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Portrait of Jeff Donaldson, circa 1970, unidentified photographer. Photo: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Archives of American Art Gifted $5 Million from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

The Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art in Washington, DC, announced that it has received one of the largest gifts in its history, a $5 million donation from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. The funds will support the digitization of materials on art and artists from historically underrepresented groups in the archives’ collections and will boost the institution’s total endowment for digitization efforts to $11 million. 

Highlights from the collection of items that will be prioritized for processing and digitization include a scrapbook that belonged to Edward Mitchell Bannister, one of the few African American painters of the nineteenth century to win national recognition; the Jeff Donaldson papers, which shed light on one of the cofounders of the collective African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), established in 1968; the papers of the African American painter, printmaker, and teacher Charles W. White; and the Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research materials on Chicano art, the archives’ most frequently consulted collection for the study of Latino art.

“We applaud institutions like the Archives that open their virtual doors wide and invite the world in,” Dorothy Lichtenstein, president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, said in a statement. “Having this diversity of treasures available online will allow students, scholars, and art-lovers to explore and expand on the remarkable network of connections and associations across the vibrant arc of American art history.”

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