Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sketchbooks Online 2: The Smithsonian - Curator's Choice

One of the comments made earlier this week in relation to "Sketching for Real", is that one of the things that can hold people back from trying to keep a sketchbook is the belief that all images in a sketchbook are perfect. However, anybody who keeps a sketchbook on a regular basis will tell you all about the false starts, the wonky perspective and all manner of dud drawings and notes and try-outs which also make it into their sketchbooks

It's therefore very educational to take a look now and again at the sketchbooks that have ended up in museum archives - to see what these actually look like as a digital facsimile.

Mosque, Tangier, 1884 (John White Alexander 1856-1915)

Visual Thinking - The Curator's Choice provides access to the digital version of some of the sketches and sketchbooks of artists which can be found in the Smithsonian Institute Archives of American Art - and covering a period of nearly 150 years.
Sketchbooks in the Archives of American Art form a vast repository of ideas, perceptions, inspirational imagery, and graphic experiments. As personal records they afford an intimate glimpse of an artist's visual thinking and reveal aspects of their creative process.....

Sketchbooks are as varied as the artists who keep them.
Curator's choice of Sketchbooks in the Smithsonian
I've reordered the sketchbooks chosen by the Curator so they are now in the order of an artist's date of birth. The earliest sketchbook dates back to 1849 and the latest is from 1986. Bear in mind that these are just a fraction of those kept in the archives.

I found lots to interest me. My best advice is to take a look at random and see what appeals to you. You can also browse by date and artist (in alphabetical order) and subject (although the latter seems to be experiencing a big at present.)
Worthington Whittredge (b. 1820 d. 1910)
Sketchbook, 1849

Walter Shirlaw (b. 1838 d. 1909)
Sketchbook, ca. 1859

William Michael Harnett (b. 1848 d. 1892)
Sketchbook, 1870

John White Alexander (b. 1856 d. 1915)
Sketchbook, ca. 1884

Willard Leroy Metcalf (b. 1858 d. 1925)
Sketchbook, ca. 1881

Robert Henri (b. 1865 d. 1929)
Travels in Europe, Aug. 29 - Sept. 27, 1891

Oscar Bluemner (b. 1867 d. 1938)
Painting Diary, 12 June 1911-30 January 1912

Harrison Cady (b. 1877)
Harrison Cady Sketchbook, ca. 1943

Palmer C. Hayden (b. 1890 d. 1973)
Palmer Hayden Sketchbook with Studies of Sailboats in France., ca. 1929

Lena Gurr (b. 1897 d. 1992)
Sketchbook No. 7, 1930

Reginald Marsh (b. 1898 d. 1954)
Sketchbook No. 27, 14 July 1942-2 Nov 1947

Isabel Bishop (b. 1902 d. 1988)
Sketchbook, ca. 1950

Fairfield Porter (b. 1907 d. 1975)
Sketchbook, ca. 1950

James Penney (b. 1910)
Sketchbook, 1932

David Park (b. 1911 d. 1960)
Sketchbook, ca. 1960

Elmer Bischoff (b. 1916 d. 1991)
Sketchbook, ca. 1950

Harry Bouras (b. 1931 d. 1990)
Sketchbook, 1986
  1. The funding for Visual Thinking: Curator's Choice was provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Women's Committee.
  2. Accreditation for the image used for this post is as follows. The image is from the sketchbook ca. 1884 / John White Alexander, artist. 1 v. : graphite and ink ; 11 x 20 cm. John White Alexander papers. Archives of American Art.

1 comment:

  1. Ooohhhh, what a treat. Thank you for the list of sketchbooks. Can't wait to explore.
    I just posted this on my blog.
    Did you see this Youtube short?

    It's lovely.


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