Skip to main content

Irving F. Burton papers, 1816-1967

Burton, Irving F. (Irving Frederick), 1918-



Collection Information

Size: 0.6 Linear feet

Summary: Files on artists in Burton's collection; and letters, documents and printed material collected by him.
Files: 58 files on artists in Burton's collection primarily containing a few photographs of works of art. Also found in the files are photocopies of notes, letters from curators and dealers, and printed material. Artists include Thomas Anshutz, Claude Bentley, Albert Bierstadt, Albert Blakelock, Warren Brandy, Charles Burchfield, Rosalba Carriera, William M. Chase, Thomas Cole, Jasper F. Cropsey, Charles Culver, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, Roelof De Vries, Thomas W. Dewing, Asher B. Durand, George H. Durrie, Thomas Eakins, Lyonel Feininger, Morris Graves, William Harnett, Childe Hassam, Marsden Hartley, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Thomas Hovenden, George Inness, Eastman Johnson, James Kearns, John F. Kensett, Earl Krentzin, Le Gendre, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Gari Melchers, Jerome Myers, George L. K. Morris, Guy Pène du Bois, John F. Peto, Maurice Prendergast, Constance Richardson, Theodore Robinson, John Singer Sargent, Sarkis Sarkisian, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, Everett Shinn, Adam Silo, John Sloan, Tintoretto, Mark Tobey, John Vanderlyn, Elihu Vedder, Robert Vickery, Franklin Watkins, Max Weber, and James McNeill Whistler. These files are unmicrofilmed.
Letters and other manuscript materials include: a letter from William Gropper to Burton (1964) discussing a museum's purchase of Yasuo Kuniyoshi's portrait of Gropper, and mentioning Gropper's spatter technique; a letter from Eastman Johnson, dated June 8, 1985 to an unknown recipient; a document certifying an artist's shipment, signed by Benjamin West, July 20, 1819; and 3 letters written by John Singer Sargent to: S.H. Church, July 3, 1906, to Mr. Lull, June 15, 1922, and to Mrs. Winthrop Chandler, June 12, 1924. The letter to Church declines an invitation to the dedication of the new Carnegie Institute in spring 1907.
Printed materials include: a book REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE U.S. COAST SURVEY FOR 1854 (published in 1855) with an engraving "View of the Eastern Extremity of Anacapa Island - From the Southward" by James McNeill Whistler in the margin of a map in the appendix; a book GIST OF ART by John Sloan (1944) inscribed "To an old friend J. K. Hulliung / John Sloan, Hotel Chelsea, April 1951," decoratively bound by Hulliung and held in a fur-covered box and containing 3 clippings about Sloan (1949-1951); a book AN ISLAND GARDEN by Celia Thaxter with illustrations by Childe Hassam (1894); a calendar, AMERICAN BLOCK PRINT CALENDAR with a print by a different artist for every week of the year (1937).

Biographical/Historical Note

Art collector; Detroit, Mich. Dr. Burton's collection consisted of mainly 19th and 20th century American paintings. He started his collection in 1957. The first purchases were two paintings by Edward Hopper and Morris Graves, through a show sponsored by the Friends of Modern Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. By 1966, the collection consisted of over 60 paintings, drawings and etchings, and over 100 objects such as pottery, bronzes, glass, etc.


Donated by Irving Burton, 1962-1997. Three books were placed in AAA's library.

Location of Originals

  • Reel 2935: Originals returned to Irving Burton, after microfilming, and subsequently donated as a gift in 1997.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Benjamin West document, John Singer Sargent letters copied on 35mm microfilm reel 2935 (frames 1068-1081) available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. [Microfilm label: John Singer Sargent papers and the Benjamin West papers].

American block print calendar copied on 35mm microfilm roll 2786 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

Irving F. Burton papers, 1816-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.