Art, Architecture and
Nancy Spiegel May 2008
Brief Overview of the Collection
History: Art and Architecture titles have been collected
continuously since the founding of the University. In 1938, materials in
the Fine Arts were separated from the Classics Library, of which they were
originally a part, and housed in a dedicated Art Library in Goodspeed
Hall. The collection moved to its current location in Regenstein Library
Broad subject areas emphasized or de-emphasized: The collection encompasses art in all media, theory and
criticism from the post-Classical period to the present, with an emphasis
on Western Europe, the United States,
Latin America and East Asia. Strengths of the collection reflect both
the past and current curricular and research emphases of departmental
faculty. There is deep coverage of Early
Christian and Medieval architecture, the illumination of books and
manuscripts, and the art of the Renaissance, particularly in Italy.
Later areas of strength include 17th-century Dutch and Flemish
art, Impressionism and other “isms” of the 19th and 20th
centuries, the history of photography, and growing depth in the art of post-1960s
Europe and the United
Description of academic program: The Art History department offers a BA,
MA and Ph.D in Art History. The Department of Visual Arts offers a BFA and
an MFA. The collection also serves the Masters of Arts Program in the Humanities
(MAPH), and the closely-affiliated Committee on Cinema and Media Studies,
which offers BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees.
collection supports instruction and student research through the Ph.D
level, as well as faculty research. Students and faculty members in the Art History Department, Department
of Visual Arts, and staff of the SmartMuseum
and the Renaissance Society, are the primary constituencies served. The
collection also supports the undergraduate teaching programs of the
College Core curriculum, and the work of faculty and students in other disciplines
who engage in aspects of visual studies. A secondary purpose of the Art collection
is to support the cultural and recreational interests of the University
community at large.
Levels of selection: Comprehensive,
research, instructional support, basic information; for a description of these levels, see the general policy statement.
Museums Studies, Collectors and Collecting (AM 1-501): Includes museology, the history of
museums, biographies of collectors, and catalogs of single private
collections. Guides to the antiques and collectibles market are considered
out of scope, with the exception of scholarly works on the decorative
arts. Research level in Western languages.
Periodicals, societies, encyclopedias, directories(N1-61): Research level in Western
Architecture (NA) The collection is strong in architectural
history, particularly of the early modern period, the ChicagoSchool
of architecture, and historic preservation. Responsibility for material in vernacular
architecture is shared with the Social Sciences Bibliographer. Materials
on city planning and most guidebooks are selected by the Bibliographer for
Geography. Technical material related to building design and construction (computer aided design,
"how-to" books, etc.) are considered out of scope. The history
of architecture and individual architects' catalogs are collected
at a research level in Western languages. Studies documenting the work of contemporary firms are collected
on an instructional support level. The library’s collection is supplemented
by the very strong architectural holdings of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sculpture (NB) The NB classification includes church
decoration and ornament, monuments, memorials, and public sculpture. Collected on a research level in Western
Drawing and Design (NC): Exhibition catalogs of works on paper
and collection catalogs are selected on a research level in Western
languages. Less emphasis is placed on commercial art and graphic design.
The selection of materials in book illustration is shared with the Library
Science Bibliographer and the Bibliographer for Religion (Bible
Painting (ND) The materials found within the ND classification
include the illumination of books, stylistic periods and movements
(mannerism, abstract expressionism), individual artists, and genres (still
life, marine painters). This classification is well represented across all
chronological periods and geographical areas, with particular strength in
German, Italian, French, Dutch, and Flemish art. Latin American artists
are also collected broadly. The collection in post-war, and post -1960
European and American art is increasing in strength and diversity in response
to curricular interest, both in the Art History Department and elsewhere.
The collection in American, Latin American and European painting is
acquired on a research level; materials from Oceania, Canada, Australia, on an instructional
Media (NE) Collected on a research level in Western languages.
The Renaissance, particularly in Italy, 17th century
Dutch and Flemish studies, and German scholarship on printers and
printmaking comprise the collection’s strengths.
Decorative Arts, Applied Arts, Decoration and Ornament (NK)The Library holds a strong
collection with particular emphases on stained glass, furniture, metalwork
and ceramics of the United States
and Europe. The decorative arts collection
is extensively augmented by Bibliographers in East Asian, Middle Eastern
and South Asian studies. The Social Sciences Bibliographer contributes to
the literature on fashion and textile history. Titles in the decorative
arts are collected on a research level in Western languages, with more
emphasis on worldwide arts and crafts movements, interior decoration and
contemporary craft than on studies focused on “great riches.”
Arts in general (NX) The NX classification includes artists working
in multimedia; installation and performance artists of all nationalities (Vito
Acconci, Mona Hatoum), artistic movements (surrealism, situationism), or broadly
multidisciplinary works (popular culture and gender; technology and
creativity). Collected on a research level in Western languages.
Photography (TR) Acquired on a research level in Western
languages, with a current emphasis on the work of contemporary
photographers and exhibition catalogs.
The Art Bibliographer collects titles emphasizing the history and
artistic uses of photography. The technical literature on photography is
selected by the Bibliographer for the History of Science and Technology and
normally locates in Crerar Library.
Type of materials
included and excluded:
The traditional art-historical genres are all actively
acquired. These include exhibition
catalogues, catalogues raisonnes, collection catalogues, inventories of
architectural monuments and or works of
art, critical editions of writings by artists, and anthologies of previously
unpublished essays. Artists’ videos represent an area of growing interest and are
added as funds permit.
Artists’ books are acquired on a selective basis, with a
preference for works published in large editions, but some examples of limited
and fine edition presses are added. Attention is given to representing a variety
of illustrative methods, structures, papers, and bindings in the collection.
The library purchases facsimiles very selectively, as funds
allow, and based on faculty recommendation or to build on established special
Auction sales catalogs are added on a very selective basis
and integrated into the general circulating collection. The Library subscribes
to Scipio, a union catalog of auction catalog holders, and Artnet, an auction
results database with coverage of recent sales, and relies on the Ryerson and
Burnham Libraries for access to a comprehensive collection of printed auction
The collection excludes histories and surveys of art and architecture
developed for elementary and secondary school students, as well as most materials
on practical technique and “how to” books. Unrevised dissertations available
online through the Library’s subscription to Proquest Digital Theses and
Dissertations are excluded as well.
Physical formats included and excluded
All formats are acquired. Print is
still preferred over electronic access to heavily illustrated periodicals when
possible. The library subscribes to image databases such as Artstor, Camio,
and Artnet to support visual research across the curriculum.
Publication dates collected: Emphasis is given to the
acquisition of current titles, but appropriate earlier imprints are
acquired, when possible, to fill gaps in the collection. Titles published
before 1800 are selected in collaboration with the Head of Rare Books.
Languages: Titles are chosen for their importance regardless
of language, but English, French,
German, Italian, and Spanish are preferred. English translations of
important works are purchased selectively; French, German or Italian
translations of works originally published in languages likely to be less
familiar to patrons are also considered selectively. The Art Bibliographer
relies on several Area Studies selectors for non-English language
materials published in China
and Japan, and for most
titles published in South Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Geographical range: The emphasis is on titles published in Western
Europe, North America and Latin America, with a more limited acquisition
of bilingual and English-language works from China
Materials from Africa are acquired on a
selective basis, in coordination with the selector for African Studies.
Chronological span: Titles from the post-Classical period to
the present are collected. Selection
of Classical Art and Architecture is the responsibility of the Classics
Bibliographer. Pre-Columbian art
and artifacts are the purview of the Bibliographer for Anthropology.
Areas of distinction
Important collections include finely
printed books and examples of advertising art from the R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company Training
Department Library, and early
illustrated books by Durer and others. Significant archival and manuscript
collections include the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, a collection
of engravings illustrating architecture and monuments of ancient and modern Rome.
University of Chicago collections
The John Crerar
Library holds a notable collection in architecture and building technology
that augments the modern architecture
holdings of the Art Collection. The Crerar materials are also particularly rich
in the history of photography, American vernacular architecture, and
significant titles in American decorative arts and garden design.
Cooperative arrangements and related
libraries in Chicago complement the University of Chicago’s collections in Art,
Architecture and Photography. These include the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
at the Art Institute of Chicago (architecture, connoisseurship, provenance
research) the Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute (Joan Flasch
collection of artists’ books); Columbia
College (street art, performance) Northwestern University (African art,
symbolist and avant-garde periodicals); Newberry Library (illuminated manuscripts).