The Ferris Collection of Prints
The Museum’s Graphic Arts Collection, the oldest print-collecting unit in the Smithsonian, focuses on the technical and social history of printmaking to document how prints are made and used. Smithsonian art museums collect works on paper selected for aesthetic reasons, but the National Museum of American History (formerly the Museum of History and Technology) takes a broad view of visual culture.
Our prints illustrate technical developments and cultural changes. They represent all kinds of graphic works that have influenced American society. The collection has always included examples from many periods and countries, fine-art prints as well as popular and commercial graphic art, together with the plates, blocks, and tools used to produce prints. In 1996 the Museum presented an exhibition on 150 years of Smithsonian print collecting, Building a National Collection.
One of the largest print collections ever received by the Smithsonian was donated by the Ferris family between 1927 and 1932. Stephen James Ferris (1835–1915), a Philadelphia painter and etcher, collected over 2,000 European and American prints, both reproductive and original, representing old master and contemporary printmakers. The collection incorporated a variety of artistic subjects, compositions, and styles. Ferris may well have mined it for inspiration for his own work, but he was also deeply interested in art for its own sake. He and his family and friends would have simply enjoyed studying the images.
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"The Ferris Collection of Prints - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- This lithograph, Passage de l’armé française à; l’hospice du Mont Saint-Bernard 15 Mai 1800 by Hippolyte Bellangé, shows Napoleon’s daring crossing of the Alps via the Great St. Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border with his army of 40,000 men. It was published with eleven other military views, including the Battle of Marengo, in a portfolio. Entitled Souvenirs militaires de la Republique, du Consulat et de l’Empire (Military Memories of the Republic, the Consulate, and the Empire), the firm of Gihaut introduced the album in 1834. It was the last but one in an annual series that Bellangé inaugurated in 1823. The prints in these portfolios included military views and some genre scenes.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- graphic artist
- Bellangé, Hippolyte
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center