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Catalog Data

Creator:
Beal, Gifford, 1879-1956  Search this
Names:
Federal Art Project  Search this
Beal, Maud Ramsdell  Search this
Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943  Search this
Cox, Edward  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928  Search this
Hancock, Walker Kirtland, 1901-1998  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926  Search this
Rowan, Edward Beatty, 1898-1946  Search this
Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960  Search this
Wortman, Denys, 1887-1958  Search this
Extent:
7.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sketches
Travel diaries
Love letters
Drawings
Prints
Diaries
Paintings
Photographs
Date:
1889-2001
bulk 1900-1954
Summary:
The papers of painter and muralist Gifford Beal measure 7.7 linear feet and date from 1889 to 2001. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork, in addition to correspondence, writings, printed matter, including one scrapbook, pictorial subject files, photographs, and two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art. Artwork is primarily in the form of sketches and seventy-eight sketchbooks in a wide variety of media. Among the loose sketches are twenty-eight 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.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter and muralist Gifford Beal measure 7.7 linear feet and date from 1889 to 2001. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork, in addition to correspondence, writings, printed matter, including one scrapbook, pictorial subject files, photographs, and two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art. Artwork is primarily in the form of sketches and seventy-eight sketchbooks in a wide variety of media. Among the loose sketches are twenty-eight 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 Ramsdell Beal, on their honeymoon. Personal correspondence consists primarily of love letters between Beal and Maud Ramsdell Beal. 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, both loose and in a scrapbook from the 1920s; subject files containing clippings, photographs, and other pictorial references to common subjects of Beal's artwork; a few personal photographs; and photographs of works of art. Notes and writings are found among Beal's 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. In addition to a scrapbook relating to Beal exhibitions, there are also two scrapbooks containing photographs of works of art.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series: Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1900-1909, 1942, 1953 (0.2 linear feet; Boxes 1 and 5, OV 10) Series 2: Correspondence, 1906-1954 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1) Series 3: Printed Materials, 1900-2001 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1, 5, OVs 11, 16) Series 4: Subject Files, 1889-1953 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 10-12) Series 5: Photographs, 1908-1950 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2, OV 10) Series 6: Artwork, 1900-1951 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-9; OV 10, 13-20 and rolled documents 21 and 22) Series 7: Scrapbook, circa 1919-circa 1951 (1.1 linear ft; Boxes 7, 23)
Biographical Note:
Painter and muralist Gifford Beal was born in New York City in 1879, the youngest of six children. Beal began his art training at 13, when he accompanied his older brother, Reynolds Beal, to the Shinnecock School of Art for classes with William Merritt Chase. Gifford Beal continued to study with Chase for ten years at Shinnecock, the Tenth Street Studio building in New York City, and the New York School of Art. Beal attended college at Princeton University from 1896 to 1900, and from 1901 to 1903 he also took classes at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and Frank Vincent DuMond. In 1908, Beal married Maud Ramsdell of Newburgh, New York, where the Beal family also had an estate. They had two sons, William (b. 1914) and Gifford, Jr. (b. 1917). Beal received all of his training in the United States at a time when European art training was the norm among his peers. Beal's earliest subject matter was taken from the familiar worlds of New York City and the Hudson River Valley, where he frequently spent his summers. Later work would depict other summer homes, including Provincetown, Rockport, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. Throughout his career he explored a variety of styles in his approach to these and other representational subjects such as garden parties, the circus, Central Park scenes, and coastal scenes in the Northeast and the Caribbean. Beal exhibited at the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition almost continuously from 1901 to 1956, was a member of the Academy from 1914, and won at least seven awards given by the Academy over the course of his career. He won his first award in 1903 from the Worcester Art Museum. He exhibited regularly in major annual exhibitions and world expositions, including the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, where he won a gold medal. Gifford and Reynolds Beal exhibited in a two-man show in 1907 at Clausen Galleries, and the two brothers were both eventually represented by Kraushaar Galleries, where Gifford Beal had his first one-man show in 1920. Beal served as president of the Art Students League from 1916 until 1930, the longest term of any president, and taught there in 1931 and 1932. Beal was commissioned by the Section on Painting and Sculpture of the Works Progress Administration to paint ten murals for the Allentown, Pennsylvania post office in the late 1930s. The Allentown murals depicted American revolutionaries hiding the liberty bell at Allentown. In 1941, he completed two murals in the Department of the Interior building in Washington, DC: North Country, and Tropical Country, and he painted seven panels at Princeton University in 1943 depicting the life of the nineteenth-century engineer Joseph Henry. He was awarded an honorary Masters degree by Princeton in 1947. Retrospective exhibitions were held at the Century Club, San Francisco Museum, Des Moines Art Center, and Butler Institute in the early 1950s. Upon his death in 1956, a memorial exhibition was held at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where Beal became a member in 1943.
Provenance:
Papers were donated to the Archives by Gifford Beal's descendants in three separate accessions. Beal's sons, William and Gifford R. Beal, Jr., donated sketches and sketchbooks in 1992 and 1993. Richard and Lewis Goff, Margaret Beal Alexander, and Telka Beal donated additional sketches, sketchbooks, and materials from Beal's studio in 2000 through the Cape Ann Savings Bank, facilitated by Kraushaar Galleries. Margaret Beal Alexander, Beal's granddaughter, also donated personal papers of her grandparents via Kraushaar Galleries in 2000. Additional sketchbooks and a poster illustrated by Beal were donated by Beal's Estate via Kraushaar Galleries in 2007. Two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art were donated by Beal's Estate via Kraushaar Galleries in 2015.
Restrictions:
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and 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.
Topic:
Drawing -- Technique  Search this
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- 20th century -- Pennsylvania -- Allentown  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sketches
Travel diaries
Love letters
Drawings
Prints
Diaries
Paintings
Photographs
Citation:
Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and papers, 1889-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bealgiff
See more items in:
Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bealgiff