Thursday, January 29, 2009

Artists' Illustrated Letters

Getting the Picture is a delightful exhibition of illustrated letters selected from the collections of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. From thank you notes to love letters, travel accounts, graphic instructions and other and various missives and hello-theres, they have a lot of personality and make my letters look embarrassingly vanilla. They range in date from the early 19th century into the 1990s and are as unique and fascinating as the artists who created them.

There were so many good ones, I had a hard time choosing. Nonetheless, I managed to cobble up a few for you here.

You can click on the images to read the letters.

Edith Schloss to Philip Pearlstein, Mar. 25, 1981

Joseph Lindon Smith to Parents, June 15, 1894

Waldo Peirce to Sally Jane Davis, Apr. 25, 1943

Red Grooms and Mimi Gross Grooms to Elisse and Paul Suttman and Edward C. Flood, 1968

Max Bohm to Emilie Bohm, Sept. 14, 1899 (page 1)

Yves Saint-Laurent to Alexander Liberman, ca. 1970 June 7

Warren Chappell to Isabel Bishop, Sept. 6, 1982

Gladys Nilsson to Mimi Gross., 1969 Apr. 4

There are also a number of letters from well-known artists including, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Winslow Homer, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Andy Warhol - however, in the case of this exhibition, I found that generally, the more famous the artist, the less interesting the letter. Your mileage will likely vary on this, so have a look and see for yourself. You could certainly use up a few hours enjoying these.

thanks to the Glasgow School of Art Library (an excellent resource)

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