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Mary and William Sisler Papers

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives





The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
moma.org/learn/resources/archives

© 1994 The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.
The Museum of Modern Art, Publisher
Finding aid prepared by Apphia Loo and Rona Roob, March 1992.
Machine-readable finding aid derived from momq-011.xml, 2006. Machine-readable finding aid created by Kathleene Konkle. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Mary and William Sisler
Title: Mary and William Sisler Papers
Dates: 1962-1984
Quantity: 4 linear feet
Four 10x12x15" storage boxes

Arrangement

The Papers have been processed down to the folder level.
Original order has been maintained whenever possible. Folders in Series I may contain correspondence related to the provenance and sale of works in Sisler's collection in addition to material compiled during research.
Folders containing entry drafts or checklists were sometimes named for research assistants (e.g., “Sue”); these were renamed to reflect their contents.
The Papers are organized into two Series:
Series I. The Mary and William Sisler Catalog
Series II. Mary Sisler Personal Papers


Scope and Content Note

The papers were assembled for The William and Mary Sisler Collection catalog published by The Museum of Modern Art in 1984.

The Papers relate to two aspects of the Sisler Collection: the preparation of the catalog including photographs, artists' biographies, and catalog entries for each work in the Collection; and Mary Sisler's personal correspondence related to the purchase, sale, and exhibition of her collection, particularly the loan and exhibition of works by Duchamp (1963-68).

Noteworthy correspondents include Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Entry drafts, published articles and bibliographies on the artists who are represented in this collection are among the items retained as evidence of the catalog-production process.

The Papers also include a scrapbook of clippings (1x10.5"x12") concerning exhibitions held at the Galleria XXII (the gallery owned by Mary Sisler's son, Paul Sisler Hayes, in Palm Beach, Florida), 2 guest books (0.375x8x10.5" and 0.625x7.25"x9.25"), and photographs of sculpture by Joannis Avramidis.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The papers are open for research and contain few restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Mary and William Sisler 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.
Subjects:
Dadaism -- History -- Sources.
Dubuffet, Jean, 1901- -- Archives.
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968 -- Archives.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- Sources.
Naumann, Francis.
New York, (N.Y.). -- Museum of Modern Art -- Collections.
Sisler, Mary -- Art collections -- Archives.
Sisler, Mary.
Sisler, William -- Art collections -- Archives.


Administrative Information

Provenance

In 1983, Francis Naumann was asked by the Museum to write a catalog concerning gifts promised by Mary Sisler to The Museum of Modern Art, which were formally bequeathed to the Museum in December 1990 following Mary Sisler's death.

The collection, begun by Mary Sisler in 1961 several years after her husband's death, included over ninety pieces by Marcel Duchamp and works by other Dadaists, Abstract Expressionists, and Pop Artists, the majority of which were purchased before 1965.

In addition to the Museum, Mary Sisler also supported other institutions and artistic events through the establishment of The Mary Sisler Foundation in 1963. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the New York Philharmonic, and the American Theatre were among the beneficiaries.

The Papers were transferred to the Archives by the Department of Painting and Sculpture in 1992.

Preferred Citation

Mary and William Sisler Papers, [series.folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.


Additional Descriptive Data

Explanation of Abbreviations

ALS autograph letter signed
TLS typed letter signed
TL typed letter
SG Susan Ginsburg
NG Nancy Grove
FN Francis Naumann
MS Mary Sisler
MV Marina Vidas
n.d. no date given
[] information determined by an outside source
corresp. correspondence
incl. includes


Container List

 

Series I: The Mary and William Sisler Collection Catalog

folder Title Date
I.1 “Susan Ginsburg - Original Entries”

0.25"
Incl. drafts

1984
I.2 Entry Drafts

0.25"
Originally titled “Sue” for SG

1984
I.3 Entry Drafts

35 sheets
Entry drafts by NG

1984
I.4 “N.G. entries”

0.5"
Incl. entry drafts

1984
I.5 “Nancy's Grove Final Version”

0.5"
Incl. entries with handwritten notes

1984
I.6 “Bios Artists' Biographies”

0.5"

I.7 Checklist of Collection; Correspondence

0.25"
Originally titled “Lisa”; incl. Brancusi biographical outline
Entry drafts
Time sheets for MV

1984
I.8 “Sisler Checklist and Correspondence”

13 items

1983
I.9 Checklists of Illustrations

0.5"

1984
I.10 Checklists and Reproductions

0.25"
Incl. reproductions of photographs used in catalog
Photocopy of A I'Infinitif by Marcel Duchamp (NY: Cordier & Ekstrom; 1966)
Article, “Pop Culture, Metaphysical Disgust, and the New Vulgarian” by Max Kozloff, Art International 6(2): Feb. 1962

1984
I.11 Correspondence re: Reproductions

1"
Incl. letters to artists, collectors and institutions requesting photographs, corresp. with MS

1983-84
I.12 “Photographs to be Labelled”

10 items
Incl. 1 TLS Barbara Klein (Sotheby's)-MV, 1984
1 memorandum LK-SG (not sent), 1984
Incl. clipping
Handwritten notes
Photograph
Slide
Checklist of illustration sources for Duchamp entries

1984
I.13 “Copy Prints”

5 items
Incl. lists of institutions from which MoMA solicited aid in obtaining photo reproductions

n.d.
I.14 “Extra Photos - Harriet Bee”

8 items

n.d.
I.15 Photo Credits

0.25"
Originally titled “C.S.”

1984
I.16 “Processed Check Requests”

0.125"
Incl. corresp. re: reproductions for catalog

1984
I.17 “Artists' Questionnaires” 2 items

Incl. 1 TLS Judith Zilczer (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)-LK, 1983
Samples of Artist's Biographies and Object Records from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

1983
I.18 Memoranda

4 items
Originally titled “Lauren”
Incl. memoranda from LK and William S. Rubin

1984
I.19 “Letters”

0.25"
Incl. corresp. re: Tal Streeter (artist)
1 TLS Claude Mercier, 1984

1984
I.20 “Bills”

7 items
Incl. photo requisitions, receipts

1984
I.21 “Agostini, Peter”

0.5"
Incl. photograph; articles for research, 1960-82

1984
I.22.a “Albers, [Josef]”

0.75"
incl. 1 TLS Nicholas Fox Weber (Josef Albers Foundation)-LK, 1983
1 TLS Katherine Plake-MS, 1980
Corresp. with Xavier Fourcade (Fourcade, Droll Inc.) and the Palm Springs Desert Museum, 1972-73, 1977
Articles and texts for research, 1971-77

1980, 1983
I.22.b “Albers, [Josef]”

0.75"
Articles and texts for research

1954-71
I.23.a Chronologies and articles for research

0.875"
Incl. 2 TLS Arp Foundation-LK

1968-84
I.23.b Chronologies and articles for research

0.5"

1949-57
I.24 “Saul Baizerman”

16 items
Incl. 3 invoices
Photograph
Articles for research, 1933, 1952, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1975

n.d.
I.25 “Bissier Julius”

5 photographs

n.d.
I.26 “Bolomey, Roger”

0.625"
Incl. 1 TLS Bolomey-MV, 1984
1 TLS Bolomey-Thomas Carr Howe (California Palace Legion of Honor), 1957
1 ALS Bolomey-LK, n.d.
1 TLS Bolomey-George Culler (San Francisco Museum of Art), 1962; chronologies and articles for research, 1953-84
Bolomey's resumé

1984
I.27 “Brancusi, Constantin”

0.375"
Incl. photograph
Corresp. re: Endless Column by Brancusi
Articles for research, 1921-80

1984
I.28 “James Byars”

1"
Incl. lists of Byars's “favorites” from conversations with the artist
Corresp. re: exhibition of untitled works and anonymity requested by Byars
Articles for research, 1955-81

1983
I.29 “John Cage”

10 items
Incl. 1 ALS (copy) Merce Cunningham-MS, 1983
1 ALS (copy) Cunningham-MS, n.d.
1 TLS Cage-MS, 1975

1975-83
I.30.a “Calder, [Alexander]”

1"
Incl. 4 photographs
Program of memorial service at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1976 December 6
Articles for research, 1964-82

1984
I.30.b “Calder, [Alexander]”

0.625"
Articles for research

1952-73
I.31 “Isabel Canova Copy”

3 items
Incl. photograph
2 postcards

n.d.
I.32 “Charcoune, Serge Ivanovitch”

0.75"
Incl. 2 photographs
1 TLS James M. Brown (The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach)-MS, 1982 re: gift of 2 paintings by Charcoune
1 TLS MS-Brown, 1982
Articles for research, 1956-71

1982-83
I.33 “Chen Wing”

7 items
Incl. 4 photographs
Incl. 2 photographs of the artist
Poem by the artist

n.d.
I.34 “Cornell, Joseph”

0.625"
Incl. Articles for research, 1957-80

I.35 “Dine, Jim”

0.625"
Incl. 2 photographs
1 TLS LK-Dine, 1983
Corresp. with Michael S. Cullen (Galerie Mikro) re: consignment agreement, 1974
Corresp. with the Palm Springs Desert Museum re: works on loan
Corresp. with Margaret Watherston re: conservation of paintings by Dine, 1976
Articles and bibliographies for research, 1966-83

1983
I.36.a “Dubuffet, [Jean]”

0.875"
Incl. entry drafts
1 TLS Armande de Trentinian (secretary to Dubuffet)-LK, 1983
1 TLS Waldo Rasmussen-MS, 1963
Bibliographies and articles for research, 1963, 1979

1983
I.36.b “Dubuffet, [Jean]”

1.125"
Articles for research

1947-79
I.37 “Duchamp, Marcel”

0.75"
Incl. advertisements which influenced Duchamp's work (Putnam clothes-wringer)
Photograph credits
Label information
Handwritten notes
3 photographs
Transparency
Corresp. re: purchase and exhibition of Résaux des Stoppages

1963, 1967, 1970-71, 1978, 1982-84
I.38 “Oyvind Fahlstrom”

0.625"
Incl. photograph
Corresp. re: gift to the University of Notre Dame, 1978
Articles for research, 1962-64, 1966-67, 1969, 1971-74, 1976-78, 1979-80

1982-83,
I.39.a “Alberto Giacometti”

0.75"
Articles for research

1971-81
I.39.b “Alberto Giacometti”

0.75"
Articles for research

1932-71
I.40 “Jaki AKA Jose Horvat”

7 items
Incl. 3 photographs

1978
I.41 “Alfred Jensen”

1"
Incl. Articles and texts for research, 1924-79
1 TL Xavier Fourcade-MS, 1976
2 photographs

1976, 1979
I.42 “Johns, Jasper”

16 items
Incl. 1 TLS (copy) Johns-MS, 1981, provenance information and biography from Leo Castelli Gallery
1 photograph of Merce Cunningham and Viola Farber in Antic Meet, 1958

1963, 1964, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984
I.43 “Lichtenstein, Roy: Articles, etc. (Castelli files)”

16 items
Incl. 1 TLS LK-Peter Brant, 1984
5 invoices
Handwritten note
Articles for research, 1962-84

1984
I.44 “Richard Lippold”

0.75"
Incl. corresp. re: repairs
Articles and texts for research, 1956-68

I.45.a “Magritte, René”

1"
Articles and text on and by artist for research

1970-80
I.45.b “Magritte, René”

0.5"
Articles and text on and by artist for research

1953-66
I.45.c “Magritte, René”

1"
Incl. handwritten notes
Articles for research

1946-84
I.46.a “Henri Matisse” “Le Serf”

1.25"
Incl. articles for research 1931-83
Corresp. re: The Serf by Matisse

1983
I.46.b “Henri Matisse, Dwg. Drawing of Nude Figure”

0.75"
Incl. photograph
Catalog, “Henri Matisse Sculptures” (Musée Matisse, Nice, 1974)
Articles for research, 1931-83

1983
I.47 “Claude Mercier”

1.25"
Incl. 1 TLS Mercier-LK, 1984
7 photographs
Exhibition catalogs

1965-84
I.48 “Isamu Noguchi”

18 items
Incl. 1 TLS Isamu Noguchi-LK, 1983
Corresp. with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, (New York), 1983

1961, 1962, 1964, 1983-84
I.49 “Oldenburg, Claes”

13 items
Incl. 1 TLS Thomas N. Armstrong, 3rd (Whitney Museum of American Art)-MS, 1983
1 TLS MS-Anna Astner; Brydon E. Smith-MS, 1966
1 article and bibliographies for research, 1962, 1965

1966, 1981, 1983
I.50 “Picabia, Frances”

15 items
Incl. 2 photographs
1 TLS William A. Camfield (Rice University)-FN, 1983
1 TLS MS-Milwaukee Art Center, 1976
Bibliographies for research

1964, 1970, 1975, 1983
I.51 “Rauschenberg, Robert”

9 items
Incl. corresp. with Leo Castelli re: sales of works

1962, 1982, 1984
I.52 “Rodin, Auguste”

1"
Incl. signature rubbings
15 photographs
Articles for research, 1936-67

1962
I.53 “Rosenquist, James”

7 items
Incl. photograph; lists of selected group and one-man exhibitions at Leo Castelli Gallery, NY

1976, 1984
I.54 “Mark Rothko”

1¼"
Incl. corresp. re: exhibition of Red on Orange by Rothko at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York)
Articles for research, 1947-84

1984
I.55 “Segal, George”

7 items
Incl. article, bibliographies, biographies, and lists of exhibitions for research, 1961-81; 1 TL MS-Ralph F. Colin (Art Dealers Association of America), 1981

1981
I.56 “Antoni Tàpies”

0.875"
Incl. 2 photographs
Articles and texts for research, 1956-79

1967, 1972, 1976
I.57 “Valenta, Barbara”

23 items
Incl. press clippings
3 exhibition announcements
13 slides; biography of the artist

1978-79
I.58 “Vechenict”

1 item

n.d.

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Series II: Mary Sisler Personal Papers

folder Title Date
II.1 “Sisler Papers”

12 items
Incl. list of artists' work owned by MS

1963, 1965, 1983
II.2 “Sisler”

25 items
Incl. 1 TLS Lawton Chiles (United States Senate)-MS, 1974
Corresp. with Heide Lubell and Co., Inc. re: damages to Sisler's Duchamp collection, 1966
1 TLS Yoshiaki Tono-Alan Solomon, 1966
1 TLS Xavier Fourcade-MS re: sale prices of Duchamp pieces, 1978

1964, 1966, 1972, 1974-78, 1980, 1983-84
II.3 “Sisler”

9 items
Incl. handwritten notes
1 ALS MS-FN, n.d.

1961, 1963, 1965, 1970
II.4 “To Be Filed”

0125"
Incl. list of museums where Mary Sisler Foundation Collection exhibited

1967
II.5 “Lawsuits, Problems, Etc.”

8 items

1965-66, 1976, 1982
II.6 Catalogs and Unidentified Photographs

4 items
Incl. “Giulio Carlo Argan, Tekstovi O Modernoj Umetnosti” (Muzej Savremene Umetnosti, Beograd, 1983) and “The Ringling Museum of Art Journal” (1983)

n.d.
II.7 Correspondence, Catalog, Photographs

1"
Incl. 1 ALS Joannis Avramidis-MS, 1984; exhibition brochure, Jean Dubuffet (NY: Cordier & Ekstrom, 1964)
Exhibition catalog, Joannis Avramidis, Galerie Ulysses (1982)
8 photographs of works by Avramidis

n.d.
II.8 “Richard Hamilton/Duchamp”

1 item
1 binder
Incl. “Not Seen and/or Less Seen of” by Marcel Duchamp/Rrose Sélavy, 1904-64

1964
II.9 “Sisler Duchamp Exhibition - Travel and Loan Arrangements; Originals from Sisler Files”

1.25"
Incl. corresp. with institutions where exhibition was shown

1964-69
II.10 “Sisler”

0.375"
Incl. corresp. with the Milwaukee Art Museum, Zurcher Kunstgesellschaft, Walker Art Center re: exhibition of Sisler's Duchamp collection

1962, 1965-66, 1978, 1983
II.11 “Sisler”

30 items
Incl. MS's handwritten notes; corresp. with Fourcade, Droll, Inc., the Walker Art Center, and the Rose Art Museum (Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts) re: Duchamp exhibition
Article re: John Cage and Merce Cunningham

1962-66, 1970, 1972, 1975-78, 1983-84
II.12 “Clippings - Duchamp Show”

0.375"
Incl. The New Yorker “Profile” on Marcel Duchamp, 40(51), 1965 February 6

1965, 1972-79
II.13 Photographs, Clippings

26 items
Incl. photographs of works by Joannis Avramidis and personalities (possibly the Sislers)
Removed from an album (1.5"x10x12") because of an acidic odor
The album was not annotated.

n.d.
II.14 “Drawer #7, Item #10
Press Clippings #2
Galleria XXII - 1962”

Paul Sisler Hayes, owner of Galleria XXII, is MS's son
Incl. 1 album (1"x10.5"x12") of clippings re: exhibitions at the Galleria XXII Marzo (Palm Beach, Florida), March-May 1962

1962
II.15 Guest Registar Book

1 item
Not annotated
Incl. 20 pages of signatures
0.375"x8x10.5"

1962
II.16 Guest Registrar Book, De Kooning: Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, 1967-75

1 item
Exhibition sponsored by the Mary Sisler Foundation
Incl. invitation and 3 photographs
0.625"7.25"x9.25"

1975-76
II.17 Slides of works in Sisler Collection

2.375"x6.5"x8.875" box

Title
Confidential material stored in MoMA Archives

2.5" document box


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Box and Folder List

Box Series Folder
1 I 1-20
2 I 21-39
3 I 40-58
4 II 1-17


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