The Jack Cowart Papers contain research and background information regarding academics and exhibition work featuring the artist Henri Matisse. The papers span from Cowart's time as a student at Johns Hopkins University through his career at the Wadsworth Atheneum, St. Louis Art Museum and National Gallery of Art, 1969-1991. The collection is arranged into eight series: Masters and Doctoral Work, Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Henri Matisse: The Early Years in Nice, Matisse in Morocco, Writings and Lectures, General Correspondence, Sam Lewisohn and Photographs.
The series Masters and Doctoral Work includes handwritten notecards used in research as well as Cowart's dissertation, "Ecoliers to Fauvres: Matisse, Marquet, and Manguin Drawings: 1890-1906." Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Henri Matisse: The Early Years and Matisse in Morocco are centered around exhibitions curated by Cowart. Each series contains research in preparation for the exhibition as well as supplementary paperwork such as correspondence, ephemera and clippings. Also included are series that feature lectures given by Cowart and general correspondence between museum patrons and Cowart as well as museums and Cowart.