Browse Exhibits (10 total)

Artists' Books Collection


Formalized in 2016, the Seattle Art Museum Libraries Books Arts Collection encompasses artists’ books, zines, and prints. This digital exhibition represents only some of the artists’ books in our Book Arts Collection; view a full list of these holdings. These works of art make use of the book as a format; their structures and techniques support and/or enhance the content of the work. This selection represents many regional artists, but has an international scope. Themes of identity, place, and community run through many of the works. Multiple images are included for each work. This digital collection was conceived of and produced as an MLIS capstone project for the University of Washington Information School.

Documents Northwest: The PONCHO Series

Michael Spafford_cover.jpg

Documents Northwest: The PONCHO Series (DocsNW) presented 43 solo, 5 two-person and 14 group exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum over a 21-year period (1983-2004). The series, supported by a local philanthropic arts organization, PONCHO (Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations), highlighted predominantly mid-career artists born or living in the Pacific Northwest. For each exhibition, the Seattle Art Museum published a four- to eight-page printed brochure which included: introductory essays by curators and guest writers, photography, biographical and bibliographical information, along with an exhibition checklist. The physical collection of brochures is held at the Seattle Art Museum's Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library.

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Ex Libris Collection of the Seattle Art Museum Libraries


This collection is one of the Seattle Art Museum Libraries' hidden collections. Rather than a standalone bookplate--or ex libris--collection, these works were all found in situ inside books. These little gems are works of art themselves and give us important information about a book's ownership, purpose, and the journey each made to eventually reach the Seattle Art Museum Libraries.

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Northwest Watercolor Society at the Seattle Art Museum: Annual Exhibition Publications, 1942-1976


This collection consists of the catalogues (or checklists) from the Northwest Watercolor Society annual exhibitions hosted by the Seattle Art Museum. This collection spans the years 1942-1976, covering the 2nd through 36th annual exhibition. Catalogues may include: artist name, home town, title of work, and sale price; jury names; cash award winners and honorable mentions; and/or sponsors. Questions about publications after 1977 (37th annual exhibition), can be directed to the Northwest Watercolor Society.

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Richard E. Fuller Travel Slides: Art and Architecture of Mexico


Dr. Richard E. Fuller (1897-1976), Director of the Seattle Art Museum from 1933-1973, made an array of personal excursions to Mexico between 1944 and 1948. These were in addition to the research trips he was also carrying out at that time as Chairman of the U.S. Committee for the Study of Parícutin Volcano. Over the course of his travels, Fuller took numerous photographs of Mexican architecture and sculpture, which he later had transferred to glass slides. This collection documents several historic Toltec sites, detailed interiors and exteriors of many Colonial Period buildings, various monuments, civic structures, and works of art, and other rural and urban scenes of early 20th century Mexico.

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SAM Next Publications


The Seattle Art Museum's SAM Next was a program that presented contemporary art exhibitions by emerging artists. Launched in 2008, SAM Next issued a series of six brochures that detailed each unique exhibit through 2012.

Seattle Art Museum Annual Exhibitions of Residential Architecture, 1950-1980


Starting in 1950, the Seattle Art Museum featured tours and exhibitions of residential architecture. These tours featured architecture ranging from traditional and classic homes from the turn of the century to modern architecture designed by nationally and locally prominent architects. The tours visited many neighborhoods of Seattle, providing access to homes of prominent Seattleites and art collectors. The general public were invited into gated communities and private enclaves, welcomed, and served tea and cookies. The tours continued until 1980.

Developed and run by the Art Museum Guild, these tours document the changes and growth of both the museum and the city. These tours opened the doors of prominent civic figures, from industrial magnates to university deans and presidents, and provided an intimate portrait of them through architecture, interior design, and art collections.

Seattle artists were featured in the exhibitions both through the art on display and tours of their own houses. Works from artists including Mark Tobey were on display, and local artists such as Jack Stangle, David Checkley and Walter Isaacs participated in the tours.

This collection includes the descriptive brochures and maps, photography, and promotional materials related to the tours.

Seattle Art Museum Annual Reports


This is a collection of digitized and born-digital annual reports and other financial and strategic documentation issued by the Seattle Art Museum from 1932 to the present. Together, the reports tell the story of the museum as it has grown from its modest inception to become the iconic cultural institution it is today. 

Reports feature financial statistics, images of select acquisitions, and narratives about the museum's activities throughout the year. Navigate the exhibit to learn about the history of SAM, decade by decade, as told through the Annual Reports.  Additional information about the history of the museum may be found on the "About SAM" page on SAM's website.

Seattle Fine Arts Society and the Art Institute of Seattle Publications


Before the inception of the Seattle Art Museum, local art enthusiasts and patrons created the Seattle Fine Arts Society (1906-1928), which was later briefly known as the Art Institute of Seattle (1929-1933). This is a collection of digitized publications from these two early art societies in Seattle from 1920 through the creation of Seattle Art Museum in 1933. The exhibition includes annual reports, brief bulletins, announcements, and event calendars. In these pages, we can see the early burgeoning Seattle art scene, and the exciting beginnings of the Seattle Art Museum as an entity.

William H. Lautz Antique Porcelains, the Seattle Ceramic Society, and the Seattle Art Museum

William H. Lautz Antique Porcelains, Photo 653

This collection provides access to original photographs and price lists from William H. Lautz Antique Porcelains of New York that were received by members of the Seattle Ceramic Society. The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Ceramic Society, and William H. Lautz have historical connections that address the provenance of objects in the Porcelain Room at SAM, the collectors who helped shaped the Seattle Art Museum's European porcelain collection, and porcelain collecting in America in the mid 20th century.

Follow the links at the right to learn more about Lautz, the Seattle Ceramic Society, and some of the most prized porcelain objects in SAM's collection.