Past Exhibitions

Revisit almost twenty years of the Archives’ past exhibitions covering various topics, projects, and events in art history.

  • Fifty years ago, in Detroit, the Archives of American Art was founded by E. P. Richardson, then director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Lawrence A. Fleischman, a young collector and patron of the arts. Richardson, author of a pioneering work o
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    Digging for Clay in the Archives of American Art

    This exhibition presents a selection of letters, writings, photographs, interviews and other primary sources documenting American artists working in clay.The Archives of American Art?s focus on clay is part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Pro
  • This small collection of George Catlin papers came to the Smithsonian Institution in 1879 with Catlin’s “Indian Gallery,” his famous paintings from life of Native Americans completed between 1830 and 1836. Joseph Harrison, a wealthy American industri
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    Andre Emmerich: A Documentary Portrait

    For almost 50 years, the André Emmerich Gallery was one of New York's most influential contemporary galleries. It was the focal point for Color-Field painting and a leading venue for color abstraction and monumental sculpture.Born in Germany in 1924
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    Marcel Breuer: A Centennial Celebration

    The Marcel Breuer Papers were generously donated to the Archives of American Art between 1985 and 1999 by his widow, Constance Breuer. Spanning the years 1920 to 1986, the papers include correspondence, interviews, writings, project files, photograph
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    American Traditions: A Taste for Folk Art

    The definition of American folk art is notoriously difficult to pin down. In the twentieth century “folk art” has embraced everything from Pennsylvania German frakturs to eccentric architectural environments.Holger Cahill in his landmark 1932 exhibit
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    Wayne Thiebaud : Memories and Delights

    The Archives of American Art celebrates the art and the career of Wayne Thiebaud as we delight in in his engaging and thoughtful work. Thiebaud's strongly illuminated forms possess a dignity that transcends their familiar origins. His memorable paint
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    Frida Kahlo: Notas Sobre una Vida / Notes on a Life

    The Archives of American Art created this exhibition in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month 2001 in order to pay tribute to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (b. 1907 d. 1954) and her enduring influence on American art.The photographs and letters seen he
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    Craft and the Creative Process

    This online exhibition, drawn entirely from collections in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, celebrates Nanette L. Laitman's gift to the Archives for the creation of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft in America, an unpr
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    Treasures from the Archives of American Art

    When E. P. Richardson and Lawrence Fleischman first conceived the idea of a central repository for the primary records of art in America, they could not have foreseen the impact of their vision on American art history. This exhibition of treasures, f
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    Selecciones Cubanas: Selections from the Papers of Cuban American Artists at the Archives of American Art

    The papers of Cuban Americans at the Archives of American Art include the primary source material of painters, sculptors, photographers, collectors, dealers, critics, historians, and curators as well as records of several galleries and a museum. This
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    Selections From The Fairfield Porter Papers

    Fairfield Porter (b. 1907 d. 1975), still best remembered as a painter, is now also seen as one of the most articulate art critics of his generation. A poet, philosopher, and political intellectual, Porter’s writings and correspondence provide a deta
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    Giulio V. Blanc papers, 1920-1995

    As part of the Smithsonian Institution's 1999 Hispanic Heritage Month activities, the Archives of American Art announced the acquisition of the papers of curator and art historian Giulio V. Blanc (b.1955 d. 1995), and the print publication of the sec
  • Found among the Archives' collections are many artists' depictions of the American Indian. While the work of artists like George Catlin, W. Langdon Kihn, and Dorothy Newkirk Stewart all look different, they, and the work of other artists represented
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    In Sight: Portraits of Folk Artists by Chuck Rosenak

    Authors of such books as the Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists (published by Abbeville in 1990), The People Speak: Navajo Folk Art (published by Northland Publishing in 1994), and Contemporary
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    Tomas Ybarra-Frausto Research Material on Chicano Art

    In 1997, the Archives of American Art received a donation of 20 linear feet of research material on the Chicano art movement in the United States and Latin America, compiled by Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto. Ybarra-Frausto was a professor at Stanford Univ
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    The Telling Image

    Exhibition of portrait photographs from the Archives of American Art at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.