Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Archives related to: Sotheby’s (Firm)

titleJacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978 (bulk 1913-1974)
repositoryArchives of American Art
collection titleThe records of art gallery Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., include extensive gallery correspondence files, reference files on American and European collectors and their collections, gallery inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies, including de Hauke & Co., (later Modern Paintings, Inc.), and Gersel Corporation (records for firms Tessa Corp. and Georges Haardt & Co. are not found). Included within the collection are Germain Seligman's personal correspondence, writings, and records relating to his private art collection. The records primarily document the gallery's business after becoming established in New York under the direction of Germain Seligman, but also include records of the Paris office, providing a comprehensive view of the activities and transactions of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.

The largest series, Correspondence (80 ft.), includes general correspondence of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., primarily when Germain Seligman directed the firm and the New York office. Correspondents include U.S. and European clients, artists, collectors, museums, dealers, galleries, shippers, U.S. and foreign government agents, bankers, and insurance firms.

Also found are personal correspondence of Germain Seligman; legal correspondence and other documentation concerning specific and general legal affairs (including attempts to recover Seligmann family and gallery artwork stolen in Paris during WWII); abstracts of letters sent; a small group of outgoing correspondence; correspondence of staff and agents Theresa D. Parker, Clyfford Trevor, and Rolf Hans Waegen; and inter-office memoranda.

Series 2, Collector's Files (35 linear ft.), document the firm's extensive system of tracking important clients and collectors in the art world. Files contain descriptions or artwork, sale prices, locations, and photographs of work owned by individuals as well as major American and European museums. Included in this series are files documenting the firm's involvement with the Duc d'Arenberg Collection, the Clarence H. Mackay Collection, Mortimer L. Schiff Collection, and the Prince of Liechtenstein Collection; and additional files and notebooks relating to collectors and collections.

Auction and Exhibition Files trace the sales and exhibition activities undertaken by the firm. Reference Files includes a card catalog to books and catalogs in the firm's library, and a photograph reference index to works.
Financial Files and Shipping Records consists primarily of records of the New York office, and includes purchase receipt files, credit notes, invoices, consignment invoices and books, invoices, consular invoices, sales and purchase account books, ledgers, and tax records.

The De Hauke & Co. Inc. records, 1925-1949, contain records of the firm's largest subsidiary. Included are correspondence, administrative and legal files, and financial records. The records of the firm established to incorporate most of de Hauke & Co.'s stock, Modern Paintings, Inc., include legal and financial files.

Germain Seligman's Personal Papers series includes scattered family and biographical material; research and writing files for his books, Roger de La Fresnaye, with a Catalogue Raisonne (1969), Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty Years of Professional Collecting (1961), The Drawings of Georges Seurat (1947), and Oh! Fickle Taste; or, Objectivity in Art (1952), and other writings and articles, including those co-authored with his wife, Ethlyne J. Seligman; documentation on his personal art collection, photographs of family members, and the Paris gallery.
extent203 linear ft.
formatsCorrespondence Financial Records Inventories Photographs Notes
accessUse of original papers requires an appointment
record linkhttps://www.aaa.si.edu/files/resources/finding-aids/pdf/jacqself.pdf
record sourcehttp://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/jacques-seligmann--co-records-9936
finding aidPublished finding aid available (279 p.): Finding Aid to the Records of Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1904-1978. Electronic finding aid available at http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/findingaids/jacqselc.htm
acquisition informationDonated 1978-1979 by Mrs. Germain Seligman, daughter-in-law of Jacques Seligmann. Additional material was acquired in 1994 through the Estate of Mrs. Seligman. The Paris archives of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., were destroyed by the Seligmann staff in 1940 to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Nazis.
updated09/12/2019 15:29:21
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