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Finding Aid for the Mandell Gallery records, 1979-1982
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Mandell Gallery records
    Date (inclusive): 1979-1982
    Collection number: 1836
    Creator: Mandell Gallery
    Extent: 12 document boxes (6 linear ft.)
    Abstract: The Mandell Gallery exhibited contemporary art made from materials previously associated with a craft tradition, such as fiber, hand blown glass, and ceramic art. It was located in Los Angeles, California and established, owned, and operated by Elizabeth Mandell, running from 1979 through 1982. The collection contains the gallery's administrative financial documents, exhibition information, and artists' files for artists whose work was exhibited and sold by the gallery. Artists' files contain sales records and numerous slides and photographs of artwork.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    The Mandell Gallery archives were given to the Edith R. Wyle Research Library of the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) in June 1997 after the death of the Gallery's owner and director, Elizabeth Mandell, who was a CAFAM trustee. The Mandell Gallery files were subsequently transferred, along with the CAFAM records, to the UCLA Library in 1997.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Linda Klouzal in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Joan Benedetti and Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2009.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Mandell Gallery records (Collection 1836). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6386632 


    The Mandell Gallery was a contemporary craft gallery in Los Angeles that operated from 1979 - 1982. The Gallery held its inaugural exhibition on November 30, 1979, displaying the work of eight artists. During an active life of two and one-half years, the Mandell Gallery primarily showed works by glass, fiber, and clay artists of international stature. Among its activities the gallery hosted exhibitions, including opening receptions; sent out invitations; arranged publicity; connected potential buyers to artists; and conducted and tracked sales of artists' work. The Mandell Gallery had a reputation for presenting quality exhibitions and maintaining good relationships with artists. The early 1980s was a significant period for many of these artists, who were beginning to command prices comparable to other established contemporary sculptors. The gallery's final exhibition closed on July 11, 1982. Some sales were made through the middle of November, but the latter exhibition was the gallery's last public event. In an interview in Fiberarts magazine, Elizabeth Mandell cited time demands and a need for larger quarters as factors that contributed to her decision to close the gallery. The gallery's library and archives were subsequently transferred to the Craft and Folk Art Museum.
    The gallery's director and owner, Elizabeth Mandell, was a long-time patron of the arts. Born in San Francisco in the early 1930s, a fourth-generation Californian, Mandell earned a master's degree at Harvard University and was a consultant for database systems for government and nonprofit agencies. In her work with arts groups, she served on the boards of the California Junior Symphony; the Los Angeles Ballet; California Design, an organization to support designers and craftspeople; and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. She played an active role at the Craft and Folk Art Museum and at the time of her death in June 1997 was involved in efforts concerning the disposition of the Craft and Folk Art Museum's library and archives, which would close later that year.

    Scope and Content

    The Mandell Gallery Records include administrative documents relating to gallery events and exhibitions; artists, their artwork, and sales; and financial transactions. The gallery's printed documents pertain to gallery exhibitions and include invitations, "letters to friends," press releases and reviews, clippings about the gallery and Elizabeth Mandell, and sample stationery. There is also a file with information about the gallery's history, including a copy of the publicity card and release about the Gallery's inaugural exhibition, a copy of the obituary of Elizabeth Mandell, select correspondence from 1997, and an article in which Mandell is interviewed along with other directors of small craft galleries.
    Of particular note are numerous slides of artwork within groupings by media type: clay, glass, and fiber. There are also two sets of artists' files. There are no artists' files for glass artists, which appear to have gone missing at some point. There are a smaller number of files for artists working with other media including metal, wood, baskets, books, jewelry, quilts, and rugs. One set of artists' files is labeled general information and contains materials artists initially submitted for gallery consideration, including a curriculum vita or resume, lists of slides and exhibitions featuring the artist's work, and a small number of slides or photos of artwork. General Information files also include correspondence, press releases, and cards on exhibitions of the artists' work shown by the Mandell Gallery. A second set of artists' files contains sales information for each artist and includes correspondence between artists and Elizabeth Mandell or her assistant. These files also contain documents relating to the sale of the artists' work, including title and description, amount received for the art, the gallery's commission, and name of the buyer. Some of these files also contain slides of the artist's work. There are also files pertaining to information requests for artists' work. One file contains correspondence with the director of California Design, a dues-paying organization created to support designers and craftspeople, of which Elizabeth Mandell was a member of the board of directors.
    Financial documents include such items as records of customer interest in and purchases of artists' works; a sales record inventory on each artist arranged by media, fiber, clay, and glass; a loose-leaf general ledger with gallery accounts for expenses, sales, and taxable income; and Scriptomatic cards containing what appears to be the gallery's mailing list, color coded to indicate the following categories: promotion, gallery/school/museum, designer/design firm, purchaser, artist, and customers. Of the original set of 3,268 Scriptomatic cards, a sample set of two from each color-coded grouping were retained.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is divided into two series. Series 1, Financial Documents, contains materials on customer purchases, artist's sales, the mailing list Scriptomatic cards, and the gallery's general ledger. Series 2, Exhibitions and Artists, is the largest series and contains the public history documents for the gallery, the artists' slides, and the artists' files. Documents are roughly in reverse chronological order within folders.
    Materials about artists are organized into sections by media, principally glass, fiber, and clay and folders are in alphabetical order by artist's last name. Within the Exhibition and Artists series, artists' files (files about artists) are divided into two groups, one set labeled general information and another labeled sales information. There are also general information files for artists working in other media. Another section comprises information requests for artists' work. The last section comprises a folder with documents about California Design.
    Information on artists may be located in one or more of five different places within the two series of this collection: in the "financial documents" series artist information is located in the sales record inventory of artists' work; in the "exhibitions and artists" series artist information is located in the gallery's public history folders; the folders containing slides of artists' crafts; the general information folders for each artist; and folders containing information about sales of individual artists' artwork.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Mandell Gallery

    Related Material

    The Mandell Gallery Records, along with the Southern California Designer Crafts Records, were given to the Craft and Folk Art Museum. When the Craft and Folk Art Museum Records were donated to and processed at UCLA, three collections were created:
    1. Southern California Designer Crafts Records  
    2. Mandell Gallery Records
    3. Craft and Folk Art Museum Records.  
    For a complete description of the Southern California Designer Crafts Records and the Craft and Folk Art Museum Records, please see separate finding aids under these titles.