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Léonce Rosenberg Papers

Correspondence Relating to Cubism in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497

© 1998 The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.
The Museum of Modern Art, Publisher
Finding aid prepared by Claire Dienes, Spetmeber 1998.
Machine-readable finding aid derived from moma-016.xml, 2006. Machine-readable finding aid created by Kathleene Konkle. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Léonce Rosenberg
Title: Léonce Rosenberg Papers, Correspondence Relating to Cubism
Dates: 1914-1932
Quantity: One 5" document box


The material is organized in two series.
Series I: Correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent's name, then chronologically by date of item
Series II: Supporting Material, arranged chronologically.

Biographical Note

Léonce Rosenberg (1879-1947), art collector, dealer and publicist, son of Alexandre, was born in Paris on September 12, 1879 to a family of four children: brothers Edmond and Paul and a sister Marie-Amélie. In 1910 Léonce left the family-owned gallery to open his own business, called Haute Epoque, at 19 rue de La Baume, Paris 8. Although considered an antiquarian, Rosenberg began buying cubist art: by 1914 he purchased work by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Herbin, and Juan Gris. After brief service in World War I (1916-1917) he continued his interest and represented, for varying periods of time, Picasso, Auguste Herbin, Fernand Léger, and Gris, among others and by the end of the war opened a new gallery, l'Effort Moderne. On October 19, 1921 the Léonce Rosenberg collection was sold in Amsterdam while l'Effort Moderne continued to operate until 1941. Rosenberg died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on July 31, 1947.

Scope and Content Note

The processed Léonce Rosenberg Papers consists of typed (TLS) and handwritten (ALS) letters to Léonce Rosenberg and are contained in one 5" document box. The letters, in French, date from between 1914 and 1932 and include correspondence with Juan Gris (1887-1927), Auguste Herbin (1882-1960), poet Max Jacob (1976-1944), Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Jean Metzinger (1883-1956), Francis Picabia (1897-1953), and Gino Severini (1883-1966).

A copy of the auction catalogue describing the collection and an 81-page summary in English of the letters are also included.


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Léonce Rosenberg Papers are the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in DADABASE, the library catalog of The Museum of Modern Art. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Rosenberg, Le´once.
Art dealers.
Artists -- Correspondence.
Gris, Juan, 1887-1927 -- Correspondence.
Herbin, Auguste, 1882-1960 -- Correspondence.
Jacob, Max, 1876-1944. -- Correspondence.
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955 -- Correspondence.
Metzinger, Jean, 1883- -- Correspondence.
Picabia, Francis, 1879-1953 -- Correspondence.
Rosenberg, Léonce -- Correspondence.
Severini, Gino, 1883-1966 -- Correspondence.
Document Types:

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

The Léonce Rosenberg Papers, Correspondence Relating to Cubism, form part of the Museum Archives Twentieth-Century Manuscript Collection which includes unpublished documentation, such as correspondence, typescripts, photographs, ephemera among other items, generated by organizations or individuals important to the history of twentieth-century art and reflecting the varied interests and concerns of Museum programs. See also, the Museum Archives holdings of the Department of Circulating Exhibitions and the International Program Records for records pertaining to circulating exhibitions that included the artists represented in the Léonce Rosenberg Papers. The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. (AHB) Papers include correspondence with or about cubist artists and the AHB Papers, Record Group 3 is devoted to Barr's material on Abstract Art, Cubism and Futurism. For information on individual artists, see the Artist Files or relevant monographs in the Museum Library.

Administrative Information


At the suggestion of Trustee James Thrall Soby (who served as Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture 1943-1945; an Advisor to the Committee on Museum Collections 1940-1967), the Léonce Rosenberg Papers were purchased by the Museum at an auction at the Parke-Bernet Galleries on October 31, 1961. The collection was listed in the catalogue as The Annals of Cubism; From the Archives of Léonce Rosenberg. Upon acquisition the correspondence was housed in the Museum Library as part of its Special Collections. In 1962, Lucy R. Lippard, then an Assistant in the Museum Library, compiled summary translations of the letters. A note on the draft, “for first publication by MoMA” suggests that the Museum considered publishing the letters. The Correspondence was officially transferred to the Museum Archives on May 4, 1998 and has been processed according to archival principles.

Preferred Citation

Léonce Rosenberg Papers, Correspodence Relating to Cubism in The Museum of Modern Art Archives, [series.folder], The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Additional Descriptive Data

Explanation of Abbreviations

ALS is an Autographed Letter Signed.
TLS is a Typed Letter Signed.

Container List


Series I. Correspondence

Contents are arranged alphabetically by correspondent's name, then chronologically by date of item

Folder Title Date
I.1 Gris, Juan

17 ALS

I.2 Herbin, Auguste

103 ALS

I.3 Jacob, Max

15 ALS

I.4 Léger, Fernand

28 ALS

I.5 Metzinger, Jean

61 ALS

I.6 Picabia, Francis


11 October 1930 [1920?]
I.7 Severini, Gino

24 ALS
1 calling card
1 ALS from Mrs. G. Severini


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Series II. Supporting Material

Contents are arranged chronologically

Folder Title Date
II.1 Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., [auction catalogue]

catalogue contains descriptions of letters

10/31/61 - 11/1/61
II.2 Rough translated abstracts of each letter

81 pages
provided in 1962 by Lucy R. Lippard

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