Photographs of Richard Fuller, circa 1920s-1968  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Photographs of Richard Fuller
circa 1920s-1968 (inclusive)
12 photographic prints (1 folder) ; sizes vary
Collection Number
Photographs of Richard Fuller, the director of the Seattle Art Museum
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Richard E. Fuller was born in New York City in 1897. The Fuller family traveled extensively, visiting South America, Spain, Portugal, France, Egypt, and Palestine. It was the family’s trips to China and Japan that began both Fuller and his mother’s passion for Asian antiquities. Richard Fuller graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1915 and attended Yale before dropping out in 1917 to volunteer as an ambulance driver in France during World War I.

In 1919, the Fuller family traveled to Yokohama where Fuller and his mother purchased a number of jades and other Asian antiquities, which would later be included in the Seattle Art Museum’s collection. After returning to the United States, Fuller completed his bachelor’s degree at Yale in 1921 and moved to Seattle in 1923. Fuller earned his second bachelor’s degree in geology in 1924 and his master’s degree in 1926 at the University of Washington where he later taught as a part time geology professor.

In 1928, Fuller joined the board of directors of the Seattle Fine Arts Society, where he, Horace C. Henry, and others amassed a small collection. The Seattle Fine Arts Society held exhibitions and lectures, while supporting local artists. Richard Fuller was elected president of the Seattle Fine Arts Society board in 1930. He submitted a proposal for the city of Seattle to construct a museum to house the Seattle Fine Arts Society’s collection. The city accepted and Carl Gould, founder of the University of Washington School of Architecture, was hired to design the building. An architectural model of the museum was presented at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, and Richard Fuller and his mother Margaret Fuller presented the completed building to the city on June 29, 1933.

Richard Fuller was the Seattle Art Museum’s founding director and served as director for the next 40 years, though never drew a salary for the position. In addition to establishing the Seattle Art Museum as recognizing the value of Asian art early on, Richard also was a generous supporter of local artists. Richard’s patronage included works by Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and William Cumming.

Richard Fuller took on leadership roles nationwide, including being president of the Western Association of Art Museum Directors, president of the National Association of Art Directors, and was a member of the International Council of Museums. He was also a generous supporter of local institutions, donating to the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Opera, the Seattle Symphony, and provided much of the Seattle Art Museum’s funds at his own expense. Richard Fuller died December 10th, 1976.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Portraits of Richard E. Fuller at various locations, including Edfu, Egypt and Shosoin, Japan and his office at the Seattle Art Museum.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1  Richard Fuller with sculpture of Horus at Edfu, Egypt 1926
1 2  Richard Fuller returning from a geological expedition circa 1920s
1 3  Richard and Betti Fuller on horseback in Jasper, Wyoming 1952
1 4  Portrait of Richard Fuller
Grady Studio, Seattle (photographer)
1 5  Portrait of Richard Fuller circa 1950s
1 6  Portrait of Richard Fuller
Dolph Zubick, Seattle (photographer)
November 1959
1 7  Richard Fuller at museum
Grady & Jentoft, Seattle (photographer)
1 8  Richard Fuller with small artifact
Paul V. Thomas (photographer)
1 9  Richard Fuller with donkey circa 1960s
1 10  Richard Fuller and others at Shosoin, Japan circa 1960s
1 11  Portrait of Richard Fuller
Grady & Jentoft, Seattle (photographer)
April 1967
1 12  Portrait of Richard Fuller
Grady & Jentoft, Seattle (photographer)
1 13  Portrait of Richard Fuller
Que Chin, Seattle (photographer)
May 1969

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Personal Names :
  • Fuller, Richard E. (Richard Eugene), 1897-1976--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints