Digitization of the records of the Macbeth Gallery, 1838"’1968, the first art gallery in the United States dedicated to the promotion of American art, comprising 132.2 linear feet of correspondence, account books and other financial and inventory records, photographs, printed material, scrapbooks, and reference files.

Material Description

The records of Macbeth Gallery measure 132.2 linear feet and comprehensively document founder William Macbeth's initial intention in 1892 to open a gallery "for the permanent exhibition and sale of American pictures" and the following sixty years of success as a major New York City art gallery. At a time when most American dealers were almost exclusively promoting European art, Macbeth's decision to focus on American artists was considered unwise by many colleagues. The gallery's last director Robert McIntyre donated many of the records to the Archives in 1955, making the collection one of the Archives' earliest acquisitions"”and a major influence on the Archives' collecting efforts since that time. Upon McIntyre's death in 1957, his estate donated the remaining records. To this day, the collection remains one of the Archives' most significant and heavily used collections. Ninety-five linear feet of correspondence form the core of the collection and illuminate most aspects of American art history"”changing tastes in the art market, the careers of numerous American artists, sales of works of art, seminal exhibitions of American art, building the permanent collections of major American art museums, and the founding of American art societies. There are letters from dozens of important American painters and sculptors, including Cecilia Beaux, Emil Carlsen, Arthur B. Davies, Charles W. Hawthorne, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Ivan G. Olinsky, Ogden M. Pleissner, Constance Richardson, Chauncey F. Ryder, William Sartain, Abbott Handerson Thayer, and Andrew Wyeth to name a few. There are also letters from numerous collectors, curators, other galleries, and critics. Additional records include sales and inventory records, scrapbooks, printed materials, including a complete run of the rare publication Art Notes, and photographs of some of the most important American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Year Added:



Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


Ms. Karen Weiss
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Date Range

1838 - 1968

Geographic Scope

The bulk of the materials document the gallery's activities in New York City, in the decades when New York rose to prominence as the center of the art world.


  • 129 Mixed Archival Collections