Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
The papers of painter Richard W. Dempsey measure 2.9 linear feet and date from 1929 to 1989, with the bulk of the papers dating from the 1960s to the 1980s. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, writings, project and exhibition files, printed material, photographs, and artwork and notes related to planning artwork.
Richard Dempsey papers, 1929-1989, bulk 1960s-1980s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Microfilm reels 4366-4370 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Location of Originals:
2 photograph albums returned to the lender, Mrs. Vonja Kirkland Dempsey, after microfilming.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Vonja Kirkland-Dempsey loaned materials for microfilming in 1990. The majority of the materials were subsequently donated, but some photographic material, including a photograph album chronicling Dempsey's 1951 trip to Haiti were returned. Loaned materials are available on microfilm reel 4368. Researchers should note that loaned material is not described in the finding aid and that the arrangement of material described in the finding aid does not reflect the order of the material on microfilm.
Richard W. Dempsey (1909-1987) was a painter known primarily for his abstract works and his portraits of prominent African American individuals including Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, and Adam Clayton Powell. Recipient of the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship in 1946 to paint 100 portraits of "Outstanding American Negroes". Invited by the government of Haiti in 1951 to visit and paint "People and Scenes". He was a lecturer and instructor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His work was handled by the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Several letters, clippings, exhibition catalogs, and announcements are in Spanish and French.
The papers were originally lent for microfilming in 1990 by Vonja Kirkland Dempsey, Richard Dempsey's widow. After the collection was microfilmed, Vonja Kirkland Dempsey donated the bulk of the collection in 1990.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
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