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Martha Jackson Gallery Archives

The Martha Jackson Gallery Archives comprise unique documentation of the Martha Jackson Gallery (1952-1969) with extensive correspondence between the gallerist Jackson and artists, curators, museum directors, collectors and colleagues; more than 120,000 black and white photographs illustrating every work of art that entered the gallery and installation photographs of every exhibition; all the sales records from this vital period with extensive bibliographical notes; thorough documentation of many exhibitions (press clippings, invitations, posters, reviews); slides recording opening receptions and other social events; portions of the gallery’s library; and promotional films produced by Martha Jackson’s company, Red Parrot Films, that document artists’ interviews and artists working in their studios. The University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery is undertaking professional assessment of the Martha Jackson Gallery Archives with plans to improve their storage and accessibility. With adequate notice, most of the archives are accessible with assistance from gallery staff. For more information or to schedule a research appointment please contact Nick Ostness, Registrar, UB Art Galleries.


A pioneering presence during the post–World War II American art scene, Martha K. Jackson was one of eight highly influential art dealers recognized by the Art Dealers Association of America on its 40th anniversary. She was born in Buffalo, but made her mark in New York City in the 1950s, at a time when few thought about buying original contemporary art. Jackson credited her grandfathers—highly successful businessmen—for her entrepreneurial spirit, and her paternal grandmother and uncle—an artist and a poet, respectively—for her interest in art and her career as a collector and gallery owner.

This astute businesswoman, willing to support art that was both unfamiliar and challenging, was committed to her artists and to educating the public about their work. Living modestly in the back room of her gallery, Jackson used family trust funds to acquire her first paintings and drawings. As she became more established, she sold works to expand her gallery, to support the artists she represented, and to build additional collections.

Imbued with a global perspective, Jackson actively exhibited artists from Japan and was one of the first to show significant women artists such as Grace Hartigan and Louise Nevelson. She gave several important artists their first solo shows in New York City, including Karel Appel, Christo, Jim Dine, Sam Francis, Adolph Gottlieb, John Chamberlain, Paul Jenkins, and Antoni Tàpies. She also showed Hans Hofmann, Willem de Kooning, Claes Oldenburg and Bob Thompson. These artists are now household names thanks to the legacy of Martha Jackson, a leader in the development of international modern art in America. She succeeded, in her own words, as “an art dealer whose primary role was that of a mediator between the artist and society.”