An abstract artist and a passionate advocate of abstraction in America, Charles Green Shaw seemed to live a charmed life. Born into wealth, he reveled in the glamorous social scene of New York in the 1920s. After a successful career writing about that scene for such magazines as The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, he threw himself into painting in his late thirties. The visual rhythms of New York City were the inspiration for his art.
Shaw explored his delights and his passions through a variety of professions: satirical journalist, painter, defender of avant-garde art, children’s book author, and poet. The Charles Green Shaw papers, 1874-1979, donated to the Archives of American Art in 1974, narrate the artist’s journey. More than 50 boxes of journals, letters, sketchbooks, manuscripts, and poems illustrate Shaw’s development as an artist, which paralleled the growth of the New York art scene in the 20th century.