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Month: March 2015

Meiji Designs and Japanese Craft Artists

This post was written by Reiko Yoshimura, head librarian of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library.

As a result of the development of Japonisme in the 1860s, Japanese art and crafts became increasingly popular, especially in Europe. Following the Meiji Restoration (1868), the Japanese government began exhibiting a vast amount of art and craft objects in world expositions, namely, World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) and Paris expositions (1867, 1889, 1900), which led to actively promoting domestic craft production.

Smithsonian Libraries hosts Catesby Commemorative Trust Book Launch

“The Red Curlew” from Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands.

Before John James Audubon, Englishman and naturalist Mark Catesby (1682-1749) was documenting the natural world.  His etchings of flora and fauna in the “new world”  of America are treasured by many.

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to host the launch of The Catesby Trust’s book tour for  The Curious Mr. Catesby: a “truly ingenious” naturalist explores new worlds, with speakers Dr. Charles Nelson, David E. Elliot  and our own Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Leslie K. Overstreet. Learn more with a question and answer panel and explore this new publication, which includes facsimiles of Catesby’s original watercolors. We invite you to join us for this interesting and unique experience.

Women’s History Month: Adelaide Alsop-Robineau and Keramic Studio

Alsop-Robineau & co, from the October 1912 issue of Keramic Studio
Alsop-Robineau & co, from the October 1912 issue of Keramic Studio

Around March, I’ll be forgiven if I start to pay a little more attention to the genders of the people I come across in our digital book and journal collection. After all, it is Women’s History Month. But one journal I keep coming back to is Keramic Studio, a monthly ceramics magazine produced around the turn of the 20th century that we digitized a couple years ago as part of our Books Online collection. Adelaide Alsop-Robineau began the journal in 1899, and it continued to be published into the 1920s. The work featured in the early years of the journal was primarily contributed by women, including Alsop-Robineau herself, along with her co-editor Anna B. Leonard. Both women were well known ceramics painters and designers. I find myself returning to the journal and perusing the many images and illustrations, especially when I need a dose of design inspiration.

An Interview with Artist Josephine Stealey

Paired for Life, by Josephine Stealey
Paired for Life, by Josephine Stealey

Smithsonian Libraries has been working to share its collection of artists’ books. One of the end products of the this initiative has been the creation of a new Smithsonian Libraries artists’ book collection portal where visitors can explore the many artworks in the collection and learn more about the medium.

As part of my interest and research into the medium of artists’ books as and as the branch librarian for the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG), my participation as the juror for a national artist book exhibition held at Pyramid Atlantic resulted in the first prize being awarded to Jo Stealey for her work Paired for Life which has now been added to the AA/PG artists’ book collection. You can read more about my experience as a judge for the show here and here.