Clouds come to the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

November 13, 2013

Through the generosity of a donor (who is also on the staff of the Smithsonian Libraries!), the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG Library) is pleased to announce a new addition to its artists’ book collection: Cumulus by Thomas Parker Williams.

Field of Vision: Artists Books in the Smithsonian Libraries

September 19, 2013

This summer, three of the Smithsonian Libraries art libraries, the Hirshhorn Library (HMSG), the African Art Library (AfA), and the American Art Library/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) have hosted an intern through the Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship Program. Each library has a collection of artists’ books and has been working to provide better access and exploring ways that the collections may be used. This year, under the coordination of Anna Brooke more »

Downtown Progress, 1960-1977

August 16, 2013

  This post was contributed by Kaitlyn Tanis, intern at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library. Walking around downtown Washington, D.C. (located between the Capitol and the White House) is always a sight to behold. Between the grand marble buildings, the throngs of tourists, museums, and the vast number of restaurants, downtown D.C. represents the diversity and beauty of the city. However, the area was not always a thriving tourist destination.  Pre- more »

Christo Captivates a Full House at the Hirshhorn

This post was contributed by Rita O’Hara, library technician at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library. At the March 27th public program “Meet the Artist” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Christo engaged a full house in the Ring Auditorium with discussions of two current projects: Over the River,  a 5.9 mile expanse of fabric panels which will be temporarily suspended over 42 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado, and The Mastaba, a new permanent sculpture reportedly the largest in the world to be situated near Abu Dhabi.  After showing images of his projects, Christo was very entertaining and gracious in answering any question from the audience.

Engineering Prints and Drawings from the Collection of Edward E. White

This post was contributed by Lilla Vekerdy, Head of Special Collections. On December 19th, 2012 an unusual gift arrived to the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology in two huge crates. The cargo did not look like, nor was it packed as  books, more like art work. Naturally, the shipment was not a surprise: its arrival had been preceded by a year’s worth of correspondence, administration, a trip to pack and ship, and several phone calls about the material.

Lines and Lines and Points: Artists’ Books by Sol LeWitt

Though American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) worked in every media, he is known best for his wall drawings and series of investigations of lines, colors and shapes. If you have ever been to an exhibition of LeWitt’s wall drawings, you’ll agree there is a sense of awe (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”) mixed with a sense of vertigo (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”).

Joseph Keppler and “Puck”

 This post was written by Elizabeth Brunner, an intern at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library September-December 2012. Joseph Keppler was the predominant political cartoonist of the late nineteenth century. His creation of the magazine, Puck, in 1877 brought him into a national position that allowed him to influence people’s political views and opinions. The magazine featured cartoon and caricature lithographs created by Keppler. The National Portrait Gallery is fortunate enough to own a few of Keppler’s lithographs from the height of his fame during the early 1880s. However, as a bibliophile, I was far more excited to discover that the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library owns one of the 300 copies of a limited-edition book that features some of Keppler’s best lithographs. Published in 1893, this book served Puck as an advertising tool and as a way to promote Keppler’s lithographs and talent.

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