PRELIMINARY INVENTORY OF THE ROLF NELSON GALLERY RECORDS, 1953-1973

Finding aid prepared by Laura Schroffel


Descriptive Summary

Title: Rolf Nelson Gallery records
Date (inclusive): 1953-1973
Number: 2010.M.38
Creator/Collector: Rolf Nelson Gallery
Physical Description: 7.7 linear feet (11 boxes)
Repository:
The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Abstract: The Rolf Nelson Gallery made a significant contribution to the vibrant Southern California art scene of the 1960s by exhibiting emerging as well as established artists. The archive contains correspondence, photographs, and printed ephemera related to the operation of the gallery and Nelson's subsequent work as a private dealer. The collection is rich in materials from Lowell Nesbitt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Judy Chicago, Robert Indiana, Harry Partch and George Herms.
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Language: Collection material is in English.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Rolf Nelson Gallery made a significant contribution to the vibrant Southern California art scene of the 1960s by exhibiting emerging as well as established artists. Born in Brooklyn in 1935 to Norwegian immigrant parents, Rolf Nelson began his career at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York in the early 1960s. After moving to Los Angeles in 1962 Nelson worked at the Southern California branch of the San Francisco-based Dilexi Gallery. By 1963 he had opened his own gallery in Los Angeles on La Cienega Boulevard. The gallery was subsequently moved to two other locations on La Cienega Boulevard, gradually expanding with each move. The Rolf Nelson Gallery played an integral role in disseminating art of the pop movement in the 1960s and promoting emerging artists such as Llyn Foulkes, George Herms and Jess, along with more established artists including Georgia O'Keeffe, Judy Chicago and Alfred Jensen. In 1966 Nelson closed his gallery and worked as a private dealer. He returned to New York by 1972 and retired soon thereafter.

Administrative Information

Access

Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

Rolf Nelson Gallery records, 1953-1973, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 2010.M.38.

Acquisition

Acquired in 2010.

Processing History

In 2010 Laura Schroffel processed the collection and wrote the finding aid under the supervision of Andra Darlington.

Separated Materials

Four books were transferred to the Getty Research Library general collection and may be found by searching the library catalog : Lowell Nesbitt, Athens in ruins, Rome in ruins, New York in ruins (New York: Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer, 1971); Claes Oldenburg, Claes Oldenburg (Paris: Ileana Sonnabend, 1964); Lowell Nesbitt, Lowell Nesbitt: Bilder, Serigraphien (Köln: Galerie M.E. Thelen, 1970); Jess, Translation (New York: Odyssia Gallery, 1971).

Scope and Content of Collection

The Rolf Nelson Gallery records contain correspondence, photographs, and printed ephemera related to the operation of the gallery and Nelson's subsequent work as a private dealer. The collection is rich in materials from Lowell Nesbitt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Judy Chicago, Robert Indiana, Harry Partch and George Herms. There is original artwork by Judi, Jess, George Herms and Michael Cady. Letters sent and received during Nelson's tenure at the Martha Jackson Gallery and his own gallery make up the bulk of the collection. While most of the collection deals directly with artists and clients, there are also documents related to Nelson's involvement with the Save the Museum Committee and the Artist Protest Committee.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the gallery's original order. Files are organized alphabetically by artist, client, institution or topic, with some files of assorted items grouped under the letter of the alphabet.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Names

Cady, Michael
Chicago, Judy, 1939-
Herms, George, 1935-
Indiana, Robert , 1928-
Jensen, Alfred, 1903-1981
Jess, 1923-2004
Nesbitt, Lowell, 1933-
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986

Subjects - Corporate Bodies

Martha Jackson Gallery
Rolf Nelson Gallery

Subjects - Topics

Art galleries, Commercial--United States
Art, Modern--20th century--United States
Artists--California
Artists-United States-Correspondence

Genres and Forms of Material

Black-and-white negatives
Color slides--United States--20th century
Gelatin silver prints--United States--20th century

Contributors

Cady, Michael
Herms, George, 1935-
Jess, 1923-2004
Nelson, Rolf


Container List

 

Rolf Nelson Gallery records

Box 1, 10

Arnoldi, Charles, 1971

Box 1, Folder 1

Papers and black-and-white photographs

Box 10, Folder 1

Color slides

Box 1, Folder 2

Artist Protest Committee, 1966

Scope and Content Note

Includes draft of prospectus for the Artists' Tower Against the War in Vietnam.
Box 1, 10

Baxter, Iain, 1966

Box 1, Folder 3

Papers and black-and-white photographs

Scope and Content Note

Some photographs were originally housed in a paper album.
Box 10, Folder 2

Color slides

Box 1, Folder 4

Business cards, undated

Scope and Content Note

Cards were originally housed in a card file.
Box 1, Folder 5

Chicago, Judy, 1966-1970

Scope and Content Note

Contains Rolf Nelson price list, various exhibition announcements, biographies, black-and-white photographs and clippings.
Box 1, Folder 6

Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, 1969-1972

Box 1, Folder 7

Collection, Rolf Nelson personal, 1970

Scope and Content Note

See also Farlin Street inventory.
Box 1, Folder 8

Collector's list, 1969-1971

Box 1, 9*, 10

Collins, Jess, 1964-1970

Scope and Content Note

Also known as Jess.
Box 1, Folder 9

Papers and correspondence

Box 9*, Folder 1

Oversize artwork

Box 10, Folder 3

Color slides

Box 1, Folder 10

Contracts, 1968-1971

Scope and Content Note

Includes Betty Asher consignment agreement.
Box 1, Folder 11

Corse, Mary, undated

Box 1, Folder 12

C file, 1969-1971

Scope and Content Note

Includes one postcard from Christo, a Noma Copley exhibition announcement and letters to Noma Copley.
Box 1, Folder 13

De France, James, 1965-1967

Box 1, Folder 14

De Miranda, Yvonne, 1971

Box 1, 10

Dine, Jim, 1960-1962

Box 1, Folder 15

Papers and clippings

Box 10, Folder 4

Color transparency

Box 1, Folder 16

Downey Museum of Art, 1965

Box 1, Folder 17

Edition Domberger, 1969

Box 1, Folder 18

Editions Press, 1969-1972

Box 1, Folder 19

Robert Elkon Gallery, 1964

Box 1, Folder 20

Farlin Street inventory, 1972

Scope and Content Note

Contains papers regarding Nelson's personal art collection and other belongings in relation to the property settlement agreement between Nelson and Gehry.
Box 1, 11*

Foulkes, Llyn, 1963, undated

Scope and Content Note

Contains artist biographies and contract. Includes photograph by Julian Wasser.
Box 1, Folder 21

Papers and photographs

Box 11*

Maquette

Scope and Content Note

Maquette for an invitation to the Llyn Foulkes exhibition at Rolf Nelson Gallery in 1963.
Box 2, 10

Freeman, Betty, 1970-1971

Box 2, Folder 1

Papers

Box 2, Folder 2

Black-and-white photographs

Box 10, Folder 5

Color transparencies

Box 2, Folder 3-4

Frumkin, Allan, and Allan Frumkin Gallery, 1962-1973

Box 2, Folder 5

F file, 1969

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence and papers regarding Ernest Fleischmann and correspondence with the Richard Feigen Gallery.
Box 2, Folder 6

G file, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Includes one letter to Patrecia Grieve.
Box 2, Folder 7

Hamrol, Lloyd, 1965-1966

Scope and Content Note

Contains artist biographies, a contract and black-and-white photographs.
Box 2, Folder 8

Hefferton, Philip, undated

Box 2, 7, 10

Herms, George, 1963-1968

Box 2, Folder 9-11

Papers, black-and-white photographs and original art

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter sent by Herms containing hair.
Box 7, Folder 1

Oversize

Box 10, Folder 6

Color slide

Box 3, Folder 1

Hirshorn, Joseph, 1967-1968

Box 3, Folder 2

Hoffman, Gary, 1968-1970

Box 3, Folder 3

H file, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence with Hansen Fuller Gallery.
Box 3, 10

Indiana, Robert, 1962-1973

Box 3, Folder 4

Papers and clippings

Box 3, Folder 5

Exhibition announcements

Box 3, Folder 6

Black-and-white photographs

Box 10, Folder 7

Color photographs and transparencies

Scope and Content Note

All the transparencies were photographed by Eric Pollitzer Color Photography.
Box 3, Folder 7

Jensen, Alfred, 1965

Box 3, 7, 10

Kaprow, Allan, 1960-1970

Box 3, Folder 8

Letters

Box 10, Folder 8

Color photograph

Scope and Content Note

The photograph, a portrait of Rolf Nelson with a child, was originally attached to an undated letter.
Box 7, Folder 2

Calendar

Scope and Content Note

Calendar of happenings, Days Off.
Box 3, Folder 9

Kaufman, Ray, 1969

Box 3, 9*, 10

Letters sent and received, 1953-1961

Scope and Content Note

Contains assorted letters the bulk of which were sent and received during Nelson's tenure at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Includes original art by Bölin and Cady.
Box 3, Folder 10-11

Letters (New York)

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter from Stan Vanderbeek.
Box 9*, Folder 2

Oversize letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters are from Michael Martin Cady.
Box 10, Folder 9

Color slides

Box 3, Folder 12

Mattox, Charles, undated

Box 3, 10

Nagle, Ron, 1969-1970

Box 3, Folder 13

Papers

Box 10, Folder 10

Color photograph

Box 8

Nelson, Rolf, 1964, undated

Box 4, 10

Nesbitt, Lowell, 1960-1969

Scope and Content Note

Includes one exhibition announcement with a 33 1/3 rpm record (D1).
Box 4, Folder 1-2

Correspondence

Box 4, Folder 3-4

Papers

Box 4, Folder 5

Clippings

Box 4, Folder 6-7

Black-and-white photographs

Box 10, Folder 11

Color photographs

Box 5, Folder 1

N file, 1969

Scope and Content Note

Contains letters sent to Mort and Arthur Neumann.
Box 5, 7, 10

O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1966-1969

Box 5, Folder 2

Papers

Box 7, Folder 3

Oversize clippings

Box 10, Folder 12

Color transparency

Box 5, Folder 3

Oldenburg, Claes, 1969

Box 5, Folder 4

Olodart, Mike, 1965

Box 5, 10

Partch, Harry, 1967-1969

Box 5, Folder 5-6

Papers and black-and-white photograph

Box 10, Folder 13

Color slides

Box 5, Folder 7

Petlin, Irving, 1964

Box 5, Folder 8

Printer materials, 1965

Scope and Content Note

Contains materials related to the printing of exhibition announcements and other ephemera from vendors. Includes mock-ups for some Nelson Gallery exhibition announcments.
Box 5, Folder 9

Saul, Peter, 1963

Box 5, Folder 10

Save the Museum Committee, 1965-1968

Scope and Content Note

Mostly comprised of bank statements.
Box 5, Folder 11

Sissor Bros. Warehouse, 1963

Scope and Content Note

Also known as Blink Works at Sissor Bros. Warehouse. The exhibition featured work by Robert Watts, Alison Knowles and George Brecht.
Box 5, Folder 12

Stevenson, Robert, 1966

Box 5, Folder 13

Assorted art historical clippings, 1969

Scope and Content Note

Clippings are not specifically related to Rolf Nelson or his Gallery.
Box 5, Folder 14

Assorted papers and black-and-white photographs, 1959-1968

Scope and Content Note

Includes photograph of gallery show May 1968, featuring Judy Chicago.
Box 6

Unidentified art object, undated

Scope and Content Note

Scroll by Judi.