Collecting the Papers of Women Artists, Critics, and Dealers: A Conversation With the Archives of American Art

Curators Erin Jenoa Gilbert & Mary Savig

We gathered together on November 19, 2019 for the third in a series of events highlighting The Archives of American Art. Curators Erin Jenoa Gilbert and Mary Savig discussed upcoming programming for the Archives, feminist collecting initiatives, and the importance of preserving and providing access to almost 1,000 collections created by women artists, critics, scholars, collectors and dealers, such as Nancy Spero, Elaine de Kooning, Hedda Sterne, Alice Neel, Alma Thomas, Louise Nevelson, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Lucy Lippard, Linda Nochlin, Dore Ashton, Aline Saarinen, Virginia Zabriskie, Edith Halper, Betty Parsons and Andrea Rosen. The Archives is a rich and enduring source of knowledge about the history of women’s artistic practice in the United States.

Lee Krasner, Free Space, color screenprint, abstract waves of blue and black, 1975.
Lee Krasner, Free Space, color screenprint, 1975.

About the Speakers

Erin Jenoa Gilbert

Curator of African American Manuscripts

Erin Jenoa Gilbert is the Curator of African-American Manuscripts at The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. Before joining the Archives, Gilbert was an independent curator. She has served as Director of Kruger Gallery; Manager of Community Engagement, Audience Development and Adult Programs at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Associate Director of the Leadership Advisory Committee at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Mary Savig

Curator of Manuscripts

Mary Savig has curated numerous exhibitions and has written broadly on collections at the Archives. Mary specializes in the acquisition of collections documenting the history of American studio craft and all collections in the Mid-Atlantic. She is author of Handmade Holiday Cards from 20th Century Artists and Pen to Paper: Artist’s Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. She is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Helen Frankenthaler, Mary Mary, color screenprint and offset lithograph, abstract image with a pink background and green and blue circles, 1987.
Helen Frankenthaler, Mary Mary, color screenprint & offset lithograph, 1987.

Learn About Future Events

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Louise Nevelson, Untitled, gesso ground cast-paper relief print, 1985.