A collaborative project to digitize the exhibition checklists and pamphlets of the Macbeth Gallery, held by the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Art Reference Library was completed in the fall of 2008. The combined collection, numbering over 450 unique items published between 1895 and 1953, was digitized by Northern Micrographics in La Crosse, Wisconsin. PDF files of the catalogs are now available for download to researchers worldwide through the Watson Library online catalog, WATSONLINE, through FRESCO (Frick Research Catalog Online) and Arcade.
The Macbeth Gallery was the first New York gallery to specialize in American art and is historically important for exhibiting work by many American artists well-known to us today, including Winslow Homer, Charles H. Davis, and Andrew Wyeth. In addition to solo exhibitions, many group shows were held at the Macbeth Gallery in the early 20th century– several would have a profound impact on the development and appreciation of American art.
Consequently, the Macbeth Gallery materials have been frequently used at Watson Library and the Frick, but they are also rapidly deteriorating. It made sense from both service and preservation perspectives to move forward with the project before the checklists became damaged beyond repair. As a result, and beyond increased accessibility and preservation, a major benefit to both libraries is that each collection has been enriched with unique items from the other. The project provides a more complete picture of Macbeth Gallery exhibition activity and complements the Archives of American Art’s effort to catalog their collection of Macbeth Gallery records and papers.
Funding for this project was provided by the Lifchez-Stronach Preservation Fund for the Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.