Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
22 documents - page 1 of 2

Records

Topic:
Time
Creator::
National Portrait Gallery. Office of the Director  Search this
Extent:
38 cu. ft. (38 record storage boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Floor plans
Exhibition catalogs
Color photographs
Black-and-white photographs
Illustrations
Manuscripts
Color transparencies
Date:
1937-1990
Descriptive Entry:
The first NPG director, Charles Nagel, was appointed in 1964. Most of the records document the director's efforts to initiate programs to fulfil the second mission of the Gallery: to provide a research center for American biography, iconography, and history. To achieve this objective, Charles Nagel established the Catalogue of American Portraits and the Charles Willson Peale Papers. During his tenure, Nagel acquired additional small collections such as a few Andrew Mellon portraits and transfers from the National Museum of History and Technology and the National Collection of Fine Arts. Also, the records document NPG's move from the Arts and Industries Building in 1967 to its present quarters in the Old Patent Office Building.

Records for the tenures of Marvin Sadik and Alan M. Fern mostly document major programmatic innovations, such as the Living Self-Portrait and Portrait in Motion series, that resulted in colloquia. The records also document special exhibition schedules, the donation in 1974 by Paul Mellon of 761 engraved portraits by C. B. J. F. de Saint-Memin, the donation by Time Incorporated of 850 pieces of art used on Time magazine covers, and 5,419 glass negatives from the Mathew Brady Studio, which were acquired in 1981 from the Frederick Hill Meserve Collection.

Included in the records are internal correspondence between the directors and NPG staff; correspondence with other Smithsonian bureaus as well as with other local, national, and international art institutions and artists; and numerous public inquiries about artists, works of art, exhibitions, donations of art, and bequests. These records also include color and black and white photographs, color slides, exhibition designs, exhibition materials such as catalogues, installation photographs, check lists, names and addresses of financial and art donors, shipping and loan forms, insurance forms, reports concerning the security of the collections and the Gallery, and condition reports that mostly document loan exhibitions and some new acquisitions. There are also minutes from various committee meetings within and outside NPG.
Historical Note:
These records document the administrations of three directors of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) - Charles Nagel, 1964-1969; Marvin Sadik, 1969-1981; and Alan M. Fern, 1982-2000.

The records document the history and routine operations of the NPG since 1937 when the National Gallery of Art Commission was the designated official body to accept donations of portraits for the Gallery's future opening. The United States Congress officially established the National Portrait Gallery in 1962 as a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, "a free and public museum for the exhibition and study of portraiture and statuary depicting men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States, and of the artists who created such portraiture and statuary."

The Smithsonian Board of Regents appointed the first NPG Commission in 1963, which elected John Nicholas Brown as its chairman. The Commission's two main objectives for the NPG were based on its congressional mandate: the acquisition and exhibition of portraits and statuary of people who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the United States; and the establishment of the Gallery as a research center for American biography, iconography, and history. Before the appointment of the Gallery's first director in 1964, the Commission established guidelines for accepting portraits, among which were the best likeness possible; original portraits from life, if possible; exhibitions of the United States presidents and first ladies as well as permanent collection portraits of subjects who have been dead for at least ten years.
Restrictions:
Boxes 15 and 30 contain materials restricted indefinitely; see finding aid. Contact reference staff for details.
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Art museum directors  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Museums -- Acquisitions  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Museums -- Public relations  Search this
Genre/Form:
Floor plans
Exhibition catalogs
Color photographs
Black-and-white photographs
Illustrations
Manuscripts
Color transparencies
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 426, National Portrait Gallery. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 426
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0426

Commission Records, 1908-2001, 2007-2016

Creator:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Director  Search this
Subject:
Eldredge, Charles C  Search this
Lowe, Harry 1922-  Search this
Taylor, Joshua C (Joshua Charles) 1917-1981  Search this
Davis, Robert Tyler  Search this
Scott, David W. 1916-  Search this
Beggs, Thomas M  Search this
Tolman, Ruel P (Ruel Pardee) 1878-1954  Search this
Holmes, William Henry 1846-1933  Search this
Broun, Elizabeth  Search this
Physical description:
3.67 cu. ft. processed holdings
3 cu. ft. unprocessed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Date:
1908
1908-2016
1908-2001, 2007-2016
Topic:
Museums--Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00818
Restrictions & Rights:
Materials less than 15 years old Restricted. Contact reference staff for details
See more items in:
Commission Records 1908-2001, 2007-2016 [Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Director]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_225687

Commission Records, 1983-1991

Creator:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Deputy Director  Search this
Subject:
Lowe, Harry 1922-  Search this
Robertson, Charles (Charles J.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art Commission  Search this
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.) Commission  Search this
Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission  Search this
National Museum of American Art (U.S.) Commission  Search this
Smithsonian American Art Museum Commission  Search this
Physical description:
1.5 cu. ft. processed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Date:
1983
1983-1991
Topic:
Museums--Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00834
Restrictions & Rights:
Materials less than 15 years old Restricted. Contact reference staff for details
See more items in:
Commission Records 1983-1991 [Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Deputy Director]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_225744

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:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
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:

National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, National Gallery of Art Commission, and Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission, 1908-1960

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Note:
The National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, consisting of several artists and art representatives, was formed in 1908 to assist the Gallery with management and acquisition decisions. Francis D. Millet was the Committee's first President. When the NGA became a separate bureau of the Smithsonian in 1920, the Committee changed its name to the National Gallery of Art Commission; and when it became the NCFA, the group became known as the Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission. This series includes agendas, minutes, and reports of Commission meetings.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 311, Series 2
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4098

Box 20

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4115

Folder 5 National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, 1908, 1910, 1919

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 20 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4123

Folders 6-9 National Gallery of Art Commission, 1921-1933. Minutes of April 12, 1929, concern the John Gellatly Collection.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 20 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4135

Box 21

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4148

Folders 1-3 National Gallery of Art Commission, 1934-1937. Minutes of April 6, 1937, concern Andrew W. Mellon's gift for the National Gallery of Art.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4156

Folders 4-5 Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission, 1938-1939

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4168

Folders 6-11 Smithsonian Art Commission, 1940-1946

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4180

Box 22

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4193

Folders 1-3 Smithsonian Art Commission, 1947-1948, 1958, 1960

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 22 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4201

Folder 4 Art Commission's Summaries. Includes statements of changes made in the organization and structure of the various Smithsonian art commissions.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 22 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4213

Folder 12 Russian Art Exhibition, 1928-1929. Includes correspondence with members of the National Gallery of Art Commission concerning a proposed Russian Art Exhibition by art critic Christian Brinton.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 34 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e6076

Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Birnbaum, Martin, 1878-1970  Search this
Extent:
1.7 Linear feet (Boxes 1-2)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1862-1967
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence is primarily in the form of incoming letters to Birnbaum, with drafts or copies of some of Birnbaum's outgoing letters. Correspondence is with family members, friends and colleagues, including artists, clients, galleries, museums, scholars, writers, and publishers.

Found is significant correspondence with artists including Cecilia Beaux, Orland Campbell, Louise Dillingham, William Hunt Diedrich, Herbert Haseltine, Jan Hoowij, Malvina Hoffman, Leonebel Jacobs, Lois Mailou Jones, Rockwell Kent, Lenard Kester, Paul Manship, Gari Melchers, Maxfield Parrish, Janet Scudder, Carl Sprinchorn, Maurice Sterne, Albert Sterner, and Carl N. Werntz. Correspondence with Edward Bruce discusses Bruce's painting, and his relationships with Birnbaum and Scott & Fowles concerning the development of his private collection. Letters from John Singer Sargent relate to Sargent's own work and his interests in acquiring works of art by others. Letters from Maxfield Parrish provide details about the artist's life and work in Windsor, Vermont.

Also found is correspondence with noted art collectors including Edmund Davis and his brother Reginald Davis, Henry P. McIlhenny, Grenville Lindall Winthrop, and Edith Wetmore. Material relating to Winthrop includes drafts of many of Birnbaum's letters to Winthrop, telegrams regarding sales, price lists, and correspondence with Harvard University's Fogg Museum, all of which document Birnbaum's crucial role in the development of the Winthrop collection and Winthrop's ultimately transformative gift to the Fogg Museum. Correspondence with Harvard University and Kate Winthrop Morse also relates to the Fogg's interest in Morse's sister, sculptor Emily Winthrop Miles.

2 folders of letters document directly Birnbaum's relationship with Scott and Fowles, primarily with Stevenson Scott, from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Correspondence with writers, publishers, and others illustrate Birnbaum's important literary and social connections and friendships and includes letters from Upton Sinclair relating primarily to collaborations prior to the publication of The Last Romantic; correspondence with Vantage Press, Inc., regarding the publication of Angkor and the Mandarin Road (1952); letters from Edmund Dulac and W. B. Yeats regarding the serial publication of The Hawk's Well to be illustrated by Dulac; letters from Fenella Lovell, a model renowned for being the subject of a 1910 portrait by Gwen John; a folder of letters from Virginia Gerson who invited Birnbaum to many of her salons; and one letter each from from Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Thornton Wilder.

Letters from James St. O'Toole contain appraisals of artwork provided to Birnbaum. Letters from James Parmalee relate to Gari Melchers and their involvement in the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art Commission. Correspondence with Metropolitan Museum of Art includes correspondence with Gisela Marie Augusta Richter, during her time as assistant curator for the Museum.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Collection Rights:
The Martin Birnbaum 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.
Collection Citation:
Martin Birnbaum papers, 1962-1967, bulk 1920-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.birnmart, Series 2
See more items in:
Martin Birnbaum papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-birnmart-ref16

Folder 11 National Gallery of Art Commission, minutes, 1921-1924

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 45, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0045-refd1e6405

Folders 12-13 National Gallery of Art Commission, correspondence, 1920-1924

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 45, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0045-refd1e6411

SI - National Gallery of Art Commission (N.C.F.A. after March 1937) [1921-1981]

Collection Creator::
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery  Search this
Container:
Box 20 of 23
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 03-018, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Central Files
See more items in:
Central Files
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa03-018-refidd1e7232

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By