An Archive of Artist Deaths at the Met

February 1, 2022

At Literary Hub, Jim Moske, an archivist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, writes a fascinating piece on the scrapbooks of Arturo B. de St. M. D’Hervilly, who was hired by The Met in 1894 as an office clerk. D’Hervilly’s macabre archive tells of the deaths of painters, photographers and other artists in the 20th century via a collection of faded ink and scraps of paper in various stages of decay.

“Some are formal obituaries of art world luminaries whose names remain familiar today, such as Auguste Rodin. Others describe the passing away of artists revered in their own time, but whose work has since fallen from fashion and is today little known,” he writes. “Hundreds more of the clippings, though, recount more gruesome stories: the demise of artists obscure at the time and now utterly forgotten, many of them suicides, or victims of bizarre accidents, murders, or disease. These grim fragments retrieved from the past reveal disturbing themes and motifs once prevalent in mass media portrayals of creative people.”

Image Credit: Pixabay.

is an assistant editor at The Millions. She is a graduate of the Inkluded Academy 2021, a summer publishing course for graduates from BIPOC communities, and works as a freelance writer and uploading specialist.

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