San Francisco: WPA (Works Progress Administration), 1936-1937. First edition. Hardcover. Quartos. 3/4 dark blue pebbled cloth over navy blue buckram boards. Gilt lettering on the spine. Speckled edges of the book block. Mimeographed pages of text. This set contains volumes 1-6, and 10-12, originally in softcover bindings are here rebound together in hardcover (without the original wrappers), in groups of 3 volumes each. Missing are vols.7-9 and 13-20. The series of monographs on California artists was initiated and managed by the Works Progress Administration of the United States, during the New Deal Era, and was ultimately published in 20 volumes between 1936-1938.
The work was conceived jointly by Dr. James B. Sharp, Coordinator of Statistical Projects for the WPA, and Joseph A. Danysh, Western Regional Director of the Federal Art Project for the WPA. The project was locally sponsored by Dr. Walter Heil of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. According to the editor's introductory notes, "Prior to the existence of this project, there was very incomplete data on the early history of art and artists in California." The project was first directed from its inception in February 1936 by Junius S. Craven, and upon his death in June 1936 onward, the work was edited and overseen by Gene Hailey. Project work was done by numerous researchers, interviewers, editors, typists, photographers and librarians. Publication commenced with the first issue published sometime around December 1936.
According to Ellen Schwartz, who oversaw and edited a second edition of the series, released in microfiche form in 1987, the goals of the project were to "compile the history and development, public and private, of art collections in San Francisco, to make a study of economic development of major California artists; to compile a series of biographical sketches covering the major artists of California". She also stated that "other than copies retained for the project files and those used for publicity, only sixty-six complete sets ever distributed. The recipients, listed at the end of Volume 20, Part 2, were all museum, public and university libraries."
The set contains a total of 36 artists monographs. The first page of each monograph has an original tipped in b/w photograph reproducing a representative example of the artist's work, and a total of 38 original photographic prints throughout the set (the first monograph contains 3 photos). "The monographs include biographical data, criticisms of the artist by contemporary art critics of their periods, lists of representative works, exhibitions and a bibliography." All volumes include a detailed table of contents at the front.
The contents of the set are as follows:
Vols.1-3 bound together.
Vol.1: (7) 105pp. Introduction to California Art Research, Nahl Family
Vol.2: (4) 129pp. William Keith, Thomas Hill, Albert Bierstadt
Vol.3: (4) 95pp. Toby Rosenthal, Dominico Tojetti, Thaddeus Welch, Charles Dorman Robinson
Vols. 4-6 bound together.
Vol.4: (6) 157pp. Jules Tavernier, Emil Soren Carlson (Emil Carlsen), Amedee Joullin, Christian Jorgensen, Julian Walbridge Rix, Virgil Williams
Vol.5: (5) 112pp. Evelyn Almond Withrow, Mary Curtis Richardson, Joseph Raphael, Charles Henry Grant, Henry Joseph Breuer, Arthur Atkins
Vol.6: (5) 131pp. Arthur Putnam, Robert Ingersoll Aitken, Douglas Tilden, Melvin Earl Cummings
Vols. 10-12 bound together.
Vol.10: (5) 148pp. Charles J. Dickman, Xavier Martinez, Charles R. Peters, Theodore Wores
Vol.11: (5) 139pp. Guiseppe Cadenasso, Nelson Poole, Rinaldo Cuneo, Will Sparks
Vol.12: (5) 103pp. Rowena Meeks Abdy, Geneve Rixford Sargeant, E. Charlton Fortune, Clark Hobart
Bindings some rubbing, bumping, light staining and/or light scratches to covers, corners and spines. Vols. 10-12 with some minor water stains to the edge of the book block. Bindings starting at the interior front covers but firm. Age toning to the edges of pages, and a few minor sporadic pencil markings in the margins. Ocassional offsetting to pages opposite the photographs. Previous owner's bookplate at interior front covers. Bindings in good to good+, interiors interiors in g+ to vg- condition overall. g to vg-. Item #43225