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The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the B’s

Gerrit Beneker WWI Poster
Gerrit Beneker poster meant to drum up support amongst industrial workers during World War I

With the recent donation of the Corcoran Artist Vertical File Collection, the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has started an ongoing series that provides a sneak peek into the integration of new Corcoran materials into the AA/PG Art and Artists Files collection called the “ABCs of the Corcoran Artist Vertical File Collection”. Every couple of weeks the AA/PG Library will explore a letter of the alphabet, featuring artists whose surnames begin with that letter in a display in the library. Currently on show are the B’s of the Corcoran collection which contained a particularly colorful amount of new materials.

Beneker Cover for the Hydraulic Press
Cover created by Beneker for the Hydraulic Press Co. trade catalog featuring the portrait of an industrial workman

One of the artists highlighted is Gerrit Albertus Beneker (1882-1934), popular for his portraits of industrial workers and for his posters designed to drum up war effort during World War I. The Corcoran file had pristine examples of his posters and trade catalog covers he designed for the Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Several of the trade catalogs are in trade literature collection at the American History Museum Library. Also, the Archives of American Art, which is directly across the hall from the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, has Beneker’s papers if you are interested in further research about Beneker and his career.

A lesser known but locally grown artist named Minnie Barz was also included. Barz was a Maryland artist who studied at the Corcoran in 1944. Her file contained letters and small colorful paintings she sent to the Corcoran as well as a local Maryland newspaper article that detailed her career, which included sculpting as well as painting. We had no ephemera about Barz previously, so we were delighted to add a new artist to our files and increase our materials on previous Corcoran students.

A small, colorful abstract painting by Corcoran student Minnie Barz.
This is a small abstract painting sent to the Corcoran by Minnie Barz.

The fact that none of the materials on view were items that we had in our own Art and Artists Files emphasizes how important donations can be in developing an ephemera collection. The Library has always worked diligently to collect as much relevant ephemera as possible but it’s difficult to catch everything, especially when ephemera items were not created to last. Donations such as the Corcoran Vertical Files help us to fill holes in our collection that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

If you haven’t been able to see the Bs of the Corcoran Files you still have time! They will be on view at the entrance of the AA/PG Library until the 2nd of September when we will install our highlights of the Cs. The AA/PG Library is located at Victor Building Ste. 2100, 750 9th Street NW, Washington, DC and is open to the public from 10am-5pm, no appointment necessary.

Artists on display for the B’s of the Corcoran are: Paul Wayland Bartlett (1865-1925), Minnie Barz, Gustave Baumann (1881-1971), Gifford Beal (1879-1956), Romare Bearden (1911-1988), Francis Beaugureau (1920-2001), Gerrit Beneker (1882-1934), Ariane Berman (1937-), Donald Burns (1919-1989), Henry Kirke Bush-Brown (1857–1935)


*If you missed the As no worries! We keep track of who and what we showed.







  1. Donna K. Benton

    I had the pleasure of meeting Minnie Barz at her home. She gave me a tour of her house inside and outside–full of so much of her life in art. I bought some of her art and wish I had bought more. Some of her paintings were done on the back sides of greeting cards! Her gardens were full of unique sculptures she created. I wish I had brought a camera with me to capture the time I spent with her.

    • Linda

      Hello! I was sitting at home looking at a couple of drawings that my patient gave me many years ago. I googled her name and was surprised to find her listed and under the Corcoran! I also have a couple of walnuts she whittled. I loved Ms. Barz and also had her husband as my patient. She was a delight and so lively! I think of her and her husband often. Linda Bock, RN Senior Health Center, Brentwood, Md Linda

      • Edgar Lamma III

        Nice to hear you cared for my aunt Minnie and Uncle Willie.

    • Edgar Lamma III

      So nice to see you got to meet my great aunt Minnie.

  2. Minnie Barz is the sister of my maternal grandmother. I’m so glad I have a small collection of things that she made. It appears that the Corcoran Artist Files needs some information that I can provide copies of. She was born on May 14, 1912 and died on May 29, 2006. Her parents were Moses Franklin Tusing and Minnie Etta Runion. Her sister, Fleta Irene, was my grandmother. There were nine other siblings.

  3. Dean

    I purchased a wonderful still life painting of a bouquet of flowers by Minnie Barz I found in an antique/collectibles shop in Scottsville, VA. about 10 years ago. It is so beautiful. And it’s quite big, about 3′ x 3′.

    • Gretchen Stoeppelwerth

      I had several Minnie Barz pictures she gave to my husband, Henry Stoeppelwerth, who was her pastor in Mount Rainier, Maryland. I still have a painting of a small chicken on the back of a Hallmark card if you would like to have it. Minnie was very poor despite her tremendous talent.

  4. Glad to find this article we have one of her paintings. I think she was probably friends with my cousin Katherine Hobbs, who is a sculptor and studied at the Corcoran and has a piece in the Baltimore Museum Art.

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