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French & Company records, 1910-1998 (bulk 1950-1960)

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Finding aid for the French & Company records, 1910-1998, bulk 1950-1960

Scope and Content of Collection

The French & Company records document some of the activities of the art dealership and are drawn mainly from the period of Spencer Samuels' directorship in the 1950s. Papers relate to legal and business operations, financial matters, the board of directors, business deals, artwork sales, exhibitions, and publicity for the firm. One videotape records the opening of French & Company on Madison Ave., New York City. Specific subjects include the reorganization of French & Company, audits of the firm, relations with J. Paul Getty, tapestry sales, appraisals of artworks, and art market research. Several boxes of clippings, and some photographs, document French & Company exhibits (including in Mexico and Cuba), as well as art market news. Much of the documentation is in the form of correspondence: typescript, handwritten, or copied. Other types of records include ledger sheets, photographs, transparencies, photocopies, and newspaper and magazine clippings.

The bulk of the firm's records were lost in a fire. The Getty Research Library holds French & Company stock sheets and ledgers in a separate acquisition (Accession no. 840027). The photographic archive of the firm was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1971, and is now part of the Getty Research Library's Photo Study Collection (Accession no. 71.P.1 and 97.P.7).

Arrangement note

The papers are organized in 7 series:
Series I. Legal and business operations, 1922-1998, bulk 1953-1960;
Series II. Financial, 1915-1959;
Series III. Board of directors, 1954-1959;
Series IV. Business dealings and correspondence, 1944-1960;
Series V. Sales records, 1927-1998, bulk 1950-1998;
Series V.A. Getty correspondence and appraisals, 1960-1998;
Series V.B. Records relating to clients other than Getty, 1945-1972;
Series V.C. Artwork inventory and sales records, 1927-1971;
Series VI. Exhibitions and publicity, 1930-1967, bulk 1956-1967;
Series VII. Architectural drawings, 1910-1950

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