Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
37 documents - page 1 of 2

Sèvres porcelain cup and saucer

Maker:
Sevres  Search this
Physical Description:
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels and gold (overall color)
Egyptian revival (overall style)
red (cup color)
red (saucer color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
egyptian motif (joint piece description of decoration)
egyptian motif (overall description of decoration)
ceramic, porcelain (cup material)
ceramic, porcelain (saucer material)
Measurements:
overall cup: 1 7/8 in x 4 3/16 in x 3 7/16 in; 4.7625 cm x 10.63625 cm x 8.73125 cm
overall saucer: 3/4 in x 5 11/16 in; 1.905 cm x 14.44625 cm
Object Name:
cup
saucer
Place made:
France: Île-de-France, Sèvres
Date made:
1813-1814
ID Number:
CE.P-1069ab
Accession number:
225282
Catalog number:
P-1069ab
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-acaa-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1291951
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain cup and saucer (part of a service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (cup color)
black (saucer color)
blue (cup color)
blue (saucer color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
landscapes with egyptian motifs (joint piece description of decoration)
landscapes with egyptian motifs (overall description of decoration)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (cup material)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (saucer material)
Measurements:
overall saucer: 1 1/8 in x 5 1/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 13.335 cm
overall cup: 2 5/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 5/8 in; 6.6675 cm x 8.89 cm x 6.6675 cm
Object Name:
cup
saucer
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Gab
Catalog number:
P-896Gab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-e98e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577290
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain sugar jar and cover

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall sugar bowl: 2 1/2 in x 2 3/4 in; 6.35 cm x 6.985 cm
overall smaller cover fragment: 1 in x 2 7/8 in x 1 in; 2.54 cm x 7.3025 cm x 2.54 cm
overall larger cover fragment: 1 3/4 in x 3 in x 2 in; 4.445 cm x 7.62 cm x 5.08 cm
Object Name:
sugar jar
Sugar jar (missing its cover)
bowl, sugar
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Eab
Catalog number:
P-896Eab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b2-fe18-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577362
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain coffeepot and cover (part of a service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 6 1/2 in x 6 1/8 in x 3 5/16 in; 16.51 cm x 15.5575 cm x 8.4455 cm
Object Name:
Coffeepot
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Cab
Catalog number:
P-896Cab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-df43-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577363
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain teapot (part of a service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 4 7/8 in x 6 7/8 in x 3 3/4 in; 12.3825 cm x 17.4625 cm x 9.525 cm
Object Name:
Teapot
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Bab
Catalog number:
P-896Bab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-dc51-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577364
Online Media:

Meissen milk pot and cover

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
Measurements:
overall: 5 1/8 in x 5 1/8 in x 2 25/32 in; 13.0175 cm x 13.0175 cm x 7.0739 cm
Object Name:
Pitcher
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Dab
Catalog number:
P-896Dab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-e0fc-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577365
Online Media:

Meissen tray for a tête à tête tea and coffee service

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 5/8 in x 15 3/4 in x 10 1/4 in; 4.1275 cm x 40.005 cm x 26.035 cm
Object Name:
Tray
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896A
Catalog number:
P-896A
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-e0fd-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577366
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain cup and saucer (part of a service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (cup color)
black (saucer color)
blue (cup color)
blue (saucer color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
landscapes with egyptian motifs (joint piece description of decoration)
landscapes with egyptian motifs (overall description of decoration)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (cup material)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (saucer material)
Measurements:
overall cup: 2 5/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 5/8 in; 6.6675 cm x 8.89 cm x 6.6675 cm
overall saucer: 1 1/8 in x 5 1/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 13.335 cm
Object Name:
cup
saucer
Date made:
1805-1815
ID Number:
CE.P-896Fab
Catalog number:
P-896Fab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-dfda-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_577386
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain sauceboat (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 3 11/16 in x 8 3/4 in x 7 3/4 in; 9.3345 cm x 22.225 cm x 19.685 cm
Object Name:
sauceboat
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-968
Catalog number:
P-968
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b4-1a8d-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579840
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain sauceboat (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 3 7/8 in x 8 7/8 in x 7 1/2 in; 9.8425 cm x 22.5425 cm x 19.05 cm
Object Name:
sauceboat
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-733
Catalog number:
P-733
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-f272-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579841
Online Media:

Meissen porcelain soup plate (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 3/4 in x 9 1/2 in; 4.445 cm x 24.13 cm
Object Name:
Dish, Soup
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-736
Catalog number:
P-736
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-55a5-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579842

Meissen porcelain soup plate (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 11/16 in x 9 1/8 in; 4.2545 cm x 23.1775 cm
Object Name:
Dish, Soup
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-735
Catalog number:
P-735
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-44cc-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579843

Meissen porcelain dessert plate (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 1/8 in x 8 1/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 20.955 cm
Object Name:
Plate
Object Type:
plate
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-237
Catalog number:
P-237
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-55a7-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579844

Meissen porcelain soup plate (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 7/8 in x 9 1/4 in; 4.7625 cm x 23.495 cm
Object Name:
Dish, Soup
Date made:
1772-1774
ID Number:
CE.P-734
Catalog number:
P-734
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b3-55a6-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579845

Meissen porcelain tureen (Stadholder Service)

Maker:
Meissen Manufactory  Search this
Physical Description:
black (cover color)
black (overall color)
blue (overall color)
polychrome (component surface decoration color name)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 13 in x 15 3/4 in x 9 1/2 in; 33.02 cm x 40.005 cm x 24.13 cm
Object Name:
Tureen
Date made:
1763-1774
1772 -1774
ID Number:
CE.P-737ab
Catalog number:
P-737ab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-f0da-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_579846
Online Media:

French Revolutionary Teapot

Maker:
Sevres  Search this
Physical Description:
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels and gold (overall color)
floral swags and French revolutionary emblems (overall style)
Measurements:
overall: 5 3/4 in x 7 1/4 in x 4 3/8 in; 14.605 cm x 18.415 cm x 11.1125 cm
overall: 4 3/8 in x 4 1/4 in; 11.1125 cm x 10.795 cm
Object Name:
teapot
Place made:
France: Île-de-France, Sevres
Date made:
1795
ID Number:
CE.P-779ab
Catalog number:
P-779ab
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-e813-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_580938
Online Media:

Sèvres porcelain plate from the first Egyptian Service

Maker:
Sevres  Search this
Physical Description:
"gold" (overall color)
green (overall color)
purple (overall color)
red (overall color)
white (overall color)
monochrome, brown (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 1/4 in x 9 5/16 in; 3.175 cm x 23.65375 cm
Object Name:
Plate
Object Type:
plate
Place made:
France: Île-de-France, Sevres
Date made:
1804-1806
ID Number:
CE.P-662
Catalog number:
P-662
Accession number:
225282
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Industry & Manufacturing
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b2-d1c6-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_580944
Online Media:

Meissen and other German porcelain in the Alfred Duane Pell collection, by Paul Vickers Gardner, curator of ceramics

Author:
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)  Search this
Gardner, Paul Vickers 1908-1994  Search this
Pell, Alfred Duane  Search this
Subject:
Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen  Search this
Physical description:
vi, 66 p. illus. (part col.) 26 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
1956
Topic:
Meissen porcelain  Search this
Porcelain, German  Search this
Porcelain--Marks  Search this
Porcelain  Search this
Call number:
NK4380 .S6X
NK4380.S6X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_53870

Records

Topic:
Smithsonian scientific series
North American Wildflowers
Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary  Search this
Extent:
57.93 cu. ft. (5 record storage boxes) (104 document boxes) (2 half document boxes) (1 12x17 box) (oversize materials)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Clippings
Black-and-white photographs
Date:
1890-1929
Descriptive Entry:
This record unit documents the growth and management of the Smithsonian from 1890 to 1929. Of special interest is the Institution's entry into the field of the fine arts through the creation of the National Gallery of Art and the Freer Gallery of Art. The Smithsonian continued to pursue a wide variety of other interests as well. Thus, the records deal with the following topics, among others: aviation; the American School of Archaeology in China; the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.; the Cinchona Botanical Station, Jamaica; many international congresses; numerous national and international expositions, especially the Panama-California Exposition, 1912-1916, and the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco, 1914-1915; the George Washington Memorial Association; the Harriman Alaska series; the Kahn Foundation for Foreign Travel of American Teachers; the Koren Expedition to Siberia; the Langley-Wright aerodrome controversy; the Montezuma solar observatory at Calama, Chile; solar observations at Mount Harqua Hala, Arizona, and Mount Wilson, California; the Naples Zoological Station; the National Academy of Sciences; the National Research Council; publication of Mary Vaux Walcott's North American Wildflowers; the Biological Survey of the Panama Canal Zone; the Alfred Duane Pell Collection; the Research Corporation; the Roosevelt African Expedition; seismological studies; the Charles D. and Mary Vaux Walcott Research Fund; the Smithsonian Scientific Series; grants from the Hodgkins Fund; the Langley Aerodynamical Laboratory; and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The records include correspondence, minutes, announcements, publications, fiscal records, photographs, manuscripts, and news clippings.
Historical Note:
These records document the administration of the Smithsonian Institution during the tenure of Charles D. Walcott, its fourth Secretary, who served from 1907 to 1927. This period gave a deceptive appearance of strength to the Institution's life. Walcott himself, perhaps the last of the nineteenth-century scientist-politicians to combine a distinguished scientific reputation and polished ease in the world of political Washington, lent the Institution considerable support from his wide experience and many friends among the powerful of the day. The Institution's staff also boasted an able corps of scientists and senior administrators. Several new programs were developed during these years--the National Gallery of Art (now the National Museum of American Art) and the Freer Gallery of Art, in particular. These two galleries gave the Smithsonian its first real grounding in fine arts and rounded out the vision of the Institution as a place hospitable to all fields of learning.

Yet with the benefit of hindsight, these accomplishments can be seen to have masked real weakness, described either as the Smithsonian's failure to adapt its perception of itself to the changing world or as a lack of money.

When the Smithsonian was created in 1846 the corpus of its endowment was somewhat more than $500,000.00. It had few rivals elsewhere in the country. However, with the growth of large-scale private philanthropy after the Civil War, the Smithsonian's means shrank steadily in comparison to the endowments of leading institutions like the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale or new entrants like Stanford and the University of Chicago. No doubt this situation developed in part because the Smithsonian had no real alumni. It received a few small gifts from well-to-do members of its own staff and one moderate gift from Thomas George Hodgkins, a naturalized English eccentric. For all else it relied on small appropriations from the federal government, for which it performed certain services such as curating the collections of the National Museum. Coupled with meager financial resources was the Regents' suspicion of new and nonscientific endeavors. It is likely, for instance, that the Regents would have refused Charles Lang Freer's gift of a gallery of oriental art in 1906, had Theodore Roosevelt not obliged them to accept it. In the same way, the gift of certain patents on electrostatic precipitators by Frederic G. Cottrell in 1911 was politely shunted onto other shoulders, leaving the Smithsonian a remote beneficiary of the income. The Smithsonian's aloofness was in sharp contrast to the willingness of other institutions to accept such gifts. How this attitude arose is not clear. Perhaps it was an unconscious extension of Joseph Henry's early determination to associate the Smithsonian's name only with "worthy" purposes. However that may be, the Smithsonian was very late in the field in trying to augment its endowment. Walcott had begun to plan a campaign to raise $10,000,000.00--documented in record unit 46--which collapsed with his untimely death in 1927. Thus the Institution was to enter the era of the Depression in very straitened circumstances.
Topic:
Aeronautics  Search this
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Seismology  Search this
Paleontology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Clippings
Black-and-white photographs
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 45, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 45
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0045

Records

Topic:
American art annual
Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Extent:
22 cu. ft. (44 document boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Black-and-white photographs
Manuscripts
Date:
1892-1960
Descriptive Entry:
This record unit documents the administration of William Henry Holmes, first Curator of the National Gallery of Art (NGA), 1907-1920, and Director of the Gallery, 1920-1932. To a lesser extent, it also documents the administration of Ruel P. Tolman, Acting Director of NGA, 1932-1937, and the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), 1937-1946, and Director of NCFA, 1946-1948. A few records from the Thomas M. Beggs administration (1948-1964) are also filed here.

Records document the routine operations of the NGA when it was a department of the United States National Museum, when it became a separate bureau of the Smithsonian, and when it became the NCFA. The files include internal correspondence and log books, as well as numerous public inquiries about artists, works of art, exhibitions, and donations of art and bequests. The Charles Lang Freer collection gift, the effects of early copyright laws regarding photographing art, and the long campaign for an NGA building are documented here. These records also include many photographs of staff, collections, exhibitions, and the galleries. Exhibition materials such as catalogs, installation photographs, shipping forms, invoices, and condition reports mostly document loan exhibitions and some new acquisitions. Frequent sponsors of loan exhibitions included the Pan American Union/League, the American Federation of Arts, the Pennsylvania Society Club, the Metropolitan State Art Contest, and the Society of Washington Artists.

In addition, these records document campaigns to raise public and private support for the national art collection. There is correspondence with art galleries and reports of visits to galleries throughout the United States, including the Carolina Art Association and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Minutes and reports show the functions and activities of the National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, National Gallery of Art Commission, and Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission.

Important Smithsonian correspondents include Charles G. Abbot, Cyrus Adler, Richard Rathbun, William deC. Ravenel, Charles D. Walcott, and Alexander Wetmore. There is also considerable correspondence with Leila Mechlin of the American Federation of Arts with Florence N. Levy, who was affiliated with the American Art Annual, and with various women's clubs that helped promote the NGA.
Historical Note:
The history of the National Gallery of Art (later named the National Collection of Fine Arts) begins well before the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. The Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences was established in 1816; and John Varden founded his own museum, later called the Washington Museum, in 1829. These two organizations eventually merged with the National Institution for the Promotion of Science, created in 1840, and incorporated by Congress as the National Institute in 1842. The National Institute displayed its art works in the newly-constructed Patent Office Building, under the care of John Varden. It boasted a large collection of John Mix Stanley and Charles Bird King Indian portraits.

When the Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846, Congress authorized its Regents to collect "all objects of art and of foreign and curious research." Although art did not receive much focus until the early twentieth century, the collection slowly grew. Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian, purchased a large collection of George Perkins Marsh etchings and engravings in 1849. In 1858 government-owned art works previously shown in the Patent Building were removed to the west wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building ("Castle"), and in 1862, when the National Institute charter expired, its collections were transferred to the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian's small art collection suffered a great setback in 1865, when most of the collection displayed on the second floor of the Castle was destroyed by fire. Surviving works were removed; prints and drawings were stored at the Library of Congress, and paintings and sculptures at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (in the building now home to the Renwick Gallery).

Private contributions helped to rebuild the Smithsonian's art gallery. Most notably, Mrs. Joseph Harrison presented the Institution with a collection of George C. Catlin Indian paintings in 1879, and the new works were shown in the Castle and in the newly-completed National Museum Building. In 1896 the remainder of the Smithsonian collection was recalled from the Library of Congress and the Corcoran by Secretary Samuel P. Langley, and was added to the Catlin collection in the Castle and National Museum Buildings. Langley also created an "Art Room" on the second floor of the Castle, which displayed reproductions of paintings, mostly portraits, by Old Masters, and a frieze of Parthenon reliefs in plaster around the room.

At the turn of the century, however, a national gallery still did not exist in Washington, and pressure increased from outside the Smithsonian to create such an organization. President Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for a National Gallery, but Congress failed to act on his request in 1904. In 1903 Harriet Lane Johnston, President James Buchanan's niece and lady of the White House during his administration, bequeathed her large collection to a "national gallery of art." The trustees of her estate refused to release her collection until such a gallery existed, and a legal battle ensued. In 1905 the District of Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the Smithsonian collection fell within the description of a national gallery, and the Johnston collection was delivered to the Institution in 1906. The nucleus of the National Gallery consisted of the Johnston Collection of European and American art and the William T. Evans Collection of contemporary American art (added in 1907 with President Theodore Roosevelt's influence). The new additions greatly expanded the Gallery's holdings, but its growth would be severely hampered by the Smithsonian's lack of funds and an unwillingness to begin and support new ventures.

The National Gallery of Art (NGA) was administered under the United States National Museum's (USNM) Department of Anthropology. William Henry Holmes (1846-1933), artist, topographer, archeologist, and geologist, was named first Curator of the NGA, in addition to his duties as Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) Chief (1902-1909), and later as Curator of the Department of Anthropology (1910-1920). Holmes was a part of the Smithsonian most of his life. He was born near Cadiz, Ohio, in the same year as the Institution's founding. A teacher and graduate of McNeely Normal School (1870) in Hopedale, Ohio, Holmes moved to Washington, D.C., in 1871 to study art under Theodor Kaufmann. During his studies he became acquainted with another Kaufmann student, Mary Henry, daughter of Joseph Henry. On her suggestion, he visited the Smithsonian. Ornithologist Jose Zeledon noticed Holmes as he was sketching two birds on exhibit, and Zeledon introduced Holmes to Fielding Bradford Meek, paleontologist and stratigrapher of state and federal surveys. Impressed with his drawings, Meek immediately hired Holmes as an illustrator.

In his first years with the Smithsonian, Holmes joined Ferdinand V. Hayden's U.S. Survey of the Territories as an artist-topographer (1872) and was later appointed assistant geologist (1874). This work inspired his career as an archeologist and his interest in Southwestern cliff dwellings. Between 1880 and 1889 Holmes worked with the U.S. Geological Survey on the Charles Dutton expedition to the Grand Canyon, while also serving as Honorary Curator of Aboriginal Ceramics for the USNM. Holmes achieved great respect for his scientific knowledge and artistic talent. By 1889 he was named Director of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology.

In 1894 Holmes moved to Chicago to manage the BAE exhibitions at the Field Columbian Museum and to teach anthropic geology at the University of Chicago. During this time he traveled with the Allison V. Armour expedition to the Yucatan. His stay in Chicago lasted until 1897 when he returned to the Smithsonian as Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology. In 1902 he resigned to become the BAE Chief.

Holmes was the natural choice for the Gallery's first Curator. An accomplished artist and advocate of the arts, he was often consulted on questions of exhibition and art before the NGA existed. Holmes can be placed within the tradition of American artist-scientists exemplified by Thomas Jefferson and Charles Willson Peale. His sketches of natural history specimens were highly regarded and are still used by scientists today. As a painter, Holmes is grouped in the "Washington Landscape School." His style appears impressionistic (especially his later work), although he would have rejected that label; Holmes was artistically conservative, and spoke against the aberrations of such artists as Matisse. Leila Mechlin, Washington art critic, considered him one of the best watercolorists in the country.

During his tenure with the National Gallery, the collections grew considerably, adding the Johnston and Evans Collections, as well as the A. R. and M. H. Eddy Collection of miniatures and paintings (1918), the Ralph Cross Johnson and Alfred Duane Pell Collections of European masters (1919), the Henry Ward Ranger bequest (1920), and the John Gellatly Collection (1929), a significant gift of American Renaissance works, decorative arts, and European masters. Holmes also saw the addition of the National Portrait Committee, formed in 1919 to document America's role in World War I.

Space for the national art works was always an issue for the Gallery. Holmes continually lobbied for a separate building to house the Gallery, appealing to America's patriotism and belief in civilization. In its early years, collections were housed in designated areas throughout the Castle and the National Museum Building. When the new museum building, now the Natural History Building, was completed in 1910, the Gallery was allowed space in its central skylighted hall, and a small opening was held March 17, 1910. This, however, was inadequate, and limited both the Smithsonian's art and natural history interests. Donors often hesitated to give to the Gallery due to these space limitations. In 1923 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge led a Congressional motion to set aside space on the Mall east of the Natural History Building for a new American art and history building. The Smithsonian was obligated to raise funds for construction. The Regents raised $10,000 for initial planning costs, and commissioned Freer architect Charles A. Platt to design the new museum. National organizations, most significantly women's clubs, helped campaign for a Gallery building, but did not raise the necessary monies.

In 1920, the Regents established the National Gallery of Art as a separate Smithsonian bureau. Holmes ended his ties with the National Museum and became the Gallery's first Director. As head of the NGA for nearly thirty years, Holmes assembled a remarkable program of exhibitions, organized the meager and scattered collections, and remained committed to the artistic community. He was a member of several art organizations, including the Washington Water Color Club, and was a charter member of the Cosmos Club, in which he promoted art interests.

Holmes retired from the National Gallery in 1932 and died in 1933. He was succeeded by Ruel Pardee Tolman (1878-1954). Tolman was born in Brookfield, Vermont, and educated in California, where he studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, and the University of California at Berkeley. Tolman moved to Washington, D.C., in 1902, where he studied at the Corcoran School of Art (1902-1905) and at the National Academy of Design in New York (1906). He taught at the Corcoran between 1906 and 1918 and was employed in the Graphic Arts Division of the USNM, where he eventually became Curator. He remained with Graphic Arts when he was named Acting Director of the NGA (1932-1946); and later resigned his curatorship to become Director of NGA (1946-1948).

In the late 1930s Andrew Mellon donated his considerable collection for a new gallery of art. In 1937 his collection became the National Gallery of Art, administered by an independent board of trustees, in cooperation with the Smithsonian, and housed in a new building at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue. The former National Gallery was renamed the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), with Tolman continuing as Acting Director and art works remaining in the Natural History Building "art hall." From the 1930s forward, the NCFA focused more exclusively on American art, and the new National Gallery concerned itself primarily with European Masters.

Tolman resigned from the NCFA in 1948, succeeded by Thomas M. Beggs. During Beggs's administration (1948-1964), Alice Pike Barney, Washington painter, donated part of her collection (1951), which became the core of an extensive lending program later established by Natalie Clifford Barney and Mrs. Laura Dreyfus-Barney, and her Sheridan Circle studio home for meeting purposes (1960).

In 1957 the NCFA, still without a home of its own, was granted use of the Old Patent Office Building, scheduled for demolition but preserved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The NCFA and the Portrait Gallery were transferred to the Patent Office Building in 1962 and opened on May 6, 1968. NCFA portraits were delegated to the Portrait Gallery, decorative arts to the new National Museum of History and Technology, and other works to various Smithsonian bureaus. In 1972 Smithsonian-owned exhibits of crafts and design were removed from storage in the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the U.S. Court of Claims into the new Renwick Gallery.
Chronology:
1816-1838 -- Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts & Sciences founded in Washington, D.C.

1829 -- John Varden Museum founded, later becomes Washington Museum (1836)

1840-1862 -- National Institution for the Promotion of Science is: founded (1840); combined with Varden collection and Columbian Institute (1840-1841); incorporated by Congress as the National Institute (1842)

1846 -- Smithsonian Institution founded

December 1, 1846 -- William Henry Holmes born near Cadiz, Ohio

1849 -- George P. Marsh etchings and engravings purchased by Secretary Joseph Henry

1858 -- Government art works moved from Patent Office Building

1862 -- Collections from National Institute are transferred to Smithsonian at expiration of charter

1865 -- Castle fire (January 24); surviving works moved to Library of Congress (prints and drawings) and to Corcoran (paintings and sculptures)

1865 -- Holmes receives teaching certificate in Ohio

1868 -- Ruel Pardee Tolman born in Brookfield, Vermont

1870 -- Holmes graduates from McNeely Normal School, Hopedale, Ohio

1871 -- Holmes hired by Smithsonian as illustrator

1872-1877 -- Holmes joins U.S. Survey of the Territories under Ferdinand V. Hayden as artist-topographer; appointed assistant geologist (1874)

1878 -- Cosmos Club founded, Holmes is charter member

1879 -- Catlin collection of Indian paintings donated

1879 -- National Museum Building completed (now Arts & Industries Building)

1879-1880 -- Holmes studies and travels in Europe

1880-1889 -- Holmes joins U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Charles Dutton expedition to Grand Canyon

1882-1889 -- Holmes is Honorary Curator of Aboriginal Ceramics, USNM

1883 -- Holmes marries Kate Clifton Osgood, genre painter, teacher at Madeira School (October); they have two children, Osgood and William Heberling

1889-1893 -- Holmes is Director of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology

1894-1897 -- Holmes moves to Chicago as professor of anthropic geology at the University of Chicago, and Head Curator of Anthropology at the Field Columbian Museum; joins Allison V. Armour expedition to Yucatan (1894)

1896 -- Remainder of Smithsonian art works recalled to Castle; Secretary Langley creates "art room" on second floor displaying copies of masterpieces

1897-1902 -- Tolman studies at Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, the Los Angeles School of Art & Design, and the University of California at Berkeley

1897-1902 -- Holmes is Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology, USNM

1898 -- Holmes wins Loubat Prize for achievement in archeology

1902-1905 -- Tolman studies at the Corcoran School of Art

1902-1909 -- Holmes is Chief of Bureau of American Ethnology

1903 -- Harriet Lane Johnston bequeaths collection of European and American works to a "national gallery of art"

December 6, 1904 -- President Theodore Roosevelt proposes a National Gallery of Art, no Congressional action taken

1905 -- Holmes elected to National Academy of Sciences

1905-1906 -- Charles Lang Freer offers collection of Asian art to Smithsonian with conditions to bequeath art and building after his death; formally accepted by Regents in 1906; suit filed with District of Columbia Supreme Court over Johnston collection (February 7); court order gives collection to Smithsonian (July 18); collection delivered (August 3)

1906-1918 -- Tolman teaches at Corcoran and works in Graphic Arts Division of U.S. National Museum

1906 -- National Gallery of Art officially established

1906-1920 -- NGA administered by USNM, Holmes is Curator

1907 -- William T. Evans donates contemporary American art works

March 17, 1910 -- Natural History Building opened; small opening for NGA exhibition space

1910-1920 -- Holmes is Head Curator of Department of Anthropology, USNM

1912-1946 -- Tolman is Curator of Graphic Arts, USNM

1915 -- Group of French artists donate 82 drawings in appreciation of American assistance in WWI

1916 -- Charles Lang Freer authorizes the immediate construction of a building designed by Charles A. Platt to house his collection

1917 -- Approval given to add National Portrait Gallery to the NGA

1918 -- A. R. and M. H. Eddy donate collection of miniatures and paintings

1918 -- Holmes receives Doctor of Sciences degree from George Washington University

1919 -- Ralph Cross Johnson donates his collection of paintings, largely European masters; Rev. Alfred Duane Pell donates European masters

1919 -- Henry Ward Ranger bequests money for art works which are to eventually reside in the NGA

September 25, 1919 -- Charles Lang Freer dies

1919 -- Holmes wins second Loubat Prize

July 1, 1920 -- Congress establishes the NGA as a separate Smithsonian bureau

1920 -- Freer Gallery opens in December, John E. Lodge is Curator

1920-1932 -- Holmes is Director of National Gallery of Art

1923 -- Congress sets aside space on Mall east of Natural History for American history and art; lack of funds prevents construction of building designed by Charles A. Platt

1923 -- Walter Beck donates Civil War Portraits

1923 -- World War I portraits displayed in NGA; beginning of Portrait Gallery

1925 -- Kate Clifton Osgood Holmes dies

1925 -- Mrs. John B. Henderson offers land (4-5 acres) on Meridian Hill, facing 16th Street, for gallery building

1926 -- Resolution favors the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery as a unit of the NGA

1926 -- Holmes' left leg amputated as a result of blood poisoning

1929 -- John Gellatly Collection gift of over 100 American Renaissance works and decorative arts and old European masters promised to the NGA; the collection to remain in the Heckscher Building in New York City for four years

June 30, 1932 -- Holmes retires

1932-1946 -- Ruel P. Tolman is Acting Director of NGA

April 20, 1933 -- Holmes dies in Royal Oak, Michigan

1933 -- Gellatly Collection transferred to the Smithsonian (May 1); opened to the public (June 1)

1937 -- National Gallery becomes the National Collection of Fine Arts; the Andrew Mellon collection becomes the National Gallery of Art

August 26, 1937 -- Andrew W. Mellon dies

1937-1938 -- Smithsonian Gallery of Art competition, building never constructed

1938 -- Congress authorizes space on Mall across from Mellon National Gallery for NCFA use, no money is made available

July 28, 1946 -- Tolman named Director of NCFA

1948 -- Tolman resigns from NCFA (March 31); Thomas M. Beggs succeeds him (Assistant Director, July 30, 1947; Director, April 1, 1948-1964)

1951 -- Alice Pike Barney, painter, donates part of her collection, which is the foundation for an extensive lending program established by Natalie Clifford Barney and Mrs. Laura Dreyfus-Barney; and her Sheridan Circle studio home is later donated for conferences (1960)

August 24, 1954 -- Ruel P. Tolman dies

1957 -- Old Patent Office Building, scheduled for demolition, is granted by President Eisenhower to the NCFA and Portrait Gallery

1962 -- NCFA and Portrait Gallery transferred to new home

1965-1968 -- David W. Scott is Director of the NCFA

May 6, 1968 -- NCFA officially opens in the Old Patent Office Building

1969 -- Robert Tyler Davis becomes Interim Director of NCFA

1970-1979 -- Joshua C. Taylor is NCFA Director

1972 -- Renwick Gallery opened
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Black-and-white photographs
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 311
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0311
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By