LACMA’s Balch Art Research Library serves museum staff, visiting researchers, and the public by collecting and preserving a diverse collection of 240,000 art historical research materials. Our Artists in Situ: Selections from LACMA’s Artist Files series highlights our extensive collection of Artist and Gallery Ephemera, a subset of which is digitized and accessible online.
The files are made up of printed ephemera, such as postcards, press releases, brochures, clippings, and posters related to an individual artist and their work. These materials have the capacity to provide insight into public perception surrounding artists’ works, and they can afford researchers a nuanced perspective of the historical art market. They are also often of artistic value in themselves, and can shed light on artists’ relationships to commerce and material ephemerality.
Those who visited Black American Portraits earlier this year—or those who were unable to—may find particular interest in the digitized artist files of Charles Gaines and Charles White, whose was included in the exhibition. The ephemera allows researchers a means by which to set the artists’ work in historical and sociocultural context.
Selections from Charles Gaines’ Artist File:
Ephemeral material promoting a Gaines exhibition, undated, depicts graphite drawing from Gaines’ Explosion series, © Charles Gaines, courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Promotional material for works from Charles Gaines’ disaster narratives, © Charles Gaines, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Promotional material depicting works from Gaines’ 1993–95 series Night/Crimes, © Charles Gaines, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
© Charles Gaines, © Castelli Gallery, courtesy Castelli Gallery, New York, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Promotional mailer for a 1979 Gaines exhibition held at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL., featuring works from Gaines’ shadow series, © Charles Gaines, courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Selections from Charles White’s Artist File:
Promotional flyer for White’s J’Accuse! exhibition held at Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles (November 14–December 3, 1966), which references Émile Zola, © The Charles White Archives, courtesy of Heritage Gallery, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Promotional ephemera featuring White’s Wanted Poster Series #3, © The Charles White Archives, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Advertisement for drawings from White’s folio 10, distributed by Carlton Moss, © The Charles White Archives, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Promotional material from a 1983 Charles White retrospective at the Wadsworth Atheneum., Hartford, Connecticut (April 24–June 12, 1983) depicting White’s Sound of Silence, 1978, © The Charles White Archives, courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Uncatalogued ephemera from White’s artist file, © The Charles White Archives, courtesy of Forum Gallery, New York, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
A 1973 advertisement for the Charles White collectors plate from the Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, © The Charles White Archives, courtesy of Heritage Gallery, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA