Records document the William and Noma
Copley Foundation's grant program for composers and artists, 1954-1966. Richard Hamilton's
correspondence, 1960-1966, largely concerns the Foundation's monograph series, which he
edited. Other papers, including correspondence with artists, files regarding exhibitions and
insurance, and photographs, document the Copleys' personal art collection, known for its
large number of Surrealist works. Files dated after 1966 primarily contain Noma Copley's
correspondence with artists.
William Nelson Copley (1919-1996) was a Surrealist painter, art collector, and
philanthropist. He was born in New York and attended Yale University before being drafted
into the army and serving in Europe during World War II. After the war, Copley began
painting and partnered with John Ployardt, his brother-in-law from his first marriage with
Doris Wead, to run the short-lived Copley Galleries in Beverly Hills, California,
specializing in Surrealist art. When the business failed, Copley was obligated to buy most
of the art, which formed the basis of his private collection. He then moved to Paris around
1949, where he met his second wife, Noma (born Norma) Ratner.
4.5 Linear Feet
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