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Bloch (E. Maurice) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: E. Maurice Bloch papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1925-1989
    Number: 910003
    Creator/Collector: Bloch, E. Maurice
    Physical Description: 45 Linear Feet (87 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The papers span the life and career of American art historian, professor, curator and collector, E. Maurice Bloch, from his student days in New York City to his retirement in Los Angeles (bulk ca. 1935-1989). It includes extensive correspondence, research and lecture notes, syllabi, photographs, lists, manuscripts, minutes, reports, and clippings, detailing his principal interests (George Caleb Bingham and Benjamin West, and collecting), and his associations with institutions (Virginia Steele Scott Gallery, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, University of California, Los Angeles) as well as with art students, historians, artist friends, colleagues, and dealers.
    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

    E. Maurice Bloch, American art historian, professor, curator and collector, was born in New York City, October 26, 1916, the only child of immigrant parents. His mother, who studied to be a singer, was from Austria; his father was a businessman, born in Holland. His parents, particularly his mother, encouraged and supported Bloch's interest in art.
    Bloch enrolled at New York University, first as an undergraduate in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, then as a graduate student in the Institute of Fine Arts, for which he wrote a dissertation on George Caleb Bingham (not completed until 1967).
    He taught at the University of Missouri (1944-1945), NYU's Washington Square Campus (1945-1946), and the University of Minnesota (1946-1947). He was curator of prints at Cooper Union Museum (1952- ca. 1957). His employment at the University of California, Los Angeles began in 1956 and lasted until 1982 when he retired. During his tenure at UCLA, Bloch also served as a curator with the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, from which he also retired in 1982.
    Beginning in 1975 Bloch served on the board of the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation, and as the Second Vice President for Art helped transform what had been an eclectic, private collection into a public collection of American art (now the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery at the Huntington Library). Bloch was involved with the Western Division of the Archives of American Art since the early 1980s, and helped negotiate a cooperative arrangement between the AAA, the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery and the Huntington Library.
    His scholarly interests were in American art. The majority of his completed projects concern George Caleb Bingham. He wrote his dissertation on Bingham and the catalog raisonné of Bingham's paintings (1967, revised edition 1986), a catalog raisonné of Bingham's drawings (1975), numerous articles, and curated at least three exhibits of Bingham's work. His other large project, never completed, was his work toward a catalog of Benjamin West's paintings.
    Bloch's own collecting interests ranged widely. His personal collections contained paintings, drawings (including those by West), stamps, illustrated sheet music, and autographs, although he limited himself primarily to American artists, illustrators and topics.
    Bloch never married. He maintained an extraordinarily close relationship with his mother and father, who lived with him after he moved to California, until their deaths.
    The Oral History Program at the University of California, Los Angeles published an oral history of E. Maurice Bloch in 1991 from interviews conducted by Bernard Galm in 1987. Bloch died December 1989 in Los Angeles.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    E. Maurice Bloch Papers, ca. 1925-1989, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 910003.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1991, with additional material received in 1993.

    Processing History

    After Bloch's death in 1989, his archive was moved from his home to a warehouse. It was acquired by the Getty Research Institute in 1991. Although there was some disarray among his papers, his filing system was for the most part preserved. Books received with Bloch's papers are in the Getty Research Institute Library. Of his collections, the Getty Research Institute acquired only the panorama exhibits ephemera collection. Neil Hathaway processed and arranged the archive in 1992, with assistance from Jocelyn Gibbs. Hathaway and Gibbs wrote this finding aid.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The E. Maurice Bloch papers (45 linear ft.) document his graduate studies in art history at New York University, touch on his work as a curator at Cooper Union and the Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts (the University of California, Los Angeles), and address his teaching and research through extensive correspondence files, student lecture notes and syllabi, and research notes, photographs and manuscripts for articles and lectures.
    His interest in American art, and intensive research on George Caleb Bingham and Benjamin West in particular, are evident in the archive's research papers which include correspondence, notes and manuscripts. His association with, and the subsequent development of the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery (at the Huntington Library) are well documented through meeting minutes, correspondence and in-house reports. There is very little personal material in the collection, although his letters (he kept carbon copies of most of his letters) to dealers, artist friends and colleagues reveal the cast of his personality and interests. A few personal documents fill in scant details of his life and his drawings and sketchbooks display an early interest in art. His own collecting interests are revealed in his large clippings file and extensive correspondence with dealers about his wants lists. His personal collections of paintings, drawings, autograph letters and printed materials, were not acquired by the Getty, except for his collection of panorama exhibits ephemera, which may be consulted in the Getty Research Library, Special Collections.

    Arrangement note

    The Papers are organized in 9 series: Series I. Correspondence, 1941-1989; Series II. New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, 1936-1988; Series III. Teaching materials, 1945-1982; Series IV. George Caleb Bingham research, 1943-1989; Series V. Benjamin West research, 1821-1987; Series VI. Research on 19th-century art, 1945-1987; Series VII. Curatorial and advisory positions, 1953-1989; Series VIII. Bloch's personal collection, 1935-1989; Series IX. Personal and miscellaneous files, 1920s-1970s.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Bloch, E. Maurice
    Mount, William Sidney, 1807-1868
    Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895
    Bingham, George Caleb, 1811-1879
    West, Benjamin, 1738-1820

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Virginia Steele Scott Gallery
    Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
    University of California, Los Angeles
    Tamarind Lithography Workshop
    New York University. Institute of Fine Arts
    Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

    Subjects - Topics

    Art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
    Art -- Study and teaching -- United States
    Art historians -- United States
    Art museum curators -- United States
    Art, American
    Drawing -- United States -- Exhibitions


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