A Finding Aid to the Gifford Beal Sketches, Sketchbooks, and Papers, 1889-2001, bulk 1900-1954, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.bealgiff
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.bealgiff
Creators:
Beal, Gifford, 1879-1956
Dates:
1889-2001
bulk 1900-1954
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7.4 linear feet
Repository:
Archives of American Art
The papers of painter and muralist Gifford Beal measure 7.4 linear feet and date from 1889 to 2001. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork, in addition to correspondence, writings, printed matter, including one scrapbook, pictorial subject files, photographs, and two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art. Artwork is primarily in the form of sketches and seventy-eight sketchbooks in a wide variety of media. Among the loose sketches are twenty-eight oil paintings on wood board or panel, and fourteen large pastel drawings on canvas depicting dancing figures in a romantic style. Artwork by other artists in the collection include prints by Arthur B. Davies, Rockwell Kent, and Denys Wortman.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of painter and muralist Gifford Beal measure 7.4 linear feet and date from 1889 to 2001. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork, in addition to correspondence, writings, printed matter, including one scrapbook, pictorial subject files, photographs, and two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art. Artwork is primarily in the form of sketches and seventy-eight sketchbooks in a wide variety of media. Among the loose sketches are twenty-eight oil paintings on wood board or panel, and fourteen large pastel drawings on canvas depicting dancing figures in a romantic style. Artwork by other artists in the collection include prints by Arthur B. Davies, Rockwell Kent, and Denys Wortman.
Biographical materials include membership certificates, a marriage certificate, and a travel journal kept by Beal's wife, Maud Ramsdell Beal, on their honeymoon. Personal correspondence consists primarily of love letters between Beal and Maud Ramsdell Beal. Three folders of professional correspondence contain letters from Joseph Pennell (1925); Federal Art Project staff from the Treasury Department including Ed Rowan, Edward Bruce, and Forbes Watson (1938); Walker Hancock (1951); and a series of letters signed "Hyde," from Crow Island, Massachusetts, which may have been written by Edward Hyde Cox (1953-1954).
Also found among the papers are printed materials such as exhibition catalogs, clippings, and reproductions of artwork, both loose and in a scrapbook from the 1920s; subject files containing clippings, photographs, and other pictorial references to common subjects of Beal's artwork; a few personal photographs; and photographs of works of art. Notes and writings are found among Beal's sketchbooks, including one long autobiographical essay which may have been for a lecture, a few diary entries from 1942, and extensive notes on the color, form, and lighting of his sketching subjects. In addition to a scrapbook relating to Beal exhibitions, there are also two scrapbooks containing photographs of works of art.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1900-1909, 1942, 1953 (0.2 linear feet; Boxes 1 and 5)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1906-1954 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Printed Materials, 1900-2001 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1, OV 11)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1889-1953 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 10-12)
Series 5: Photographs, 1908-1950 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2, OV 10)
Series 6: Artwork, 1900-1951 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-9; OV 10, 13-20 and rolled documents 21 and 22)
Series 7: Scrapbook, circa 1919-circa 1951 (1.1 linear ft; Boxes 7, 23)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Painter and muralist Gifford Beal was born in New York City in 1879, the youngest of six children. Beal began his art training at 13, when he accompanied his older brother, Reynolds Beal, to the Shinnecock School of Art for classes with William Merritt Chase. Gifford Beal continued to study with Chase for ten years at Shinnecock, the Tenth Street Studio building in New York City, and the New York School of Art. Beal attended college at Princeton University from 1896 to 1900, and from 1901 to 1903 he also took classes at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and Frank Vincent DuMond. In 1908, Beal married Maud Ramsdell of Newburgh, New York, where the Beal family also had an estate. They had two sons, William (b. 1914) and Gifford, Jr. (b. 1917).
Beal received all of his training in the United States at a time when European art training was the norm among his peers. Beal's earliest subject matter was taken from the familiar worlds of New York City and the Hudson River Valley, where he frequently spent his summers. Later work would depict other summer homes, including Provincetown, Rockport, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. Throughout his career he explored a variety of styles in his approach to these and other representational subjects such as garden parties, the circus, Central Park scenes, and coastal scenes in the Northeast and the Caribbean.
Beal exhibited at the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition almost continuously from 1901 to 1956, was a member of the Academy from 1914, and won at least seven awards given by the Academy over the course of his career. He won his first award in 1903 from the Worcester Art Museum. He exhibited regularly in major annual exhibitions and world expositions, including the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, where he won a gold medal.
Gifford and Reynolds Beal exhibited in a two-man show in 1907 at Clausen Galleries, and the two brothers were both eventually represented by Kraushaar Galleries, where Gifford Beal had his first one-man show in 1920. Beal served as president of the Art Students League from 1916 until 1930, the longest term of any president, and taught there in 1931 and 1932.
Beal was commissioned by the Section on Painting and Sculpture of the Works Progress Administration to paint ten murals for the Allentown, Pennsylvania post office in the late 1930s. The Allentown murals depicted American revolutionaries hiding the liberty bell at Allentown. In 1941, he completed two murals in the Department of the Interior building in Washington, DC:
North Country
, and
Tropical Country
, and he painted seven panels at Princeton University in 1943 depicting the life of the nineteenth-century engineer Joseph Henry. He was awarded an honorary Masters degree by Princeton in 1947.
Retrospective exhibitions were held at the Century Club, San Francisco Museum, Des Moines Art Center, and Butler Institute in the early 1950s. Upon his death in 1956, a memorial exhibition was held at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where Beal became a member in 1943.

Administration
Alternative Forms Available
The bulk of the Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and papers were digitized in 2008 and 2017 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. .
Materials not scanned include some of the exhibition catalogs, news clippings, magazines, pamphlets, books, and printed reproductions of artwork by others in the Printed Materials series and Subject Files series. Additionally, some photographs of works of art have not been scanned, and artwork that is too large or too fragile to be handled has not been scanned.
Processing Information
Each accession was processed to a preliminary level upon receipt. The various accessions were merged, arranged, described, and digitized in 2007 and 2017 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Megan McShea
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Provenance
Papers were donated to the Archives by Gifford Beal's descendants in three separate accessions. Beal's sons, William and Gifford R. Beal, Jr., donated sketches and sketchbooks in 1992 and 1993. Richard and Lewis Goff, Margaret Beal Alexander, and Telka Beal donated additional sketches, sketchbooks, and materials from Beal's studio in 2000 through the Cape Ann Savings Bank, facilitated by Kraushaar Galleries.
Margaret Beal Alexander, Beal's granddaughter, also donated personal papers of her grandparents via Kraushaar Galleries in 2000. Additional sketchbooks and a poster illustrated by Beal were donated by Beal's Estate via Kraushaar Galleries in 2007. Two scrapbooks of photographs of works of art were donated by Beal's Estate via Kraushaar Galleries in 2015.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and papers, 1889-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Gifford Beal sketches, sketchbooks, and 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Beal, Maud Ramsdell Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cox, Edward Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hancock, Walker Kirtland, 1901-1998 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rowan, Edward Beatty, 1898-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wortman, Denys, 1887-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawing--Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Love letters Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mural painting and decoration--20th century--Pennsylvania--Allentown Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Muralists--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paintings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Travel diaries Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C., 20001
Phone: 202-633-7950
http://www.aaa.si.edu/askus