Artists Unframed: Snapshots from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

Tucked away among the letters, diaries, and other ephemera in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art lies a trove of rarely seen snapshots of some of the twentieth century's most celebrated artists. Unlike the familiar official portraits and genius-at-work shots, these humble snaps capture creative giants with their guard down, in the moment, living life.

By Merry A. Foresta. Published May 2015 by Smithsonian Books.

Handmade Holiday Cards from 20th Century Artists

Illustrated with 190 beautifully reproduced cards from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, this book offers a private look into the personal holiday art and correspondence between a variety of American artists, their friends, and family.

By Mary Savig. Published September 2012 by Smithsonian Books.

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Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

From the weekly shopping list to the Ten Commandments, our lives are shaped by lists. Whether dashed off as a quick reminder, or carefully constructed as an inventory, this humble form of documentation provides insight into its maker's personal habits and decision-making processes. This is especially true for artists, whose day-to-day acts of living and art-making overlap and inform each other.

By Liza Kirwin. Published February 2010 by Princeton Architectural Press.

Speaking of Art: Selections from the Archives of American Art Oral History Collection

Representing only a fraction of the 2,000 interviews in the Archives' collection, this selection of interviews chronicles the great diversity of the American art scene, augmenting and refining our perception of individual artists, dealers, critics and curators and their social worlds.

By Liza Kirwin. Published October 2008 by Winterhouse Editions with the support of the Dedalus Foundation, Inc. Download PDF version [2.02 MB, 77 pages]

With Love: Artists’ Letters and Illustrated Notes

With love letters from Frida Kahlo sealed with her hot pink lipstick kisses, notes from Eero Saarinen enhanced by architectural drawings, Lee Krasner's last note to Jackson Pollock written just before his untimely death, and a fan letter from Hedy Lamarr to Franz Kline, this collectible volume of rarely seen correspondence and personal photographs from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art will be treasured by art lovers and romantics alike.

By Liza Kirwin and Joan Lord. Published January 2008 by Collins Design.

Artists in Their Studios: Images from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

Artists in Their Studios offers a unique glimpse at the lives and studio spaces of more than 75 important American artists from the late 19th century to the present. With rarely seen photographs and primary source materials'letters, lists of painting supplies, handwritten notes, exhibition announcements, and other personal effects from the Archives, this beautiful book brings the reader into each studio space, providing an intimate perspective on each artist at work.

By Liza Kirwin and Joan Lord. Published May 2007 by Collins Design.

More Than Words: Illustrated Letters From The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

Words can speak volumes, but, as every letter writer knows, there are times when they simply won't do. And when the author happens to be a visual artist, the results can be both intimate and transcendent. This book is a testament to those occasions, a compilation of personal letters by some of America's most revered artists, each one adorned with an illustration, writing to wives, lovers, friends, patrons, clients, and confidants.

By Liza Kirwin. Published October 2005 by Princeton Architectural Press.