Scope and Content of Collection
Title: E. Maurice Bloch papers
Date (inclusive): circa 1925-1989
45 Linear Feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
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.
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Language: Collection material is in
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
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
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
E. Maurice Bloch Papers, ca. 1925-1989, Getty Research Institute, Research Library,
Accession no. 910003.
Acquired in 1991, with additional material received in 1993.
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.
The Papers are organized in 9 series:
Series I. Correspondence, 1941-1989;
Series II. New York University, Institute of Fine Arts,
Teaching materials, 1945-1982;
Series IV. George Caleb Bingham research, 1943-1989;
Series V. Benjamin West research,
Research on 19th-century art, 1945-1987;
Series VII. Curatorial and advisory positions, 1953-1989;
Series VIII. Bloch's personal
Series IX. Personal and miscellaneous files, 1920s-1970s.
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
Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
University of California, Los
New York University. Institute
of Fine Arts
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art
Subjects - Topics
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
Art -- Study and teaching -- United States
Art historians -- United States
Art museum curators -- United States
Drawing -- United States -- Exhibitions
Vose Galleries of
Maxwell, George T.
Jones, Claude E.
L. (Bertha Lion), 1895-1972