E-mail This Page

Special Collections

Artists' Books Collection

The artists' books collection represents a wide range of activity dating from the 1960s to the present. The books are collected as documents of art; they are primarily works published in large editions, but some examples of limited and fine edition presses are included. A broad variety of illustrative methods, structures, papers, and bindings is represented in the collection. The Clark library continues to acquire works by contemporary artists on a limited basis.

View list of titles from the Artists' Books Collection

Mary Ann Beinecke Decorative Art Collection

Weaver and author Mary Ann Beinecke assembled an important collection of books on decorative art with particular strengths in costume history, handicrafts, and textile design. This collection, which spans the period from 1550 to the 1970s, includes numerous examples of French textile manufacturers' sample books; treatises on textile production; dye manufacturers' formula books; and bound sets of fashion plates, the majority of these Parisian. Sketchbooks of kimono patterns and textile sample books offer examples of traditional Japanese textile design. Also of note is a rare collection of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century weavers' pattern books, including several early editions of Nathanael Lumscher's Weber Kunst- und Bild-Buch. The collection was a gift of Mary Ann Beinecke in 1977.

View list of titles from the Mary Ann Beinecke Decorative Art Collection

Robert Sterling Clark Collection of Rare Books

This collection consists of nearly 1600 titles collected by the Institute's founder, Robert Sterling Clark (1877-1956). The collection is particularly rich in examples of fine bindings, many with complex gilding; illustrated editions of French literature, or editions in French translation, by such authors as Boccaccio, Dickens, and Moliere; literary first editions; and a large collection of works by Rudyard Kipling. The exhibition catalogue Book Illustrations from Six Centuries in the Library of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (1990) provides additional information about Robert Sterling Clark's book collecting activities and interests.

View list of titles from the Robert Sterling Clark Collection of Rare Books

Duveen Archive

The Clark's Duveen Archive is on long-term loan to the Getty Research Institute and is temporarily inaccessible while it is being cataloged and microfilmed. A finding aid describing the collection is available at the reference desk.

The Getty's Duveen Archive is reproduced on 422 reels of microfilm that are available only at the Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Courtauld Institute, the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, and the Clark. The records provide a detailed view of the Duveen Brothers' business activities in London, Paris, and New York. Although the archive extends from 1876 to 1981, the bulk of the material dates from Joseph Duveen's tenure as president of the firm from 1909 to 1939, and the period from 1939 to 1964 when Edward Fowles directed the firm (with Armand Lowengard until 1943). The mass of documents, such as cables and letters, invoices, and ledger and stock books, give a day-by-day account of art dealing, business strategy, and the individuals involved. Included are some records from the Kleinberger Galleries, 1906-1971, and six linear feet of Edward Fowles's papers.

A finding aid describing the Getty Duveen Archive is available online.

Duveen Library

Active from 1880s through the mid-twentieth century, the Duveen Brothers firm specialized in the sale of Old Master paintings and drawings, and European decorative arts, to a clientele of wealthy and influential American collectors. The business closed in 1964, and Edward Fowles, then president, sold Duveen Brothers' remaining stock to Norton Simon. The firm's private library of 12,000 volumes, which included complete runs of nineteenth-century periodicals and monographic strengths in Italian and Netherlandish art, connoisseurship, and iconography, was purchased from the Norton Simon Foundation in 1965 and integrated into existing library collections.

View list of titles from the Duveen Library

David A. Hanson Collection of the History of Photomechanical Reproduction

This collection documents the history of photomechanical printing from its development in 1826 through the perfection of three-color printing at the beginning of the twentieth century. All major intaglio, planotype, and relief printing methods are represented. The collection includes examples of virtually all categories of photographically-illustrated books, reports, accounts, treatises, catalogues, pamphlets, and ephemera. Pioneering firms and individual innovators are represented in equal numbers. While the subject matter is particularly rich in American material, numerous European examples, including Blanquart-Evrard's monumental survey of photography and photomechanical illustration (1870) and the photolithographs of Simoneau and Toovey in Spa et ses environs (1863), round out the collection. The collection of nearly 1000 titles was purchased in 2000.

Selected digital images from the Hanson Collection are available on the library's online catalog.

View list of titles from the David A. Hanson Collection of the History of Photomechanical Reproduction

Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books

Art historian Julius S. Held (1905-2002), a longtime professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, was renowned for his scholarship in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art. Many of the extraordinary books in this collection were collected for their illustrations by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, and Anthony van Dyck. These books include works by Virgil and Ovid, versions of Aesop's fables, as well as titles on astronomy, religion, natural history, and anatomy dating from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, in a range of languages, including Greek, Latin, German, Italian, English, and French. The collection also includes important art histories and early treatises on iconology and emblems. The Held library, which comprises more than 200 volumes, was acquired through combined purchase and gift in 2002.

View list of titles from the Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books

Micah Lexier Collection

Micah Lexier is an internationally known artist and an unrivaled collector of objects designed by other artists. This collection comprises his private library of books associated with the conceptual or minimalist art movements. The collection consists of nearly 1000 titles and includes such defining works as Joseph Kosuth's series Art as Idea as Idea (1966-67), and the exhibition catalogue When Attitudes Become Form (1969), as well as several early catalogues published by Seth Siegelaub. About one-third of the titles in this collection are artists' books. Hanne Darboven, Rodney Graham, James Lee Byars, Daniel Buren, and Lawrence Weiner are among the many artists represented. The Micah Lexier collection was acquired by purchase in 2002.

View list of titles from the Micah Lexier Collection

Photograph Study Collection

The collection comprises 650,000 images of works of art and architecture from antiquity to the present. The collection consists of photographs, photomechanical prints, and clippings from numerous sources, including commercial vendors and photographers, auction houses and galleries, and scholars' personal archives, such as those assembled by Dutch art historian Willem Rudolf Juynboll (1903-1977) and George Heard Hamilton, the former director of the Institute. Also included in the study collection is a portion of the image files from the Duveen Archive. Many of the Duveen materials are annotated with the dealers' attributions and information regarding previous ownership. Others depict works of art in different states of restoration. While the collection's strength lies in post-classical Western art, the arts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Pre-Columbian America are also well represented. Files are arranged geographically and then by medium, and are further subdivided by artist.

The collection is open for use by qualified researchers. Photographs and permission to publish must be obtained from copyright holder(s).

View list of descriptive records for the Photograph Study Collection