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Harry Lunn Papers, 1855-1999, bulk 1965-1999

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Lunn (Harry) Papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The Harry Lunn papers document the business dealings of the print and photography dealer from the mid 1960s until his death in 1998, and provide a glimpse into the workings of one of the primary creators of the photography art market during the second half of the twentieth century. The records document Lunn's early dealings as he was beginning to sell fine art prints through the establishment of his Lunn Gallery and his firm Graphics International (later Lunn Ltd.) and his return to operating as a private dealer. Not incidentally, they chart the rising popularity of photography as a fine art commodity.

Series I, Artists files, contains files for artists whose work was sold by Lunn, and whom in certain cases, such as photographers Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, and McDermott & McGough, and printmakers Lars Bo and Jacob Kainen, Lunn represented exclusively or for a substantial length of time, and in doing so shaped the market for that artist's work.

Series II, Client files, contains general files for Lunn's extensive international roster of clients, as well as documentation of appraisals, consignments, and exhibition loans. His clients included major museums and corporations, yet he also dealt with smaller museums, university art galleries, other arts organizations, and commercial galleries of all sizes, and had a large roster of private collectors with modest collections.

Series III, Auctions and art fairs, is concerned with the business transactions, both buying and selling, that took place through auction houses or at the national and international art fairs at which Lunn exhibited or had a booth, often on a yearly basis.

The business files in Series IV encompass the history of the firm as it becomes a corporation, raises capital through stock offerings, and ultimately repurchases the shares and operates with Lunn as the sole stockholder. Included are corporate records, financial statements and tax returns, inventory lists, financial statement working papers, bank records, and a large volume of receipts for travel, business promotion and other business expenses.

Series V, Gallery operations, contains files that detail the operations of the specific kind of business that was Lunn Ltd. Included are materials related to sales, purchases, and inventory such as invoices, ledgers, quarterly and monthly sales reports, art purchases, and inventory lists. Operations of a daily nature are documented in files containing advertising, press releases, gallery reviews, exhibition and price lists, office expenses, and employee matters.

The clippings files in Series VI include topics such as the art market, both in general and on photography in particular; collectors and collecting; arts funding; and gallery reviews, openings, and notices. A small number of serials and newsletters are also related to these topics.

Series VII contains materials relating to Lunn's professional life and covers his work both with student organizations in the 1960s and as an art dealer, with a small amount of material pertaining to his real estate business. Included are files on professional organizations of which he was a member; notes and texts for lectures and articles he delivered or wrote; clippings and articles about his activities as an art dealer; and biographical information.

Series VIII consists of a small amount of personal papers, many of which overlap with Lunn's professional life as it was intertwined with his private life. Included are materials documenting banking and tax matters and personal gifts of artwork to institutions, and a small amount of mostly personal correspondence. Photographs include copies of portraits of Lunn made by a number of photographers including Michael Howells, Berenice Abbott, Wouter Deruytter, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yousuf Karsh, McDermott & McGough, and Pierre et Giles, and a few family snapshots.

Arrangement

The collection is comprised of eight series:
Series I. Artist files, 1901-1999, undated;
Series II. Client files and related materials, 1965-1998, undated;
Series III. Auctions and art fairs, 1974-1998;
Series IV: Business files, 1965-1998;
Series V: Gallery operations, 1949-1998;
Series VI: Clippings and serials, 1855-1998, undated;
Series VII: Professional activities, 1960-1998, undated;
Series VIII: Personal papers, circa 1899-1998, undated.




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