The Archives of American Art has always been central to the historiography of the 1913 Armory Show, as the repository of most of the official documents on the exhibition. The Archives’ holdings have been crucial for publications on the show since its fiftieth anniversary in 1963, with significant papers added to our collections in 1962, 1965, 1988, and 2011. Funnily enough, important material seems to come to light for the anniversaries.
Now, in time for the approaching centenary, a special issue of the Archives of American Art Journal will publish several important new finds by scholar Laurette E. McCarthy. The most significant is her identification and attribution of two seemingly lost installation photographs by Hagelstein Brothers, the official photographers of the Armory Show, which show in vivid detail the infamous Cubist and Matisse rooms (fig. 1 & 2). As McCarthy notes in her post for the Archives of American Art Blog, these important images have been hiding in the open since they were published in the New York Tribune on the show’s opening day February 17, 1913. The photos can be found on page 118 of the first scrapbook of press clippings in the Armory Show records, but their small size and placement on the page apparently caused scholars to miss them. Nobody, not even Milton Brown, seems to have paid much attention to them until McCarthy noticed what they were. McCarthy also identified twelve more long-sought photos of works of art by Hagelstein that were deposited in the Library of Congress in 1913.
The Archives is marking the Armory Show anniversary in a number of ways throughout 2013. The journal’s Armory Show issue will be published in January. The Archives will also launch an Armory Show website in 2013, funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. We will send to the Montclair Art Museum an exhibit of our most important primary documents. The show, titled “The Story of the Armory Show: Some Notes as to Why and How it Happened, from the Archives of American Art,” will be installed in conjunction with the museum’s “The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show,” which opens on the hundredth anniversary of the original opening. The New-York Historical Society has asked to borrow 69 of our most important documents to include in their fall 2013 show “The Armory Show at 100.” And of course, the 2013 Archives of American Art’s Annual Benefit will honor the Armory Show centennial and the Archives of American Art’s important place in the exhibition’s history.
Explore selected 1913 Armory Show-related resources at the Archives of American Art:
- Walt Kuhn, Kuhn family papers, and Armory Show records, 1859-1978, bulk 1900-1949
- The story of the Armory Show / by Walt Kuhn, 1938
- 1913 Armory Show, 50th anniversary exhibition records, 1962-1963
- Armory Show (International Exhibition of Modern Art) memorabilia, 1913
- Walter Pach papers, 1857-1980
- Virginia Teague papers relating to the Armory Show, 1913-1952, bulk 1913-1917