I have written about a specific exhibition in the past, but for this post, I wanted to delve into the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition Files collection more generally. The Exhibition Files (accession numbers 31633, 32958, 33041, 33160, 34679, 36342, 36957, and 37636) cover the time period 1936-1992, and provide a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of VMFA’s special exhibitions. Each exhibition file contains correspondence regarding the exhibition, along with items such as photographs and postcards, condition and insurance sheets, and in some cases, catalogs of the exhibitions themselves. The images herein are from two exhibitions, “Sport and the Horse,” from 1960, and “Symbol,” an exhibition of the work of Willi Gutmann from 1972.
A subset of the exhibition files is devoted to those artists featured in the VMFA’s Virginia Artists series. Like the files on exhibitions of outside artists’ work, the Virginia Artists series consists primarily of correspondence between the museum’s leadership and the artists featured throughout the series.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition Files are an invaluable resource for researchers in museum studies, the agency history of VMFA, or researchers of the lives and work of the Virginia artists featured at the museum over the years.