Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

Smithsonian's Archives of American Art ​The Archives of American Art is the world’s preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America.
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Since 1954, the Archives has collected roughly 16 million letters, photographs, diaries, oral history interviews, sketches, scrapbooks, business records, and other documents that support the study of the history of the visual arts in America. Smithsonian Privacy Statement: http://www.si.edu/privacy/ Smithsonian Terms of Use: http://www.si.edu/termsofuse/

Closing out the week with this gem of a #Polaroid taken by painter and collage artist #RayYoshida.📸: Detail of a Chicago...
04/24/2020

Closing out the week with this gem of a #Polaroid taken by painter and collage artist #RayYoshida.
📸: Detail of a Chicago shop window, between 1972 and 1981. Ray Yoshida papers, circa 1895-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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#ChicagoImagaists #PolaroidWeek #SpringPolaroidWeek #SX70 #Tooth #HandPaintedSign #WindowArt #Chicago #ArchivesOfInstagram #Archives #ArtArchives

✉️New this week on #ParisLetters Smithsonian Transcription Center: expat African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1...
04/24/2020

✉️New this week on #ParisLetters Smithsonian Transcription Center: expat African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)! Tanner studied in Paris in the 1890s before moving there permanently around 1900.

Tanner studied art under Thomas Eakins in 1880, before working unsuccessfully as a photographer and teaching art briefly. In 1891, he studied at the Académie Julian under Jean Joseph Benjamin-Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens, and in 1894, his art began receiving favorable reviews in Paris. Tanner began specializing in bible imagery, even traveling to Palestine to refine his technique. Around 1899, Tanner’s work began to be recognized in the US, and he returned to live there a short time, but racist attitudes in the art world persisted, and he eventually moved back to Paris with his wife. He remained there the rest of his life, only occasionally returning to exhibit his works in the US.

Visit https://s.si.edu/3bACKSF to transcribe Tanner's letters! Or visit https://s.si.edu/3e7CbSa for new correspondence files from Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and William Cushing Loring! ✉️📝

📷: Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1907

✉️ Thanks to our #volunpeers at Smithsonian Transcription Center! In the last 2 weeks you transcribed our entire digitiz...
04/23/2020

✉️ Thanks to our #volunpeers at Smithsonian Transcription Center! In the last 2 weeks you transcribed our entire digitized collection of Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) letters! We couldn’t do it without you! #ParisLetters 🎈🎉🎈

Realist painter and art instructor Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) moved to Paris in 1866, where he studied painting with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for three years, and briefly with sculptor Augustin-Alexandre Dumont and painter Léon Bonnat. After he returned to the US to paint portraits, he became the Director of Instruction at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1882. While at the Academy, he promoted a curriculum based on the study of the human figure, and began using photography as a method of study for his paintings. A dispute over the use of nude models forced Eakins to resign from the Academy in 1886, but he continued painting and exhibiting until his death in 1916.

Visit https://s.si.edu/3e7CbSa to see his transcribed correspondence, or https://s.si.edu/2Vu1fLY to see the fully digitized collection on our website!

📷: Thomas Eakins by George and William H. Rau, undated.

"All the world's a stage" if only we were all as well-dressed as the Howard University Players in these costumes designe...
04/23/2020

"All the world's a stage" if only we were all as well-dressed as the Howard University Players in these costumes designed by artist and educator Alma Thomas.

Today is #ShakespeareDay, which commemorates William Shakespeare's birth in 1564.

George Catlin, Alexandre Hogue, Allen Tupper True, Alan Gussow, Mel Chin, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, and Athena Tacha ...
04/22/2020

George Catlin, Alexandre Hogue, Allen Tupper True, Alan Gussow, Mel Chin, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, and Athena Tacha (whose work is pictured here) are among the many artists whose engagement with the environment is documented in AAA collections and explored in the current issue of the Archives of American Art Journal. Happy Earth Day!

In 1982, #AgnesDenes planted and harvested two-acres of wheat on the Battery Park landfill in Manhattan. This environmen...
04/22/2020

In 1982, #AgnesDenes planted and harvested two-acres of wheat on the Battery Park landfill in Manhattan. This environmental artwork, titled "Wheatfield--A Confrontation," was created as a protest against climate change and economic inequality. 📸: A shaft of wheat from "Wheatfield." Ellen Hulda Johnson papers, 1872-1994, bulk 1921-1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
https//:s.si.edu/EHJSeries7 #EarthDay2020 #EarthOptimism

We mourn the passing of William H. Bailey, the Kingman Brewster Professor Emeritus of Art at Yale University, who also s...
04/18/2020

We mourn the passing of William H. Bailey, the Kingman Brewster Professor Emeritus of Art at Yale University, who also served on the Archives’ Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2009.

In his oral history interview from 2012 for the Archives, Bailey recalls visiting Yale as a prospective student and his first encounter with Josef Albers: “I had this same little envelope of drawings, and a few black and white photographs of paintings that I had done... He looked at the things, and he proceeded to give me the most ferocious critique I’d ever had in my life. I was stunned…He just ripped into things!…And finally, he said, ‘Okay, I take you!’ I hadn’t been applying. I mean, I just was there to find out about things. He said, ‘I take you.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute! How much does it cost?’ He said, ‘I don’t know–ask the secretary.’”

To check out the full oral history interview transcript with William Bailey from October 10, 2012-December 5, 2012, click here: s.si.edu/2XXNh6P

📸William Bailey in his Yale Studio, Street Hall, circa 1975. Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson. Jerry L. Thompson papers.

#williambailey #stilllifepainting #americanart #yaleartgallery

✉️New this week on #ParisLetters Smithsonian Transcription Center: painter Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890)! Bunker stud...
04/17/2020

✉️New this week on #ParisLetters Smithsonian Transcription Center: painter Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890)! Bunker studied in Paris in the 1880s before returning to the US to exhibit and teach in Boston. In Paris he attended the École des Beaux Arts, where Jean-Léon Gérôme was his teacher, and graduated in 1885. Bunker met Eleanor Heady and married her in 1890, but became ill soon after and died at age 29.

Visit https://s.si.edu/2KbOtes to transcribe Bunker's letters to his friend, Joseph Evans! Or visit https://s.si.edu/3e7CbSa to check out new correspondence files from Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and William Cushing Loring!✍️

📷: Dennis Miller Bunker, circa 1886

👏👏👏Thank you to all 259 #volunpeers at Smithsonian Transcription Center who transcribed, reviewed, and made 2372 pages o...
04/17/2020

👏👏👏Thank you to all 259 #volunpeers at Smithsonian Transcription Center who transcribed, reviewed, and made 2372 pages of #WomensHistory in the arts accessible in the past year!👏🎈🎉

Thanks to our #volunpeers, the experiences and voices of Cecilia Beaux, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Anna Coleman Ladd, Grace Mott Johnson, Esther Baldwin Williams, Alma Thomas, Betty Parsons, Esther McCoy, Lilian Swann Saarinen, Anna Walinska, Emmy Lou Packard, Lee Krasner, and the women of the Woman's Building, will be heard.

#Volunpeers, we couldn't do it without you.

Visit https://s.si.edu/2whBeFv to see the complete projects!

📷: Lee Krasner at WPA Pier, circa 1942, by Fred Frater.

Art critic and writer Elizabeth McCausland (1922-1965) would have turned 121 today. A general reporter in Springfield, M...
04/16/2020

Art critic and writer Elizabeth McCausland (1922-1965) would have turned 121 today. A general reporter in Springfield, Mass. early in her career, McCausland focused on art criticism, art history, and studies of artists starting in the 1930s. She also organized exhibitions, including a retrospective of photographer Lewis Hine at the Riverside Museum in 1939. In the late-1930s, McCausland collaborated with the photographer Berenice Abbott on the Federal Art Project book, Changing New York, for which she provided the text to Abbott's now-famous photographs of New York City neighborhoods, architecture, and street scenes.

McCausland was a tireless promoter of the arts, and even though her work was well-known among certain art circles, she never received the recognition as a writer that she deserved. Nor was she ever able to free herself from the pressure of writing for a living.
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📸 1: Photograph of Elizabeth McCausland and Gertrude Stein (original missing), 1934. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995.

📸 2: Elizabeth McCausland in New Mexico, 1941. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995.

📸 3: Telegram to Elizabeth McCausland from Georgia O’Keefe, 1935. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995.

📸 4: Notes from a trip made by Elizabeth McCausland and Bernice Abbott. “Log,” 1935. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995.
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#hbd #womeninthearts #becauseofherstory

Emmy Lou Packard, painter and muralist photographed here holding letter from Instituto Nacionale De Bellas Artes, was #B...
04/15/2020

Emmy Lou Packard, painter and muralist photographed here holding letter from Instituto Nacionale De Bellas Artes, was #BTD in 1914. Celebrate her birthday and legacy by exploring her digitized papers: http://s.si.edu/2FX8TZf

We are celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with Chicago surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie! She had many jazz great...
04/13/2020

We are celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with Chicago surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie! She had many jazz greats in her inner circle. One of her closest friends was Dizzy Gillespie, shown hugging here in a snapshot taken in 1964. This list of “adorable musicians” from her papers includes those who visited or stayed in her home, such as Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins. Explore more in her papers: s.si.edu/2VbU5um 🎺🎶🎤🎹🎵🎨🖌️
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Images: 1. Dizzy Gillespie and Gertrude Abercrombie, 1964. 2. List of jazz musicians who visited Gertrude Abercrombie's home, circa 1963. Both from the Gertrude Abercrombie papers. #JazzAppreciationMonth #JAM #JAM2020 #JazzInTheArchives

Spring is in the air! And we couldn't resist sharing this gem with you 🌷🐰🐈 ___Anne Arnold's cat, Stubbs, and one of her ...
04/12/2020

Spring is in the air! And we couldn't resist sharing this gem with you 🌷🐰🐈
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Anne Arnold's cat, Stubbs, and one of her bunnies in Maine, circa 1970. Photograph by Anne Arnold. Arnold papers, circa 1925-2015.

They’ve been spoiled with attention while we’ve been home, but hey, it’s National Pet Day. Today we’re showing tons of l...
04/11/2020

They’ve been spoiled with attention while we’ve been home, but hey, it’s National Pet Day. Today we’re showing tons of love to our animal friends. Use them as your muse, wear them on your back, hold them like an accessory, or do like Jackson Pollock and join your pet crow in a staredown. This year we’re extra grateful for our furry and feathered companions.
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📸 1: Jackson Pollock with his pet crow, Caw-caw, circa 1947. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, circa 1905-1984.

📸 2: Photograph of Geraldine Tam sketching outdoors with a cat, 1946 August 23. Reuben Tam papers, 1931-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

📸 3: Guillermo Zamora. Diego Rivera holding a dog, 194?. Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985.

📸 4: Bob Brooks, Anne Arnold with Cristy, circa 1987. Anne Arnold papers, circa 1925-2015.
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#nationalpetday #petfriendly #workfromhome

“…There are things that happen in painting that don't get talked about as such very often, that I've noticed. Paintings ...
04/10/2020

“…There are things that happen in painting that don't get talked about as such very often, that I've noticed. Paintings have, color has pulses and those pulses can lead you from one dimension to another dimension to another dimension. A stain painting, as an example, can cause you to follow a color into another color to another color, by juxtaposition, by the difference of transparency, of matteness, warmth, coolness. So that different colors have an accumulation of these pulses and give you a different kind of general resonance in a painting. So, I have been very interested in being able to see into these pulses in a different way. The chevrons suited that purpose for me as a general layout…” -Oral history interview with Kenneth Noland, conducted July 1-16, 1987 by Avis Berman.

#botd in 1924, Kenneth Noland was one of the best-known Color Field painters. Noland taught night classes at the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, where he met the group of artists known as the Washington Color School painters. Check out his oral history interview on our website. #colorfield #americanart #kennethnoland #americanpainter
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📸Kenneth Noland in his studio, 1965. André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers, 1929-2008.

✉️ Looking to get away? ✉️ Join us today as we launch the Letters from Paris transcription project at Smithsonian Transc...
04/10/2020

✉️ Looking to get away? ✉️ Join us today as we launch the Letters from Paris transcription project at Smithsonian Transcription Center! Many American artists traveled to Paris, France, to study, live, and work, and wrote letters home to family, friends, and business partners about their lives there. They wrote about everything from copying the masters in the Louvre, to studio visits with famous painters, to the night life, and in some cases, to their military service during World War I.

During the next several weeks, the Archives of American Art is featuring correspondence from 13 expat American artists in #Paris 1860-1930 at our project page https://s.si.edu/3e7CbSa. The first set, including letters from Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and William Cushing Loring, is live. We’ll be updating the project frequently, so keep checking back to see new artists and new correspondence files! And don't forget to check out the fully-digitized collections these letters come from on our website at https://s.si.edu/2yRwkjR!

Help our #volunpeers transcribe these materials, and make the small but influential world of expatriate American artists in Paris more accessible! ✍️

📷: William Cushing Loring illustrated letter to Parents, 1901 July 14, by William Cushing Loring.

#Tbt to our floral-filled exhibition from last spring “Bloom: Flowers in the Archives of American Art.” View this sketch...
04/09/2020

#Tbt to our floral-filled exhibition from last spring “Bloom: Flowers in the Archives of American Art.” View this sketch of apple blossoms and other beautiful spring flowers in the virtual exhibition available on our website. This particular sketch is by the landscape painter Edward Gay (1837-1928). He lived and worked in Mount Vernon and Cragsmoor, New York and was known for his works depicting the local countryside of upstate New York and the Hudson River Valley. We hope you enjoy this sunny spring day! ☀️🌷🌻
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Edward Gay, Sketch of apple blossoms, 18-?. Edward Gay and Gay family papers, 1852-1983. #spring #flowerpainting #museumbouquet

Today we offer you a very brief respite, in the form of beer-related material and in conjunction with National Beer Day....
04/07/2020

Today we offer you a very brief respite, in the form of beer-related material and in conjunction with National Beer Day. Here’s to getting back to what Allan Fish called “the highest form of art” (when it’s safe, of course).
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📸 1: Five people in costume at a Munich beer house, 192?. Hans Hofmann papers, circa 1904-2011.

📸 2: Allan Fish, THE ACT OF DRINKING BEER WITH FRIENDS IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF ART, not before 1970. Lucy R. Lippard papers, 1930s-2010.
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#nationalbeerday #americanart #archive

Happy Birthday to painter and sculptor, Max Ernst! Photographed by Robert Bruce Inverarity in 1949. #ArchivesAmericanArt...
04/02/2020

Happy Birthday to painter and sculptor, Max Ernst! Photographed by Robert Bruce Inverarity in 1949. #ArchivesAmericanArt #archives #ArtArchives #MaxErnst #RobertBruceInverarity 🎂🎁🎈🎉

📸 Robert Bruce Inverarity papers, circa 1840s-1997.

April is National Garden Month! Need some inspiration? Check out this page of George Tooker's garden notes.#NationalGard...
04/01/2020

April is National Garden Month!
Need some inspiration? Check out this page of George Tooker's garden notes.
#NationalGardenMonth

Painter, assemblage, and collage artist Janice Lowry was born this day in 1946 and kept elaborate visual journals like t...
03/30/2020

Painter, assemblage, and collage artist Janice Lowry was born this day in 1946 and kept elaborate visual journals like this one. I wonder what her birthday to-do list had on it…

Happy Birthday, Janice Lowry! https://s.si.edu/janicelowryjournal

#JaniceLowry #WomensHistoryMonth #ArchivesAmericanArt#Archives #Journals #ArtistBirthdays

Ruth Jett (1920-2014) was an art administrator and Director of the Cinque Gallery in New York. Born and raised in Alabam...
03/28/2020

Ruth Jett (1920-2014) was an art administrator and Director of the Cinque Gallery in New York. Born and raised in Alabama, she attended Miles College in Birmingham before moving to Harlem. Jett worked with the Committee for the Negro in the Arts, overseeing early productions by several Black playwrights including William Branch, Alice Childress, Ossie Davis, and Julian Mayfield. She held a variety of positions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notably managing the Fellowships in Diplomacy program for a number of years. Jett served on the Cinque Gallery Board of Directors and was appointed Executive Director in 1989, serving in that position until the early 2000s. When the gallery closed in 2004, she then worked with the Romare Bearden Foundation on the Cinque Artists Program to continue the gallery's legacy and commitment to supporting artists.

Check out the digitized Cinque Gallery records on our website, generously funded by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation s.si.edu/2KWFhvl
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Photograph of Ruth Jett, 196-?. Ruth Jett papers, 1914-2014. #WomensHistoryMonth #womeninthearts

Ana Mendieta submitted this artwork--'Microscopic view of the umbilical cord'--in response to a 1976 questionnaire: "Wha...
03/27/2020

Ana Mendieta submitted this artwork--'Microscopic view of the umbilical cord'--in response to a 1976 questionnaire: "What is Feminist Art?" The prompt was originally distributed by Ruth Iskin, Lucy Lippard, and Arlene Raven. In 2019, curator Mary Savig re-distributed the question among living original respondents as well as dozens of younger artists working today for the Archives of American Art's Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery. The exhibition brings together these inter-generational responses to a still relevant question and is digitized on our website, perfect for viewing from home!

#anamendieta #whereisanamendieta #archivesofamericanart #americanart #feministart #feminism #arthistory #exhibition #becauseofherstory #archivesofinstagram

Detail of Ana Mendieta's "Microscopic view of the umbilical cord," 1976. Woman's Building records, 1970-1992.

We mourn the passing of philanthropist Nanette L. Laitman, who died on March 23, 2020.  Her vision and generous support ...
03/25/2020

We mourn the passing of philanthropist Nanette L. Laitman, who died on March 23, 2020. Her vision and generous support funded a massive, 12-year project in partnership with the Museum of Art and Design to conduct 235 oral history interviews of key figures in American craft (full transcripts linked here: s.si.edu/2vNC4d5) and a national initiative to collect the papers of prominent artists working in clay, glass, fiber, metal, and wood. Through her enthusiasm for our work and her passion for contemporary craft, Nanette L. Laitman made an unparalleled contribution to preserving the individual voices, collective memory, and primary records documenting the history of American craft. Her legacy lives on at the Archives of American Art.

#womeninthearts #americancraft

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Since 1954, the Archives has collected over 20 million letters, photographs, diaries, oral history interviews, sketches, scrapbooks, business records, and other documents that support the study of the history of the visual arts in America. Smithsonian Privacy Statement: http://www.si.edu/privacy/ Smithsonian Terms of Use: http://www.si.edu/termsofuse/

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Remembering Mail Art. enjoy.
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This is a show I'm not going to miss. Flowers in American Art, on from now till October in Washington, DC
ART150, a collective of over 20 artists living and working at 150 Bay Street, the historic landmark building in the heart of downtown Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District (PAD), will hold a public group art exhibition the weekend of May 5th & 6th, 12:00-6:00 PM This is a free event. Shipping Station, 58x36 inches, Graphite on canvas
Una revista muy especial! Thank you for your awesome writing! Shalom