Art critic, Arts administrator
New York, N.Y.
Collection size: 13.5 linear ft.
Collection Summary: The papers of New York City art critic, writer, and lecturer Forbes Watson date from 1840-1967, with the bulk of materials dating from 1900-1960, and measure 13.5 linear feet. Found are biographical materials, correspondence, business records relating to the Arts Publishing Corporation, records documenting Watson's work for the Public Works of Art Project and the Section of Painting and Sculpture, reference files, an exhibition file from the Pepsi-Cola Company's Third Annual Exhibition, writings and notes, ten scrapbooks and loose pages, printed materials, and photographs.
Biographical/Historical Note: Forbes Watson (1879-1960) was an art critic, lecturer, and administrator from New York, N.Y. Watson served as art critic of the New York Evening Post, 1911-1917, the New York World, 1918-1931, editor of The Arts, 1923-1933, and lecturer at the Art Students League. In 1933, he was appointed Technical Director of the first, but short-lived New Deal art program, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP),created to provide work for artists in the decoration of non-federal buildings, and served under Edward Rowan until it dissolved in 1934. He then moved, with Rowan, to the Treasury Dept. of Painting and Sculpture (later the Section of Fine Arts), which administered funding for the competitive commissions to decorate federal buildings, where he served as Special Advisor, and as editor of the Section's Bulletin. Watson later served in the Treasury Dept's War Finance Division organizing exhibitions and posters by combat artists to promote the sale of war bonds. He authored several books and articles on American art.
The Forbes Watson papers were donated by Watson's widow, Nan Watson, in 1961.
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