Scope and Content of Collection
Title: E. Maurice Bloch papers
Date (inclusive): circa 1925-1989
Bloch, E. Maurice
45.0 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 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.
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
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
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,
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.
Subjects - Names
Bingham, George Caleb, 1811-1879
Bloch, E. Maurice
Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895
Mount, William Sidney, 1807-1868
West, Benjamin, 1738-1820
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery
New York University. Institute of Fine Arts
Tamarind Lithography Workshop
University of California, Los Angeles
Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
Virginia Steele Scott Gallery
Subjects - Topics
Art historians--United States
Art museum curators--United States
Art--Collectors and collecting--United States
Art--Study and teaching--United States
Cowdrey, Mary Bartlett, 1910-1974
Heilbron, Bertha L. (Bertha Lion), 1895-1972
Hirschl & Adler Galleries
Jones, Claude E.
Maxwell, George T.
Vose Galleries of Boston
Wayne, June, 1918-