Archives of American Art Receives Major Grant to Digitize Jacques Seligmann and Co. Gallery Records

Released: 9/30/09

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded $100,000 to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art to digitize the historical records of the Jacques Seligmann and Co. gallery for preservation and online public access. One of the Archives’ most significant, largest and frequently requested collections, the gallery records date from 1904 to 1978 and measure 203 linear feet. This rich resource is invaluable to scholars, curators, registrars and others researching the history of art dealing in Europe and the United States in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

Seligmann was an important source of European contemporary art, old masters, sculpture, antiquities and tapestries for American collectors. Nearly every major museum and art collector in the country was a client during the period when American museums and collectors were forming their great collections. The records were donated in 1978 and 1994 by Ethlyne Seligman, widow of Germain Seligman, and were fully processed in 2001 with funding from the Getty Foundation.

This grant from the Kress Foundation will allow unparalleled worldwide access to the collection on the Archives’ Collections Online Web site at Launched in 2006, Collections Online offers unprecedented access to the content and context of thousands of documents, photographs, diaries, sketches, writings and rare published materials. Of the Archives’ 5,500 archives and manuscript collections, the Collections Online site currently hosts 76 fully digitized collections—totaling more than 675,000 digital images. The Kress Foundation’s grant will ensure that the valuable and fragile Jacques Seligmann and Co. records are made available through this innovative online new media.

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art enlivens the extraordinary human stories behind America’s most significant art and artists. It is the world’s pre-eminent resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America. Constantly growing in range and depth, and ever increasing in accessibility to its many audiences, it is a vibrant, unparalleled and essential resource for the appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of art in America. For more information visit the Archives Web site at

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