Administrative Information

Custodial History note

Provenance of the Nourse Collection:

The principal objects in the archives were sixteen sketchbooks dating from 1874 to 1923, containing drawings in pencil, watercolor, and pastel, including studies for some of Nourse’s major paintings. Also included were:

•Scrapbook 1911 to 1932 (2004.1.17): compiled by the artist and covering the period 1911 to 1932, includes news clippings, magazine articles, reproductions of artwork, exhibition information and reviews, correspondence, memorabilia, and information about family members (particularly the Schmidts and the Burkes), about Nourse's models, friends in France, and World War I in France.

•“Elizabeth Nourse: A Sketch” (2004.1.18): biographical book by Emma Mendenhall Anderson (1922).

•'Portrait of a Married Woman' (2004.1.19): watercolor on paper, framed, signed.

•Photographs (2004.1.20-22) of Elizabeth Nourse and her paintings, 1887 to 1914 (plus accompanying mailing envelopes and shipping slips).

•Clothing (2004.1.23.1-5), including two handmade lace linen bonnets.

•'Owls', 1898 (2004.1.24): oil, charcoal, mixed media on burlap, signed with date.

•Plus miscellaneous other materials, including reproductions of works by other artists, fashion plates from 19th century French magazines, and correspondence.

After the death of Elizabeth Nourse in Paris on October 26, 1938, Walter Schmidt, executor, had the paintings in the estate shipped to Closson's Gallery, Cincinnati. A trunk containing the sketchbooks and other materials went with them.

Patricia Niehoff's grandmother bought some of the paintings from Closson's, and the trunk was included as part of the sale. When Patricia's grandmother died, the family cleaned out her house; they looked for the sketchbooks, but did not suspect they were in the trunk, which was almost thrown out. When it was opened, the clothing, photographs, and sketchbooks were found inside. The collection was later given to Patricia Niehoff by her mother.

After an exhibition of the sketchbooks and paintings at Cincinnati Art Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum [probably in conjunction with the Mary Alice Heekin Burke exhibition and catalogue raisonné, "Elizabeth Nourse, 1859-1938: A Salon Career" (1983)], the Niehoff Nourse Collection was given to the Mercantile Library in 2004.

In 2014, these materials were transferred from the Mercantile, with the Niehoff's blessing, to the Cincinnati Art Musuem.

The Sketchbooks, 'Portrait of a Married Woman', 'Seven Owls', and clothing were accessioned to the museum's permanent collection; the rest of the materials were added to the archives.

Preferred Citation note

Mary R. Schiff Library & Archives, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH.