A Thousand Kisses: Love Letters from the Archives of American Art

Love letters bring out the voyeur in most of us. These deeply personal communications have the power to make us blush or, at the very least, to let us observe a tender moment in the complex lives of others.

This selection of affectionate communiqués to and from American artists gives us insight into the lives of painters, sculptors, illustrators, and others—their relationships, perceptions, and creative energies—from the mid-19th century to the late 20th. They also allow us to empathize with artists through the most universal of human emotions: love in all its permutations.

Drawn from the collections of the Archives of American Art, the letters presented here cover a range of intensity, from sexual passion to the devotion of a parent, and from the durable bonds of friendship to the enthusiasm of fans.

Many of the exhibited letters also appear in the book With Love: Artists' Letters and Illustrated Notes by Liza Kirwin and Joan Lord.