William Woodville Rockhill’s Chinese Language Books

The article A Scholar Diplomat’s Legacy: William Woodville Rockhill and His Chinese Language Books at the Freer Gallery of Art Library, by Lily Kecskes, former Head Librarian of the Freer-Sackler Library, and published in the Journal of East Asian Libraries, number 146 (October 2008), describes an important donation in the history of the Freer-Sackler Library. The article details a 1927 gift of precious and rare Chinese language books to the Smithsonian Institution more »

Da, De, Di, Du, La, Le, Van, Von…

—This post was written by Elsa Miller, Spring 2016 intern at the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG).  The American Art and Portrait Gallery Library  (AA/PG) has an extensive vertical file collection, consisting of 150,000 files on more than 75,000 artists and institutions. These Art & Artist Files contain ephemera such as newspaper clippings, brochures, exhibition announcements, and magazine articles and are frequently used to answer reference questions. As an actively-used more »

From Charlie Parker to Potato Chip Portraits: Exhibition of Recently Acquired Artists’ Books

The Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library is pleased to present an exhibition of some of its recently acquired artists’ books in the Library’s Reading Room. The books, all acquired in the last two years, range from mass-produced publications to unique, hand-made book works. The artworks show a range of subjects, from the very personal, family stories, to the cult of celebrity.

Ramayana of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

This post was written by Leila Prasertwaitaya, a library specialist working at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hidden amongst the Freer | Sackler Library’s much larger collections on East Asian, South Asian and Islamic art is a small gem-like group of books on Thai art and architecture.  Many of these books are in Thai, but with their magical illustrations of Dvarapala (guardians), gold-painted, bell-shaped chedi, five-headed stone nagas, a 70 cm. tall bronze Buddha more »

American Art and Portrait Gallery Library Celebrates their Volunteers and the Allentown Art Museum Vertical File Donation

April is volunteer appreciation month and the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library would like to take the opportunity to highlight both the completion of a project as well as the volunteers that made it happen. The Allentown Art Museum donated their collection of artist vertical files to the AAPG Library in early November 2014 that consisted of ephemeral materials related to nearly 4,600 artists. The AAPG library was especially interested more »

“Color in a New Light” puzzle now available

On view in the National Museum of Natural History until March 2017, the exhibition Color in a New Light explores the theme of color through Smithsonian Libraries collections. Now you can take some vibrant color home with the Color in a New Light puzzle, produced with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and manufactured by Galison.

Newcomb Pottery – An Educational Experiment for Women Artists

I’ve been a fan of Newcomb pottery since I first saw an example on the Antiques Roadshow more than a decade ago. Currently I have the opportunity to see Newcomb pottery every day — three pieces are featured in an art pottery and glass exhibit at the National Museum of American History, the building where I work. Simple forms, lovely colors and nature motifs make Newcomb pottery very appealing and highly collectible. But there’s more »

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