St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum

The St. Louis Mercantile Library has, since its founding, considered art as essential to accomplishing its educational and cultural mission. Inspired by its first exhibited work of art – a painting lent by Charles Deas – the Library has developed a significant permanent collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, decorative arts and folk art. These works relate to and complement the Library’s archival and manuscript holdings by providing visual documentation of the physical and cultural development of our city, state, and nation.
St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum
M-322: Dr. Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker American Political Collection
The Shopmaker Collection contains over three thousand items ranging from a George Washington token dated 1789 to buttons and textiles endorsing candidates in the 2008 election. The variety of objects reflects the changing tastes of the American public and the available production technologies, ranging from 19th century brass jewelry and clothing buttons embossed with candidate's names and party symbols to today's modern, mass-produced buttons, and from porcelain plates embellished with a portrait of First Lady Helen Taft to Nancy Reagan paper dolls. With artifacts representing nearly every American election, the Shopmaker Collection provides the viewer with a broad look at how candidates have used images, slogans and symbols to woo the public, and how the public has expressed its own, often outspoken, opinions on both individuals and issues.
Gustav F. Goetsch and Hazel W. Goetsch Collection
The Gustav F. Goetsch and Hazel W. Goetsch Collection includes etchings, drawings, watercolors, and etching plates donated by their son along with archival materials related to their careers as artists. Gustav F. Goetsch was an artist and art educator in Minneapolis, Minnesota and St. Louis. Hazel Goetsch's career was primarily in St. Louis. Currently, the etchings have been digitized. The subjects include landscapes of St. Louis, Minneapolis, and surrounding regions, including scenes of Washington University in St. Louis.
Edwin Fulwider and Kathryn Fulwider Artwork
The Edwin Fulwider and Kathryn Fulwider artwork collection includes prints by these important American artists focusing primarily on subjects of river and rail transportation industries.
M-289 James Godwin Scott Collection
The James Godwin Scott Collection documents this nationally known artist's years in St. Louis through his watercolor paintings of life along the Mississippi River - both urban and rural - and other scenes of the city's development. Accompanying the paintings are letters, clippings, sketchbooks and other paper ephemera related to the artist's career. Currently, the paintings are digitized.
The Bruce & Barbara Feldacker Labor Art Collection
Assembled by St. Louis labor lawyer Bruce Feldacker, the collection consists of over five hundred paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture on the theme of labor and the role of the laborer in America. While focusing on this subject as the primary guide for acquisition decisions, Bruce also gave weight to local and regional artists in selecting works. As a result, the collection has a remarkable breadth of style as well as a chronological depth, both of which contribute to its strength as a teaching tool in the areas of American art and American labor history. A significant number of works are on permanent display at all times, and tours are available upon request. The art collection is supported by an extensive reference library of scholarly publications on artists in the collection, labor art themes, and related exhibition catalogues. Books in the reference library are listed online and can be accessed through the Library’s reference room or by contacting the curator.

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