- Collection ID:
The collection is in English.
- Physical Description:
The Sharon Frances Patton research material on the artist Vincent Smith measures 0.8 linear feet and dates from 1968-2005. Materials document Smith's career as an artist and include many letters as well as autobiographical writings by him. Also featured in this collection are many printed materials relating to his career including magazines, exhibition materials and clippings. This collection also includes three sound cassettes featuring a profile of Smith and his thoughts on music.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Sharon Frances Patton research material on the artist Vincent Smith measures 0.8 linear feet and dates from 1968-2005. The research materials document Smith's career as an artist and include many letters as well as autobiographical writings by him. Also featured in this collection are many printed materials relating to his career including magazines, exhibition materials and clippings. This collection also includes three sound cassettes featuring a profile of Smith and his thoughts on music.
- Series 1: Biographical Material, 1980-2004 (3 folders; Box 1)
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1982-1998 (2 folders; Box 1)
- Series 3: Writings, 1976-circa 1994 (5 folders; Box 1)
- Series 4: Printed Material, 1968-2005 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
- Series 5: Sound Recordings, 1986-1989 (3 folders; Box 2)
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Sharon Frances Patton (1944- ) is a art historian and museum director in Baltimore, Maryland. Vincent Smith (1929-2003) was a painter from New York City. His work was exhibited extensively and is now part of many distinguished collections.
Patton earned her BA in humanities with an emphasis on Studio Art from Roosevelt University in Chicago. This was followed by an MA from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and a Ph.D. in African Art History at Northwestern University. During and after these degrees she was a professor at various colleges around the country as well as a curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Director of the Center for African American Studies at University of Michigan and the Director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College. From 2003-2008 she was the Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. Throughout her career she has organized around 20 exhibitions, compiled catalogs (one of which was on Vincent Smith's "Riding on a Blue Note" exhibit), written articles and essays and given lectures. She has also written two books, Memory and Metaphor: The Art of Romare Bearden and African American Art.
Smith became a full-time artist in 1953 after stints as a hobo, in the army and as a post office worker. Around this time he studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, New York City's Art Students League and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine on a scholarship. He also cited other African American artists as valuable resources for the development of his work. Much of his early work focused on the culture of jazz in New York City, but in the mid-1950s, with the start of the Civil Rights Movement, his work took on a more political tone. His first solo show was in 1955 at the Brooklyn Museum Art School Gallery and this was followed by many more solo and group shows throughout his career. His work is now in the collections of many museums as well as President Clinton, who was given one of Smith's pieces at his first inauguration. In 1980 he received a college degree from Empire State College at the State University of New York, Saratoga.
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Lindsay Alderman in 2013. The collection has been minimally rearranged and retains the existing/original folder titles when possible. All materials have been rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but often staples and other fasteners have not been removed. Materials within folders have not been rearranged.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Sharon Frances Patton in 2012.
Using the Collection
for additional information.
Sharon Frances Patton research material regarding Vincent Smith, 1968-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001