“Summer School: Selections from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art”

June 18, 2008
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Each year, as the days get longer and the weather warmer, people everywhere welcome summer and its charms. For many artists, summer offers an opportunity to concentrate fully on their work without the constraints of teaching or the distractions of urban life. “Summer School: Selections from the Archives of American Art,” will be on display June 20 through Sept. 28 in the Archives of American Art’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.

Through original letters, rare photographs and sketchbooks from the Archives of American Art’s collection, “Summer School” showcases the influence of the renowned artists’ summer programs that began to emerge along the East Coast of the United States beginning in 1891, with the opening of Shinnecock Summer Art School. Like the summer camps of childhood, these schools provided a structured yet liberal environment. The schools’ numbers and reputations grew, and the programs became increasingly important to artists’ lives and careers.

Exhibition highlights include a candid photograph of a Cape Cod School of Art class in session at the beach with easels, canvases and supplies on hand, painting on a sunny summer afternoon in Provincetown, Mass., ca. 1936; a charmingly illustrated advertisement for the Webster Summer School of Drawing & Painting, also in Provincetown, ca. 1900-1935; and a photograph depicting the student painting sheds at Maine’s Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ca. 1968.

About the Archives of American Art
The Archives of American Art is dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of papers and other primary records of the history of the visual arts in America. Its collections, comprising 16 million items, are the world’s largest single source for such information. Visit the Archives’ Web site at www.aaa.si.edu.

The Archives of American Art’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery is located on the first floor of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, at Eighth and F Streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. Admission is free.

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Jessica Theaman

(202) 633-8768