Palette Scrapings, Then and Now

The Kemper Art Museum  started a new blog in April 2013 that offers a “behind-the-scenes look at the exhibitions, the artworks on view, and the inner workings of the Kemper Art Museum from the point of view of the people who make it all happen.”

This new modern publication has a historic name —  Palette ScrapingsTheir first post delves into the origin of their name, and explains:

“The St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, a department of Washington University, was founded on May 10, 1881.  In 1882, students attending this new School of Fine Arts (now the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts of which the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is a part) decided to begin a journal called Palette Scrapings.  The publication featured student artwork, illustrations, poems, and articles about everything from trips abroad to interesting lectures to philosophical musings about what it means to be an artist…

…the authors of Palette Scrapings wrote often about artworks of their own creation, those seen in other cities, and those of the University’s Museum.  The student authors delighted at the artwork available to them in the Museum, citing paintings, drawings, and sculptures they admired and copied. [1]”

CapturePalette Scraping issues from 1882-1885 are available online.  These are one of many items listed in the Archives’ online research guide focused on Fine Arts education at Washington University.   This guide also includes collection inventories, books, photographs, and other digitized materials.

The archived records of the St. Louis School of Fine Arts (today known as the Sam Fox School of Art & Design) attracts the interest of historians examining the lives of the many, many artists who visited, studied, and taught at the school over the past 132 years.


[1] http://mlkemperartmuseum.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/the-original-palette-scrapings/

About the author

Miranda Rectenwald is Curator of Local History, Washington University Special Collections. More info.