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Building a National Collection
150 Years of Print Collecting at the Smithsonian

Celebrating a century and a half of print collecting at the Smithsonian, this exhibition focuses on the process of collecting--how private collectors and public attitudes have influenced the collection's development and direction.

J. E. Haid
...Painter and Engraver
Drawn from the graphic arts collection in the National Museum of American History, the oldest print-collecting unit in the Smithsonian Institution, are images by Dürer, Rembrandt, and Currier & Ives; Federal Art Project prints from the 1930s; and modern lithographs by June Wayne and Larry Rivers.

This Museum's graphic arts collection has concentrated on the technological history of printmaking--how prints are made. Examples from many periods and countries illustrate technical developments and cultural changes in American collecting interests. Other Smithsonian museums collect graphic works chosen for aesthetic reasons. Prints in this Museum record the shift from European works to American images, and the exhibition identifies widening opportunities for new collectors, from the American Art Union of the 1840s to 20th-century print clubs.

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