Renwick Gallery

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Symposium was organized by Mark Baldridge and Lloyd Herman.

From the description of American metalsmithing and jewelrymaking in the 1940s and 1950s symposium records, 1979-1983. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84929650

The Renwick Gallery is the curatorial branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum responsible for the presentation of American crafts and design in the Renwick Gallery Building. The Renwick opened in 1973. Its staff has included Lloyd E. Herman, Director, 1971-1986; Michael W. Monroe, Curator-in-Charge, 1986-1995; Kenneth R. Trapp, Curator-in-Charge, 1995-2003; and Robyn Kennedy, Chief, 2004- .

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Agency History. Record 221207

The history of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) collection dates to the beginning of the Smithsonian Institution when, in 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian authorized the Board of Regents to collect objects of art. Called the Gallery of Art, the collection included prints and drawings collected by George P. Marsh and North American Indian portraits and paintings by John Mix Stanley and Charles B. King. Portions of the collection were transferred from the Old Patent Office Building and the National Institute in 1858 and 1862, respectively. In 1865, fire destroyed a sizable portion of the collection, then housed in the Smithsonian Building. The surviving prints and drawings were loaned temporarily to the Library of Congress, while the paintings and sculptures were sent to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. These deposits were recalled in 1895 and were added to the George C. Catlin collection, which had been acquired in 1879.

In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt recommended to Congress that the art collection contemplated in the act creating the Smithsonian be established as a national gallery of art and that the Institution be authorized to accept additions to the collection. Congress failed to take action on the recommendation. In 1906, the Gallery of Art achieved official status when the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, interpreting the Smithsonian's organic act, defined the Gallery of Art to be in fact the National Gallery of Art. The Harriet Lane Johnston collection, donated to the Smithsonian in 1906, and the William T. Evans collection, donated in 1907, formed the nucleus for the new Gallery.

The National Gallery of Art (NGA) was administered by the United States National Museum (USNM) from 1907 until 1920, when Congress granted the Gallery enough funds to become a separate Smithsonian bureau. William Henry Holmes, Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1902-1909, and Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology, 1910-1920, held the position of Curator of the National Gallery, 1907-1920. When NGA became a separate bureau in 1920, Holmes resigned his position with the USNM and became the first Director of the Gallery. Holmes retired in 1932 and Ruel P. Tolman, Curator of the Division of Graphic Arts, USNM, became Acting Director. In 1937, the National Gallery of Art had its name changed to the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), when the old name was assigned to the collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon to the United States. Tolman became Director of NCFA in 1946, and held the position until his retirement in 1948. Since 1948, the directors of NCFA have included Thomas M. Beggs, 1948-1964, David W. Scott, 1965-1969, Robert Tyler Davis, interim Director, 1969, and Joshua C. Taylor, 1970-1979. In 1980, NCFA was renamed the National Museum of American Art (NMAA). Taylor continued as Director of NMAA from 1980 until his death in 1981. Harry Lowe was appointed Acting Director and held the post until mid-1982 when Charles C. Eldredge became Director. Eldredge was succeeded in 1988 by Elizabeth Broun, who was appointed Acting Director in 1988 and Director in 1989. She served 1989- . In October 2000, NMAA was renamed the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The SAAM collection has had many homes. Before 1906, the Gallery exhibited its collection in the Art Room of the Smithsonian Library. Between 1907 and 1909 the collection was divided between the Arts and Industries Building and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In 1910 the collection was consolidated and moved to a hall in the newly constructed Natural History Building where, in March of that year, the Gallery opened the first exhibition to be staged in the building. In 1924 and again in 1939 architectural plans for the Gallery were drawn up, but funds were never appropriated for a building. In 1968 the collection was moved to the old Patent Office Building which was renamed the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries Building. In 1972, NCFA gained additional gallery space with the acquisition of the Renwick Gallery. In 1981, the FA & PG Building was renamed the American Art and Portrait Gallery Building.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Agency History. Record 217768

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Littleton, Harvey K. Oral history interview with Harvey K. Littleton, 2001 Mar. 15. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Smithsonian American Art Museum. George Catlin and his Indian Gallery : resource binder / Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Loewy, Raymond, 1893-1986. General office files, 1931-1982 (bulk, 1960-1977). Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Arnheim, Willy. Arnheim research collection, 1958-1988. Historical Society of Washington, Dc
creatorOf Renwick Gallery. American metalsmithing and jewelrymaking in the 1940s and 1950s symposium records, 1979-1983. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Brynner, Irena, 1917-. Oral history interview with Irena Brynner, 2001 Apr. 26-27 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Renwick Gallery. Institutional file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Murray, Richard N., 1942-2006. Richard Murray research material regarding Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1948-2004, bulk 1994-2001. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Richard Murray research material regarding Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1948-2004, bulk 1994-2001 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Selma Rattner research papers on James Renwick, 1856-2001, (bulk 1960s-2001) Columbia University. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives.
referencedIn Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives, 1885-1990s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Rattner, Selma, 1929-2005. Selma Rattner Research Papers on James Renwick, 1856-2001, (bulk 1960s-2001). Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Papers of Mary Gibson Hundley, 1910-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adler, Allan. person
associatedWith American metalsmithing and jewelrymaking in the 1940s and 1950s (1982 : Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Arnheim, Willy. person
associatedWith Baldridge, Mark S., 1946- person
associatedWith Bates, Kenneth F. 1904- person
associatedWith Brynner, Irena, 1917- person
associatedWith Cardinale, Robert L. person
associatedWith Christensen, Hans, 1924-1983. person
associatedWith Eikerman, Alma. person
associatedWith Fisch, Arline M. person
associatedWith Herman, Lloyd E. person
associatedWith Husted-Andersen, Adda. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robyn. person
associatedWith Littleton, Harvey K. person
associatedWith Loewy, Raymond, 1893-1986. person
associatedWith MARY (GIBSON) HUNDLEY, 1897-1986 person
associatedWith Miller, Frederick A. person
associatedWith Miller, John Paul, 1918- person
associatedWith Monroe, Michael W. person
associatedWith Murray, Richard person
associatedWith Murray, Richard N., 1942-2006. person
associatedWith Outdoor Advertising Association of America corporateBody
associatedWith Pearson, Ronald H. 1924- person
associatedWith Penington, Ruth, b. 1905. person
associatedWith Prip, John, 1922- person
associatedWith Pulos, Arthur J. person
associatedWith Rattner, Selma, 1929-2005. person
associatedWith Smith, Carlyle H., 1912- person
associatedWith Thomas, Richard, 1917- person
associatedWith Trapp, Kenneth R. person
associatedWith Vierthaler, Arthur A., 1916- person
associatedWith Von Neumann, Robert. person
associatedWith Winston, Robert, 1915- person
associatedWith Withers, Margret Craver, b. 1907. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Decorative art
Jewelry making
Metal workers
Art metal-work
Art metal-workers
Art museums
Museum curators

Corporate Body

Active 1979

Active 1983



Ark ID: w6d8486t

SNAC ID: 5335781