A Finding Aid to the L. Brent Kington Papers,
1944-2012
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.kinglbre
Creators:
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013
Dates:
1944-2012
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of influential blacksmith, sculptor, metalsmith and educator, L. Brent Kington, measure 9 linear feet and date from 1944 to 2012. The collection provides a valuable overview of Kington's career through correspondence relating primarily to exhibitions, subject files, drawings, photographs of Kington and his artwork, printed matter and audiovisual material. An additional 5.2 linear feet of papers was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of influential blacksmith, sculptor, metalsmith, and educator, L. Brent Kington, measure 9 linear feet and date from 1944 to 2012. The collection provides a valuable overview of Kington's career through correspondence, subject files, drawings, photographs of Kington and his artwork, printed matter and audiovisual material.
Correspondence in Series 1 relates primarily to exhibitions in the United States at institutions such as the the American Craft Museum, the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, and the National Ornamental Metal Museum, in which Kington's work was represented.
Kington's education at Cranbrook Academy of Art, his career at Southern Illinois University, his involvement with various professional organizations, his appearances at conferences and workshops, and his relationships with individual galleries, are more fully represented in Series 2: Subject Files.
The collection also includes printed matter, including exhibition announcements and catalogs for group and solo exhibitions in which Kington's work was featured, and publications containing articles about Kington.
Photographs in the collection include images of Kington's artwork and also picture Kington at various stages throughout his career. Audiovisual material includes an oral history interview with Kington from 2001, and two video recordings of a blacksmith workshop and a program entitled Brent Kington: Image of an Artist.
An additional 5.2 linear feet of papers was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into six series. Original arrangement has generally been maintained throughout the collection, with some merging of chronological correspondence in Series 1 to facilitate access.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1955-2004, undated (box 1; 0.8 linear ft.)
  • Series 2: Subject Files, 1956-2005, undated (box 1-3; 1.6 linear ft.)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, 1952-2003, undated (box 3-4, OV 5; 0.9 linear ft.)
  • Series 4: Photographs, circa 1944-2001 (box 4; 0.4 linear ft.)
  • Series 5: Audiovisual Material, 1982, 2001, undated (box 4; 4 items)
  • Series 6: Unprocessed Addition to the L. Brent Kington Papers, 1956-2012 (boxes 6-12, OV 13; 5.2 linear ft.)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
L. Brent Kington was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1934. He received a BFA from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in 1957 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961. Kington began his career primarily as a silversmith working with small-scale objects such as jewelry, silverware, and toys, and then became interested in using forged iron to create sculpture. He sought the help and instruction of the few blacksmiths he could find working in a "traditional" style and began working with large-scale sculptures forged in iron and steel, weathervanes, and other kinetic sculpture. Kington's subsequent research, such as his exploration of forge welding techniques of iron and his experimentation with laminated, non-ferrous alloys, constituted an important contribution to the resurgence of traditional blacksmithing and was highly influential in the fields of blacksmithing and metalsmithing in general.
Kington served as Director of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale from 1981 to 1994. He was a lecturer at SIU from 1961 to 1962, assistant professor from 1962 to 1967, associate professor from 1967 to 1972, professor from 1972 to 1996, and is currently professor emeritus. A committed educator and an avid spokesman for the arts, he has been honored many times as a guest lecturer, visiting artist, exhibit juror, workshop demonstrator, and panelist in the United States and abroad. In 1987 he spent a summer in Cortona, Italy as guest professor in the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program.
Since 1962, Kington's sculpture and metalwork has been shown in more than 350 group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, and South America. Over the years Kington has served in various professional organizations. He has been a Trustee of the American Craft Council, Director of the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), and President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG). In 1978 he was elected to the American Craft Council's Academy of Fellows and has been the recipient of two Artist Fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kington continues to work from his home and studio in Makando, Illinois.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Stephanie Ashley in November 2002, and by Erin Corley in June 2005, with funding provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. An additional 5.2 linear feet was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.
Author
Stephanie Ashley and Erin Corley
Provenance
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in installments by L. Brent Kington from 2001 to 2012. Materials donated from 2007 to 2012 remain unprocessed.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The L. Brent Kington 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.
Preferred Citation
L. Brent Kington papers, 1944-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Material
The Archives also has a transcribed interview of L. Brent Kington, conducted May 3-4, 2001 by Mary Douglas for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. The interview was conducted in Kington's home and studio in Makando, Illinois.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Blacksmithing Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blacksmiths -- Illinois Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- Illinois Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art metal-workers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art metal-work -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craft Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yellin, Samuel, 1885-1940 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Society of North American Goldsmiths Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hsu, Ilin Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students 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/