A Finding Aid to the Metropolitan Museum of Art study collection of American sculpture photographs

Collection ID:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
circa 1910-1940, 1950s
Labels on photograph mounts are in
Physical Description:
21.3 Linear feet
(51 document boxes)
Originally assembled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for study purposes, this collection is comprised of 2,790 black-and-white photographs documenting the work of 250 sculptors.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The bulk of the collection was assembled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art starting around 1910 and continuing up through 1940, with a few additions added in the 1950s. The images were assembled for study purposes for the Museum's American Department. Included are works from in-house Met staff photographers, as well as photographs acquired from outside sources, including works by commercial photographers and publishers (notably A. B. Bogart, Louis H. Dreyer, Detroit Publishing Company, Joseph Hawkes, and De Witt Ward). Also included are photographs assembled by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the study of American art and presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1930.
Among the artists well represented in the collection are: Herbert Adams, Robert Aitken, Alexander Archipenko, George Grey Barnard, Chester Beach, Karl Bitter, Solon H. Borglum, Alexander Stirling Calder, Gaetano Cecere, Henry Clews, Jr., Cyrus Edwin Dallin, Jo Davidson, John Donoghue, Ulric Henry Ellerhusen, Sir Jacob Epstein, Rudolph Evans, John Flannagan, James Earle Fraser, Daniel Chester French, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Emil Fuchs, John Gregory, Frances Grimes, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, Anna Coleman Ladd, Evelyn Beatrice Longman, Augustus Lukeman, Frederick MacMonnies, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Paul Manship, Edward McCartan, Albin Polasek, Bela Lyon Pratt, Richard H. Recchia, Frederic Remington, Frederick George Richard Roth, Frederic Wellington Ruckstull, William Rush, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Lorado Zadoc Taft, and Adolph A. Weinman.
Of note, the collection includes a number of rare early photographs of outdoor sculpture and public monuments, including images of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial by Gutzon Borglum, South Dakota, the Emancipation Monument by Thomas Ball, Washington, D.C., the Dewey Monument by Robert Aitken in San Francisco, George Washington by Horatio Greenough in Washington, D.C., and the William Earl Dodge Memorial by John Quincy Adams Ward shown in its original setting in Herald Square, New York City, before it was moved to Bryant Park in 1941.
In addition, the collection has some portraits of artists posing with their sculptures, including Robert Aitken, Gutzon Borglum, Solon Borglum, John Donoghue, Sally James Farnham, Daniel Chester French, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Albin Polasek, Richard Recchia, and Frederic Wellington Ruckstull; and some exhibition installation views, including works by Emil Fuchs exhibited at Fine Arts Building and Cartier Gallery in New York and works by Paul Manship exhibited at the Jessup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The photographs are arranged alphabetically by the artist's last name, with unidentified artists at the end.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, "to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art collects, studies, conserves, and presents significant works of art across all times and cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas.

Nicole Semenchuk, 2009; with revisions by Christine Hennessey 2013
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a gift. The initial batch of 2,612 prints was received in 2005. 178 additional photographs were received in 2011.
Processing Information
Upon receipt of the initial gift, the Collection was processed (the original alphabetic order by artists largely retained), rehoused and a preliminary inventory compiled. When the additional 178 photographs were received in 2011, they were integrated into the collection, arranged alphabetically by sculptor's last name. As part of the cataloging process, Photograph Archive staff researched the works depicted in each photograph. Some of the original label information was found to be incorrect. Current owners of art works and other descriptive identifying information was added to the online record when known. Images were digitized for online access.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Metropolitan Museum of Art Study Collection of American Sculpture Photographs, Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Conditions Governing Access
Open to researchers by appointment. Contact Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum by email: sapa@si.edu.
Conditions Governing Use
The photographs are owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and requests for permission to reproduce photographs from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Photograph Archives. Certain works of art, as well as the photographs of those works of art, may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy or publicity rights, or other interests not owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It is the applicant's responsibility to ascertain whether any such rights exist, and to obtain any other permission necessary to reproduce and publish the image.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Outdoor Sculpture Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States -- Portraits Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American -- Photographs Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculpture, American -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Research and Scholars Center
PO Box 37012, MRC970
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012