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Smithsonian American Art Museum Publishes Four New Souvenir Books to Coincide with .Most Extensive Art Tour Ever

Contact: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Office AmericanArtinfo[at]
American Art's Web site:
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998

In celebration of "Treasures To Go"—a nationally circulating tour of eight exhibitions from its permanent collection—the Smithsonian American Art Museum has released the first four in a series of eight souvenir books.

"The books document important time periods in our nation's history through beautiful and compelling portraiture, landscapes and genre paintings. By highlighting many of the museum's most impressive works in these books, we are making these treasures accessible to the American people," said Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The four books currently available are:

  • "Young America: Treasures from the Smithsonian .American Art Museum" traces the transformation of the colonies into nationhood between the 1760s and the Civil War, revealing the traits, ideals and ambitions of a developing nation.

  • "Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" depicts the expanding frontier from the varying viewpoints of those who traveled west in the decades following the Lewis and Clark exploration.

  • "The Gilded Age: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" features artists who brought a new sophistication and elegance to American art in the decades before World War I.

  • "American Impressionism: Treasures from .the Smithsonian American Art Museum" highlights the best work of American Impressionist painters who celebrated with .light and color their view of American life as they approached the 20th century.

Co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Watson-Guptill, a division of BPI Communications, the books cost $19.95 each and are available at bookstores and the various venues hosting the exhibitions, as well as on the museum's Web site at

"Young America" and "Lure of the West" were written by Amy Pastan, a D.C.-based freelance writer and editor of fine art and photography books, and "The Gilded Age" and "American Impressionism" were authored by Elizabeth Prelinger, a Wright Family Distinguished Professor of Art History at Georgetown University.

The next four books in the series—titled "Arte Latino," "Contemporary Folk Art," "Modernism .& Abstraction" and "Scenes of American Life"—will be published in July 2001.

Watson-Guptill not only is a leading publisher of fine arts books, but also of titles in a variety of categories including performing arts, photography, lifestyle, architecture, design, home décor, crafts and art instruction.

"Treasures To Go" is comprised of eight exhibitions from the Smithsonian American Art Museum touring the nation through 2002. The Principal Financial Group® is a proud partner in bringing these treasures to the American people. Launched in January 2000, it is the most extensive art tour ever. Its goal is to stimulate interest in American art among new audiences as well as art lovers by touring the nation's foremost collection to communities across the country. For updated tour itineraries visit

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 38,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, folk-art objects and 20th-century crafts.

As the museum begins a three-year renovation of its main building, the Old Patent Office in Washington, D.C., it is continuing a full program of craft exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery, located on Pennsylvania Avenue at .17th Street N.W. For more information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700.