Words Cannot Express: Death in the Archives

October 31, 2011 – December 31, 2011

Archives of American Art Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery, Reynolds Center, 1st Floor, East

Death is perhaps the only certainty in life. For those experiencing the death of a friend, family member, loved one, or an admired figure, words are often inadequate to give voice to the intense emotions involved. When an artist dies, his or her life’s work is complete, and the building of a legacy begins. The Archives of American Art is part of that legacy-building process, preserving the remnants of artists’ lives in letters, diaries, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and other primary records. This exhibition explores responses to death in the art world—from letters of condolence and drafts of eulogies to firsthand accounts of artists’ funerals and expressions of personal loss.