December 1st is the 170th birthday of William Henry Holmes, the Smithsonian’s own Renaissance man. Early in the Smithsonian’s history, Holmes served as the head of the Anthropology Department and later the first director of what would become the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Starting today, we’re celebrating his legacy.
Recently, you may have heard about the ways art from the Hudson River School has been a source of inspiration for new artistic works. Well, the luminous landscape paintings have inspired us, too. In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to highlight a couple of African American artists with ties the school. These artists have paintings in the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection as well as an Art and Artist Files more »
~This post was written by Katherine Williamson, an intern at the American Art/ Portrait Gallery library. As part of my work as an American Art/Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) intern, I answer reference questions from patrons that involve some type of research, either within our collection or using online sources that the library subscribes to. One of the most interesting reference questions I have received actually came from our Head Librarian, Doug Litts. Through his own research involving the original location of the AA/PG library – Room 331 of the main museum building – he came across a list of paintings, a marble bust and a cast iron sculpture, that were located in what was known as the NCFA/NPG Library when it was housed in the museum. Through circumstances unknown to us, those artworks were never transported to the Victor Building when the library moved here in 2000. He became very interested in the history of the artworks, as well as where they are now, and recruited me to help him more »
Come hear George Oates, Lead for Open Library, and Nancy Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, talk about the future of libraries, archives and museums in a digital world.
Grant Wood, most famously known as the painter of American Gothic, became one of the United States’ most famous artists in the 1930s when the canvas made its splash at the Art Institute of Chicago’s forty-third Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture.
It was July 9, 1962, when Andy Warhol's exhibit, Campbell's Soup Cans, opened at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. This was Warhol's first solo exhibition of pop art. Campbell Soup Cans comprised 32 separate canvases, each depicting a different soup flavor. Ferus Gallery, under the directorship of Irving Blum, was the first to exhibit contemporary American art in the Los Angeles area. Blum visited Warhol in his art studio. From the Oral history interview with Irving Blum, 1977 May 31-June 23, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution: " . . . He had started on the Campbell’s soup cans. I saw them as I walked into his little house on Lexington Avenue where he was living at that time. As I walked through the foyer, I could see lots of these soup can paintings leaning against the wall . . . I said, “I think they’re terrific, Andy. Would you think about selling them in my gallery?” He said oh, he’d be thrilled, that he had no gallery more »