ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America

Category: Exhibitions (page 2 of 2)

Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center presents the 12th Biennial Book Arts Fair and Conference, the preeminent book arts event on the east coast. Now in its third decade, the fair will showcase a dynamic array of innovative book art, limited edition prints, fine papers, and specialty tools along with a rich program of notable speakers, demonstrations, and special exhibitions. This three day event will connect international artists, scholars, collectors, publishers, and art lovers. Serving to inform and inspire, the Book Arts Fair and Conference is a celebration of the printed form and the book as art.

For more information, visit:

Artists’ Books at the Smithsonian Libraries

For the past two summers, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library (HMSG), the National Museum of African Art Library (NMAA), and the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library have hosted graduate library student interns to work on the three libraries’ artists’ book collections. Each library has a history of collecting artists’ books with distinctly different goals. Books in the HMSG Library have been acquired to support the museum’s collection; artists’ books in NMAA were collected as examples of African art and those purchased for the AA/PG library have been obtained primarily for aesthetic reasons. Under the coordination of Anna Brooke (HMSG) and in partnership with Janet Stanley (NMAA) and Doug Litts (AA/PG), the internships were developed to define the issues regarding artists’ books in library collections and to determine ways to provide greater accessibility to them in the online catalog with the ultimate goal of providing more exposure to one of the Smithsonian Libraries’ many hidden collections.

The 2011 internship addressed fundamental issues of defining artists’ books, surveying the three collections, and developing recommendations for enhanced cataloging. The internship also included field trips to many DC-area artist book collections, including the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and George Mason University.

Amanda Meeks and Michelle Strizever were selected for the 2012 internship. Amanda is finishing up her MLS at Emporia State University and studied Book and Paper Arts. Michelle is also completing her MLS at the University of Maryland and for her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania she wrote her dissertation on artists’ books.

Meeks and Strizever

Amanda Meeks (left in photo) and Michelle Strizever organized the exhibit of selections from the AA/PG artists’ book collection. Photo: Doug Litts

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Citizens of the Republic: Portraits from the Dutch Golden Age

On view at the National Gallery of Art, West Building, Gallery G-21, August 4, 2012 through February 3, 2013.

Cornelis van Dalen the Younger after Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen, Anna Maria van Schurman, after 1657, engraving, state ii/iii, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Department of Image Collections
Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen, Anna Maria van Schurman, 1657, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Joseph F. McCrindle


Stalwart Dutch citizens, distinguished for their contributions to the arts and the state, are sensitively rendered in a selection of seventeenth and eighteenth-century engravings that will be showcased at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.  Citizens of the Republic: Portraits from the Dutch Golden Age will present 21 prints after celebrated old masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Bartholomeus van der Helst, Michiel van Miereveld, and Caspar Netscher, and 5 rare books from the National Gallery of Art Library.  The exhibition will also feature Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen’s grisaille portrait of the eminent scholar Anna Maria van Schurman from the Gallery’s permanent collection.  This important painting will be hung, for the first time, alongside Cornelis van Dalen the Younger’s engraved portrait of the sitter, illuminating the relationship between painter and engraver.
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Exhibition of Artists’ Books at SAAM/NPG Library

From Doug Litts, Librarian, Head, Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library:

We often think of the book as a container of information. A book’s text conveys meaning through reading. However, meaning can be expressed in other ways. Typography, ink color, blank space, paper, artwork, and binding also provide information to the reader about the artist’s project. Featuring artists’ books from the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG), this exhibit investigates the way that book artists use material and visual features to make meaning.

As part of the SIL Artists’ Book Professional Development Internship, Amanda Meeks and Michelle Strizever have been working to develop the visibility of the hidden artists’ book collections. Our project included improving access through refining cataloging practices of this special genre. During this time we had the opportunity to survey the collection at AA/PG. Each of us found several works intriguing; we explored and analyzed bookworks individually through research and writing. This started a conversation about what those works have in common: each work uses unique features, such as structure or materials, to convey content and meaning.

We hope that this exhibit will encourage viewers and researchers to visit the library and use the artists’ book collection. Please RSVP to  if you would like to attend the opening of Material Meanings on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 from 4 pm to 6 pm. We will be available to discuss this project, the exhibition, and the collection over refreshments.

From Clearing to Cataloging: The Corpus of Tunisian Mosaics

Aerial view of the CMT team

Aerial view of the CMT team

From Clearing to Cataloging: The Corpus of Tunisian Mosaics is a new exhibition presented by The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at Dumbarton Oaks. The exhibition includes documents and photographs selected from the Margaret Alexander Collection. The Margaret Alexander collection documents the field work and publications of Corpus des Mosaïques de Tunisie (CMT), or the Corpus of Tunisian Mosaics, from c. 1960s to 1990s.

The exhibition will be up in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum through mid-June. For more information, please see the online exhibition page on the newly designed Dumbarton Oaks website:

The Solemnity of Shadows

The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain


Laurent 1

J. Laurent and Company, General interior view of the new bullring, Madrid, c. 1874, albumen silver print, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library

The National Gallery of Art Library’s continuing exhibition program displays selections from its rich rare book collection in two separate venues, one in a permanent gallery on the ground floor of the Gallery’s West Building, the other in the Library atrium on the ground floor of the East Building. A few of these exhibitions each year draw from the more than 13 million images representing the entire history of Western art preserved in the Library’s Department of Image Collections.

From November 7 to December 30, 2011, the department presented The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain in the atrium of the Study Center. On view were 23 rare large-format albumen photographs, a collodion glass negative, and three albums of Spanish art and architecture by Juan Laurent (1816–1886), a preeminent figure in the history of Spanish photography. Laurent began his career as a portrait photographer in Madrid in 1856, but soon grew and expanded his business until it became the most recognizable topographical photography company in Spain. Large format photographs of Spain’s public works, architecture, cities, popular types in their natural settings, art collections, and contemporary art expositions were his specialties, which he sold in his shops in Madrid and Paris singly or compiled into albums according to customer preference. The Laurent company’s output was immense, and its commercial reach was truly international in scope. Laurent’s was the first commercial firm to photograph the art collections of the Prado Museum, the Royal Armory, and the Academy of San Fernando, earning him a place of honor with other distinguished European photography houses like Alinari in Italy, and Adolphe Braun in France. Continue reading

NGA exhibition on bookplates and ownership marks

In the Library: Marks of Ownership

The National Gallery of Art Library is pleased to present an exhibition entitled “In the Library: Marks of Ownership,” on view in the East Building, Ground Floor, Study Center, open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For admission, please come to the guard’s desk at the Study Center entrance.

Picturing the Victorians

Picturing the Victorians: British Photographs and Reproductive Prints from the Department of Image Collections

On view at the National Gallery of Art Study Center, East Building, Ground Floor through January 28, 2011 (Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

British 19th Century, "A Sunday Afternoon in a Picture Gallery" from "The Graphic," February 8, 1879, wood engraving, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library

This exhibition presents twenty-two nineteenth-century photographs and reproductive prints from the department of image collections at the National Gallery of Art Library. Organized to accompany The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848–1875 (on view through January 30, 2011), this show highlights resources for the study of Victorian art and culture. By the 1850s a wide range of art reproductions, made possible by recent advances in printmaking and photographic processes, were available in Britain. These images, selected from the department’s rare holdings, document the work of Victorian artists including Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and George Frederic Watts, as well as significant exhibitions and collections of the period. Continue reading

The Body Inside and Out

The Body Inside and Out: Anatomical Literature and Art Theory

On view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ground Floor, Gallery G-21 through January 23, 2011.

This exhibition had its genesis with a visit from a group of librarians from the National Library of Medicine. They were interested in seeing any books in our collection on anatomy. In art libraries we usually think of books on anatomy as drawing and painting manuals that show how to create various body parts in different positions. We own a great variety of such manuals as well books on the study of perspective and proportion that focus on human bodies. But it was not until we were preparing for the NLM visit that I discovered the literature of artistic anatomy.

François Tortebat, French, d.1690, from Roger de Piles, French, 1635-1709, from Abregé d’anatomie, accommodé aux arts de peinture et de sculpture, Paris, 1668, engraving, National Gallery of Art Library, David K. E. Bruce Fund

After this visit, I contemplated an exhibition on proportion and anatomy that would focus on the study of the human body from the perspective of an artist rather than a scientist. Distinctions between art and science were not as clear cut in the Renaissance, and coequal partnerships between artists and anatomists manifested differently than the division between disciplines that have since developed. Leonardo and Marcantonio della Torre were exploring human anatomy together, making discoveries that had equal impact in both the arts and sciences. Michelangelo had a similar working relationship with the anatomist Realdo Columbo, and though neither of these partnerships resulted in an illustrated anatomical treatise, Michelangelo’s knowledge of anatomy as expressed in works such as the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel became the basis for many artists’ study of anatomical dramatization.

As I did more research, I found the humanist attitudes of the Italian Renaissance fascinating. This humanist movement was perhaps best expressed in the study of human anatomy. By the mid-16th century the stage was set for a major change in the study of anatomy as anatomists began to shift away from study based on classical literature and toward a more practical approach based on close observation of human dissection. The volume of printed material burgeoned and the techniques became more refined, yet the illustrated anatomy books up to this time generally contained illustrations of such poor quality as to be functionally useless for artists.

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