PRIMARY SOURCE HUNT
I decided to ignore my initial reaction of finding sources through the Internet and contacted a reference librarian at SCAD. This was a first for me, as I usually use Internet library searches to find my own sources. My past experiences with librarians have led me down unnecessary, time-consuming paths; therefore I’d rather just search myself. But, I wanted to do this right.
I emailed one evening and got a response the following morning from a reference desk associate. He advised me to use JSTOR, a database that contains a wide variety of sources that are searchable in the same place. Ryan gave me tips on how to narrow my search with this database, using keywords and dates. I also learned that “reviews” generally mean book reviews, rather than exhibition reviews; the better word to use for these is “articles.”
My first search resulted in quite a large amount. Using the JSTOR database allowed me to quickly skim through pages that contained my search words (I had to use Adobe PDF to find some of them, though). However, after combing through these, there was not much success of finding a related source. But, I was able to find what exhibitions Matisse participated in through “American Art News.” Matisse participated in a 1908 exhibition at Photo-Secession Gallery, and another in 1913 called the Armory Show.
To gain more overall knowledge about these exhibitions, I decided to use JSTOR again. This, I believed, would better inform my search.
The Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art and ran in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The Photo-Secession Gallery was also commonly known as 291 as it was located at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City from 1905 to 1917. It was created and managed by photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and was originally known as “Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession.”
Alfred Stieglitz and his protégé, the photographer and painter Edward Steichen, decided they needed a refresh of ideas. Steichen, at the time, lived in Paris and had created connections with local artists. He sent over their exhibitions to Stieglitz, which included Matisse. 291 held the first exhibition of Matisse’s work in the United States in 1908, from April 6 to April 25. This works included innovative ways of portraying the human form that often shocked 291’s audience with depictions of sensuality and challenges to conventional ideas of beauty. Stieglitz’s aim was to instruct artists and the American public about the fundamental art and to provoke serious discussion.
Frank Anderson Trapp’s, The Armory Show: A Review, explains a group of artists concerned over the difficulties of exhibiting contemporary works (in late 1911) formed a corporation to further their cause, which they called the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. There were few galleries that were adequate enough to present these works, including Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession Gallery. 291 had served for a time as the focus of knowledge for contemporary European movements. But, there was little opportunity for the public to become familiar with new works of art. Therefore, this association sought to correct this lack of opportunity and thereby stimulate a wider public interest, which in turn would lead to the support necessary for a healthy artistic climate. This resulted in the 1913 Armory Show.
As I had more information on these two exhibitions, I went back to Reference Services at SCAD and used the online chat. This librarian knew more about the assignment as more of my classmates had contacted them. They decided to run a search through the JSTOR database again (and double-check my findings) as they believed this database was the only source for finding older reviews, especially online. They also suggested that not all reviews are necessarily extensive and in-depth, and to think of the kind of reviews seen in the New York Times. After their search, the librarian reaffirmed me that my search was going to yield short reviews (and that they had the same results I did). They stated that most databases cover more current research, and don’t go back as far as the early 1900s, so JSTOR was the best in this regard. When New York Times was mentioned, I decided to broaden my search to newspaper articles outside of SCAD.
1908 Photo-Secession (291)
American Arts News 6.26 (1908): 1-8 Print.
American Art News 8.21 (1910): 1-10. Print.
“American Pictures.” New-York Daily Tribune 6 Mar 1910: 2. Print.
“News and Notes of the Art World.” The New York Times 10 Mar 1910. Print.
1911 Armory Show
“Cubists and Futurists are Making Insanity Pay.” The New York Times 16 Mar 1913. Print.
Greely-Smith, Nixola. “An Alienist Will Charge You $5,000 to Tell You if You’re Crazy; Go to the Cubist Show and You’ll Be Sure of It for a Quarter.” The Evening World 22 Feb 1913: 8. Print.
“Matters of Art.” New-York Tribune 23 Feb 1913: 6. Print.
Trapp, Frank Anderson. “ The Armory Show.” Art Journal 23.1 (1963): 2-9. Print
Cotter, Holland. “Rethinking the Armory Show.” The New York Times, 25 Oct 2012. Web. 16 Feb 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/arts/artsspecial/two-exhibitions-re-examine-the-1913-armory-show.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>
“Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and his New York Galleries.” National Gallery of Art, 2013. Web. 16 Feb 2013. <http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/modart_2.shtm>