|Words can speak volumes, but, as every letter writer knows, there are times when they simply won't do. And when the author happens to be a visual artist, the results can be both intimate and transcendent. This book is a testament to those occasions, a compilation of personal letters by some of America's most revered artists, each one adorned with an illustration. Writing to wives, lovers, friends, patrons, clients, and confidants are such revered artists as Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Frida Kahlo, Andrew Wyeth, Rockwell Kent, Lyonel Feininger, John Sloan, Alfred Frueh, Man Ray, Eero Saarinen, Alexander Calder, Gio Ponti, and Andy Warhol. Sometimes humorous, sometimes extravagant, but always revealing and intimate, they picture the world around them in charming vignettes, landscapes, portraits, and caricatures. Together with their words, these autobiographical works of art created for private consumption reveal the joys and successes, loves and longings, disappointments and frustrations of their authors' lives.
These riveting artifacts are drawn from the collection of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, the largest repository of artists' papers in the nation, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2005.