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Irving Sandler papers, circa 1914-2001, bulk 1950-2000

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Sandler (Irving) Papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The Irving Sandler Papers comprehensively document the career of an American critic who chronicled and commented upon the contemporary art scene for five decades. The foundation of Sandler's biographical approach to art criticism is the informal interview or "conversation" with the artist; the archive comprises all Sandler's notes, transcripts, and audiotapes of these encounters. Although the core of the archive is the material about abstract expressionist artists of the 1950s, artists and art movements of subsequent decades are amply documented, with special attention to Alex Katz, Phillip Pearlstein, and Al Held. Sandler also took copious notes on panel discussions; such notes appear in several series, and form the basis of the Art Professional series which, like the Artists series, spans five decades. Notes on panel discussions are also central to the Organizations and Associations series, and in particular to the documentation of the Artists' Club, of which Sandler was Program Director for seven years. Here the concerns of 1950s New York artists emerge in the Club's chosen topics for lecture and debate. Many interviews and panels from Series I. through V. were also recorded and appear in Series XIV. Audiotapes and Videotapes.

The Organizations and Associations series reflects, along with Sandler's role as critic, his active support for emergent artists. The Artists' Space files chronicle the difficulty of establishing a physical space, and also deal with management issues and controversies plaguing early exhibitions. The same series details Sandler's involvement in academic and curatorial organizations, for which he served on the directing board, as he did for numerous foundations and commissions, documented in Series IV.

Sandler's career as a professor, independent curator, and reviewer is documented in Series V. through IX. Correspondence is professional, with editors regarding reviewing assignments, with curators regarding exhibitions, and with university administrators regarding promotion. Sandler's longstanding column for The New York Post appears in Series VI. Writings and in Series XIII. Printed Matter. Also in the archive is a thick file of handwritten notes for his 1950s artists' interview series on The Casper Citron Radio Show. Printed Matter contains an interesting assortment of announcements and brochures for exhibitions Sandler presumably attended over five decades.

Arrangement note

The papers are organized in fourteen series:
Series I. Artists, 1914-2001
Series II. Art Professionals, 1925-2000
Series III. Organizations and Associations, 1937-1995
Series IV. Foundations and Commissions, 1964-2001
Series V. Exhibitions and Panels, 1965-2000
Series VI. Notes and Writings, ca. 1958-2000
Series VII. Research, 1949-2000
Series VIII. Correspondence, 1956-2000
Series IX. Personal, 1959-2000
Series X. Writings by Others, 1948-1994, n.d.
Series XI. Photographs, 1909-2001
Series XII. Serials, 1950-1995
Series XIII. Printed Matter, 1940-2000
Series XIV. Audio and Video Tapes, 1958-2000.




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