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Tag: American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Reimaging a Classic: the Arion Press Edition of “The World Is Round”

Photo of the full box set of the 1986 Arion Press edition of "The World Is Round" including the box, the book, a companion book "The World Is Not Flat," and a balloon.
Full box set of the 1986 Arion Press edition of The World Is Round including the box, the book, a companion book The World Is Not Flat, and a balloon.

Recently, the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library received a generous donation of Arion Press books from the collection of Dr. Ronnyjane Goldsmith. The Arion Press, founded in 1963, blends literature and art in creative and unexpected ways.

Meet Artist Atlanta Constance Sampson and Her Lifelong “Obsession”

This post was contributed by Isabella Buzynski, 2022 Summer Scholars intern with the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library. Isabella is currently attending the University of Michigan School of Information for the Master of Science in Information program.

This summer, I had the great pleasure of interning under the mentorship of Alexandra Reigle at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library. I have continued an ongoing project to process and integrate the Art Students League of New York papers into the library’s existing Art and Artist File collection, comprising over 150,000 files of ephemeral materials on art, artists, art institutions, collectors, and special subjects. Day-to-day, this consists of pulling batches of Artist Files, deciding what items should be added to each, removing dozens of staples, stamping the items, making a mess, and then putting them all back on the shelf for researchers to consult. I have learned first-hand how the decisions that archivists and librarians make shape the historical record and have gained an expedited education in American art through the exhibition materials, news articles, and letters that I encounter. I also encountered some incredible stories, including that of Atlanta C. Sampson’s ninety-year career as an artist.

An Internship in the Time of Coronavirus

This post was contributed by Natalia Addison, 2020 spring intern with the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library and a recent Master of Science in Information and Library Science graduate from Clarion University.

Working at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution has always been a dream that I’ve held. Thus, obtaining an internship at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG Library) in the spring of 2020 was a manifestation of that dream. Here, I learned how to process and select materials for the Art and Artists File Collection. I learned how to do intensive art research on artists, and learned when, why, and how to add new items to those artist files. I learned preservation practices, analysis techniques, and was able to expand my knowledge about the artists. I was able to use the knowledge I gained through my courses at Clarion University to serve patrons through an unfamiliar integrated library system. It is through this opportunity that I found what I suspected all along to be true: that I want to continue to pursue my dream of becoming an art librarian.

Abiding Attachments: Artist Emma Stebbins and Actor Charlotte Cushman

Few who walk past the Bethesda Fountain in New York City’s Central Park know the history behind the angel statue, standing high atop the fountain with wings outstretched. This sculpture, called Angel of the Waters, has been the backdrop for many movies and TV shows. The sculpture was made by a wealthy New York sculptor named Emma Stebbins, an artist featured in an album of cartes-de-visites (small, collectible photo cards) of notable 19th century American artists, located in the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library collection. Little is known about Stebbins, even though Angel of the Waters, as noted recently in the New York Times, was “the first public art commission ever awarded to a woman in New York City.”[i] However, what is known about Stebbins has been gleaned from the letters and press coverage of her relationship with famous American actress Charlotte Cushman.

Stereoscope photography of large fountain topped with angel figure.
“Bethesda Fountain, Central Park.” Courtesy of New York Public Library.