Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks and papers, 1889-2001
Beal, Gifford, 1879-1956
Beal, Maud Ramsdell
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen)
Hancock, Walker Kirtland
Rowan, Edward Beatty
Federal Art Project
Place of publication, production, or execution:
6.7 linear feet
2 rolled docs
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The papers of painter and muralist Gifford Beal measure 5 linear feet and date from 1889 to 2001. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork; some correspondence, printed matter, pictorial subject files, photographs, and writings are also found. Works of art are primarily sketches and sketchbooks in a wide variety of media. Seventy-six sketchbooks are found. Among the loose sketches are 28 oil paintings on wood board or panel, and fourteen large pastel drawings on canvas depicting dancing figures in a romantic style. Artwork by other artists in the collection include prints by Arthur B. Davies, Rockwell Kent, and Denys Wortman.
Biographical materials include membership certificates, a marriage certificate, and a travel journal kept by Beal's wife Maud on their honeymoon. Personal correspondence consists primarily of love letters with his wife. Three folders of professional correspondence contain letters from Joseph Pennell (1925); Federal Art Project staff from the Treasury Department including Ed Rowan, Edward Bruce, and Forbes Watson (1938); Walker Hancock (1951); and a series of letters signed "Hyde," from Crow Island, Massachusetts, which may have been written by Edward Hyde Cox (1953-1954).
Also found among the papers are printed materials such as exhibition catalogs, clippings, and reproductions of artwork; subject files containing clippings, photographs, and other pictorial references to common subjects of Beal's artwork; and a few personal photographs and photographs of works of art. Notes and writings are found among his sketchbooks, including one long autobiographical essay which may have been for a lecture, a few diary entries from 1942, and extensive notes on the color, form, and lighting of his sketching subjects.
An addition of 1.0 linear feet received 2015 includes two photograph albums of paintings by Beal. Many photographs are annotated by Beal with the name of the owner or subject of the painting.
Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks and papers, 1889-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Materials not scanned include some of the exhibition catalogs, news clippings, magazines, pamphlets, books, and printed reproductions of artwork by others in the Printed Materials series and Subject Files series. Additionally, photographs of works of art have not been scanned, and artwork that is too large or too fragile to be handled has not been scanned.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Gifford Beal (1879-1956) was a painter from New York, New York Beal was born in Bronx, New York, and brought up in an artistic household. He was the younger brother of Reynolds Beal (1866-1951). Beal graduated from Princeton University in 1900. He studied at the Art Students League and later served as its president from 1916-1929. He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1914. Beal's typical subjects were urban genre scenes of leisure in New York City, dramatic and humorous circus subjects, marine and coastal views, and landscapes surrounding Rockport, Mass. In later life, he often served as an advisor and juror to museum exhibitions.
Donated 1992 and 1993 by Gifford R. and William Beal, sons of Gifford Beal, in 2000 by family members Richard Goff, Lewis Goff, Margaret Alexander Beal, and Telka A. Beal, and in 2007 and 2015 by the estate of Gifford Beal c/o Katherine Degn, Kraushaar Galleries.
The sketches, sketchbooks, and papers of Gifford Beal in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, totaling 3,385 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001