Artists at Work Creativity at the Smithsonian

Discover the creativity of some of the artists who have worked at the Smithsonian Institution since its founding in 1846.

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Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) Curator/Printmaker

Black and white photograph of man in suit next to unknown metal object. Jacob Kainen trained as a painter at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and experimented with printmaking while employed in the graphics program of the Federal Art Project in the 1930's. Kainen, a member of the New York avant-garde in the 1930s, came to the Smithsonian in 1942 and served as graphic arts curator through the 1960's. His friendships in the New York art world assisted his Smithsonian career, enabling him to enrich the exhibition program and enlarge the print collection. Kainen's important publications on the color woodcuts of John Baptist Jackson, the etchings of Canaletto, and the development of the halftone screen reflect the breadth of his technical and historical knowledge. An influential figure of the Washington Color Field Painting group, he continued painting, drawing, and printmaking throughout his career. 

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