Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: homepage

Significant donation from the Art Students League of New York

Alumni, Art Student’s League, 1950. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Arnold Newman. NPG.91.89.56

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the donation of research ephemera for more than 4,000 artists from the Art Students League of New York (ASL), to be housed at the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Generations of Color

Thomas Downing's examples of grids and dots
Thomas Downing’s examples of solid dots within rigid grids

In conjunction with the exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog will be exploring the group of color artists to accompany the exhibit running until late spring. We’ll be exploring three of the “first generation” Washington Color School artists: Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, and Paul Reed.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Pure Color

Morris Louis ephemera from "Hard-edged, Bright Color"
Morris Louis ephemera from “Hard-edged, Bright Color”

In conjunction with the exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog will be exploring the group of color artists to accompany the exhibit running until late spring. We’ll be exploring three of the “first generation” Washington Color School artists: Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Gene Davis. You can read the first post in this series here.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of a new ‘School’ in the American capital, the Washington Color School. Experimenting with fields of bright colors achieved by applying thinned paint onto large canvases, these artists sought to enrapture a viewer without the use of narrative or symbolism.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School.

Hard-Edged, Bright Color
“The idea of bands of color, hard-edged, bright color. It was like a breath of fresh air in the early ’60s, because all this messy sh*t, you know, that was going on in New York — we provided an alternative.” Gene Davis oral history transcript, Archives of American Art.

With the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Gene Davis: Hot Beat, the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library is hosting a complementary exhibition of ephemera showcasing a group known as the Washington Color Painters, or perhaps better recognized by their more dubious title, the Washington Color School.

From Charlie Parker to Potato Chip Portraits: Exhibition of Recently Acquired Artists’ Books

American Art & Portrait Gallery LibraryThe Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library is pleased to present an exhibition of some of its recently acquired artists’ books in the Library’s Reading Room.

The books, all acquired in the last two years, range from mass-produced publications to unique, hand-made book works. The artworks show a range of subjects, from the very personal, family stories, to the cult of celebrity.