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M. Knoedler & Co. records, circa 1848–1971

Michael Knoedler
The Knoedler Gallery Archive illuminates the business relationships and records of one of America's oldest and most preeminent art galleries, founded in 1848 by Michael Knoedler and his employers Adolphe Goupil and William Schaus from the French firm Goupil, Vibert & Cie (later Boussod, Valadon & Cie). The Knoedler Gallery was founded before the establishment of most museums in this country and was, therefore, able to play a central role as a conduit for the masterworks that established American museum collections.

Although Goupil, Vibert & Cie initially established the gallery in 1848 to sell reproductions of French prints, Knoedler, the firm's New York manager, bought out the operation nearly a decade later and transformed it into a major dealer of old-master paintings and British art. His success with these works influenced American art consumption, as collectors' tastes began to shift away from French Salon paintings. Though Knoedler was not the only art dealer selling this type of work, by the 1890s he was far and away the major supplier to the American market.

With the exception of the reference library, which the Knoedler Gallery sold separately in January 2012 and which consists of titles already in the Getty Research Institute's library, this acquisition represents the complete archive of the gallery's operations from the 1850s to 1971, when it was acquired by Armand Hammer. The archival material includes business records; correspondence among clients, artists, and Knoedler staff; card files on clients and artworks; photographs; prints; rare books; sales catalogs dating to the 18th century; and gallery installation plans.

Charles L. Knoedler
This archive adds remarkable unpublished resources to the Getty Research Institute's collections documenting the history of taste, the art market, collecting, patronage, and artists and works of art represented by particular galleries. It also complements resources already held at the Research Institute, such as the archives of the Goupil, Vibert & Cie (later Boussod, Valadon & Cie) Gallery and the extensive records on the Duveen Brothers firm, which was in business at the same time and often worked with the same clients.

Housed for decades in the Knoedler Gallery's New York office, and previously not widely accessible for study, portions of the archive will be digitized, ensuring accessibility for the broadest possible range of international researchers.


Series I. Stock books: Available now
Series II. Sales books: Available now
Series III. Commission books: Available now
Series IV. Inventory cards: Available now
Series V. Receiving and shipping records: Available now
Series VI. Correspondence: Available now
Series VII. Photographs: Available December 2015
Series VIII. Departments
Series IX. Other financial records
Series X. Research files
Series XI. Catalogs and ephemera

Series VII–XI are processed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more.

View digitized images from this archive.