A Finding Aid to the Florence Arquin Papers, 1923-1985, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.arquflor
Creators:
Arquin, Florence
Dates:
1923-1985
Languages:
Multiple languages
English; Spanish
The collection is in English and Spanish.
Physical Description:
8.3 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of Florence Arquin measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1985. The papers document Arquin's career as a painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching and project files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks. Additionally, the papers relate to her personal relationships with her husband Samuel Williams and friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Teaching and project files include material from Arquin's work with the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and as director of the U.S. State Department's Kodachrome Slide Project, which was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids to support Latin American Studies.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Florence Arquin measure 8.3 linear feet and date from 1923 to 1985. The papers document Arquin's career as a painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching and project files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks. Additionally, the papers relate to her personal relationships with her husband Samuel Williams and friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Teaching and project files include material from Arquin's work with the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and as director of the U.S. State Department's Kodachrome Slide Project, which was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids to support Latin American Studies.
Biographical materials include awards, biographical sketches and resumes, travel papers, identification cards, and ten address books.
The bulk of correspondence is comprised of letters written by Florence Arquin to her husband, Samuel Williams. These letters discuss her trips to Mexico in the 1940s, her role in the Kodachrome Slide Project, and her friendships with fellow artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and others. Also found are copies of letters from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Florence Arquin.
Writings and notes include extensive research notes, notebooks, and notecards by Florence Arquin, primarly on Latin American art and culture. Also found is a draft of Arquin's work on Diego Rivera, Diego Rivera (1886-1957): The Shaping of an Artist (Early Period--1889-1921). Writings by others include a draft of a foreword by Diego Rivera, and writings by Jose de Souza Pedreira, and Hilla Rebay.
Teaching and project files include materials from Arquin's time teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work with the the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Kodachrome Slide Project. Teaching files are scattered and include student papers, class outlines, and a lecture. The Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago files include a proposal and project reports. The Kodachrome Slide Project files include correspondence, receipts, reports, educational guides and materials, slide sequences, and printed material.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings, booklets, travel guides, magazines, education journals, subject files on Diego Rivera and Frank Lloyd Wright, and blank postcards from Arquin's travels. There are extensive booklets and pamphlets published by the Pan American Union, and travel guides and educational guides for Latin America. Some printed material is in Spanish.
Photographs include portraits and snapshots of Florence Arquin, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and others. Photos of Florence Arquin show her in her office, giving lectures, and at events with others. Photographs of works of art are by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Artwork is scattered and includes a sketchbook by Florence Arquin with watercolor and pencil sketches and a print signed by de Diego.
There are four scrapbooks created by Florence Arquin. Scrapbooks may include photographs, writings, maps, and printed materials. Materials relate to the Federal Art Project at the Art Institute of Chicago, travel, and the Kodachrome Slide Project.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-1962 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1, 11)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1985 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1929-circa 1964 (2.0 linear feet; Box 2-4)
Series 4: Teaching and Project Files, 1930-1963 (1.4 linear feet; Box 4-5)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1923-1964 (1.8 linear feet; Box 5-7, 11)
Series 6: Photographs, 1929-circa 1960 (0.7 linear feet; Box 7, 11)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1940-circa 1950 (2 folders; Box 7, 11)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1935-1956 (0.9 linear feet; Box 8-10)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter, photographer, educator, writer, and critic, Florence Arquin (1900-1974) was active in Chicago, Illinois. She was widely known for her expertise in the field of Latin American Studies and had a close relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. From 1935 to 1939 she worked as administrator for the Federal Art Project in Illinois and joined the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939 to develop education programs aimed at secondary school students.
Florence Arquin was born in 1900 in New York City. She graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied art education. After, she undertook post graduate studies at the National University of Mexico. In the early 1940s Arquin traveled to Mexico to paint, where she developed friendships with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In 1943 a solo exhibition of her paintings at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City was highly praised by Rivera in the catalog introduction. Arquin's book Diego Rivera: The Shaping of an Artist, 1889-1921 about the artist's formative years, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1971.
Arquin traveled extensively in South America, the United States, and Europe throughout her life. From 1945 to 1951 she traveled to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador as Director of the Kodachrome Slide Project under the sponsorship of the Department of State. Arquin photographed aspects of life and culture and gave lectures at bi-national cultural institutions throughout those countries and in the United States. The project was part of an effort to provide educational agencies with visual aids in the field of Latin American studies.
Under another State Department grant, duplicates of Arquin's photographs were then made available for sale to institutions and individuals interested in the field of Latin American studies. The Metropolitan Museum of Art assumed responsibility for publicity, sale, and distribution of the slides from 1950 to 1955. Although few sales originated through the sales office of the Museum, Arquin managed to generate sales through her own efforts. In 1961 she applied for another grant to take control of the original slides and to add slides that she had taken on other visits to Latin America, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and other European countries since then.
Florence Arquin died in 1974.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection was digitized in 2015 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.
Processing Information
The collection was originally processed by Olivia Evans and microfilmed onto reels 4711-4719. The finding aid was updated in 2002 by Stephanie Ashley during conversion to EAD. In 2014, Jayna Josefson updated the finding aid and prepared the collection for scanning. The collection was digitized in 2015 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Stephanie Ashley, Jayna M. Josefson, and Olivia Evans
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Samuel Williams, Arquin's husband, in 1991.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Florence Arquin papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Use
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Florence Arquin papers, 1923-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Prints Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Latin American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- Illinois -- Chicago Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Illinois -- Chicago Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hispanic American art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists -- Illinois -- Chicago Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Williams, Samuel Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kahlo, Frida Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Department of State Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Institute of Chicago -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project (Ill.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/