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Kate Lang papers, 1921-1996

Kate Lang papers, 1921-1996

Lang, Kate, 1910-1996


Collection Information

Size: 1.1 linear ft.

Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, writings, works of art, financial records, photographs, and printed material relating to self taught artist, Kate Lang.

Biographical/Historical Note

Kate Lang (1910-1996) was a self-taught painter in Washington, D.C. Born Kathryn Louise Barbour in Mobile, Alabama in 1910. Lang began painting at the age of 80. She sold her paintings at local Washington, D.C. flea markets until her death in 1996.


Donated 2001 and 2009 by Richard Lang, Kate Lang's son.

A Finding Aid to the Kate Lang Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Jetta Samulski
Biographical Note
Kate Lang, born Kathryn Louise Barbour in 1910 in Mobile, Alabama, started painting at age 80. A self-taught artist, she sold her paintings at local flea markets (Washington, D.C.'s Eastern Market on Saturdays and Georgetown Market on Sundays) until her death in 1996. Lang excelled at celebrity and pet portraits painted in the style of contemporary folk art. She held exhibitions at Connection Gallery in Washington, D.C. and George Washington University's Dimrock Gallery in 1992 and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1995.
The collection is arranged as six series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1992 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Letters, 1992-1996, undated (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 3: Writings, 1992-1994, undated (Box 1; 6 folders)
Series 4: Financial Records, 1990-1996, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1991-1996, undated (Box 1, OV 2; 5 folders)
Series 6: Photographs, 1921-circa 1990s (Box 1, OV 2; 0.6 linear feet)
Scope and Content Note
The Kate Lang papers measure 1.1 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1996. The collection documents the artistic career and creative process of Arlington, Virginia-based self-taught painter Kate Lang. The collection contains a brief biographical account, scattered professional and personal correspondence, writings and notes with sketches by Kate Lang, financial records, clippings, exhibition announcements, and numerous photographs and snapshots of Kate Lang, her artwork, friends and family. The collection compliments the Archives' material on self-taught artists and provides some useful evidence of an alternative market for painting.
Donated 2001 and 2009 by Richard Lang, Kate Lang's son.
Processing Information
The papers were processed in July 2004 by Jetta Samulski. The finding aid was updated to include the 2009 addition in July 2015 by Kimberley Henze.

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

Kate Lang papers, 1921-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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