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George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938

George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938

Barnard, George Grey, 1863-1938

Sculptor

Representative image for George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938

This site provides access to the papers of George Grey Barnard in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 5,640 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 13.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York sculptor, collector, and dealer George Grey Barnard measure 13.8 linear feet and date from 1860 to 1969, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1880-1938. These papers document his life and work as an artist, as well as his activities as a collector and dealer of medieval art, through correspondence, collecting notebooks, diaries and daily journals, ephemera, inventories, business and financial records, exhibition catalogs, newspaper clippings, reference materials, publications, photographs, and a small number of sketches.

Biographical/Historical Note

George Grey Barnard (1863-1938) was an American sculptor, collector, and dealer, whose collection of medieval art formed the nucleus of the Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art of the middle ages.

Provenance

The bulk of the George Grey Barnard papers was transferred from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (formerly the National Collection of Fine Arts) in 1975 and 2003, where it had been given by the artist's son Monroe in 1970. In 1971, Monroe Barnard donated additional papers. In 1976, the Pennsylvania State University Archives donated 2.0 linear feet of papers.

Related Materials

Funding

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

Location of Originals

  • Many duplicate photographs of Lincoln sculpture, and additional photographs of Lincoln sculpture found in 2003 transfer that were not microfilmed. Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

A Finding Aid to the George Grey Barnard Papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.barngeor
Author
Finding aid prepared by Kathleen Brown
Biographical/Historical note
George Grey Barnard (1863-1938) was an American sculptor, collector, and dealer, whose collection of medieval art formed the nucleus of the Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art of the middle ages. Barnard was born to a Presbyterian minister and his wife in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania in 1863. While he was still a young boy, the family left Pennsylvania for the Midwest, eventually settling in Muscatine, Iowa. He married Edna Monroe in 1895 and had three children: Monroe, Vivia, and Barbara.
Barnard began studying sculpture in his late teens, first with Leonard Volk, then at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied from 1882 until he left for Paris the following year. In Paris he received training from Pierre-Jules Cavelier at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1900 he earned a gold medal at the Salon of the Champs de Mars in Paris.
While in France, Bernard began scavenging the countryside for discarded medieval antiques. He was in debt most of his life, and sold these pieces to support his family and fund his work. He retained the best finds which eventually formed his two medieval collections. The first was the Cloisters, which he sold to John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1925. The second was the Abbaye, which he completed in 1937. This collection was sold by his estate to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1945.
Returning to America, he completed both public and private commissions. In 1902, he was commissioned to create sculptures for the new state capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1915, he was commissioned by Charles P. Taft to create an Abraham Lincoln statue for Cincinnati. The statue was erected in 1917 and portrayed Lincoln as gangly, frail, and emotional. A second casting was to be given to Westminster Abbey, but controversy over this representation eventually led to its transfer to Manchester.
George Grey Barnard was deeply affected by the devastation of World War I. He devoted the rest of his life to building a memorial to peace, called the
Rainbow Arch
. It would have been dedicated to the Mothers of America and paid for solely from his own funds and coins contributed by children. Although he spent all his resources on the arch, he only completed a plaster model before his death. George Grey Barnard died of a heart attack in 1938.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 10 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1888-1955 (Boxes 1 and 15; 0.25 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1896-1965 (Box 1; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries and Daily Journals, 1900-1938 (Boxes 1-2; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1881-1963 (Boxes 2-4; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 5: Medieval Art and Collections, circa 1905-1958 (Boxes 4, 15 and OV 17; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 6: Business Records, circa 1900-1938 (Boxes 4-5; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 7: Financial Records, circa 1920-1941 (Boxes 5-7; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 8: Printed Materials, circa 1890-1969 (Boxes 7-8, 15-16 and BV 25; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1860-1963 (Boxes 8-13, 15, and OV 17-24; 4.5 linear feet)
Series 10: Artwork, circa 1880-1938 (Boxes 11, 14, 16 and OV 17; 0.5 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York sculptor, collector, and dealer George Grey Barnard measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1860 to 1969, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1880-1938. These papers document his life and work as an artist, as well as his activities as a collector and dealer of medieval art, through correspondence, collecting notebooks, diaries and daily journals, ephemera, inventories, business and financial records, exhibition catalogs, newspaper clippings, reference materials, publications, photographs, and a small number of sketches.
Provenance
The bulk of the George Grey Barnard papers was transferred from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (formerly the National Collection of Fine Arts) in 1975 and 2003, where it had been given by the artist's son Monroe in 1970. In 1971, Monroe Barnard donated additional papers. In 1976, the Pennsylvania State University Archives donated 2.0 linear feet of papers.
Related Archival Materials note
Additional George Grey Barnard papers are available at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 1985 the museum loaned approximately 4.0 linear feet of correspondence, exhibition files, and sketches to the Archives for microfilming on reels 3658-3664.
Location of Originals
  • Many duplicate photographs of Lincoln sculpture, and additional photographs of Lincoln sculpture found in 2003 transfer that were not microfilmed. Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information note
Select records, primarily correspondence and photographs of Barnard's sculptures were microfilmed on reels 118 and 1116; these reels are no longer in circulation. The entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Kathleen Brown in 2009 and scanned in 2012 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Processing of glass plate negatives and lantern slides was completed in 2014 by Anna Rimel with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2012 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Selected financial records, photographs of works of art, some business records, and printed materials have not been scanned.

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

George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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