An interview of Henry Plumer McIlhenny conducted 1974 Oct. 28, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
McIlhenny speaks about his parent's interest in collecting; his own collecting; studying with Paul Sachs at Harvard; his interest in 19th century art, travels to Europe, purchasing works by Seurat, Degas, Ingres, and Chardin; dealers he worked with including Paul Rosenberg and Valentine Dudensing; his tenure as decorative arts curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, staff, and exhibitions; the completion of the museum building by the WPA; and commissioning paintings from Franklin Watkins.
Biographical / Historical:
Henry McIlhenny (1910-1986) was an art collector, curator, and arts administrator from Philadelphia, Pa.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 4 min.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Pennsylvania -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- Interviews Search this
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Book of minutes; notebook, "List of articles loaned to the Union League" (commonly known as [James] Claghorn's notebook) contains titles, owners, and insurance values for art works; printed materials, consisting of Art Reception exhibition catalogs, printed circulars, annual reports, tickets and invitations, "Catalogue for the Exhibition of Pictures of Scenes of the Lehigh Valley Railroad," catalog for the Art Association collection, circulars for the purchase of a painting "Soir d'Ete" by Daniel Ridgway Knight, description of a painting "Honorable Mention" by E.L. Weeks, and notices of a 1903 painting of Abraham Lincoln by George B. Ayers; and letters regarding a portrait by Edwin Benson.
Biographical / Historical:
Art association affiliated with the Union League; Philadelphia, Pa. Union League was founded 1862. The Art Association was established shortly thereafter to maintain and sponsor exhibitions of the League's art collection. During the 1870's, the Art Association sponsored several Art Receptions which were important events in Philadelphia, attracting the participation of artists and art collectors.
All records were filmed except for membership applications and specific information about individual members of the Union League, which are not open to researchers.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Art, Modern -- 19th century -- History -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia Search this
Art -- Exhibitions -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia Search this