Surrealism for the Masses: Finds from the Art and Artist Files

    The world of modern art is at times criticized for a certain reputation of exclusivity and mystery in which the more inaccessible a certain artist or artwork may be, the more valuable and reputable the art becomes. Salvador Dali, the most famed member of the twentieth century avant-garde movement, Surrealism, on the other hand, challenges this perception that artistic creation is a closed-off affair for an elite few. Sure, Dali was no more »

Elaine de Kooning: Portraits in the Art and Artist Files

The National Portrait Gallery is currently exhibiting the work of Elaine de Kooning in the show Elaine de Kooning: Portraits, organized by Brandon Brame Fortune, the Portrait Gallery’s chief curator and senior curator of painting and sculpture. Elaine was an active member of the Abstract Expressionists in New York, a group known for a style defined by vivid colors, spontaneity and emotive strokes of thick, layered paint on monumental canvases. She married more »

Sinbad of the Coast Guard

This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. One of the things that’s wonderful about a library is the chance it provides to get lost down a rabbit hole, to discover something or someone you never heard about before, and bring it back up to light. One such rabbit hole I discovered last week started while shelving books at the National Museum of American more »

The Anniversary of Museum Cats Day – Cats in Art!

Almost a year ago, the Libraries celebrated “Museum Cat Day”, a social media celebration of cat-related objects in museums which was organized by  Culture Themes.  To see the Libraries’ contributions to Museum Cat Day, check out our Storify account of the action.  On the anniversary of such a fun social media event, we take a look at more cats in art!  This post was contributed by Ria Witteman, intern at the American more »

Katzenberger Internship: Art and Artist Files Research at the Hirshhorn and American Portrait Gallery Libraries

The inescapable question for any college senior is always some variation of “So, graduation is coming up soon, what you plan on doing with your future?” It seems that all other conversation topics must make way to this frightening yet incredibly relevant question.

Celebrate America with Gibson’s “Americans”

Charles Gibson (1867-1944) is one of the best known illustrators of the Gilded Age primarily due to his creation, the Gibson Girl, who became an icon of American beauty. As an illustrator he was talented in depicting relationships between men and women and submitted illustrations to such magazines as Harper’s Weekly, Life, and Harper’s Monthly. In 1890 he introduced a modernized beautiful female character with upswept hair, fashionable clothes, and imbued with more »

What’s in a Name? The Related Talents of Mark Catesby and Gertrude Jekyll

The Catesby Commemorative Trust launched the publication of The Curious Mister Catesby with a program at the National Museum of Natural History this past April. Smithsonian Libraries’ own Leslie Overstreet, a contributor to these various perspectives on Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (London, 1729-1747), spoke on that work’s long, complicated printing history. Another speaker, E. Charles Nelson, presented his research into the naturalist’s biography. His more »

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