The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) provide researchers with a complete set of documentation focusing on the founding and history of the organization from its inception through the 1960s. The collection measures 79.8 linear feet, and dates from 1895 through 1993, although the bulk of the material falls between 1909 and 1969. Valuable for its coverage of twentieth-century American art history, the collection also provides researchers with fairly comprehensive documentation of the many exhibitions and programs supported and implemented by the AFA to promote and study contemporary American art, both nationally and abroad.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. measure approximately 203.1 linear feet and date from 1904 to 1978, with bulk dates from 1913 to 1974. The collection includes extensive correspondence files, reference material on American and European collectors and their collections, inventory and stock records, financial records, exhibition files, auction files, and the records of subsidiary companies. The collection is an invaluable resource in tracing the provenance of particular works of art and provides a comprehensive view of the activities of collectors and art dealers in the years leading up to and following World War II.
The Howard W. and Jean Lipman papers measure 46.6 linear feet and span the years 1916 to 2000, with one brochure maintained in a research file dating to 1848. The bulk dates for the collection are 1932 to 1992. The papers primarily concern the art collecting activities and interests of the Lipmans which included modern American sculpture, American folk art, and other contemporary American paintings. Found within the papers are correspondence files, notes and printed material that served as research and reference material, along with financial material. The collection also contains writings, notes, and editorial material used by Jean Lipman in her dual roles as an editor for Art in America magazine and as a respected art critic and author.
The records of the Downtown Gallery date from 1824 to 1974 (bulk 1926-1969) and measure 109.56 linear feet. The records present a comprehensive portrait of a significant commercial gallery that operated as a successful business for more than forty years, representing major contemporary American artists and engendering appreciation for early American folk art. There is an unprocessed addition to this collection dating circa 1970 of a single financial/legal document.
The collection measures 20.4 linear feet, dates from 1885 to 1991 (bulk dates 1908-1986) and documents the career of Harlem Renaissance lithographer, teacher, and painter Prentiss Taylor. The collection consists primarily of subject/correspondence files (circa 16 ft.), reflecting Prentiss' career as a lithographer and painter, his association with figures prominent in the Harlem Renaissance, notably Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes, his activities as president of the Society of Washington Printmakers and other art organizations, his work in art therapy treating mental illness, and his teaching position at American University. The subject files contain mostly correspondence, but many include photographs and printed material. Also included are biographical, financial, legal and printed material; several hundred photographs; notes and writings; sketchbooks, drawings and a few prints by Taylor; and scrapbooks dating from 1885-1956.