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Advancing American Art: exhibition records, 1946-1977

United States.Department of State


Collection Information

Size: 250 Items, (on partial microfilm reel)

Summary: Correspondence, 1946-1977, and clippings, 1946-1948, relating to a traveling exhibition of art organized by the United States Department of State.

Biographical/Historical Note

Advancing American Art was an exhibition organized in 1946 by J. LeRoy Davidson and Richard Heindel of the State Department to promote American art. The seventy-nine oil paintings were purchased by the State Dept., supplemented by 39 watercolors funded by the American Federation of Arts under contract to the State Dept., and after being introduced in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in October 1946, were to travel in segments to Latin America and Europe for a five-year tour. Despite being well received in Prague, criticism in the U.S. from conservatives about the mostly abstract paintings being "un-American" led to the withdrawl of funding for the remainder of the tour, the recall of the paintings, and their sale as "surplus" property by the War Assets Administration in 1948.


Donated 1983 by Susan Sivard, who acquired the materials while researching the exhibition for an article which appeared in the April 1984 issue of Arts magazine.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 3769 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Advancing American Art: exhibition records, 1946-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.