SAM Libraries: Book(s) of the Month Club: February

Black History Month
This month’s Book(s) of the Month Club entry highlights some of the more recent library acquisitions related to African American art production and African Americans as the subject in art. February is Black History Month and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to highlight some our great resources in these areas.

Image of the Black in Western Art Series
I recently discovered we owned part of this series when an acquisition request came in for a missing volume. (We have over 50,000 volumes in our library collections – I don’t know them all… yet!) These volumes are produced by Harvard University’s Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

Spanning nearly 5,000 years and documenting virtually all forms of media, the Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive is an unprecedented research project devoted to the systematic investigation of how people of African descent have been perceived and represented in art…[The archive was] started in 1960 by Jean and Dominique de Menil…For the first thirty years of the project’s existence, the project focused on the production of a prize-winning, four-volume series of generously illustrated books, The Image of the Black in Western Art. Since moving to Harvard in 1994, the project is focused on the production of the final volume of [the series.]”
W.E.B Du Bois Institute

The Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library has most, but not all of the series at present. We have:
v. 1. From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire
v. 2. From the Early Christian Era to the “Age of Discovery”: pt. 2. Africans in the Christian Ordinance of the World
v. 4. From the American Revolution to World War I:  pt. 1. Slaves and Liberators and pt. 2. Black Models and White Myths
We do not have volume 2, part 1 and volume 3 is forthcoming.

Cover of Image of the Black in Western Art, volume 1Cover of Image of the Black in Western Art, v.2, pt. 2imageofblackinwesternart3imageofblackinwesternart4

You may recognize the cover of volume 4, part 1. It is Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley (detail) by Anne-Louis Girodet, 1797. Titus Kaphar, the first recipient of the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship, reproduced the painting in his work Conversation Between Paintings #3: Descent, 2007 for his exhibition at SAM in 2009: Titus Kaphar: History in the Making.

Other Notable Books on the Subject
In addition to this outstanding series, we also have these notable books, among many, many others:

durablemomentoA Durable Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist. Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, 1999.
forceforchangeA Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2009.
memphisworldPhotographs from the Memphis World, 1949-1964. Memphis, TN: Jackson, MS: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; University Press of Mississippi, 2008.
embracingEmbracing the Muse: Africa and African American Art. New York: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2004.
conservealegacyTo Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Andover, MA: New York: Cambridge, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Distributed by MIT Press, 1999.
 tdhandbookThe Trenton Doyle Handbook: Volume 1. Brooklyn, NY: PictureBox Inc., 2007.

 I hope some of these spark your interest. They certainly have mine!

Traci Timmons, Librarian