Sketchbooks from the Archives of American Art


Sketchbooks are as varied as the artists who keep them. Social realist painter Reginald Marsh cut and bound scrap paper to fit the size of his coat pocket, modernist Charles Green Shaw tested abstract shapes in large spiral-bound books, and Oscar Bluemner kept "painting diaries" with the rough outlines of landscapes and copious notes on color arrangements.

More than a thousand sketchbooks in the Archives of American Art form a vast repository of ideas, perceptions, inspirational imagery, and graphic experiments from the mundane to the spectacular. As personal documents, they afford an intimate view of an artist's visual thinking. Organized around the themes of Landscapes, Studies, Fantasy & Abstraction, and Figure Studies & Observations the exhibit includes over forty sketchbooks from the Archives collections.