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Photograph Archives / American Art
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Photograph Archives

Juley in his photo studio

The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers unparalleled resources for the study of American art. Its extensive Photograph Archives contain nearly a half million negatives, photographs, and slides. The images document American art from the colonial period to the present. Among the special collections are the following holdings.


Peter A. Juley & Son Collection
American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection
Walter Rosenblum Collection
National Endowment for the Arts Artists Archive
Library of Congress Copyright Deposit Collection
Photograph Archives Rights and Reproductions Information
Contact Information

Peter A. Juley & Son Collection

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View a selection of Juley images on Flickr Commons


The Peter A. Juley & Son Collection holds 127,000 photographic black-and-white negatives documenting the work of 11,000 American artists. Peter A. Juley & Son, one of the largest and most respected fine-arts photography firms in New York, served artists, galleries, museums, schools, and private collectors from 1896 to 1975. The collection, acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1975, constitutes a unique photographic record of thousands of works of American art, sometimes providing the only visual documentation of a changed, damaged, or lost original. The Juley Collection also contains 3,500 portraits of artists, including formal poses as well as candid shots that depict artists working in their studios, teaching classes, and serving as jurors for exhibitions.

You can search the entire Juley Collection Catalog online via SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System). Use the Limit feature to view works only from the Juley collection. The collection is being digitized with over 10,000 images already online. You can also view a selection of Juley photographs on Flickr Commons. For more information, email sapa[at]si.edu.


American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection

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The American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection contains 2,416 photographs and photomechanical reproductions of American sculpture, dating from the late 1890s to 1940. The collection was assembled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for study purposes and includes works from in-house staff photographers, commercial photographers, publishers, and photographs "desirable in the study of art" assembled by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and presented to the Museum in 1930. The collection was given to Smithsonian American Art Museum Photograph Archives in 2004. In addition to documenting the works of many renowned American sculptors, the collection also includes a number of rare early photographs of outdoor sculpture and public monuments, artist portraits, and exhibition and installation views.

You can search the entire American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection online via SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System). Use the Limit feature to view works only from the American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection. Because of their delicate and the risks associated with their handling, the photographs are digitized and are only available online to researchers. For more information, email sapa[at]si.edu.


Walter Rosenblum Collection

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The Walter A. Rosenblum Collection is comprised of approximately 7,500 black-and-white 4 x 5 inch negatives taken by noted New York photographer Walter Rosenblum (1919–2006). Between 1945 and 1970 Rosenblum did freelance work photographing art for major art galleries, collectors and artists in the New York City area. The Rosenblum Collection, acquired in 1976 through a transfer from the Archives of American Art, reflects the art of his time and is particularly strong in American and European avant-garde, surreal and abstract works.

We are in the process of cataloging the collection, but you can search the entire Walter Rosenblum Collection online via SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System). Use the Limit feature to view works only from the Rosenblum collection. If you can help us identify any of the artworks in the photographs, contact us at: sapa[at]si.edu.


National Endowment for the Arts Artists Archive

The National Endowment for the Arts Artists Archive documents over 5,270 artists who received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts national Visual Artists Fellowship Program and its companion regional programs from 1967 to 1997. When the program was terminated in 1997, supporting visual materials came to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. These materials include approximately 60,000 slides, 400 video tapes, and some audio tapes. In addition, some files contain additional materials submitted by the artists, including resumes, personal statements and exhibition catalogs.

Award information and digital images for artists who have given their permission are searchable onsite in the Research and Scholars Centers. For more information, please contact staff at sapa[at]si.edu.


Library of Congress Copyright Deposit Collection

The Library of Congress Copyright Deposit Collection contains 2,335 photomechanical reproductions documenting the works of approximately 500 American artists from the 1890s to 1940s. The images were originally deposited with the Library of Congress as part of the copyright registration process for art works. The images, in color and black-and-white, and mounted on oversize board, were received in 1987 through the Library of Congress's gift and exchange transfer program. The collection documents drawings, graphic prints, paintings, and other works of art by late 19th century and early 20th century American artists.

The collection is not yet cataloged or digitized but a list of artists and titles is available from the Research and Scholars Center. For more information, email sapa[at]si.edu.


Photograph Archives Rights and Reproductions

Photographs from the Photograph Archives may not be reproduced without written permission from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Because each collection differs, it is important that you contact the Research and Scholars Center for specific details regarding the collection you are interested in.


Requests for permission may be submitted by email to sapa[at]si.edu or by mail:

Image Collections Coordinator
Research and Scholars Center
Smithsonian American Art Museum
MRC 970, PO Box 37012
Washington DC 20013-7012

Contact Information

The Photograph Archives are open to researchers by appointment from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays. For further information, contact the Image Collections Coordinator at sapa[at]si.edu or by phone at (202) 633-8390.




Pictured: Paul P. Juley in his photography studio. Photograph from Peter A. Juley & Son Collection.

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