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Tag: American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Exploring Our Collections with “Bill T. Jones”

This year is Smithsonian Libraries is celebrating 50 years as  a unified system. While each museum has (at least) one library dedicated research material on items related to the museum’s collection; as a branch system, The Libraries’ help researchers explore any part of a question that interests them. This sounds pretty straightforward, but what does it look like in real life? To find out, this post explore how one item from a museum’s collection can be researched across several of our library branches. Our example:  Bill T. Jones (1985),  a  portrait of the choreographer by Robert Mapplethorpe. This work is on view in the Recent Acquisitions exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

One intern’s trip around the World’s Fairs

–This post was written by Jenna Fattah, a Summer 2017 intern at the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library. She is a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying History. She hopes to continue on to get her Masters in Library Science. Interested in interning with Smithsonian Libraries? Check out our internship opportunities for Spring 2018.

AAPG World's Fair book spines
AAPG World’s Fair book spines

As an American Art & Portrait Gallery Library intern, I was lucky to spend my summer surrounded by books, art, and bibliophiles. My largest project took me about two months to complete, but it was well worth it. When you type “World’s Fair” into the Smithsonian Library’s catalog, SIRIS, almost 1,600 items come up. Of those, almost 1,200 are original artifacts published for or by the sponsors or committees of the different World’s Fairs.

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

In the series called “The ABCs of the Corcoran Artist Files” the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library will explore artists through the materials from the recent Corcoran Vertical File Collection donation by featuring artists whose surnames begin with that letter. This time we are looking at the artists whose last names start with G.

The Fix: Preservation and “Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head”

Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head by Alexander Cozens was published in 1778 by James Dixwell in London. It is a large book measuring 55 by 38 centimeters (21.5 by 15 inches) and is part of the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library collection. It came to the Book Conservation Lab as part of Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program.

The content includes printed drawings of women’s heads and their various facial features. For example, there is one page dedicated to different shaped eyes and another dedicated to different shaped noses. The final 17 pages are especially impressive. They are printed with different shaped women’s faces shown in profile without hair. There are 17 tissue paper overlays each printed with a different hairstyle that can be placed over the pages of the women’s heads, allowing the reader to compare hairstyles to see how they look on different shaped faces. It is amusing to see something being done in a book in the 18th century that can still be done on your smartphone today.

 

Finding family ties in the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Librarian Anne Evenhaugen and Cristina Price perusing a carte de visite album.

On a rainy April morning, Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board member Amy Threefoot Valeiras and her family visited the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG). What they found surprised everyone!

Anne Evenhaugen and Alexandra Reigle, staff at the AA/PG Library, selected a variety of books and artists’ books to show our visitors. One of these was a carte de visite book, featuring photographic trading cards for nineteenth-century American painters. (What is a carte de visite, you ask? Click here to learn more!) After a few turns of the page, Amy’s sister-in-law, Cristina Price, stumbled upon a familiar face and name: her own distant relative W.T. Richards!