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Artists' Letters and Manuscripts

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
© 2006
The Museum of Modern Art Museum Archives
Finding aid prepared by the Museum Archives.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
Title: Artists' Letters and Manuscripts
Inclusive Dates: 1892-1976
Quantity: 0 Linear Feet
One 5" document box


The Artists' Letters and Manuscripts Collection is arranged alphabetically by artist surname. The entry for Michel Allongue is the exception. He offered the material listed under his name for sale to the Museum. Copies of the material now exist as part of the Artists' Letters and Manuscripts Collection. The individual items are noted under Allongue; the artists associated with the material have individual entries that refer the reader to the Allongue entry and filing unit number.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by artist, then chronologically by item with the exception of those listed under Allongue.

Scope and Content Note

The processed Artists' Letters and Manuscripts Collection consists of 124 items contained in one 5" document box. The materials date from 1892 to 1976. The collection includes: correspondence on a wide variety of subjects to, from, and/or about the artists listed in the finding aid; poems; sketches; notes; an application for a fellowship; Christmas cards; and photographs.


Access Restrictions

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Artists' Letters and Manuscripts 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.
Persons and Organizations:
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

For additional material on individual artists see also: Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Papers, James Thrall Soby Papers, and the Dorothy C. Miller Papers.See individual curatorial departments for Object Files, and the Library for Artist Files and monographs.

Administrative Information


Many items in the Artists' Letters and Manuscripts Collection were collected by members of the Department of Painting and Sculpture. In June 1978, the material was transferred to the Museum Library for safekeeping. Some of the material currently included in this collection was given to the Library by other sources and added to this collection by Library staff post-1978. The Museum continues to add material to the Collection. When available, information regarding provenance accompanies the finding aid entries. The Collection was transferred from the Museum Library to the Museum Archives on May 4, 1998 and re-processed adhering to archival principles.

Preferred Citation

Artists' Letters and Manuscripts, [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.
TL stands for Typed Letter.
MoMA is The Museum of Modern Art.
n.d. stands for no date.
re: stands for regarding.

Container List

Folder Descriptions:

Folder Title
1 Albers, Josef

1 ALS Josef Albers - Mr. J. Thompson (11/7/54)
1 photographic reproduction of Albers' Bent Blank with annotations

1 Allongue, Michel

1 TLS, description of the items for sale
1 TLS Jean Arp-Francis Picabia (11/10/19)
1 TLS Jean Arp & Tristan Tzara - Francis Picabia, [date illegible]
1 TLS Ezra Pound-Francis Picabia (8/9/[?])
1 TLS Rolf de Maré-Francis Picabia (5/8/24)
1 autograph manuscript signed, poem by André Breton, Terre de Couleur (1919)
1 autograph manuscript signed, poem by Philippe Soupault, Litanies (4/25/20)
1 autograph manuscript signed, poem by Christian Schaad, Clou Projeté (n.d.)
1 autograph manuscript, poem by Francis Picabia, 1er Lettre à Germaine (n.d.) [2 of 8 pages]
1 "Collage de Baargeld" (1920)
1 autograph manuscript signed, poem by Ezra Pound (n.d.)
1 envelope

All items are copies and in French; offered for sale by Allongue, 12/16/74
Cafard by Georges Ribement, one of the items listed on the typed description, (see above) was not found

1 Andre, Carl

1 ALS Carl Andre - Waldo Rasmussen (2/16/71) with attachments re: second Indian Triennale in New Delhi, 1971
Donated to Library by Waldo Rasmussen, 8/21/78

1 Arp, Jean

See Allongue

2 Berge, François and André

6 ALS Francois Berge - [Camille Dausse?] (n.d.)
1 ALS André Berge - [?] (2/18/76)

In French; letters were originally found in the Library's copy of Les Cahiers du Mois 1 (May 1924)

F. Berge was one of the editors-in-chief and contributed an essay to the issue

2 Berman, Eugene

2 ALS Eugene Berman - Mr. Amberg (4/11/44) re: statement concerning costume design and recommendations on which of his theatre designs would be suitable for exhibition
Mentions Julian Levy
See also Man Ray

2 Breton, André

See Allongue
See Tanguy

2 Browne, Byron

1 ALS Byron Browne - Beaumont Newhall (4/20/36) re: invitation to exhibition of abstract art at Municipal Galleries, 62 West 53rd Street

3 Calder, Alexander

1 TL Monroe Wheeler - Alexander Calder (9/13/51)
1 ALS Alexander Calder - Monroe Wheeler (9/20/51) re: making reproductions of his work for sale
21 ALS Sandy [Alexander] Calder - Margareta Akermark, Department of Film, MoMA (1950-1969) [includes ALS Carlos Raul Villaneuva - Sandy Calder
5 TL Margareta Akermark - Sandy Calder (1951-1968)
1 TL Margareta Akermark - Klaus Perls (2/13/62)

Correspondence w/Akermark is re: film Works of Calder
Copied from originals in the Film Department in 1978 where additional correspondence is also housed.

3 Chagall, Mark

1 ALS Mark Chagall - Louis Stern (1946) [in Russian w/ translation]
1 ALS Mark Chagall - Louis Stern (10/29/47) [recto; in Russian w/ translation] with 1 ALS Ida Chagall - Louis Stern (10/29/47) [verso; in English]
Mark Chagall - Louis Stern (1946) [translation only]

Original in Department of Prints and Illustrated Books

Originally located in Chagall Scrapbook in Library, letters were removed by Library for safekeeping; translations were done by the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books in 1976

3 Cornell, Joseph

Christmas Card, ALS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (1953).
TLS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (1/6/1961), re: Christmas, with collage.
ALS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (1/24/1961), re: new work, request to obtain copies of Creative Photography 2 (letter enclosed in cover).
TLS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (2/14/1961), with unicorn-stamped newspaper clipping enclosed.
Valentine's Day Card, ALS "Tina" - Frances Pernas (2/13/1962), with birdcall enclosed.
ALS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (2/25/1963), sheet of yellow tissue, autographed "as promised," with photograph and leaves enclosed.
ALS Sarah Rubenstein - Frances Pernas (1/2/1971), re: Joseph Cornell request of Dorothy Miller for photograph of Frances Pernas as young girl.
ALS Joseph Cornell - Frances Pernas (2/17/ 1971), with photograph and other enclosure.

These letters were received as a gift from Frances Pernas in January, 2010. Ms. Pernas worked in the Museum's Department of Publications 1940 - 1961.

4 De Mare, Rolf

See Allongue

4 Dickinson, Edwin

1 ALS Edwin Dickinson - Alfred H. Barr, Jr. (1969) [mailed 1970]

4 Diller, Burgoyne

See Hofmann

4 Duchamp, Marcel

1 ALS (and one copy) Marcel Duchamp, on a Galerie Buren checklist (1963)
Removed from a monograph on Marcel Duchamp by Ulf Linde in the Library, January 2000

4 Flannagan, John B.

Flannagan's application for a Guggenheim Fellowship (copy)
1 TLS from Henry Allen Moe - Margherita Flannagan (9/19/42)

4 Guston, Philip

4 ALS Philip Guston - Sherman [?] (7/27/[?], 5/13/67, 11/29/72, n.d.)
Gift of Mr. Gilbert B. Silverman, May 2007

4 Hofmann, Hans

1 ALS Hans Hofmann, tribute to Burgoyne Diller (1933)
1 exhibition catalogue for Exhibition of Paintings by Burgoyne Diller (2/28-3/18/33) with Hofmann's published tribute to Diller

4 Jaguer, Edouard

1 TLS Edouard Jaguer - Jan van der Marck, Walker Art Center,Minneapolis (2/7/66) re: Jaguer's plans for exhibitions of the PHASES movement throughout the U.S. and South America [in French]

4 Jenkins, Paul

1 ALS Paul Jenkins - Dorothy Miller (1/30/57) on exhibition catalogue for The Exploration of Paint (Arthur Tooth & Sons, Ltd., 31 Bruton Street, London)

4 Johnson, Ray

1 ALS, Ray Johnson - Dorothy Miller, typed verse and invitation on envelope (1965)

4 Kirchner, E. L.

1 ALS E. L. Kirchner - Mrs. Lloyd Wescott (10/29/36) re: painting owned by Mrs. Wescott and author's reaction to the Holocaust
Donated to Library by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., in 1964(?)

4 Klee, Paul

1 ALS Paul Klee - G. D. Thompson (7/19) [in German]
1 ALS from Marino Marini - G. D. Thompson (12/5/54) [in French]
4 5 ×7" color transparencies
2 black & white photographs

4 Léger, Fernand

Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] file on Fernand Léger (1952-1953)

Copy given to Museum Archives in 1999 by Dept. ofPainting and Sculpture

A copy also exists in the Léger Exhibition
File in the Dept. of Painting and Sculpture along with related correspondence with governmental agencies

5 Man Ray

1 TLS Man Ray - Mr. Amberg (8/10/44) re: response to query about the possible exhibition of artist's works of stage settings/theater design
Removed from Artist File, 9/27/78
See also Berman

5 Marin, John

16 TL from John Marin - James E. Davis (4/1/40-4/9/47)
All typescript copies; gift of James E. Davis, 9/18/59, to Department of Photography
Transferred to Library on 10/22/59
Originals given to the Princeton University Library 9/28/49
1 ALS James E. Davis - Edward Steichen (9/18/59) re: gift of Marin letters and photographs

5 Marini, Marino

See Klee

5 Matisse, Henri

1 ALS Henri Matisse - Mr. Marc Vaux (7/5/48) [in French w/ translation]
Removed from Library's Matisse Scrapbook vol. 3, June 1975
1 color sketch with notes (n.d.)
Gift of Frank Trapp, Professor of Fine Arts, Amherst College, 1990
Autographed postcard Henri Matisse - Frances Pernas (1952) re: thanks. Enclosed in MoMA envelope autographed by Alfred H. Barr, "For Frances."

Gift of Frances Pernas, January 2010

5 Miró, Joan

3 ALS, 1 TLS Joan Miró - Gérald Cramer (4/5/48-9/26/56) [in French, all photostats]

5 Motherwell, Robert

1 ALS, Robert Motherwell - AHB (5/29/51) invitation to Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 60 East 9th Street

5 Picabia, Francis

See Allongue

5 Pound, Ezra

See Allongue

5 Prestini, James

See Van de Velde

6 Reinhardt, Ad

1 ALS Ad Reinhardt - Waldo Rasmussen, 12/18/66
1 ALS Ad Reinhardt - Richard Palmer, 8/4/[67?]

6 Rodin, Auguste

6 ALS Auguste Rodin - Monsieur L. Bénédite, Conservater, Musée du Luxembourg (9/19/1892 - 4/16/1915, n.d.)
1 autograph manuscript [author Auguste Rodin(?)] (n.d.)

In French; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jean-Paul Barbier to the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, 1978

6 Signac, Paul

1 ALS Paul Signac - Arsène Alexandre (5/13/02)re: technique of preserving the purity of color [in French]
Gift of John Rewald, n.d.

6 Schaad, Christian

See Allongue

6 Soupault, Philippe

1 ALS Philippe Soupault - Camille Dausse (n.d.) [in French]
Removed by Library in 1988 from front endpaper of Carte Postale, by P. Soupault

1 ALS Philippe Soupault - Camille Dausse (n.d.)

2 ALS Nic Soupault - Camille Dausse (6/28/27, 9/7/[?])
In French; contained in an envelope addressed to C. Dausse, 9/10/27
Rremoved by Library in 1988 from front endpaper of En Joue, by P. Soupault

See also Allongue

6 Stubbing, Anthony

1 ALS Anthony Stubbing - Marie Alexander (10/9/59)

7 Tanguy, Yves and Kay Sage

1 print of a work by Yves Tanguy (n.d.)
12 handmade Christmas Cards, from Yves Tanguy and Kay Sage Tanguy (1954-1963)
Cards gift of James Thrall Soby, 1966

8 Tanguy, Yves and Kay Sage

ALS, preface written by André Breton (12/43) to Yves Tanguy par André Breton; author Pierre Matisse (New York: Pierre Matisse Editions, 1946)
Permission to publish must be addressed to The Pierre Matisse Foundation]

TLS, Kay Sage Tanguyre: Elouard manuscript and Tanguy drawing(see below)
ALS, poem entitled "Yves Tanguy" (n.d.)
1 drawing signed Yves Tanguy (n.d.)

9 Van de Velde, Henry

1 ALS Henry Van de Velde - James Prestini, Professor of Design, University of California at Berkeley (11/14/50) [in French w/ translation ]

The gift of letter accompanied donation of original bowl by James Prestini in 1975 to collection of the Department of Architecture and Design

9 Waterhouse, Elias

3 TLS Elias Waterhouse - Lincoln Kirstein (2/11/28, 5/22/28, 5/26/28) re: El Greco

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