Hoover Collection Specialists Present On Russian And Eurasian Art At Annual Conference

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On November 17-20, curators, staff members, and visiting fellows from Hoover Library & Archives joined more than seventy art historians, librarians, and archivists at the annual conference of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Washington, DC. Hoover affiliates participated in two panels that featured materials from Hoover’s collections, with emphasis on Hoover’s Russian art and poster holdings:


The panel “Art and Artists in the Archives?” attempted to explore the history, provenance, and present state of accessibility of little known collections of Russian, European and Ukrainian art (paintings, decorative arts, works on paper) in two institutional collections of international stature –one in Prague, the other, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.


During the panel Elena Schafer Danielson, former director of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives presented “Reflections of Eva Callimaki-Catargi (d. l913) in the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford.” A Romanian aristocrat who spent most of her life in Paris, Eva Callimaki-Catargi’s influence has a strong presence in the art collections of her son, Nicolas de Basily, in the Hoover Institution. She was a distinguished art collector, art historian, author, and student of Auguste Rodin and Henri Fantin-Latour. While not well known today, her aesthetic and work provide an international context for some of the Russian art and book treasures at Stanford University.

Anatol Shmelev, Robert Conquest Curator for Russian and Eurasian Collections at Hoover, presented a talk entitled “The de Basily Collections at Stanford's Hoover Institution.” Nicolas de Basily (d. l963) was a diplomat in Imperial Russia who played a notable role in 1917: he drafted the abdication decree of Nicholas II. Living abroad after the revolution, he and his wife, Lascelle Meserve de Basily (d. l989), assembled an astonishing art collection, which, together with his papers and books, was donated to the Hoover Institution beginning in the 1960s.

A second panel “Visual Culture and Rare Book Resources in the Library and Archives” highlighted hitherto little explored visual resources collections relating to Russian and East European art, books of the Russian and East European avant-garde, and photographic, posters and postcards held at three premier research libraries, Columbia/Cornell, New York Public Library, and The Hoover Library & Archives. The speakers discussed recent innovations in on-line access to these resources, as well as their plans for further publications, and exhibitions utilizing these resources.


During the second panel Hoover Archives reference specialist Carol Leadenham presented “Pictures and Posters at the Hoover Institution.” The talk focused on the wide variety of graphic material held at Hoover, with special emphasis on the Archives’ renowned collection of more than 130,000 political posters.