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Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985

Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985

Arquin, Florence, 1900-1974

Painter, Photographer, Educator, Art critic

Representative image for Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985

This site provides access to the papers of Florence Arquin in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2015, and total 18,346 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 8.3 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Florence Arquin measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1985. The papers document Arquin's career as a painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching and project files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks. Additionally, the papers relate to her personal relationships with her husband Samuel Williams and friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Teaching and project files include material from Arquin's work with the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and as director of the U.S. State Department's Kodachrome Slide Project, which was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids to support Latin American Studies.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic, Florence Arquin (1900-1974) was active in Chicago, Illinois. She was widely known for her expertise in the field of Latin American Studies and had a close relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. From 1935 to 1939 she worked as administrator for the Federal Art Project in Illinois and joined the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939 to develop education programs aimed at secondary school students.

Provenance

Donated in 1990 by Samuel Williams, Arquin's husband.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Florence Arquin Papers, 1923-1985, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.arquflor
Author
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley, Jayna M. Josefson, and Olivia Evans
Biographical/Historical note
Painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic, Florence Arquin (1900-1974) was active in Chicago, Illinois. She was widely known for her expertise in the field of Latin American Studies and had a close relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. From 1935 to 1939 she worked as administrator for the Federal Art Project in Illinois and joined the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939 to develop education programs aimed at secondary school students.
Florence Arquin was born in 1900 in New York City. She graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied art education. After, she undertook post graduate studies at the National University of Mexico. In the early 1940s Arquin traveled to Mexico to paint, where she developed friendships with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In 1943 a solo exhibition of her paintings at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City was highly praised by Rivera in the catalog introduction. Arquin's book
Diego Rivera: The Shaping of an Artist, 1889-1921
about the artist's formative years, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1971.
Arquin traveled extensively in South America, the United States, and Europe throughout her life. From 1945 to 1951 she traveled to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador as Director of the Kodachrome Slide Project under the sponsorship of the Department of State. Arquin photographed aspects of life and culture and gave lectures at bi-national cultural institutions throughout those countries and in the United States. The project was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids in the field of Latin American studies.
Under another State Department grant, duplicates of Arquin's photographs were then made available for sale to institutions and individuals interested in the field of Latin American studies. The Metropolitan Museum of Art assumed responsibility for publicity, sale, and distribution of the slides from 1950 to 1955. Although few sales originated through the sales office of the Museum, Arquin managed to generate sales through her own efforts. In 1961 she applied for another grant to take control of the original slides and to add slides that she had taken on other visits to Latin America, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and other European countries since then.
Florence Arquin died in 1974.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-1962 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1, 11)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1985 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1929-circa 1964 (2.0 linear feet; Box 2-4)
Series 4: Teaching and Project Files, 1930-1963 (1.4 linear feet; Box 4-5)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1923-1964 (1.8 linear feet; Box 5-7, 11)
Series 6: Photographs, 1929-circa 1960 (0.7 linear feet; Box 7, 11)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1940-circa 1950 (2 folders; Box 7, 11)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1935-1956 (0.9 linear feet; Box 8-10)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of Florence Arquin measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1985. The papers document Arquin's career as a painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching and project files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks. Additionally, the papers relate to her personal relationships with her husband Samuel Williams and friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Teaching and project files include material from Arquin's work with the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and as director of the U.S. State Department's Kodachrome Slide Project, which was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids to support Latin American Studies.
Biographical materials include awards, biographical sketches and resumes, travel papers, identification cards, and ten address books.
The bulk of correspondence is comprised of letters written by Florence Arquin to her husband, Samuel Williams. These letters discuss her trips to Mexico in the 1940s, her role in the Kodachrome Slide Project, and her friendships with fellow artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and others. Also found are copies of letters from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Florence Arquin.
Writings and notes include extensive research notes, notebooks, and notecards by Florence Arquin, primarly on Latin American art and culture. Also found is a draft of Arquin's work on Diego Rivera,
Diego Rivera (1886-1957): The Shaping of an Artist (Early Period--1889-1921)
. Writings by others include a draft of a foreword by Diego Rivera, and writings by Jose de Souza Pedreira, and Hilla Rebay.
Teaching and project files include materials from Arquin's time teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work with the the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Kodachrome Slide Project. Teaching files are scattered and include student papers, class outlines, and a lecture. The Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago files include a proposal and project reports. The Kodachrome Slide Project files include correspondence, receipts, reports, educational guides and materials, slide sequences, and printed material.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings, booklets, travel guides, magazines, education journals, subject files on Diego Rivera and Frank Lloyd Wright, and blank postcards from Arquin's travels. There are extensive booklets and pamphlets published by the Pan American Union, and travel guides and educational guides for Latin America. Some printed material is in Spanish.
Photographs include portraits and snapshots of Florence Arquin, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and others. Photos of Florence Arquin show her in her office, giving lectures, and at events with others. Photographs of works of art are by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Artwork is scattered and includes a sketchbook by Florence Arquin with watercolor and pencil sketches and a print signed by de Diego.
There are four scrapbooks created by Florence Arquin. Scrapbooks may include photographs, writings, maps, and printed materials. Materials relate to the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago, travel, and the Kodachrome Slide Project.
Provenance
Donated in 1990 by Samuel Williams, Arquin's husband.
Processing Information note
The collection was originally processed by Olivia Evans and microfilmed onto reels 4711-4719. The finding aid was updated in 2002 by Stephanie Ashley during conversion to EAD. In 2014, Jayna Josefson updated the finding aid and prepared the collection for scanning. The collection was digitized in 2015 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The collection was digitized in 2015 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

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

Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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