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Audubon Artists records, 1944-2001

Audubon Artists records, 1944-2001

Audubon Artists

Collection Information

Size: 6.2 linear feet

Summary: The records of New York based Audubon Artists, a national exhibiting organization of painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1944-2001. The collection documents the organization's adoption of it's constitution and first major expansion in the mid-1940s, and it's subsequent growth to the present day. The records include correspondence with artist members, administrative files, exhibition files, financial records, printed material including an almost complete run of annual exhibition catalogs and prospectuses, and photographs of artwork, juries, and other groups involved in the annual exhibitions from the 1970s to 1999.

Biographical/Historical Note

Audubon Artists, a national exhibiting society of painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, was founded in New York, New York, in 1940.

Provenance

Donated by Audubon Artists in 1978 (via Mark Freeman, president) and 2001 (via David Pena, president).

Funding

The Audubon Artists records were processed in 2015 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Audubon Artists Records, 1944-2001, in the Archives of American Art
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Finding aid prepared by Stephanie L. Ashley
Scope and Contents note
The records of New York based Audubon Artists, a national exhibiting organization of painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, measure 6.2 linear feet and date from 1944-2001. The collection documents the organization's adoption of its constitution and first major expansion in the mid-1940s, and its subsequent growth to the present day. The records include correspondence with artist members, administrative files, exhibition files, financial records, printed material including an almost complete run of annual exhibition catalogs and prospectuses, and photographs of artwork, juries, and other groups involved in the annual exhibitions from the 1970s to 1999.
Administration and correspondence files document all aspects of the organization's activities and include founding documents; records of individual officers including presidents Domenico Facci, Joseph Domareki, Mark Freeman, Hughie Lee-Smith, Renee McKay and Frederic Whitaker, and historians Michael Engel and Jan Gary; correspondence with members and prospective members including artists such as John Taylor Arms, Thomas Hart Benton, Peter Blume, Stuart Davis, Walt Disney, Lyonel Feininger, Malvina Hoffman, William Meyerowitz, Henry Varnum Poor, Stow Wengenroth, and Stark Young; agenda, meeting minutes and reports to the Executive Board; and the correspondence and related records of various committees.
Exhibition files document a variety of activities related to exhibition planning, and include correspondence, entry forms, information on juries and awards, and lists of selected artwork and award winners.
Financial records include scattered treasurer correspondence and notes, records of bills paid, and some reports, investment and tax records from the 1960s-1990s.
Printed material includes an early brochure issued in 1944, and a brochure on the organization's history by Jan Gary, as well as annual exhibition catalogs and/or prospectuses from 1944 to 2000.
Photographic material consists of copy prints and negatives of photographic material used in the annual exhibition catalogs, including photos of artwork, juries and scattered exhibition installations.
Biographical/Historical note
Audubon Artists, a national exhibiting society of painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, was founded in New York, New York, in 1940. The organization took its name from the homestead of John James Audubon where it met in December, 1941, to discuss a less regional name than the one it had initially adopted: Professional Arts Group of Washington Heights. The group's association with Audubon, however, begins and ends with the name.
Audubon Artists held its first exhibition at 8th Street Gallery in Apri-May, 1942, with an exhibiting group of 22 members. In 1943 the group was able to attract a wider pool of recognized professional artists, and by 1944 the membership had increased to 60 and the organization issued its first annual exhibition catalog with the newly adopted eagle and palette emblem.
A reorganization meeting took place on March 27, 1944, to address the growing responsibilities for the annual exhibition. President Frederic Whitaker subsequently oversaw the creation of the original consitution, the credo and the 1946 incorporation of the organization, and led a membership campaign designed to attract nationally renowned artists of various aesthetic persuasions and gain the organization more prestige.
Since then, Audubon Artists has continued to hold an annual exhibition in a variety of locations throughout New York City, including the National Academy of Design, National Arts Club, and the Salmagundi Club. The latter has been the exhibition's preferred home since 1997, and with circa 350 members Audubon Artists remains a thriving organization dedicated to "artistic progress" today.
Arrangement note
Before processing, much of the collection was unsorted, and there was little indication of original record keeping practices for a large portion of the material. Some of the earlier material from the 1940s had been sorted by name or activity and where possible this arrangement has been maintained. Researcherss should be aware, however, that similar types of material such as correspondence, financial, and administrative records, can be found in various places throughout the collection, particularly throughout Series 1. The collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: Administration and Correspondence Files, 1944-2000 (2.43 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, OV 8)
Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1944-1999 (0.67 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 3: Financial Records, 1962-1999 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1944-2001 (1.7 linear feet; Boxes 4-6)
Series 5: Photographic Material, circa 1969-1999 (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 6-8)
Provenance
Donated by Audubon Artists in 1978 (via Mark Freeman, president) and 2001 (via David Pena, president).
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2015, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders within boxes may not be numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Audubon Artists records, 1944-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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