Art in Life Exhibition: Art Properties & the MA in Art History Program

Robert Nanteuil, Portrait of Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715), 1666, probably third state of seven, engraving on paper, 15 3/8 x 12 1/16 in. (39.1 x 30.6 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Gift of Mrs. Frederick Paul Keppel  (C00.802.116)

Currently on view in Avery Library’s Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture is an exhibition entitled Art in Life: Engravings by Robert Nanteuil (c. 1623-1678) from the Frederick Paul Keppel Collection at Columbia University. This exhibition is the result of a new curricular collaboration between Art Properties and the Department of Art History and Archaeology, in which candidates in the MA in Art History program conceive and implement an exhibition utilizing historic art work from the University’s permanent collection. During the 2016 spring semester, under the guidance of program director Frédérique Baumgartner and curator of Art Properties Roberto C. Ferrari, the students worked with a collection of 184 Nanteuil engravings that were a gift to Avery Library in 1947 by the widow of Frederick Paul Keppel (1875-1943), Dean of Columbia College from 1910 to 1918. The students also worked with the Conservation Lab in Butler Library to conserve one of the prints for this exhibition.

Robert Nanteuil trained as an engraver in his hometown of Reims, settled in Paris in 1646-47, and established himself as a portraitist to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, eventually becoming Designer and Engraver to the King. Over the course of his brilliant career, Nanteuil produced more than 230 engravings, the majority of which were portraits of contemporary French dignitaries, including the Queen of France, Anne of Austria, and her son Louis XIV. Most of the portraits that Nanteuil created were originally commissioned by wealthy students to decorate their theses. Today, no longer tied to the books and theses they once illustrated, Nanteuil’s engravings now primarily exist as art objects: the material traces of a master engraver and his practice. Sixteen of the prints in Columbia’s permanent collection have been brought together in this exhibition, both to illuminate Nanteuil’s career and shine a light on the nature of Keppel’s print collecting practice.

The exhibition is available for viewing Monday-Friday 9am-5pm until May 18, 2018, and is accompanied by an online exhibition at

Please join us for a special Evening at Avery

Art in Life: Engravings by Robert Nanteuil (c. 1623-1678) from The Frederick Paul Keppel Collection at Columbia University
Lecture & Exhibition reception

Frédérique Baumgartner

Department of Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University
April 25, 2018
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Center for the Study of Art and Architecture
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Sponsored by Avery Library and Avery Friends 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *