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The Special Collections Research Center maintains significant holdings in modern painting and sculpture, with a focus on the work of American visual artists of the 20th century. Our collections are particularly strong in the papers of artists working in the United States during the 1930s to the 1960s. Many of the artists represented in our collections were associated with the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, therefore a significant number of public art projects and murals are found across individual artist's papers. Another area of particular strength is the papers of artists who immigrated to the United States in the wake of WWII, bringing with them the techniques and theoretical questions with which artists were engaged in their native countries-whether that be Lithuania, Russia, or France--and thereby altering the American art scene. Key artistic movements including Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and Socialist Realism are represented in the collections, as are artists whom immigrated to the United States from Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

Since the artists in our collections often worked with different media and they were often affiliated with social or political movements, our holdings in painting and sculpture overlap with many of our other collecting areas, including: Radicalism in the Arts, Illustration, Printing and Publishing, and Photography and Photojournalism.

Digitized Materials

  • For information on digitized materials, please see Services.

Audio and Visual Materials

Nearly all of the collections in the SCRC related to painters and sculptors contain visual materials. Please consult the finding aids for individual artists for more detailed information.

The collections of the Syracuse University Art Gallery hold artworks by several artists represented in the SCRC collections.

Rare Books and Printed Materials

Printed material in the SCRC related to fine art ranges from scholarly texts to popular magazines and artists' books. Of particular note is the collection of the works of Jakob Burkhardt, which may be the most complete collection of his writings outside his native Switzerland. Another significant collection relates to the Harlem Renaissance and includes such journals such as Black Opals, Colored American Magazine, Voice of the Negro, and Bronze Booklets.

Useful search terms to locate these items in the catalog include "art history," "aesthetics," "Harlem Renaissance," "modern painting," "commercial artists - United States," and "sculpture."

When searching the catalog, set a search limit to "Special Collections" to find materials located in the SCRC.

Search the Classic Catalog.

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