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Columbia University Office of Art Properties Records, 1960-2012

Summary Information

At a Glance

Title:Columbia University Office of Art Properties Records, 1960-2012
Physical description:7.9 linear ft. (19 document boxes)
Language(s): Material is in English


This collection is arranged in one series and is arranged by date.


Scope and Content

This collection contains records documenting the activities of Art Properties at Columbia University. It is currently comprised of exhibition files that reflect the daily operations of the department.

Series I: Rotunda Exhibition Files, 1960-2012

The records in the Rotunda Exhibition Files provide a comprehensive history, through extensive documentary evidence, of exhibitions held in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library between 1960 and 2012. The materials contained within this series are arranged chronologically. While most of the files are titled according to specific exhibition titles, miscellaneous exhibition materials, for which there is minimal documentation, are also included.

The materials found in this series are predominantly paper-based documents. Each folder contains a variety of materials and may include: exhibition check-lists and label texts, press releases, invitations to gallery receptions, catalogue manuscripts, pamphlets and posters, gallery maps and installation mock-ups, deed of gift receipts, object loan and lender forms, condition reports, newspaper clippings, exhibition installation photographs and negatives, financial records and invoices, office memos and general correspondence.

Note: The file for the exhibition "Florine Stettheimer: An Exhibition of Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings" (held from February 8 – March 8, 1973 in the Rotunda of Low Library) has been removed from Series I. To consult these materials consult Art Properties directly.

Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron. Please contact the Office of Art Properties if you wish to publish materials from the collection.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Columbia University Office of Art Properties Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Selected Related Material at Columbia

Historical Subject Files (UA#0002)

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elena Cordova, MLIS Intern, Art Properties. Finding aid written by Elena Cordova in May 2014. Updated by Jocelyn Wilk in May 2017. Encoded by Joanna Rios in May 2017.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion May 26, 2017

Finding aid written in English.

    2017-05-26 File created.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Exhibition catalogs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Exhibition records.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
In-gallery exhibitions.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Press releases.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Avery Library.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Administration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Low Memorial Library--Exhibitions.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Art Properties was established in 1964 by the Committee on Artistic Properties and administered under the auspices of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. The Department oversees the art collections owned by Columbia University and is responsible for documenting and preserving the art holdings of the University and making them available to both the University community and the general public. The collections comprise over 15,000 works in all media -- painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography and decorative arts. Although Columbia has not intended to assemble a major collection of works of art, thousands of objects have been acquired by donation over the course of the University's two-hundred-fifty year history. During the 1960s, however, a museum collection was contemplated. It was at this time that hundreds of works from the Ancient Near East and from East Asia were acquired through the generosity of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler and members of his family. Other significant gifts of note over time include: a collection of southeast Asian and Korean ceramics gifted to the Department by Frank B. Michaelian between 1962 and 1976; sixty-nine paintings and drawings by the American artist Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944), bequeathed to Columbia by her sister Ettie Stettheimer in 1967; over one hundred Native American objects (including rugs, baskets, ceramics and ritual items) donated by Stanley B. and Caroline Stein in 1997; and a series of Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Polaroids and prints donated by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in 2008.

The works in Art Properties fall into four categories: museum-quality art objects; study collections; works relating to the history of the University; and works appropriate for display in public spaces and private offices. Objects are on view throughout the campus: some very publicly, like Daniel Chester French's Alma Mater and Auguste Rodin's The Thinker; others are less visibly installed in administrative and faculty offices. The majority of the art collections are in storage, but are available for research and study by the Columbia community and outside scholars by appointment. From the date of its endowment in 1986, The Wallach Art Gallery was connected to Art Properties. In 2011, the two were separated. Since 1965, Art Properties has also utilized the Rotunda and the Faculty Room of Low Library as exhibition spaces to display works from the permanent collection as well as temporary and traveling exhibitions. Most of these exhibitions were organized by faculty and staff from various Columbia schools and departments, librarians and staff from Columbia University Libraries, and external guest curators, in coordination with Art Properties curators and staff.