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.
- Thomas Moran etched this view of a mission church in New Mexico in 1881 after a photograph by friend and traveling companion William Henry Jackson (1843–1942). Moran had met Jackson in 1871 on Ferdinand V. Hayden’s Yellowstone expedition, the first government-sponsored survey of that area. Jackson and Moran worked side by side recording views. While Moran’s paintings of the West made his reputation, fewer than one-fifth of his etchings depict Western or Mexican scenes. His signature “TYM” at lower left stands for Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran.
- The church shown in this print was replaced by a stone building in the early 20th century, and the San Juan Pueblo recently changed its name to Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. It lies twenty-five miles north of Santa Fe.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Associated Date
- graphic artist
- Moran, Thomas
- Jackson, William Henry
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center