The American Fine and Decorative Arts Program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art is pleased to announce that it is working with the Redwood Library in Newport, Rhode Island to produce a catalog of this important collection of paintings and sculpture. The collection is especially strong in American paintings before 1850 and is notable for works by Feke, Smibert, Allston, Gilbert Stuart, John Wesley Jarvis, and Thomas Sully among others. The project is part of an initiative to designed to allow students to work with actual objects in real world settings, give them a platform in which their work will be published, and provide a service to the broader American Art community by contributing to the expansion and diffusion of knowledge.
The project began two years ago as part of a research seminar in which students began writing biographical entries for the collection’s more than sixty artists. As that aspect of the project winds down, students have begun working on entries for selected paintings in the collection. The process is a collaborative one, designed to take advantage of peer-review, the discussion and presentation of research findings, and stresses the idea of research writing as a process of revision and discovery rather than a task that one simply completes.
At present, Program Director Jonathan Clancy is working on an online database of works that will feature edited versions of the entries so that the project will be available in a timely fashion to scholars, library patrons, and other interested parties as the work emerges. The immediate goal is to have the database publicly available by the end of the academic year. Once the project is completed a manuscript will be prepared for publication.