The American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has close to two hundred artists’ books in its collection, many of which have been featured here in past blog posts. However, this collection continues to grow and new books are selectively added. Many come through donations, but others are purchased to support the collection’s theme of “American Lives, American Stories.” Most of the works in the artists’ book collection feature American book artists and have biographical elements or touch upon the American experience. Continue reading
Anything that comes into being by way of human creativity and artistic expression often includes imperfections. Sometimes the flaws are so subtle that they go unnoticed by everyone but the perfectionistic artist laboring over their creation. The process of making art, especially artists’ books, requires a great deal of emphasis on attention to detail (if you ask almost any book artist); there are many opportunities for mistakes along the way. Slurring at Bottom: A Printer’s Book of Errors (2001), was conceived by book artist and publisher Robin Price. Continue reading
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.
Golden Noble, Lord Derby, Devonshire Quarrenden, Gravenstein, Ellison's Orange . . . what are these you might ask? They are varieties of apples that can be found in The new book of apples by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards with paintings by Elisabeth Dowle (available in the Libraries' Botany and Horticulture Library.)
"The watercolours, which were commissioned to illustrate this book, were painted by the distinguished botanical artist Elisabeth Dowle. They took four years to complete as each fruit and blossom was painted from life. The varieties are shown both as they grow on the tree, and as they appear when full ripe."
Many other books on apples can be found in the Libraries—from the Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library, the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd, Library of Natural History to the Vine Deloria, Jr. Library, National Museum of the American Indian, which has in its collection Johnny Appleseed man & myth by Robert Price.—Ninette Dean (who also took the photo)