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Paper + People is a blog about the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection of over 18,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Here you will find a diverse array of posts written by museum staff, students, scholars, and other paper enthusiasts about anything pertaining to the collection.

Any works you see featured here are available to view by appointment.

  • Friday, April 22, 2016

    Collaboration with the Spatial Analysis Lab

    Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Italian, 1720-1778. Arch of Titus from Vedute di Roma, 1748-1780. Etching. Yale University Art Gallery. The Arthur Ross Collection. 2012.159.11.98

    This fall, the Smith College Museum of Art will be opening the exhibition When in Rome: Prints & Photographs, 1550–1900. Using prints and photographs from both our own collection and that of the Yale University Art Gallery, When in Rome is a historical tour of the city's most renowned monuments, showing the many ways they have been pictured over time. This collaboration is a part of Yale's Collection-Sharing Initiative, which aims to lend works to academic museums to foster creativity and increase access to original art. 

    Gioacchino Altobelli. Italian, 1820 or 1830-after 1878. Arch of Titus, Rome, ca.1860. Albumen print. Purchased with Hillyer-Tryon-Mather Fund, with funds given in memory of Nancy Newhall (Nancy Parker, class of 1930) and in honor of Beaumont Newhall, and with funds given in honor of Ruth Wedgwood Kennedy. SC 1982:38-115

    In a similar interdisciplinary spirit, the museum is teaming up with the Spatial Analysis Lab here at Smith to find the best ways to put these images in both spatial and historical contexts. Karen Yu '16, a student assistant at the SAL, has written a blog post on their work with us, including some examples of interactive maps we may use as a counterpart to the exhibition. Check it out--and get excited to see the show in the fall!


  • Thursday, April 7, 2016

    Gladys Engel Lang: Scholar, Author, and Collector

    We are saddened to report the passing of Gladys Engel Lang on March 23, 2016.

    Born in 1919 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Gladys Engel studied sociology at the University of Michigan and the University of Washington, Seattle, before entering government service, working in Office of War Information from 1942-1943, then later in the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor to the CIA) from 1943-1949. She entered a doctoral program in sociology at the University of Chicago in 1949, where she met and married fellow student Kurt Lang.

    Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang on their wedding day, June, 1950

    In the early 1950s, the Langs began their productive careers as collaborators, authoring the ground-breaking study “The Unique Perspective of Television and Its Effect: A Pilot Study,” in which they documented how television coverage shapes and effects how viewers understand and react to events. Decades of fruitful collaborations followed, including their 1990 book Etched in Memory: The Building and Survival of Artistic Reputation. This study focused on the painter-etcher movement between the 1860s and World War II, seeking to understand the process whereby some artists but not others come to be considered worth remembering. In 2014, the Langs made an important gift of 1,446 prints and drawings to SCMA. This collection has been the subject of several installations at the Museum over the past two years, and will be featured in an upcoming special exhibition.

    Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang, 2015

    Gladys Engel Lang had a particular interest in the study of forgotten women etchers, and the Lang Collection is rich in examples of little-known talented printmakers such as Greta Delleany, Bertha Gorst, Sylvia Gosse, Catherine M. Nichols, Constance M. Pott, Marjorie Sherlock Gabrielle de Vaux Clements, Blanche Dillaye, Edith Loring Peirce Getchell, Bertha Jacques, Katherine Merrill, and Mary Nimmo Moran, among others.

    Sir Frank Short (English, 1857 – 1945). Low Tide and the Evening Star and Rye’s Long Pier Deserted, 1888. Etching printed in black on medium weight, slightly textured, cream-colored paper. The Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang Collection. Promised gift. SC TR 7604.512.

    We are grateful to Gladys and the Lang family for entrusting SCMA with the legacy of their work in the form of the prints, drafts, and research for the Etched in Memory project. SCMA is committed to making these vital documents available to generations of scholars and students so that they may continue to study and extend the Langs’ research.


  • Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Student Picks: Mundane Particulars

    Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Beryl Ford '17 discusses her show "Mundane Particulars: Locating the Extraordinary in Ordinary Moments" which will be on view FRIDAY, April 1 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you there!


    Danny Lyon, American, born 1942. Port-au-Prince (woman carrying wood structure on shoulders, holding hand of another woman), 1983-1986 negative; 2007 print. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar. SC 2009:50-78

    Mundane Particulars is not about the contrived and constructed images of the world. Rather, it examines how photographers capture the casual, vernacular, and humdrum moments of everyday lives to heighten the viewer’s understanding of their subjects’ individuality. 

    Danny Lyon, American, born 1942. Ben Alton, housewrecker from The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, 1967 negative; 2007 print. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar. SC 2012:84-12

    Tracing how the camera reveals the beauty of the mundane, this exhibition is preoccupied with photography’s surrealist sensibility. This surrealist understanding is due to both the medium’s ability to capture the uncanny and its ability to catapult even the most prosaic image out of its usual context.

    Ken Heyman, American, born 1930. A Painting on the Bench, Central Park, NYC, ca. 1970. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar. SC 2012:84-43

    Joel Meyerowitz, American, born 1938. Chair, Maid, 1990. Vintage chromogenic contact print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar.

    The photographs in this exhibition contemplate these themes through their depiction of various everyday instances—a colorful parade on the streets of Harlem, day laborers tending to a task at hand, children walking through the city streets, and adults on a night on the town. 

    Leonard Freed, American, 1929 - 2006. Policeman talks to two young women, New York City, 1979. Vintage gelatin silver print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar. SC 2014:53-94

    Each of these ordinary moments becomes extraordinary precisely because they are divorced from their original purpose. They are now irreverently assigned a new role in this room before you, bearing witness to just another particularly ordinary moment. 


    you know - 09/06/2017


    wow beryl, beautifully written xx

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