Skip to main content

Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak Papers

Identifier: MSS -1002-BC

Scope and Content

The collection contains Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak’s personal papers and correspondence; art appraisals and inventories, exhibits and galleries, and reviews of their shows and clippings; the Mandelman-Ribak Foundation’s Oral History Project; and several folders of documents contributed by Mary Fuller-McChesney and Phyllis Dorset. The Mandelman-Ribak Foundation’s folder descriptions determined, in large part, the categories used for series and subseries placement. The collection consists of 5 series parsed into several smaller subseries. Mandelman and Ribak’s personal papers and art-related documents overlap in all of these areas; however, the Contents list identifies materials when they are specific to one of the artists.

Series 1: Personal Documents. Folders contain such as legal documents, health-related documents and journals.

Series 2: Correspondence. Folders contain Mandelman’s and Ribak’s correspondence and arranged alphabetically by sender. Correspondence between Bea and Louis can be found under “Mandelman, Bea.”

Series 3: Art Related. Folders contain documents directly related to Mandelman’s and Ribak’s bodies of work. Subseries 1 includes formal appraisals and inventories of their artwork and includes the year the art was produced along with an appraisal. Subseries 2 includes exhibits and galleries Mandelman and Ribak worked with. Subseries 3 includes clippings and reviews of their artwork and is arranged in chronological order.

Series 4: Mandelman-Ribak Foundation Oral Archives History Project. Folders contain transcripts of 44 oral histories conducted by Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. The individuals Dreishpoon interviewed for the Mandelman-Ribak Foundation were artists and contributors to the art’s culture in Taos. Oral histories are arranged in alphabetical order.

Series 5: Related Material. Folders contain documents related to the Taos moderns. Subseries 1 includes materials donated by Mary Fuller-McChesney and Subseries 2 includes materials donated by Phyllis Dorset.


  • 1902-2014

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Beatrice Mandelman (1912-1998) and Louis Ribak (1902-1979) moved to Taos, New Mexico in the 1940s and were part of a group of artists referred to as the Taos Moderns. Mandelman was born on December 31, 1912 in Newark, New Jersey. In the 1930s, she attended Rutgers University, the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and the Art Students League in New York City. From 1935 to 1942, Mandelman worked as a muralist and printmaker for the Works Progress Administration. By 1941, Mandelman’s works were in included in exhibitions at the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Louis Ribak was born in Lithuania in 1902. At the age of 10, he immigrated with his family to New York City. In 1922, Ribak attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and he studied with John Sloan at the Art Students League in 1923 and at the Educational Alliance in 1924. In the early 1930s, Ribak had several solo exhibitions at the A.C.A. Gallery in New York. In 1933, Ribak assisted Diego Rivera on the mural for the lobby of the Rockefeller Center; and in 1935, he worked for the Works Progress Administration as a muralist.

Mandelman and Ribak met at a dance sponsored by the Artists Union, and in 1942 they married. That same year, Ribak was drafted for military service, but honorably discharged two years later due to asthma. In 1944, the couple traveled west to visit Ribak’s mentor and teacher, John Sloan in Santa Fe. They decided to settle in Taos. In the 1940s, Taos was a well-known art community, but there were no galleries exhibiting modern art. In 1947, Mandelman and Ribak founded the Taos Valley Art School where they taught until it closed in 1953. Their home served as a gathering place for an informal group of artists who began calling themselves the Taos Moderns, including Edward Corbett, Agnes Martin, Oli Sihvonen, Clay Spohn and Andrew Dashburg. In the 1950s, Mandelman, Ribak, and other local artists organized two artist cooperative galleries, The Ruins Gallery and the Taos Artists’ Association which ran the Stables Gallery. Upon Mandelman’s death in 1998, the Mandelman-Ribak Foundation was established with the mission to preserve and perpetuate the artistic legacies of these two influential artists and support the work of future generations in the University of New Mexico’s art programs, museums and libraries.


8 boxes (7.5 cu. ft.)


The collection contains Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak's personal papers, art-related documents, and the Mandelman-Ribak Foundation's Oral Archives History Project.

Processing Information

Inquire with reference staff for access to unprocessed material, 8 boxes, B3-4A. Researcher must sign unprocessed collection use form. Ask reference staff for additional information. Taos oral history tapes being digitized as of 2/14/24.
Finding Aid of the Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak Papers, 1902-2014
Barbara Korbal
© 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131