Will the Real Janet Sobel Please Stand Up?



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All texts copyright © Libby Seaberg, 2009

alone organized The Women, writing, “When Guggenheim’s gallery presented the 1945 show, ‘The Women,’ in which Janet Sobel’s work appeared, the jury included, besides Ernst and Guggenheim, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, James Johnson Sweeney, James Thrall Soby, and Howard Putzel.”33 Levin contends that this information about a jury came directly from Peggy Guggenheim’s memoir;34 however, Guggenheim wrote in her memoir that this jury selected the earlier, 1943, show Exhibition by 31 Women;35 she barely mentions the 1945 show in her memoir, saying simply that her gallery “also held several spring salons, gave another woman’s show, two collage shows,…”36 Moreover, Levin’s note 43 incorrectly says that Guggenheim’s memoir Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict, was first published in 1946 and reprinted in 1979.37 Actually, Guggenheim’s 1946 memoir was called Out of This Century: The Informal Memoirs of Peggy Guggenheim,38 and it was combined with Guggenheim’s 1960 Confessions of an Art Addict to be published, generally with real names rather than with its earlier pseudonyms, in 1979 as Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict.39 Conaty, however, writes that Peggy Guggenheim “had been in correspondence with David Porter, a friend and fellow gallery owner in Washington DC, about the development of another all-female show. David Porter was working on a similar project for his gallery and the two shared ideas about the artists chosen for their shows. In fact, many of the same artists exhibited in both shows, and Porter recalled Guggenheim’s telling him, ‘your show is mostly my show, I should get credit for it.’ Conaty’s note 22”40 Conaty’s catalog confirms that Janet Sobel’s work was exhibited in The Women at Art of This Century in 1945, but not in Conaty’s re-creation of the exhibition in 1997–98.41
            In another reference to Sobel’s work Milky Way, Levin fails to clarify Sobel’s exhibition chronology when she writes, “Until Milky Way was acquired by Rubin in 1968 and shown among the recent acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970, two decades had elapsed since Sobel’s work had been exhibited in New York City.42 Instead of citing here Sobel’s one-person show at Art of This Century in 1946, her most recent exhibition in New York City, Levin writes that “Sobel’s work had last been shown in ‘A Painting Prophesy’ at the David Porter Gallery, Washington, D.C. in 1950,”43 giving the exhibition’s wrong date, and in Sobel’s solo show “at Swain’s Art Store near30.html30.html30.html30.html31.html31.html31.html31.html31.html31.html31.htmlhttp://www.rr.com/flash/index.cfmshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5shapeimage_2_link_6shapeimage_2_link_7shapeimage_2_link_8shapeimage_2_link_9shapeimage_2_link_10