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Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon

About the Foundation

New York advertising executive Erwin Swann (1906-1973) established the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon in 1967. An avid collector, Swann assembled a large group of original drawings by four hundred artists, spanning two centuries, which his estate bequeathed to the Library of Congress in two installments in 1974 and 1977. Mr. Swann's original purpose was to compile a collection of original drawings by significant humorous and satiric artists, and to encourage the study of original cartoon and caricature drawings as works of art. The stress on original works serves two purposes: to preserve work that is too often lost or casually destroyed and to afford the opportunity to judge draftsmanship, subtlety of line and wash in the artist's original work instead of the reproduction which, while retaining its message, loses graphic quality.

The Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon, is now preserved within in the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540-4730. These drawings are frequently placed on exhibition at the Library of Congress and in museums and galleries throughout the world. The collection is particularly strong in American work, but there is substantial representation of British, French and German artists, as well.

The Foundation's support of research and academic publication is carried out in part through a program of fellowships. Applicants are invited to write to the Foundation, with a statement of qualifications, needs and a budget. These grants are intended to assist ongoing research and writing projects in the specific areas of interest to the Foundation.

The Foundation, now administered by the Library of Congress, is overseen by an advisory board composed of scholars, collectors, cartoonists, and Library of Congress staff members. Its activities support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world.

Fellowship Guidelines and Applications

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  December 5, 2003
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