Art + Artists
July 16, 2021 — January 17, 2022Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore, 1975-1980 captures a cross-section of East Baltimore residents and businesses in the 1970s, documenting the community’s history and diversity. These photographs by Elinor Cahn, Joan Clark Netherwood, and Linda Rich were taken as part of a program of photography surveys sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts to celebrate the bicentennial of founding of the United States.
The museum’s collection begins with works from the colonies of New Spain and New England.
The museum’s collection charts the nation’s growth from a young republic to an emerging world power. Landscapes extolling the nation’s geographic wonders from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon drove and documented westward expansion. Asher Durand’s Dover Plains, Dutchess County, New York presents an idyllic landscape where man and nature coexist.
Artists in the twentieth century chose two distinct ways to depict modernism and the excitement of progress—realism and abstraction. Both are well represented in the collection. The museum has the largest collection of New Deal art and murals in the country. Images of jazz and street life, farms and factories, workers and families captured a changing America
In recent years, the museum has strengthened its commitment to contemporary art through acquisitions, commissions, and exhibitions.
SAAM is home to one of the most significant collections of works by African American artists in the world with a long-standing commitment to Black artists and the acquisition, preservation, and display of their work. The collection spans three centuries of creative expression in various media, including painting, sculpture, textiles, and photography.
The museum’s collection of contemporary American craft is considered one of the finest in the United States.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection of folk and self-taught art represents the powerful vision of America’s untrained and vernacular artists. Represented in the museum’s collection are pieces that draw on tradition and artworks that reveal a more personal vision.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s leading Latinx art collection represents a profound commitment to building a great national collection reflecting the rich contributions of Latinos to our country from the colonial period to the present and the diversity of Latino communities in the United States.
America’s continuing love affair with the camera can be traced through the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection, which ranges from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital works. In 1983, the museum began to seriously collect photography. That year, more than 1,800 photographs were transferred to the museum from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The museum’s American sculpture collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world.
Graphic arts comprise a large part of the museum’s collection, which reveals the central importance of works on paper for American artists, both as studies for creations in other media and as finished works of art.
The Time-Based Media Art Initiative at the Smithsonian American Art Museum reflects a commitment to develop the museum’s time-based media collections, research resources, and programs.