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Art History and Visual Arts

Art Reading Room

Located in Room 420, the Art Reading Room incorporates two quiet study areas, non-circulating collections and the offices of the Center for the Art of East Asia.

The East Asian Art Collection in room 420 contains over 4000 titles for the study of East Asian Art, including reference works, facsimile editions, and unusually formatted materials.

Max Epstein Photographic Archive

The Archive is named after Max Epstein (1875-1954), a business executive and philanthropist who in 1937 founded the collection by donating a large number of photographs acquired from Art Library of Sir Robert Witt, a photographic archive now at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. The Archive has since increased its holdings through purchases and additional gifts.

Over the years, a number of original prints were transferred from the Archive to the Smart Gallery (now Smart Museum).  A small selection of images from the Epstein Archive are digitized and may be viewed in the Art History Department Image Collection.

Read about  the collection in more detail, it's organization and using the photographs.   

The Archive is locked and accessible by appointment only. Please contact nspiegel@uchicago.edu for access.

Other Photographic Collections

The following collections,  also located in Room 420E, and can be accessed by appointment.

  • Census of Old Buildings in Connecticut, 1934-1937:  A statewide survey of domestic structures built before 1850. Arranged by town, the survey is nearly complete. Each building is described in detail on one page, and the description is accompanied in most cases by at least one photograph.

    Bartsch Illustrations:  A collection of 17,000 4 x 6" photographs of Old Master prints in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the British Museum. The pictures complement the commentary in the Illustrated Bartsch, a standard reference work (f NE90.B33 stacks). The complete collection of over 50,000 images is now available in ARTstor.
     
  • Papal medals. A photographic survey of medals from the 16th century to the middle of the 18th century, based on the collection in the British Museum. Approximately 3,000 4 x 6" photographs.
     
  • The Decimal Index to the Art of the Low Countries (D.I.A.L.). More than 14,000 postcard size photographs, constituting an iconographic survey covering the 14th to 18th centuries.