The Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection dates from circa 1920-1965, with the bulk of the records spanning the active years of the Federal Art Project (FAP), 1935-1942. The collection comprises 12.4 linear feet of mostly photographic prints and negatives that document primarily artwork produced by artists employed by the FAP. A smaller number of photographs also document other programs of the FAP, such as art classes and community centers, exhibitions by children and adults, artwork installed in public buildings, project divisions, and demonstrations of art processes by FAP artists.
Scope and Content Note:
The Federal Art Project (FAP), Photographic Division collection dates from circa 1920-1965, with the bulk of the records spanning the active years of the FAP: 1935-1942. The collection comprises 12.4 linear feet of photographic prints and negatives, including photos of FAP artists and the artwork created by them, and other activities of the FAP in communities throughout New York City and other states. Photographers include Andrew Herman, Sol Horn, David Robbins, Leo Seltzer, and others.
Artist files comprise three-quarters of the collection and consist primarily of photographs of artwork, as well as scattered photos of artists at work, including: Charles Alston, Luis Arenal, Richmond Barthe, John Benson, Andrew Berger, Lucille Blanch, Lucienne Bloch, Ilya Bolotowsky, Luise Brann, Selma Burke, Letterio Calapai, Eugene Chodorow, Francis Criss, Stuart Davis, Adolf Dehn, Virginia Dehn, Jose de Rivera, George Pearse Ennis, Philip Evergood, Eugenie Gershoy, Bertram Goodman, Arshile Gorky, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Donal Hord, Joseph Hovell, William Karp, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Edward Laning, Julian Levi, Audrey McMahon, Elizabeth Olds, Anton Refregier, Will Shuster, William Zorach, and others.
The remainder of the collection consists of files documenting related activities and programs of the FAP, arranged by subject. The bulk of these files document the activities of the New York City FAP, including free art classes and art exhibitions for adults and children, exhibitions at the Harlem Art Center, and the work of FAP branches including the Easel Division, the Graphic Arts Division, and the Poster Division.
Other subjects documented include federal and community art centers in eleven states, most extensively Washington State; other WPA projects such as the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers' Project; buildings decorated with FAP artwork; art processes as demonstrated by FAP artists; special events; and people involved with the FAP, including director Holger Cahill.
One folder contains images that appear to have been taken by Berenice Abbott for the exhibition Changing New York (1935), for the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with the WPA.
The collection is arranged as 2 series:
Series 1: Artist Files, circa 1920-1965 (Boxes 1-24; 9.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Subject Files, 1934-1956 (Boxes 25-32; 2.8 linear feet)
The Federal Art Project (FAP) was one of the Depression-era work-relief programs of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The program was founded in August 1935 to provide employment for artists and to implement visual arts programs in local communities across the country.
Together with the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theater Project, and the Federal Writers' Project, the FAP formed part of the WPA's Federal Project No. 1. The WPA became the Work Projects Administration in 1939 when it fell under the administrative hand of the newly created Federal Works Agency; concurrently the Federal Art Project was officially re-named the Federal Art Program.
Under the direction of Holger Cahill, the goals of the FAP fell into three main areas: production of artwork, art education through art classes and community centers, and art research through the Index of American Design. During the course of the program, artists created murals and other works of art for many non-Federal government buildings such as schools, hospitals, and libraries. Separate photographic divisions were set up in several states, most notably in New York City, to document the work of artists employed by the program, activities in art education such as classes for children and adults, community center outreach programs, and other "Federal 1" projects, including the Federal Theater and Music Projects. Employees of the photographic division were also involved in other assignments, such as creating exhibitions and photo murals.
The Federal Art Project ended in 1943.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are related collections, including the Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948. Additional FAP records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.
The collection was anonymously donated to the Archives of American Art in the late 1950s.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection is owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
African American artists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Photographs Search this
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3.8 Linear feet
The papers of Ad Reinhardt measure 3.8 linear feet and date from circa 1927 to 1968. The collection documents Reinhardt's career as an abstract painter, cartoonist, and writer through biographical material, correspondence, writings, printed material, scrapbooks, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Ad Reinhardt measure 3.8 linear feet and date from 1927 to 1968. The collection documents Reinhardt's career as an abstract painter, cartoonist, and writer through biographical material, correspondence, writings, printed material, scrapbooks, and artwork.
Biographical material includes personal and professional records, such as passports and membership cards as well as an artist's chronology, and material documenting Reinhardt's time at Brooklyn College and his work for the WPA. Correspondence is of a general nature, including letters from art galleries, museums, and art dealers about exhibitions and artwork, colleges and universities concerning lectures and workshops, and letters from friends, art critics, and fellow artists, including Lucy Lippard, Abe Ajay, and George Rickey. Also found are letters from magazines and various art and social organizations. Writings and notes include calendars, and a small amount of notes and draft writings by Reinhardt. Printed material comprises the largest series in the collection and contains exhibition materials, including invitations and catalogs, and a large number of magazine and news clippings, primarily about Reinhardt's career and modern art, but also covering other topics of interest to him, such as Asian art. Also found in this series are clippings of his published cartoons and artwork. Scrapbooks contain additional printed material documenting his high school and college days, as well as his career. as an artist. Also found within the papers is a small amount of artwork by Reinhardt, primarily small sketches.
The collection is arranged into 6 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1928-1967 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1930-1967 (Boxes 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1953-1966 (Box 2; 7 folders)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1927-1968 (Boxes 2-4; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, circa 1928-1959 (Boxes 4-5; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Artwork, circa 1946, 1950, 1961 (Box 4; 4 folders)
Ad Reinhardt was born Adolph Dietrich Friedrich Reinhardt in 1913 in Buffalo, New York. Shortly after he was born, his family moved to Queens, New York. As a child he copied "funnies" and made collages from newspapers and won many school and community prizes for his artwork. In the fall of 1931 he entered Columbia University and studied art history under Meyer Schapiro, who encouraged him to get involved in radical campus politics. Reinhardt became the editor and cover designer of Jester, a campus magazine. After graduating in 1935, he trained as a painter at the National Academy of Design under Karl Anderson, and at the American Artists School under Francis Criss and Carl Holty, until 1937. At this time he joined American Abstract Artists and became affiliated with American artistic-political groups and other artist organizations. From 1936 to 1941 he worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project, Easel Division, while simultaneously developing his mature style of linear, abstract painting.
When his work for the Federal Art Project ended, Reinhardt worked as a commercial and freelance writer and graphic artist for pamphlets and magazines. Most notably, he was a reporter and cartoonist for the newspaper PM from 1942 to 1947. After serving in the Navy from 1946 to 1947, he took a position as an art history professor at Brooklyn College where he taught for twenty years. During his career as a professor he was also a visiting lecturer at several universities, including Yale University from 1952 to 1953, and the California School of Fine Arts in 1950. Reinhardt had a keen interest in Asiatic art and would often lecture and write on this subject. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he traveled to Japan, India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan.
Reinhardt began exhibiting his paintings early in his career. In 1946 he joined the Betty Parsons Gallery, which also represented many other prominent Abstract Expressionists, including Mark Rothko, Barnet Newman, and Jackson Pollock. Reinhardt rejected the emotionalism found in Abstract Expressionism and sought to produce geometric, minimalist paintings. In developing his own aesthetic theory, he wrote extensively for art periodicals such as Art News and Art International. His artwork culminated in the 1960s with his series of black paintings, which drew much attention from the art community and the public. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Jewish Museum in New York, NY, in 1960. Reinhardt continued to write and work on his series of black paintings until his death in 1967.
Related collections found in the Archives includes Ad Reinhardt postcards (to Katherine Scrivener), Ad Reinhardt letters and artwork (loaned material, available on microfilm only), Abe Ajay correspondence with Ad Reinhardt, Marjorie Grimm printed material and letters received from Ad Reinhardt, one photograph of Ad Reinhardt and Colette Roberts by William R. Simmons, and a 1955 painting by Ad Reinhardt.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels N69-99 - N69-103) including additional notes, writings, correspondence, photographs of artwork, and travel logs. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Rita Reinhardt, Ad Reinhardt's widow, donated papers and lent material for micorfilming in 1969.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The Ad Reinhardt papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.