Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks, were not, per se, collectors of American art. Nevertheless, they acquired interesting and, at times, important examples of American paintings, drawings, etchings, and sculptures. Such acquisitions were but a part of an overall collection which comprised ancient Chinese, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European old master artworks as well as rare books, literary manuscripts and correspondence, important furnishings, unusual bibelots, and concert-quality instruments. The American artworks that remain at Dumbarton Oaks offer an important insight into the Blisses’ remarkable breadth of vision for their collection.
This volume catalogues the American art collection at Dumbarton Oaks and is published in conjunction with an exhibition, “American Art at Dumbarton Oaks.” An introductory essay describes the formation of this collection by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss and their parents Anna and William H. Bliss, while the subsequent catalogue entries elaborate on nineteen artworks by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Elihu Vedder, Walter Gay, Childe Hassam, Albert Edward Sterner, Henry Golden Dearth, and Bernice Cross. Richly illustrated with color plates and comparative illustrations, this catalogue will be an important and enduring reference for scholars, students, and admirers of American art.