The Smithsonian Institution has an awesome online archive of old photographs of artists, many in their studios, where sculptors pose midway through work and painters cradle their palettes at their easels. Some have their clothes stained with paint, others obviously spruced up for the portrait occasion. Some are comfortable and confident, others somewhat awkward. Basically, like the cluttered studios, artists haven’t changed.
There is a regular feature on Hyperallergic — View from the Easel — that looks into the interiors of artist studios, and here’s something of a time machine version of that. From heavyweight American sculptors like Daniel Chester French, to lesser-knowns like Helene Sardeau (pictured above), a Belgian-born artist who worked on contemplative, social realism work, there’s this quick insight into process and person. You see the worn artist tools, the random curiosities (like a deer antler hanging from the ceiling, for one), the array of complete and in-process work. And even if you don’t know their art, there’s a lot about an artist embedded in their studio.
Here are some of the Smithsonian archive photographs of artist studios past: