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Lists To-dos Illustrated Inventories Collected Thoughts and

Other Artists’

E num erations f r o m t h e S m i t h so n i a n ’ s A r c h i v e s of American Art

Liza Kirwin

P r i n c e t o n A r c h i t e c t u r a l P r e ss

W i t h a f o r e w o r d b y J o h n W. S m i t h

, New


Smithsonian Archives of American Art


A d o l f K o n r ad pac k i n g l i s t c a . 19 6 2 – 6 3

2 p p. ( 1 f o l i o ) , e x c e r p t e d , wa t e r c o l o r a n d i n k

During his frequent trips abroad, realist painter Adolf Konrad (1915–2003) filled stacks of sketchbooks with vibrant scenes of street life and picturesque landscapes. In this sketchbook from his travels through Rome and Egypt in 1962 and ’63, he makes a graphic list of the things he needs to pack, as well as a drawing of himself wearing nothing but his underwear.


The List as Art



Benson Bond Moore studies of ducks u n da t e d

1 p. , p e n c i l o n p a p e r

Painter and printmaker Benson Bond Moore (1882–1974) specialized in landscapes and animals. A native and resident of Washington,     D.C., he often sketched at the National Zoo. Ducks were a favorite subject. Here he makes a graphic list of ducks in various poses, numbered one to twenty-six, perhaps serving as a handy how-to-draw-a-duck reference for his paintings and prints.


The List as Art



Oscar Bluemner list of works of art M ay 18 , 19 3 2

1 p. , h a n d w r i t t e n , i l l .

Painter and color theorist Oscar Bluemner (1867–1938) was a fervent list maker. His copious notes, punctuated with lists of works of art and lists of color combinations, are evidence of his all-consuming commitment to aesthetic exploration. “One rule,” wrote Bluemner, “draw and paint, equally, constantly, separately, thinking, feeling.” In this illustrated list of recently completed landscape paintings, Bluemner made thumbnail sketches with the dimension, date, media, and sometimes included the subject of the work. The crowded page, as well as Bluemner’s habit of appending one list to another with shorthand marks and abbreviations, tended to obfuscate rather than clarify his inventory.




Real happiness consists in not what we actually accomplish, but what we think we accomplish. — C h a r l e s G r e e n S h aw


From the weekly shopping list to the Ten Commandments, our lives are shaped by lists. Whether dashed off as a quick reminder, or carefully c...

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