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National Exhibition of Prints (1943-1977) at the Library of Congress

Researching National Exhibition & Pennell Committee Items

See the sections below for information about locating and viewing National Exhibition prints that the Library of Congress acquired, locating information about National Exhibition entries, locating representations of prints shown and not shown in the National Exhibition, and locating and viewing Pennell Fund purchases.

National Exhibition Prints that the Library of Congress Acquired

The two links below will display results in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC). PPOC contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress offers broad public access to these materials as a contribution to education and scholarship.

National Exhibition Entries: Published Exhibition Catalogs

Pennell Jury for Exhibit and Pennell Fund Committee. Jacob Landau, Adelyn Breeskin, Rudy Pozzatti, and Alan Fern. 1966. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Not all works exhibited in the Library's national print exhibitions were acquired for the Library's collections. It is possible to learn which prints were exhibited by looking at the catalogs that accompanied the shows. The catalogs list jurors and exhibiting artists along with the titles and techniques of their displayed works and their current towns and states or foreign countries of residence.

Typically, the catalogs included a brief foreword, some of which offer further insights about the shows and wider contexts regarding graphic art in the U.S. and beyond. For example, the 1944 catalog remarked on the birth of the National Exhibition of Print shows during and despite World War II: "...though our country was involved in a struggle for survival, it still had the heart and will to produce works of beauty." The 1951 catalog noted increasing efforts to include representation of prints from other countries as well as the U. S. Beginning in 1953; special effort was made to include printmakers of Cuba, Mexico, and (starting the following year) Puerto Rico. A trend toward larger-sized print submissions resulted in a relaxing of size limits by 1956.

Representations of Prints Shown and Not Shown in the National Exhibition: Microfilm

Prints that are not necessarily in Library of Congress collections were reproduced on microfilm. The microfilm is available for self-service in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room on the division's microfilm digital reader/printer.

Pennell Fund Purchases

A combination of search techniques is needed to locate prints selected by the Pennell Committee, but not listed as having been acquired through the National Exhibition of Prints. While a large portion of Pennell Fund purchase prints, especially by American artists, are cataloged online, additional examples can be found in the Division's Fine Print Collection card catalog which can be searched onsite in P&P's reading room. Prints are listed by century and artist.