In June 2021, the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Art Reference Library and the Wildenstein Plattner Institute hosted a Wednesday lunchtime series spotlighting archival resources on important women who shaped visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Please find recordings of each session below.
Part One: Archives Revealed
Wednesday, June 2, 12–1pm
Sandrine Canac, Director of Digital Archival Projects, The Wildenstein Plattner Institute
Samantha Rowe, Digital Archivist and Research Associate, The Wildenstein Plattner Institute
Complicated Legacies: A Look at Women Dealers and Collectors from the WPI Digital Archives
This session will draw from materials found in the WPI Digital Archives and Sales Catalogue Database to consider the under-appreciated role of women dealers and collectors of the 19th and early 20th centuries in the global art market. This introduction to the WPI’s digital resources, which contain the archives of prominent French dealers and collectors and a vast assortment of digitized pre-1945 sales catalogues, contributes to art historical research that investigates the complicated legacies of women in the arts.
Sally Brazil, Associate Chief Librarian for Archives and Records Management at The Frick Collection
Discovering Women Collectors, Dealers and Artists in The Frick Collection Archives
Brazil focuses on The Frick Collection’s archival and manuscript holdings pertaining to women art dealers who sold works of art to Helen Clay Frick and her father Henry, as well as the women artists they both patronized.
Part Two: Digital Research Methodologies
Wednesday, June 9, 12–1pm
Elizabeth Gorayeb, Executive Director, The Wildenstein Plattner Institute
Jennifer Gimblett, Senior Researcher and Project Manager, The Paintings of Paul Gauguin, 1891–1903, The Wildenstein Plattner Institute
Mme. X: Women Collectors in Provenance Research
In preparation for the recently released Gauguin: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, 1891–1903, the WPI research team made a determined effort to recover the identities of women owners within the provenances. Whenever possible, the first names of women were added alongside those of their husbands or other male relations; however, this frequently presented a number of challenges. Using case studies from the Paul Gauguin catalogue raisonné, we will explore some of the obstacles inherent to researching female collectors in the 19th and early 20th century.
Louisa Wood Ruby, Head of Research, The Frick Art Reference Library (PHAROS and Computer Vision)
Samantha Deutch, Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Art Reference Library (ARIES and Archives Directory)
Transforming Research Methodologies: A Digital Approach
Wood Ruby and Deutch highlight collaborative projects initiated by the Frick that have maximized the working methodologies for those engaged in provenance research and the history of collecting.
Part Three: Florence Sloan and Nanette Bearden
Wednesday, June 16, 12–1pm
Diedra Harris-Kelley, Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, on Nanette Bearden
Legacy Building: Finding the Archive of Nanette Bearden
The contributions Nanette Rohan Bearden made in Romare’s life and art have long been cited by biographers and chroniclers of the preeminent artist of African American Life and culture. However, a real study of her role has yet to be assembled and celebrated fully. With the recent processing of the Romare Bearden Archives, the story of his greatest champion and partner of over 35 years can come into greater light. Diedra Harris-Kelley, CoDirector of the Bearden Foundation, and niece of Nanette, will walk through a sampling of intimate family photographs, promotional materials from collaborative projects, and materials related to her creation of the Bearden Foundation and her own dance company, as Harris-Kelley begins to build the archive of this pioneering woman of the arts.
Evie Terrono, Ph. D., Professor of Art History, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia
Personal Ambitions and Communal Uplift: The Collector Florence Sloan through her Archive
Raised in New York City, and nurtured in the city’s art museums, Florence Sloan (1873-1953) brought her cultural aspirations to the small southern city of Norfolk, Virginia, at the turn of the last century. In Norfolk, she amassed a remarkably diverse collection that was expressive of the aesthetic, cosmopolitan concerns of the Gilded age, and that remains virtually intact at Hermitage, her Arts and Crafts home. Her collection stands as a testament to her insatiable collecting desires, buttressed by a meticulously kept archive that allows us to reconstruct the private ambitions and the public aspirations of this deliberate, methodical, and well-informed collector. This presentation will provide insights into the development of Sloan’s collecting interests as recorded in her archive including her diaries while abroad, and her voluminous correspondence with artists, art dealers, and art administrators that reveals her struggles and successes in enriching the cultural scene in Norfolk.
Part Four: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe and A’Lelia Walker
Wednesday, June 23, 12–1pm
Margaret R. Laster, Independent Scholar, and Consultant, Center for the History of Collecting, the Frick Art Reference Library
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe: Securing Her Legacy in the Cultural Landscape of the Gilded Age
This presentation examines the choices and strategies Wolfe (1828−1887) employed as she amassed the materials of cultural currency that established her as a prominent tastemaker and artistic arbiter in New York and Newport.
A’Lelia Bundles, Author of The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance and On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, Board member of the National Archives Foundation
A’Lelia Walker’s Harlem Renaissance Salon
A’Lelia Walker is best known as the daughter of hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C. J. Walker, but she created her own legacy as a supporter of the arts during the 1920s. Her three homes—on 136th Street and on Edgecombe Avenue in Manhattan and at Villa Lewaro in Irvington—were gathering places for Harlem Renaissance writers, artists, actors, musicians and socialites.
Wednesday, June 30, 12–1pm
Julie Des Jardins, author of Women and the Historical Enterprise in America: Gender, Race and the Politics of Memory, 1880-1945 will be in conversation with Véronique Chagnon-Burke, Ph.D, Independent Scholar, founding member of the Women Art Dealers Digital Archive (WADDA) to discuss the politics of memory and situate art historical research on women within the broader fields of Women studies and women’s social and cultural histories.
As centers for art historical research, the WPI and the Frick are dedicated to promoting the accessibility of art historical information and to encouraging new avenues of exploration among scholars.