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Sylvester Rosa Koehler papers, 1833-1904, bulk 1870-1890

Biographical Note

Art historian and curator Sylvester Rosa Koehler was born in Leipsic, Germany in 1837. He came to the United States with his family in 1849 and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1868 he became the Technical Manager of Louis Prang and Company, a lithograph publisher. Koehler was the founding editor of the American Art Review, which commissioned artists for original etchings, and ran from 1879-1881. Through this publication, as well as his work as writer and exhibition curator, Koehler encouraged an American etching revival in the 1880s. Koehler also published many books on American art and was the first Curator of Prints at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. From 1886 to 1900 he served as the first Curator of Graphic Arts at the United States National Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. While there, he created a permanent and traveling exhibition of graphic arts. His knowlege of the art world and his extensive personal contacts brought many important collections to the museum. Koehler died in Littleton, New Hampshire in 1900.