Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More about Albert Freeman

Caroline Cargo, an art dealer in Pennsylvania, was kind enough to send additional information about efforts to learn more about the artist Albert Freeman, who lived in Lowell, Mass. Her father, Robert Cargo, acquired Freeman's work from a dealer when Cargo operated a folk art gallery in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Here's part of Caroline's message:

“The dealers were the Elliotts (Elliott and Elliott), and my dad knew them through the Heart of Country antiques show in Nashville. I believe they moved to Michigan some time after he had originally been in contact with them, and he did correspond with them after their move.

After purchasing the Freeman collection, he held on to them as an intact collection, not offering any of them for sale while he was off and on trying to discover more information. I think it was sometime after 1992 / 1993 when he finally decided to begin showing some of them in the gallery. By that time, he had tried following up on all the leads available to him. Here's that story:

My dad bought the Freeman collection of 185 works from the Elliotts in 1984. The Elliotts had purchased the collection from Kurt Suntheimer (Akron). Prior to the time my dad bought that large collection, Joel Kopp (America Hurrah/ NYC) had a group of about 40 pieces. Then Carl Hammer in Chicago showed a small collection of Freeman works in May 1985, which my dad understood was consigned to him from the remaining set of works that Joel had not previously sold. My dad knew that Joel did buy from Suntheimer from time to time. When he visited with Joel in NYC around that time (1985ish), Joel told my dad that he knew Freeman had lived at 22 Canada Street in Lowell (or maybe #21), and that the area was filled with boarding houses. My dad doesn't know how Joel had found out the specific address. Interesting to look at a googlemaps satellite image for that address.

In 1984, after purchasing the collection, my dad sent a request to the public library in Lowell to get a photocopy of the page of the local phone book with entries for "Freeman." Made calls to those 5 or 6 numbers, but didn't turn up any information. In June 1985, my dad sent a letter to the editor for publication in the LOWELL SUN, describing the works and asking readers to help with identifying Albert Freeman. No response. In 1992, my dad was in contact by phone and mail with Suntheimer again about the Freemans, hoping Suntheimer could fill in the gap with information about where he had acquired the Freemans, but didn't find out anything more in those conversations.

My dad guesses that the collection probably originally came on the market following Freeman's death, so a couple of years ago, I searched the Social Security Death Index records for "Albert Freeman" using a last address in Massachusetts. There are 7 listings in a search using those broad parameters. Two of those Albert Freemans died in the 1970's in Massachusetts.”

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