Federal Art Project material in the Vertical Files

This post was written by Kate Wilson, a 2012 spring intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG Library). I have background and work experience in both library and archival science – I’ve worked equally in both types of institutions and enjoy the hands-on, primary resources I find in archival work but the interaction, service, and reference I get from working in libraries. The AAPG Library’s Art & Artist File combine my love of primary documentation and reference work, and it is in this unique collection that I found a trove of original promotional materials for the short-lived Federal Art Project, the fine arts arm of the Works Project Administration.

Charles Loring Elliott carte-de-visite – AA/PG Library

Charles Loring Elliott (born Scipio, NY, 1812; died Albany, NY, 1868) At the time of his death, Charles Loring Elliott was one of the most well-known American portrait painters of the mid-19th century. The artist vertical file at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library contains several contemporaneous multi-page eulogies and/or reminiscences on Elliott’s life and career. In 1867, Henry Tuckerman claimed that Elliott had painted almost 700 portraits – a truly prolific life’s work if indeed true.

New Addition to AAPG’s Artist Book Collection

The Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library is pleased to acknowledge the donation of the artist book Florence by Laura Davidson. The book was donated by a library staff member and can be found in the online catalog.   Florence, Laura Davidson. 2003. The AAPG Library has a collection of artist books (a book or book-like object that is intended as a work of art by its creator) and currently has a display of examples in the reading room. An interview with the book artist Laura Davidson has been featured previously on this blog. The AAPG previously had 5 books by this artist in its collection, but not any of her tunnel books.   Florence, Laura Davidson. 2003.   A tunnel books consist of a set of pages bound with two folded accordion strips and viewed through a central hole in the cover. The pages consist of a series of illustrations cut in different shapes and placed one behind the other. Openings in each of the pages page more »

ARLIS/NA Art Librarians visit the Libraries

Last month the Smithsonian Libraries hosted the fall meeting of the Washington DC, Maryland & Virginia Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). Close to 30 art and architecture librarians from the region came for a day of learning about some of the initiatives spearheaded by the libraries balanced with an exhibition and library tour at the Freer/Sackler.     Erin Rushing, the Digital Images Librarian and Social Media Co-Chair for SIL gave a presentation about the Libraries’ social media initiatives. Recently a working group was organized in order to coordinate SIL’s outreach through social media. Social media gives SIL the opportunity to connect directly with SIL’s users, fans, and friends, as well as to connect with each other while allowing staff and users to easily and quickly share information, generate ideas, and participate in discussions.  With initial focus on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter, strategies and goals for each platform are being developed adapting what works best. Since this group effort is still new and evaluation more »

New & Notable Additions to the AA/PG Library

The Smithsonian American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG) would like to share some of its recent additions to its collections

New & Notable Additions to the AA/PG Library

The Smithsonian American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG) would like to share some of its recent additions to its collections.

Artist’s Books on Display at the AAPG Library

This installation is part of a larger project to discover and highlight the artists’ books in the Smithsonian Institution’s art libraries. A team of Smithsonian Institution librarians and interns is analyzing the accessibility of the collection through the library catalog; investigating new ways to explore the collection through digitization and social media.

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