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Art League of New Mexico Records

Identifier: MSS-856-BC

Scope and Content

The Art League of New Mexico collection largely contains correspondence related to the planning and organization of exhibitions coordinated by the chairman of exhibitions, Raymond Jonson. The exhibition files contain announcements, call for entries, catalogue of paintings, exhibition release forms, programs, artists’ resumes, exhibition reports and press. The League sponsored exhibitions that highlighted works by students, art faculty, Albuquerque and Santa Fe artists, and women artists. The records also contain files on exhibits other museums held (to help generate ideas for possible showings). The records reflect collaboration with other university art departments and artists from around the nation. There is also some correspondence related to the League’s membership drive, an effort to increase membership to 1000. Researchers who are interested in the social and cultural effects of World War II will find records related to the impact of war on the arts. The League suspended fundraising activities during the war and directly addressed how the league should conduct business during and after the war in the collection’s program planning papers and minutes.


  • 1936-1970
  • Majority of material found within 1941-1953


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print and manuscript material allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. Permission is required for publications or distribution.

Organizational Information

Fine Arts teachers and students of the University of New Mexico founded the Art League of New Mexico in 1929. The League laid out six purposes: (1) patronage of the arts in NM, (2) development of art interests and creative expression among individuals and organizations, (3) the development of resources of NM with respect to art, (4) holding of art exhibits, (5) the purchase of works of art representative of the Southwest, and (6) maintenance of a permanent collection of art for public benefit. The League is a non-profit organization and funds received through memberships and donations are used for carrying out the purposes of the organization.

The League conducted early fundraising through art auctions and the annual "Beaux Arts Balls," both of which contributed to the acquisition of important works of art for permanent collections in New Mexico. The League hosted an annual Art Ball, a gala costume event. The League suspended the Art Ball during World War II and revived the ball in 1945 after a five year hiatus. One of the main functions of the League was to sponsor exhibitions in the galleries of the Fine Arts Buildings on the University of New Mexico campus. Raymond Jonson (who retired as Professor Emeritus of the Art Department at UNM in 1954) served as Chairman of the exhibition committee starting in 1942 and coordinated league sponsored exhibitions.


1 box (1 cu.ft)


This collection contains early records of the Art League of New Mexico, founded in 1929. The papers relate mainly to exhibitions the Art League of New Mexico sponsored, correspondence with respect to exhibitions and some files on fundraising events in the 1940s and 1950s.

Related Material

Raymond Jonson Archival Collection Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico Friends of Art and Save the Jonson Gallery collections, (UNMA 154) University Archives, Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, University of New Mexico Libraries
Finding Aid of the Art League of New Mexico records, 1936-1970
Jordan Biro
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131