Friday, May 24, 2013

Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library Art and Artist Files

The Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library Art and Artist Files are scholarly resources that are carefully maintained for future researchers and contain original pieces of ephemera such as small exhibition catalogues and brochures, announcements of or invitations to gallery shows, and press releases.

Although international artist material has been added to the files in the past, currently the library will only accept material for American artists. For an artist to warrant inclusion in the Art and Artist Files collection, the artist should have been included in at least three group and/or individual art exhibitions in an accredited art museum, commercial art gallery, or college/university gallery or museum (that is not a student show). Other criteria may also be considered at the discretion of the librarian or files manager.
The following are acceptable material for the files:                              
  • Artist statement or interview
  • Artist biography, bibliography, and/or CV
  • Invitation, announcement, and/or press release for a solo exhibition
  • An exhibition catalogue, of less than 30 pages, from a museum or dealer on one artist (not a catalogue on multiple artists)
  • Some newspaper or magazine articles which are not readily available online or at this library

 The following are not accepted for the files:
  • Artist portfolio or self-published promotional material
  • Unpublished or self-published materials
  • Slides
  • Photographs lacking clear copyright
  • Photocopies
  • Ephemera lacking bibliographic identity (name, place of publication, exhibition dates)
  • Any materials which can be accessed via the internet

The library reserves the right to refuse any donations which are offered. Any items not accepted for inclusion into the vertical files can be mailed back to the sender, if requested.

The library welcomes freely given additions to the vertical files.

  • Main phone line (202-633-8236) or email and the staff would be able to tell you what’s in your file. 
  • Additional information can be sent to the attention of Alice Clarke at:
    Smithsonian American Art Museum/
    National Portrait Gallery Library
    PO Box 37012
    VB 2100, MRC 975
    Washington, DC  20013-7012
SEE earlier post highlighting African American artists in the Artist Files

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