Building a National Collection


Old Masters
in the
New World

Two Early Collectors

Pictures at Exhibitions

The Artist as Collector

The Schoff Collection

The Ferris Collection

The Sloan Collection


The Curator as Collector

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Building a National Collection
150 Years of Print Collecting at the Smithsonian

Pictures at the Exhibitions

Paulus Pontius
Thomiris with
the Head of Cyrus

Albrecht Dürer
Portrait of
Ulrich Varnbuler

Rembrandt van Rijn
Christ Preaching
Johann Peter Pichler
Portrait of

Lucas van Leyden
Portrait of a Young Man
Sylvester Rosa Koehler
The Smithsonian participated in major exhibitions such as the nation's Centennial at Philadelphia in 1876, the Ohio Valley Centennial at Cincinnati in 1888, and the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. This activity was seen as "making the work of the Museum known to the people of the Republic," and involvement in these expositions furnished the Smithsonian with excellent opportunities to acquire collections.

Congress appropriated funds to purchase objects for these expositions. As official government projects, they represented another means of building the National Collection. Curator S. R. Koehler bought some splendid prints for the exhibitions, including the choicest old master prints in the collection. He showed these examples, together with photomechanical specimens, to represent chronological and topical sequences in the development of printed pictures. A selection of fine prints purchased originally for the Cincinnati and Columbian expositions is displayed here.

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