List of sales at the Hansa for 1956–1958
|Poster for the Green Gallery’s first group show
The name of the gallery came from a brainstorming session by Bellamy and fellow art dealer Ivan Karp. For Bellamy the word green suggested fecundity, newness, and, possibly, money. At the same session they came up with the names O.K. Harris, which Scull rejected, and Oil & Steel, which Bellamy would use twenty years later.
|Installation view of the Green Gallery
Photograph by Rudy Burckhardt
c. 1961 [II.B.30]
Pictured are works by Claes Oldenburg, Philip Wofford, Richard Smith, and Yayoi Kusama.
Poster for Claes Oldenburg [Pat]
This was Oldenburg’s first solo exhibition uptown and the first time he exhibited his soft sculpture. As many as four pieces from the show entered MoMA’s collection, including Floor Cone and Floor Cake, both made in 1962.
Pop art gained wide public exposure beginning in 1963. But despite the immense cultural impact of the movement, there were only a few serious collectors who regularly purchased larger works. Robert Scull was becoming one of the best known, though his support of the Green Gallery was not widely advertised. George Segal’s first show at the Green Gallery immediately followed Mark di Suvero’s debut. Scull disliked his work so much that he wanted Bellamy to fire Segal from the gallery. Bellamy urged patience, and Scull later became a collector and even a subject of Segal’s work.
Poster for the 1964 exhibition George Segal, featuring an image of Gas Station (1963)
Atmospheric photographs of Segal’s sculptures were used on numerous posters for Green Gallery group shows and for his solo exhibitions.
February 21, 1964 [II.B.32*]
The Segal work pictured is Farm Worker (1963) and was likely shown in the 1964 Segal exhibition.
Summary of Segal sales
Receipt for Bus Driver (1962)
The Museum of Modern Art was a major collector of Pop art, among a few other museums, but Bus Driver was the only one of Segal’s sculptures the Museum purchased from the Green Gallery.
In 1964 Robert Scull withdrew his financing of the Green Gallery. The gallery had never been profitable, and it could not sustain the growing practice of paying artists advances on sales or otherwise financially supporting them. The last season of the Green Gallery featured solo exhibitions by Lucas Samaras, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, and Tom Wesselmann, but few, if any, of the works sold. By the spring of 1965, the gallery was forced to close. For many the closure came as a surprise. In 1966 critic Amy Goldin wrote that the art world felt that “Bellamy had to be either incompetent or the victim of high-powered machinations.”
|Poster for the exhibition L. Poons
This was Larry Poons’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Receipt for fluorescent lights
Receipt for steel fabrication
In 1986 Bellamy said that the Green Gallery had closed because “I finally couldn’t afford new materials and supplies for [the artists], especially someone like Judd, who had started to work in metal rather than wood.”
|Installation view of group show
Photograph by Rudy Burckhardt
This was the last group show staged at the Green Gallery before it closed.
With the closure of the Green Gallery, Bellamy worked hard to place his artists with Leo Castelli, Sydney Janis, and other prominent galleries. He moved into a small office in the Noah Goldowsky Gallery and began a new career as an independent dealer. But Bellamy remained close even with artists he no longer represented. He also sought out new artists and became Richard Serra’s first dealer after meeting him in Europe. For Bellamy the fifteen years between the closing of the Green Gallery and the opening of his new gallery, Oil & Steel, were occupied mainly by private sales and shared commissions on sales and exhibitions at other galleries.
Letter from Dan Flavin to Richard Bellamy
August 24, 1965 [III.A.22]
Flavin discusses his Guggenheim grant proposal, describing new ideas for artwork as well as his precarious financial position. He writes, “Besides logically bringing my use of fluorescent light further into the range of environmental ‘sculpture,’ I would like to be after a more advanced technological sense of artificial light.” He adds, “P.S. Dick, Don wrote to me that you are concerned about helping me find gallery representation. . . . Certainly, I can use help.”
Letter from James Rosenquist to Richard Bellamy
September 16, 1965 [III.A.52]
Rosenquist writes from Nevada, “I heard about the timeless closing of the Green Gallery and want to elect you to D. Miller’s job at the Museum of Mod. Art where I think you might have been all the time except for reality.”
Richard Serra’s remembrance of Richard Bellamy, read at his memorial service
May 13, 1998 [IV.3]
Installation view of the Noah Goldowsky Gallery
Photograph by Geoffrey Clements
Bellamy recollected, “Sometimes, willy-nilly, I would hang a show from what Noah had in stock, but often there would be nothing on the walls. I was trying to operate as a private dealer, which is what the space and my own inclinations were suited to.”
Investment Piece, by Lee Lozano
August 14, 1969 [III.A.55]
Postcard from artist Lee Lozano to Richard Bellamy
September 23, 1969 [III.A.55]
Lozano had appeared in group shows at the Green Gallery but later declined regular gallery representation as her artwork grew more conceptual. In the instructions for a similar work, Withdrawal Piece of February 8, 1969, she wrote, “Pull out of a show at Dick Bellamy’s to avoid hanging with work that brings you down.”
In 1980 Bellamy awoke from what he termed a “seven-year lethargy” and founded the Oil & Steel Gallery, at 157 Chambers Street. He devoted exhibitions to many of his friends from previous decades, but he considered himself the personal dealer of only Myron Stout, Mark di Suvero, and David Rabinowitch. In 1983 he gave di Suvero his first exhibition in New York since a 1975 show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1985 Bellamy moved the Oil & Steel Gallery out of Manhattan to Hallet’s Cove, in Long Island City, Queens, and into the compound housing di Suvero’s studio. There he stopped having regular exhibitions and increasingly devoted his time to supporting di Suvero’s career. He also honed his photography of di Suvero’s sculpture, a skill that became a unique source of artistic output. Bellamy maintained Oil & Steel Gallery until his death, in 1998.
Copy of lease for gallery and office space at 30–40 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City
Mark di Suvero artist’s statement
c. 1984 [III.N.58]
This statement was written for di Suvero’s 1985 exhibition at Storm King Art Center, in Mountainville, New York. Bellamy played a significant role in organizing exhibitions of the sculptor’s work around the world.
Announcement of Richard Bellamy’s memorial service
May 13, 1998 [IV.2]
The memorial was held at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, in Long Island City, an institution Bellamy had helped found, near where he last resided. Speakers included Agnes Gund, Richard Serra, Mark di Suvero, Alfred Leslie, Ivan Karp, and James Rosenquist.
This exhibition is supported by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
The Richard Bellamy Papers were processed with the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.
Additionally, this exhibition would not have been possible without the help of numerous individuals within The Museum of Modern Art. I relied heavily on the expertise and judgment of Michelle Elligott and Michelle Harvey in conceiving and installing the exhibition. Tom Grischkowsky, Roberto Rivera and James Kuo helped in securing images; Jennifer Tobias graciously lent items from the Museum Library; Julianna Goodman, Rebecca Roberts, Allegra Burnette and Lotte Meijer edited and designed the wall text labels, video monitor images, and Web site; and Sarah Ganz coordinated the entire process. Thank you all.
Finally, I wish to thank Miles Bellamy for safeguarding his father's papers. This exhibition is testament to Miles's continuing stewardship of Richard Bellamy's legacy.