Skip to main content

Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham

Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham

Save page 1 of 2
Open Finding Aid
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
Extra Large
large ( > 500x500)
Full Resolution

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute:

A Guide to the Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham, 1973-1977

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Library
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA, 01267

March 31, 2009

Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid prepared by Dani Ryan and Lacy Schutz
Language: Finding aid written in English

Repository: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Library
Creator:Cunningham, Charles C.
Title: Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham
Dates: 1973-1977
General Physical Description:5 linear feet (4 boxes)
Abstract:This series contains the records of Charles Cunningham, Chief Curator of the Clark Art Institute from 1972-1977.
Identification: CAI ARC 2007.13
Language: English

Arrangement of the Records

This collection is arranged chronologically and alphabetically within each year.

Scope and Contents of the Records

Born in 1910 in Mamaroneck, NY, Charles C. Cunningham attended Harvard and became a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1935. From 1941 to 1966 he was the director of Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum. He went on to become director of the Art Institute of Chicago until he retired from this position in 1972. George Heard Hamilton, then director of the Clark, invited Cunningham to become chief curator. Cunningham was responsible for two major exhibits at the Clark, The Elegant Academics in 1974 and Jongkind and the Pre-Impressionists: The Painters of the Ecole Saint-Simeon in 1976. He also initiated the Conservation Laboratory, which opened in 1977. Cunningham retired from the Clark that year and died in 1979.

The Curatorial Office Records of Charles C. Cunningham primarily contain correspondence about potential museum acquisitions and discussions of loans with staff at other museums. Due to his long and respected career, Cunningham had many acquaintances and close friends among curators and directors at other art institutions, as well as among art historians and dealers. The correspondence in these records includes numerous exchanges about intellectual and business concerns in the art world. The high esteem and affection his peers felt for him is evidenced in letters that blur the line between professional and personal. Other materials in this series include: class lists, grades, assignments, and correspondence with students from several courses taught by Cunningham; CAI memoranda; and financial records about costs of exhibits and loans.

History of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

In 1950 Sterling and Francine Clark chartered the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a home for their extensive art collection. Opened to public in 1955, the Institute has built upon this extraordinary group of works to become one of the most beloved and respected art museums in the world, known for its intimate galleries and stunning natural environment. One of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with a complement of research and academic programs, including a major art history library, the Clark is now a leading international center for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history. Building upon the founders' legacy, the Institute has recently unveiled its master plan for the twenty-first century, which fosters the Clark's commitment to providing space for its expanding research and museum programs while maintaining the unique character of its beautiful rural setting.


Restrictions on Access

This material is currently restricted.

Restrictions on Use

This material is currently restricted.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

These records were moved to Storage A sometime after 1976.

Preferred Citation

[Cite the item (as appropriate)], Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham, 1973-1977, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Acquisition Information

These records were acquisitioned from Storage A in May 2007. Four files (536-539) were added to this collection in July 2009. They were found by the Registrar in her office.

Processing Information

Lacy Schutz, archivist, and Dani Ryan, archives assistant, processed these records in May 2007. Staples were removed and materials were re-housed in acid free folders and boxes.

Related Material

The Smithsonian Archives of American Art Oral History Collection holds a four reel tape containing an interview conducted with Cunningham in 1977.

Records relating to Cunningham are also held by the MFA Boston Archives, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Archives, and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives.

Related or similar material can be found in the following series in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Records, Williamstown, Massachusetts: Curatorial Office Records of Jennifer Lovett; Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin; Curatorial Office Records of Stephen Kern; Curatorial Office Records of the American Paintings Catalogue; Records of the Curator of Paintings; Curatorial Photographic Services Orders; Curatorial Office Records of the Prints and Drawings Department; Curatorial Office Records of Exhibition Planning, 1951-1978; Director's Office Records of David Brooke, 1980-1994.

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search