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Otto Kallir Collection

Identifier: AR 4666

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Otto Kallir provide a significant insight primarily into his personal experience during World War I. Kallir describes his whole military period beginning with his drafting in 1916 from Vienna, his fighting encounter with the Italians and the Russians, his shifting to and from the various fronts as well his return from the Italian Front in 1918.

The additional collection material covers a wide range of family history-related documents. The memoirs of Magdalene Breisach, Henriette von Motesicky and George de Worms detail on the one hand the background of the Kallir family in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and their wide relations to prominent Austrian figures. Also included are also some manuscripts and articles on the Gallery St. Etienne which Kallir opened in Vienna and Paris and later under the name of Neue Galerie in New York.


  • 1907-1999
  • Majority of material found within 1916-1918


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Otto Kallir was born in Vienna, Austria on April 1st 1894 as Otto Nirenstein. He changed his name to Kallir in 1933. He studied engineering at a technical college from 1918 to 1920 and went on to study art history from 1927 to 1931. He finished with a dissertation on Beiträge zur Vischerforschung in 1931. The anti-Semitic legislation passed after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938 as well as his open endorsement for the Schuschnigg Government forced him to emigrate to France in 1938. Only one year later he left for the United States.

Kallir developed an early interest in art and design. He founded the publishing house Neue Graphik in 1919. From 1921 to 1923 he was head of the art department at the Rikola publishing house in Vienna. In 1938 he founded Gallery St. Etienne which he reopened in New York in 1939. The gallery became well known for the works of Austrian and German expressionists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. Kallir also provided Grandma Moses her first one-woman exhibition which was a major push for her later career. Otto Kallir died on November 30, 1978.


0.5 Linear Feet


The collection documents portions of the life of the art dealer and publisher Otto Kallir (originally Otto Nirenstein). It contains papers on his military career from 1914 to 1918 as well as an extensive volume of his war diaries. Enclosed are also the memoirs of various family members documenting family history. Finally there is a small amount of correspondence from Otto Kallir and family members.


The collection is on two reels of microfilm (MF 1119):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/15
  2. Reel 2: 1/16 - 1/19

Related Material

Related material will be found in the John Kallir Collection (AR 25081), located at the LBI Archives.

Guide to the Papers of Otto Kallir (1894-1978) 1907-1999 AR 4666 / MF 1119
Processed by Momme Schwarz
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from OttoKallir.xml

Revision Statements

  • September 2011.: Microfilm inventory added.
  • February 06, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States