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Dwan Gallery Publications and Ephemera, 1960-1971
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dwan Gallery publications and ephemera
    Date (inclusive): 1960-1971
    Number: 2012.M.37
    Creator/Collector: Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Physical Description: 12 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 3 flatfile folders, 1 roll)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    Business Number: (310) 440-7390
    Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Dwan Gallery records document the two galleries that Virgina Dwan ran in Los Angeles and in New York, and which promoted artists associated with earthworks, nouveau réalisme, minimalism, and conceptual art. In the early sixties, Dwan introduced Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Yves Klein to Los Angeles. Upon her move to New York in 1965, Dwan also exhibited Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer. The records consist of publications and ephemera, such as announcements, posters, and catalogs for the exhibitions held at the galleries.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Virginia Dwan conducted and operated galleries in Los Angeles (1959-1967) and in New York (1965-1971). Born in 1931 and heir to the Minnesota, Mining and Manufacturing fortune (now 3M), Dwan first worked for the art dealer and gallerist Frank Perls in Beverly Hills. In 1959 she opened a gallery at 1091 Broxton Avenue in Westwood Village in Los Angeles. At first, she exhibited the work of abstract expressionists from New York. After traveling to France and discovering the art of the nouveaux réalistes, she also promoted their work in solo and group shows. She introduced Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Yves Klein to Los Angeles.
    In June 1962, Dwan opened a new and expanded space at 10846 Lindbrook Drive, also in Westwood Village, which was designed by Morris Verger, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was inaugurated with an exhibition on the French assemblage artist Arman, one of the founders of nouveau réalisme. Two months later, the show, My Country 'Tis of Thee featured works by Andy Warhol, Marisol, and Claes Oldenburg. During this period, Dwan also promoted the artists Edward Kienholz, Niki de Saint Phalle, Mark di Suvero, and James Rosenquist.
    Dwan, who was independently wealthy, was known for her generosity. She maintained close relationships with many of the artists she exhibited, often granting them large stipends or inviting them to her home in Malibu. She was not interested in achieving financial success as an art dealer or gallerist and could take risks in the artists she chose to work with.
    In 1965, Dwan moved to New York and founded the east coast branch of her gallery at 29 West 57th Street. When she closed her Los Angeles space, its director, John Weber, joined her in New York where the gallery commissioned and exhibited post-minimalist, earthwork and conceptual artists such as Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, and Dennis Oppenheim. Virginia Dwan's New York gallery is often credited as the first to exhibit an earthworks show in 1968, as well as underwriting projects and serving as the movement's headquarters. Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty was partially financed by the gallery in 1970. After closing the gallery in 1971, Dwan produced films with and about artists, and later donated her art collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Dwan Gallery publications and ephemera, 1960-1971, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2012.M.37

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Virginia Dwan. Acquired in 2012 and 2013.

    Processing History

    The archive was rehoused by Vladimira Stefura upon receipt in 2011. It was arranged and described by Maggie Hughes in 2012 under the supervision of Andra Darlington. Two additional posters were donated in 2013 and integrated into the collection in 2018. Notes in the finding aid were updated in 2022.

    Related Materials

    - Dwan Gallery Archives, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
    - Dwan Gallery Archives, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
    - Oral history interview with Virginia Dwan, 1984 March 21-June 7, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The archive is comprised of 57 items that document exhibitions held at the Dwan galleries from 1960 to 1971 in Los Angeles and in New York. They consist of ephemera and publications, such as exhibition catalogs, fliers, pamphlets, and posters.


    Items are arranged chronologically by exhibition date. Files are labeled with the artist's name, the title of the exhibition, and the exhibition date. If the title of the exhibition was the artist's name, it has been omitted.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Snelson, Kenneth, 1927-2016
    Andre, Carl, 1935-
    Arakawa, Shūsaku, 1936-2010
    Flavin, Dan, 1933-1996
    Kienholz, Edward, 1927-1994
    LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007
    Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967
    Smithson, Robert

    Subjects - Topics

    Conceptual Art
    Earthworks (Art)
    Minimal art
    Art, Modern -- 20th century

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Fliers (printed matter)
    Exhibition catalogs


    Dwan, Virginia
    Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Dwan Gallery (New York, N.Y.)