SAAM Stories

Detail of brown ceramic jar with writing and the signature "Dave" inscribed around the top.
Craftsman David “Dave” Drake, enslaved for most of his life, produced uncommonly large ceramic jars in 19th-century South Carolina adorned by his poetic verses
A woman in a black blazer smiles in front of a dusky landscape
Jill Vaum Rothschild
Luce Curatorial Fellow
A photograph of a woman standing in front of artwork.
Leslie Umberger
Curator (Folk and Self-Taught Art)
A photograph of a woman in front of artwork
01/26/2023
Director Stephanie Stebich looks forward to the year ahead
 Stephanie Stebich, SAAM's Margaret and Terry Stent Direction in the museum's Lincoln Gallery. Photo by Gene Young. 
Stephanie Stebich
The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
A detail of stained glass with a figure, in a fetal position, at the middle
Artist Judith Schaechter uses the labor-intensive medium of stained glass to capture a singular moment in time
SAAM
A white man wearing a dark blazer stands leaning on a balustrade. He has a slight smile.
01/17/2023
A tribute to the Renwick Gallery's Founding Director, Lloyd Herman, a man whose name was synonymous with studio craft
A photograph of a woman with brown hair and a dress standing inside a building.
Mary Savig
Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft
Detail of a sand bottle artwork showing an eagle carrying an American flag.
Andrew Clemens invented, then perfected, the art of the sand bottle in the late nineteenth century.
A photograph of a woman standing in front of artwork.
Leslie Umberger
Curator (Folk and Self-Taught Art)
A woman in a black blazer smiles in front of a dusky landscape
Jill Vaum Rothschild
Luce Curatorial Fellow
A black  and white photograph of the artist Philip Pearlstein. He is wearing glasses and has a big smile.
SAAM remembers the towering twentieth-century figurative painter, Philip Pearlstein.
SAAM
A black and white illustration of a African American woman. She is shown in 3/4 profile.
12/27/2022
In addition to her own success, Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage dedicated her career to creating opportunities for Black artists.
A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.
Howard Kaplan
Writer
A white Christmas with a homemade box.
Joseph Cornell, who was born in 1903 on Christmas Eve, often created handmade objects to give as gifts during the holidays.
Laura Augustin
Curatorial Assistant
A black and white photo of a man sitting looking away from the camera, his artwork in front of him
An archivist looks at the important art and objects in the Joseph Cornell Study Center
Anna Rimel
A jeweled-encrusted egg
A look at the extraordinary career of master metalsmith and painter Daniel Brush
Photograph of Nora Atkinson by Libby Weiler.
Nora Atkinson
The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge, Renwick Gallery
Artist Joseph Cornell standing at worktable with materials for his artworks around him
12/15/2022
A closer look at Joseph Cornell's work and his continuing influence, even 50 years after his death
Laura Augustin
Curatorial Assistant
Detail of quilted portrait showing three African American soldiers
SAAM’s video series, American Art Moments, takes a closer look at the monumental quilt The Harlem Hellfighters by Bisa Butler
A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.
Howard Kaplan
Writer
A explosion of yellows and reds in a scene from WWI
11/30/2022
Taking a closer look at Claggett Wilson’s watercolor paintings that depict his experiences as a combat marine in World War I 
Kelly Skeen
Ceramic bowl with ceramic spoons hanging all around its perimeter.
Artist gwendolyn yoppolo focuses on creating meaningful relationships through a shared dining experience
SAAM
A tight crop of an illustration showing a girl with her hands on the face of a horse. She is smiling.
11/17/2022
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation) was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana in 1940. Throughout her long and distinguished career she has used her art to powerfully express her support for Native American communities
A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.
Howard Kaplan
Writer
A view of the tree-lined Kogod courtyard
For centuries humans have been bringing the outside in, brightening up interior spaces by incorporating plants into homes and offices. Twice a year, horticulturists at the Smithsonian mimic rain and wind to help keep the trees in the Kogod Courtyard happy and thriving.
Virginia Thaxton
Two conservators, both wearing masks, re-dress the Gladys doll.
SAAM’s conservators find the delicate balance between original work and restoration through two dolls
Leah Bright
Detail of a mixed media artwork using a flag and military blanket
Marie Watt honors veterans and Indigenous communities through simple objects that hold powerful stories
SAAM