The VRC is excited to announce its new publicly available LUNA collection, Images of Black Chicago: The Robert Sengstacke Photography Archive. Born in Chicago on May 29, 1943, Robert “Bobby” Sengstacke is one of the city’s most prolific documentary photographers who is best known for capturing the African American experience. Having grown up in the newspaper business (he is the grand-nephew of Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender), Sengstacke was able to learn from established African American photographers at a young age and had unique access to important events and people. With the help of Art History Professor Rebecca Zorach, the VRC has scanned over 3,000 negatives featuring the artistic community and street life of Chicago’s South Side in the late 1960’s. To obtain high resolution images and permission contact Robert A. Sengstacke (firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-744-7487).
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has made nearly 100 exhibition catalogs freely available online as part of a digitized collection called “From the Archives.” Their offering of catalogs includes single-artist exhibitions as well as multi-artist exhibitions about movements or styles, and some stand alone essays published by the museum.
The Guggenheim has made other library resources available digitally in the collection Art Resources from the Mid-20th Century: Digitized Highlights from the Libraries of Hilla Rebay and Juliana Force. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently made a trove of digitized exhibition catalogs available in MetPublications.
Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society is a research database of more than 45,000 records culled from the exhibition catalogs of published by the Photographic Society in London from 1870 to 1915. The database contains detailed records of all exhibits, reproductions of the catalog pages, and information about “exhibitors, judges, hanging and selecting committee members, photographs, and companies.”
For more information or to explore the database, click here.
With the conclusion of an eight-year long research project, Vincent van Gogh has been in the news quite a bit recently. In 2005, the van Gogh museum teamed up with Shell and the Netherland’s Cultural Heritage Agency to research the materials, tools, techniques, and working processes of the artist. The website for the research project, Van Gogh’s Studio Practice, describes contains blog posts about how the researchers approached their work and describes the aims of their research. The results of the project were not earth-shattering, but the small surprises they discovered do deepen our understanding of van Gogh’s works and his psyche. The most talked about new discovery is the fact that The Bedroom was originally painted with violet walls, but since the red pigment of the paint faded, we know the work as having blue walls.
The new exhibition at the van Gogh Museum benefits from results of this lengthy research project, and is called Van Gogh at Work (May 1, 2013–January 12, 2014). The show will contain 200 works by van Gogh as well as some contemporary artists, as well as archival materials such as letters, sketchbooks, and the artist’s palette and paint tubes. The show will also include a digital re-creation of The Bedroom to show how it would have looked with the original violet walls.
The Van Gogh Museum also has a web portal for van Gogh’s letters (written and received) that contains facsimiles, transcriptions, and detailed object information of some 900 letters and 25 miscellaneous loose sheets or drafts. You can browse the collection by period, correspondent, place, or limit your results to letters that contain sketches. Simple and advanced search features are also available. The website also contains a wealth of contextual essays, biographical information, and research tools including the publication history of van Gogh’s letters, a chronology, and detailed bibliographies of the individual letters. A few years ago, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam released an app called Yours, Vincent: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, which contains digitized versions of van Gogh’s letters, sketches, and paintings as well as audio and video contextual clips.
Via ArtNews and the New York Times. For more information about van Gogh’s archival presence, visit Vincent van Gogh, The Letters or the Yours, Vincent app. You can always stop by the VRC to check it out, too!
Image: Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait with a Straw Hat (verso: The Potato Peeler), probably 1887. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 67.187.70a. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
post Notes on Modern & Contemporary Art Around the Globe is an interactive platform hosted by the Museum of Modern Art that encourages participation in a wide variety of discussions pertaining to the contemporary art and archives. This began as the public face for MoMA’s research program C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age Initiative):
post is a site for encounters between the established and experimental, the historical and emerging, the local and global, the scholarly and artistic. An online journal, archive, exhibition space, and open forum that takes advantage of the nonhierarchical nature of the Internet, post seeks to spark in-depth explorations of the ways in which modernism is being redefined. The site’s contents are intended to build nuanced understandings of the histories that shape the practices of artists and institutions today. As a networked platform, post aims to provide an alternative to the model of a unified art historical
For more information, visit post.
The Public Domain Review (a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation) is a great resource that highlights a variety of digitized public domain resources and curated collections, including images, film, text, and audio. In addition, there are scholarly articles from various humanities disciplines that engage with the digital materials included on the site.
The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.
All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classic works of art, music and literature, to abandoned drafts, tentative plans, and overlooked fragments. In doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction.
We believe the public domain is an invaluable and indispensable good, which – like our natural environment and our physical heritage – deserves to be explicitly recognised, protected and appreciated.
The Public Domain Review aims to help its readers to explore this rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance of an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.
The PDR also has a thorough guide to finding interesting public domain works online. Collaborators include the Internet Archive, Europa, the Library of Congress, the Field Museum, the Boston Public Library, the California Digital Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty, and more.
For more information, visit the Public Domain Review.
The Museum of Modern Art recently launched a website for the Complete Prints & Books of Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), who was best known for her sculpture but focused on printmaking throughout her career, often using it as a tool for her creative process. In 1990, Bourgeois donated the full archive of her printed work to MoMA, about 3,500 sheets. The new website so far contains about 400 images, but will eventually grow to contain all all 3,500 prints and will serve as the definitive scholarly work on Bourgeois, highlighting the relationships between the artist’s prints, drawings, and sculptures.
The feature-rich website, which is largely organized by theme and technique, allows users to zoom in on works, save works to a folder, and compare works in a new feature that allows users to view two related works side-by-side. The website also includes robust data about the works, including commentary, publication information, and background information on Bourgeois’ projects.
The website also allows users to download the catalogue The Prints of Louise Bourgeois in its entirety, which was published by MoMA in 1994. For more information and to explore the collection, visit Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books
The Google Cultural Institute and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem collaborated to bring five complete Dead Sea Scrolls online. The new digital library (released Tuesday, December 18), allows users to study and discover the the most ancient biblical manuscripts on earth:
The website gives searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. The scroll text is also discoverable via web search. If you search for a phrase from the scrolls, a link to that text within the scroll may surface in your search results. For example, try searching on Google for [And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb Dead Sea Scroll].
English translations of the manuscripts are also available. The Google Cultural Institute is also responsible for the Art Project as well as other digital humanities projects, including Versailles 3D and La France en relief. For the Dead Sea Scrolls project, they used imaging technology originally developed for NASA. The scrolls weren’t discovered until 1947, and they had been in the Qumran caves for two thousand years. ArtDaily reports:
The parchment and papyrus scrolls contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic script, and include several of the earliest-known texts from the Bible, including the oldest surviving copy of the Ten Commandments. The oldest of the documents dates to the third century BC and the most recent to about 70 AD, when Roman troops destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The artefacts are housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly lit Shrine of the Book on a rotational basis in order to minimise damage from exposure. When not on show, they are kept in a dark, climate-controlled storeroom in conditions similar to those in the Qumran caves, where the humidity, temperature and darkness preserved the scrolls for two millennia.
For more information, visit the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.
The online art journal Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide recently featured a new digital humanities research project that focuses on London’s art market from 1850–1914. The researchers aim to document the rise and spread of commercial galleries across the city by aggregating data from a variety of sources including galleries, exhibition societies, artists’ addresses, and retail spaces. The data was then added to a map of Victorian London—users can turn data on or off depending on their research, including moving chronologically through time.
Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich describe the project and offer their own conclusions based on their research in Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and the London Gallery Market website with their maps and data is freely available.
Image: Pamela Fletcher and David Israel, London Gallery Project, 2007, revised 2012.
Yesterday the New York Times announced, “The Leo Baeck Institute, a New York research library and archive devoted to documenting the history of German-speaking Jewry, has completed the digitization of its entire archive, which will provide free online access to primary-source materials encompassing five centuries of Jewish life in Central Europe.”
The online collection for the Leo Baeck Institute is called DigiBaeck, and is:
a growing treasury of artifacts that document the rich heritage of German-speaking Jewry in the modern era. DigiBaeck provides instant access to materials ranging from rare 16th century renaissance books to memoirs that document the experience of German-Jewish émigrés across the world in the 20th century.
In addition to manuscript material and archival photographs, more than 2,600 art objects have been digitized and are accessible on the website. While there is a lot of material digitally available now, on October 16, the expanded archive will be released online, representing the archive online in its entirety.
Via the New York Times