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Niles Spencer papers, 1826-1972, bulk 1900-1961

Spencer, Niles, 1893-1952



Collection Information

Size: 0.6 Linear feet, (partially microfilmed on 2 reels)

Summary: Sketches and drawings by Spencer, and art work by others; printed material on Spencer; printed material and a few photographs used as source material for paintings; photographs of Spencer's work; personal photographs including one of Spencer; and a few letters.
REEL 3948: Fourteen drawings and preparatory sketches, undated; and a clipping, 1939.
REEL 4793: Art work by Spencer includes a poster design done while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, 1912, a self-portrait in pencil and ink, a pen and ink drawing of Abraham Lincoln, and nine pencil and ink drawings after Cezanne, Daumier, Matisse and Picasso; art work by others includes a charcoal sketch of Spencer by H.I. Smith, 2 watercolors by Spencer's father, Henry, 1900, and an engraving by Henry Hoppner Meyer, 1826, of Mexican statesman Lucas Alaman, inscribed by Alaman to Charles Naylor, 1848.
Also included are letters and two vol. of printed material on Spencer, compiled by book designer G. Alan Chidsey and presented to the family upon Spencer's death in 1952. Other printed material includes clippings, 1939-1961; an interview of Spencer conducted by Ernest Watson in American Artists Magazine, 1944; a press release for Spencer's 1954 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art; and four exhibition catalogs, including one for a Cezanne exhibition at Montross Gallery, 1916, containing a pencil sketch by Spencer on the back, and one for a Spencer exhibition at the Washburn Gallery, 1972.
Photographs are of industrial landscapes (4), probably used as source material for paintings, paintings by Spencer (16), and by others (4). A file on Slater Mill, owned by the Spencer family, containing an historical account and a photograph, 1972, is also included.
UNMICROFILMED: Clippings regarding art works by others, including two oversize reproductions of works by Cezanne, ca. 1930; and miscellaneous clippings featuring photographs of industrial sites and architecture, c.1920-1930.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter; New York, N.Y. Associated with the Precisionist school of painting.


Donated 1977 and 1989 by Brett Harrington, nephew of Niles Spencer's wife.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 3948 and 4793 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

Niles Spencer papers, 1826-1972, bulk 1900-1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.