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Macbeth Gallery scrapbooks, 1892-1952

Macbeth Gallery scrapbooks, 1892-1952

Macbeth Gallery

Collection Information

Summary: The scrapbooks are the collection's main source of Macbeth Gallery exhibition catalogs and related news clippings. They provide comprehensive coverage of the gallery's history and include material on day-to-day events at the gallery as well as important occasions such as the 1908 exhibition of The Eight and the gallery's fortieth, fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries, news of the art world in general and some photographs. Due to their fragile nature, scrapbooks can be consulted only on microfilm. The scrapbooks are extremely fragile as the material found here is mounted on highly acidic paper and much of the material has come loose from the scrapbook pages.

A Finding Aid to the Macbeth Gallery Scrapbooks,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley, Erin Corley and Jetta Samulski
Scope and Content Note
Found here are twenty scrapbooks documenting Macbeth gallery's exhibitions and general history.
Historical Note
The Macbeth Gallery was established in 1892 by William Macbeth, a Scotch-Irish immigrant who had spent ten years with the print dealer Frederick Keppel before he opened his doors to the art-buying public at 237 Fifth Avenue in New York. Despite the prevailing interest in foreign art at that time, particularly in that of the Barbizon and Dutch schools, Macbeth was determined to dedicate his gallery to "the permanent exhibition and sale of American pictures, both in oil and water colors."
Although some of the gallery's earliest exhibitions were of work by European artists, the business soon became the only gallery in continuous operation to keep American art permanently on display.
In 1908, Macbeth undertook what was to become the major event in the gallery's early history: the 1908 exhibition of "The Eight," featuring work by Arthur B. Davies, Willam J. Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan. "The Eight" were an unlikely combination of social realists, visionaries and impressionists eager to challenge the dominating influence of the National Academy. The exhibition received an immense amount of publicity and instantly entered into art history as a successful assault on tradition. While the exhibition is reviewed in newspaper clippings contained in the scrapbooks, the exhibition catalog is notably missing from the collection.
The history of the Macbeth Gallery is a long and distinguished one with each successive proprietor making a significant contribution to art in America. William Macbeth helped establish an audience and a market for American art when few were willing to give it serious consideration. Robert Macbeth continued to cement the gallery's reputation as one of the leading firms in New York and was instrumental in organizing the American Art Dealers Association. Robert G. McIntyre claimed in a letter to Lloyd Goodrich, dated 22 June 1945, that the thing of which he was most proud was "the share I have had in the formation of the collection of the Addison Gallery of American Art, at Andover, Massacusetts." McIntyre was widely respected in the art community as a dealer, as an adviser to curators, and as a scholar whose research and book on Martin Johnson Heade helped "rediscover" an important American artist.
Note: A more detailed history of the gallery is found in the finding aid for the Macbeth Gallery records in the Archives of American Art.
The collection is arranged as one series:
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1892-1952 (Box 120-130; 3.3 linear feet)
Processing Information
The microfilm of the Macbeth Gallery scrapbooks was digitized in 2008 and made available online. The scrapbooks form a part of the larger Macbeth Gallery records that were microfiled in several installments on reels NMc1-NMc81, 439-441, 2564-2667, 3091-3092, 3094, and 2820-2823. All accessions were merged and the collection was arranged according to archival standards in 2003-2004 by Stephanie Ashley, Erin Corley and Jetta Samulski with funding provided by the Getty Foundation.

How to Cite This Collection

Macbeth Gallery scrapbooks, 1892-1952. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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