time, it was being run by John F. Kraushaar (brother of gallery founder Charles W.)  and his daughter Antoinette. It primarily exhibited modern French and American painters, and it became particularly interested in the American realist group “The Eight,” half of whom have catalogs in this collection (William Glackens, George Luks, Maurice Brazil Prendergast and John Sloan).

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The above is taken from the catalog Retrospective exhibition of paintings by George Luks, January 8-27, 1923. This painting, titled simply “The Wrestlers,” captures the realist style of this group of early 20th century American painters.

During this period, the gallery also exhibited important 19th century French artists, most notably Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edouard Manet. Below is a Toulouse-Lautrec painting of Oscar Wilde and Yvette Guilbert sharing a bottle of champagne at the Jardin de Paris (from this 1924 catalog):

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The Kraushaar Gallery has a location in New York City to this day, now at 74 East 79th Street.

The Frank Edwin Elwell Papers

Included in the Manuscripts collection are the Frank Edwin Elwell Papers. Elwell (1858-1922) was an American sculptor whose work was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition (1893) and the Pan American Exposition (1901). He was the adopted son of author Louisa May Alcott, with whom he first studied sculpture. Elwell was Curator of Ancient and Modern Statuary at the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1903 and 1905. Below is a letter from the artist Frederic Remington to Elwell:

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The Frank Edwin Elwell Papers are comprised of two sets of documents assembled by Elwell. The first of these, the American sculptors’ letters, 1892-1904, is a set of letters from a variety of American sculptors.  The collection includes letters from sculptors such as Chauncey B. Ives, John Talbott Donoghue, Augustus St. Gaudens, and Lorado Taft, as well as some lists of sculptors’ work and autobiographical notes. One highlight is this biographical sketch of Joseph A. Bailly written by Alexander Calder (father of the renowned 20th century sculptor):

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The second set, Letters from sculptors, from the correspondence files of the Curator of Ancient & Modern Statuary, is letters from thirty-four American artists, chiefly sculptors.  Artists include Edwin Blashfield, Gutzon Borglum, Charles Henry Caffin, Daniel Chester French, and John Quincy Adams Ward.

The collection also contains: four miscellaneous letters, including one from William L. Andrews, Honorary Librarian of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and two from William Clifford, Librarian of the Museum between 1905 and 1941; a facsimile of a passport for Pierre François Jean Baptiste Leblanc to travel to England (issued June 14, 1813); an engraved portrait of Cyrus Durand by his brother, Asher B. Durand, accompanied by a letter of transmittal from Frank D. Shearman to William Clifford (dated May 13, 1916); and an autographed photographic portrait of Thomas Moran by Henry Havelock Pierce, from 1915.

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The Business of Art in 1880s Paris

Charles Warren Cram was an American living in Paris in the 1880s; he appears to have acted as an art dealer.  The Charles Warren Cram Papers includes 130 items, primarily letters from Paris-based artists, but also including receipts and visiting cards. This elegantly engraved card admits Cram to Bouguereau’s atelier “avec son client.”

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A receipt from Bouguereau dated Oct. 30, 1888, records the payment of 18,000 francs “on the account of Monsieur J. J. Albright” for a painting entitled “Shepherdess Knitting” (Bergère tricotant).

The letters usually concern the availability of paintings and the price at which they are offered, or suggest that Cram visit the studio on such and such a date.   Among Cram’s better-known correspondents are Ernest Meissonier, Carolus-Duran, Bouguereau, and Jules Breton.  Cram commissioned the fashionable portraitist Giovanni Boldini to paint a portrait of his wife, Ella Brooks Carter Cram, which is in the Museum’s collection (59.78); the correspondence with Boldini is perhaps the most personal of the collection – Boldini calls him “Mon cher ami” and includes, in one letter (Sept. 22, 1887), a sketch of a duck.

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Among the few letters in English is this one from the officers of the Stanley Club, a social club for Americans, informing Cram of his admission to the membership “on the motion of Mr. Spaulding, seconded by Mr. Edward King.”

Cram died in Paris in June 1891, and the collection preserves several official receipts for items including Sèvres cups and a hanging lamp due from the heirs (“la succession”).

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A Bicentennial Souvenir

In 1976, design legends Charles and Ray Eames were commissioned to create an exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of the American Revolution. This exhibition, entitled The World of Franklin and Jefferson, was on display at The Met from March 5th to May 2nd, and also toured internationally (in Paris, Warsaw, London, Mexico City, Chicago and Los Angeles).

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A souvenir from this exhibition is available in the Digital Collections. It presents a timeline of important American and European cultural, intellectual, and literary figures from  late 17th to the early 19th century, as well as dates of significant historical events. The dates chosen offer a glimpse into the idiosyncratic but provocative perspectives of Charles and Ray Eames, who, for example, have chosen the publication of Sense and Sensibility and the Luddite riots in England as the two most significant events of 1811 (see below).

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Two other items in the Digital Collections that might be of interest on this Independence Day are the exhibition catalog American Impressionism and Realism: the Painting of Modern Life, 1885-1915 and Gilbert Stuart. Both feature works by some of the most revered figures in American painting and offer a glimpse into the rich and varied past of this 237 year old country.

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