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Alfred Moir Papers

Identifier: MS.041

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of files relating to Alfred Moir's personal art collecting and his research. Photographs or photocopied images of artwork and Moir's notes make up the bulk of the materials, along with correspondence, invoices and receipts, drafts, copies or offprints of publications, and ephemera relating to gallery or museum exhibitions.

Personal collection files include notes, photographs and sales records for his collection of Old Master drawings (or works he was studying for possible acquisition). Artists included are primarily from Italy, along with France, the Netherlands, Austria, and England.

Files for his academic research focus on Italian baroque paintings and drawings. Moir's research on Caravaggio and his followers (including Battistello Caracciolo, Leonello Spada, and Valentin de Boulogne) makes up a large portion of the research files. Other prominently featured artists include Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Bartolomeo Manfredi. Moir's research on Anthony Van Dyck is not reflected in this collection. Other research files pertain to architecture, sculpture, artistic themes, or the works of a particular museum, gallery or private collection.


  • Majority of material found within Bulk, 1960-1990
  • 1939-2003


Access Restrictions

These records are open for research by appointment under the conditions of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives Access Policy. For all inquiries or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Archives Department at

Biographical Note

Alfred Moir, art historian and collector, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1924. The son of a medical doctor, Moir served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 before attending Harvard University for his baccalaureate and graduate degrees. While pursuing his graduate studies, Moir spent time as a Fulbright fellow at the University of Rome and teaching at Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, eventually earning his doctorate from Harvard in 1953 with a thesis on the influence of Caravaggio in Italy.

Moir taught as an assistant professor at Tulane University until 1962, when he moved west to join the Department of Art and Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as a specialist in Italian baroque art. Moir spent the rest of his academic career at UCSB, serving as chair of the department from 1963 until 1969 and becoming an important figure in the growth of the department and the University Art Museum.

Moir began collecting art early in life, purchasing prints and drawings during trips to Europe in the late 1940s, and continuing to collect a variety of works through the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1970s, Moir focused his collecting on Old Master drawings because quality acquisitions were available within his budget (particularly when his professional expertise enabled him to determine attributions for unidentified or misidentified works). The majority of drawings were purchased from private dealers in Rome, London, and New York, and later from Sotheby's and Christie's London auction houses.

Moir retired emeritus from UCSB in 1991 but stayed on to serve as an Adjunct Curator at the University Art Museum. In the following years he continued to publish his research and expand his personal art collection, while also serving as Consulting Curator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Moir died in 2010 at the age of 86.

Significant publications related to this collection include Caravaggio and His Followers (1967), Caravaggio and his Copyists (1997), and Caravaggio (1982 and 1989). Moir also contributed to or edited other books and catalogs, including Master Drawings from the Collection of Alfred Moir published by the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2000.

Sources consulted:

Sorensen, Lee. "Moir, Alfred [Kummer]." Dictionary of Art Historians. 7 Aug. 2014.

Keller, Ulrich. "Alfred Moir: 1924-2010: Art Professor and Collector." Santa Barbara Independent. 22 Feb. 2011.

Campbell, Richard J., and Jane Immler Satkowski, eds. Preface and Introduction to Master Drawings from the Collection of Alfred Moir. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.


16.25 Linear feet (33 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers and research files of art historian and collector Alfred Moir (1924-2010), containing photographs, research notes, correspondence, writings, and documents relating to his personal art collection. Art collecting content emphasizes Old Master drawings, while research content focuses on Italian baroque art, particularly the work of Caravaggio and his followers.


This collection is arranged in six series:

Series I: Art Collecting

Series II: Artist Files

Series III: Caravaggio Research Files

Series IV: Drawing and Prints Research

Series V: Other Art Research

Series VI: University of California, Santa Barbara

Unless otherwise noted, files are arranged alphabetically. Within folders, items have been kept in their original order.


Bequest of Alfred Moir, 2011.

Separated Materials

Photographic negatives and transparencies have been removed to cold storage for preservation.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Alexanne Brown, 2014.

Finding Aid for the Alfred Moir Papers, 1939-2003.
Finding aid prepared by Alexanne Brown.
© 2014 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives Repository

10 East 71st Street
New York NY 10021 United States