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San Francisco Art Association and related organizational records, 1871-1978, bulk 1871-1920

San Francisco Art Association


Collection Information

Size: 9 Microfilm reels; 9 Sound cassettes, Sound recordings

Summary: Primarily records of the San Francisco Art Association (1871-1920), but also of the California School of Design (1873-1905) (briefly called the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1893), the Palace of Fine Arts (1915-1945), The Western Round Table on Modern Art (1949), the San Francisco Art Institute (1911-1978), the San Francisco Museum of Art (1921-1970), and the Douglas MacAgy papers (1944-1950).
REELS 1288-1289: 3 vol. containing minutes of board of trustees meetings of the Association and Institute, 1871-1915, and minutes of the meetings of the board of directors of the California School of Design, 1873-1905.
REELS 2429-2433: Historical data contains material relating to the museum. San Francisco Art Association records include correspondence; photographs; membership records; organizational and registrarial records; reports; printed material; and materials regarding the Palace of Fine Arts. San Francisco Museum of Art section includes correspondence; minutes of board meetings; reports; legal documents; clippings; and printed materials. "Western Round Table on Modern Art" conference sponsored by SFAA, April 8-10, 1949, includes letters to organizer Douglas MacAgy regarding arrangements, publicity, and comments, including several from participants Gregory Bateson, Kenneth Burke, George Boas, Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Frankenstein, Norman Bel Geddes, Robert Goldwater, Darius Milhaud, Andrew Ritchie, Arnold Schoenberg, Mark Tobey, and Frank Lloyd Wright; Abstract of Proceedings; transcripts of the meeting edited by participants; clippings; and photographs. The microfilm also includes papers of Douglas MacAgy; and correspondence, clippings, and photographs of artists' models for the San Francisco Art Institute.
REELS 4962-4963: Files, primarily correspondence, from the director, J. Nilsen Laurvik, from the 43rd (1919) and 44th (1920) San Francisco Art Association Annual Art Exhibition of the Works of American Artists, pertaining to its organization, promotion and administration; and additional material relating to the "Western Round Table on Modern Art," including transcripts from the Apr. 8th session edited by participants, some with notes and letters, and a final draft of an edited version; a scrapbook of publicity clippings on the Round Table; and 30 photographs taken during the conference.
Also included are 9 audio cassettes (copied from original Webcor wire recordings) of the entire proceedings of the "Western Roundtable."

Biographical/Historical Note

The San Francisco Art Association (SFAA) was founded in 1871 and incorporated in 1889. The California School of Design was established under the auspices of SFAA in 1874, changing its name to the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1893 after the Mark Hopkins mansion was given to SFAA. It became the San Francisco Institute of Art in 1907, and the California School of Fine Arts in 1917. From 1916-1924, SFAA retained the Palace of Fine Arts, which had been part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. In 1921, SFAA incorporated the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA) into its administration although each retained autonomy. In 1961, SFAA merged with the School and was renamed the San Francisco Art Institute. A change in the constitutional by-laws officially dissolved the SFAA in 1966, leaving the SFAI and the SFMA. In 1976, SFMA changed its name to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. On April 8-10, 1949, the SFAA sponsored the Western Round Table of Modern Art, organized by Douglas MacAgy for the purpose of bringing together a representation of the best informed opinion to discuss questions about art of the day.


Lent for microfilming 1977-1987 by the San Francisco Art Institute. The sound recordings were borrowed from the San Francisco Art Institute, recorded on cassette in 1987 and then the orginal wire tapes were subsequently returned to the San Francisco Art Institute.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals in San Francisco Art Institute.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 1288-1289, 2429-2433 and 4962-4963 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Patrons must use microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

San Francisco Art Association and related organizational records, 1871-1978, bulk 1871-1920. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.