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Francis V. O'Connor Papers

Identifier: M2014.001

Scope and contents

Materials include artist and exhibition files; audio visual materials; lectures; university course materials; correspondence; research notes; newspaper clippings; books; journal articles; essays; photographs; and other printed and written materials that pertain to Francis V. O'Connor's research on Jackson Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton, New Deal Art Projects, American mural painting, and his personal research.


  • 1965 - 2017



Please call (479) 418-5748 or fill out the request form in the collection record at least two weeks in advance to ensure availability of materials.

Conditions Governing Use Note

Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Please contact: The collection is the physical property of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (CBMAA). Other rights, including copyright belong to the authors and their legal heirs and assigns. For further information please contact CBMAA library.

Images in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of CBMAA Library & Archives. To order a reproduction or to inquire about permission to publish, please contact

Biographical note

Francis V. O'Connor (1937-2017) was a New York Art Historian and poet who researched and wrote extensively on Jackson Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Federal Arts Project (FAP), and mural painting in America. Born in Brooklyn, New York, O'Connor received his Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1965 after completing his dissertation on Jackson Pollock. He taught contemporary European and American art history at the University of Maryland from 1964 to 1970. While at Maryland, he organized the country's first comprehensive exhibition of New Deal art programs since their ending in 1943. From 1967 to 1968, he also headed a research program for the National Endowment for the Arts to analyze the effectiveness of New Deal art patronage, which eventually led to the publication of Federal Support for the Visual Arts: The New Deal and Now (1969), New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs (1972), and Art for the Millions (1973). In 1972, he formed a commission to assess the authenticity of thousands of works by Jackson Pollock, alongside the art dealer and collector Eugene V. Thaw (b.1927), MoMA curator Bill Lieberman, Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner Pollock (1908-1984) and the art dealer Donald McKinney. This resulted in O'Connor and Thaw's four-volume catalogue raisonné on Jackson Pollock in 1978, still the leading resource for initial study of Pollock.


510 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Francis V. O'Connor Papers Finding Aid
Kate Hodgson, 2023
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Archives Repository

600 Museum Way
Bentonville AR 72712 United States
(479) 418-5748