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Tag: American Art

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.

The ABC’S of the Corcoran Artist Files: the K’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 K. This exhibition and blog post were curated and written by Allison Kilberg, a graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Illinois and a summer intern at the AAPG Library.

The ABC’s of the Corcoran Artist Files: the H’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 H. This exhibition and blog post was curated and researched by Minchi Hyun, a graduate student in the Museum Education Program at George Washington University. She is currently working at the AAPG Library as a work study student.

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!