Image Credit: Office for Metropolitan History
Christopher Gray was a major figure in the rising swell of interest in New York City architectural history that began in the aftermath of the demolition of Pennsylvania Station. With a degree in Art History from Columbia in 1975, Chris founded the Office of Metropolitan History that same year to provide research services to historic architectural questions. His research provided historical accuracy to many publications, thereby raising the standards for the field. He became widely known to the public for his column Streetscapes that ran from 1987 to 2014, one of the highlights of the Sunday New York Times Real Estate section. Chris and his staff from the OMH, Suzanne Braley, Melissa Braverman, and Samantha Hightower, were frequently seen at Avery pursuing countless citations, photographs, and drawings.
Avery Library extends its sympathy to his wife, Erin D. Gray, a graduate of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program, and his family.
New York Times Obituary
Architects Newpaper Obituary
The North American paint & varnish industry, as it expanded, left us with an amazing assortment of colorful vintage objects—cans, sample sets, store displays and advertising signs.
Avery Library in collaboration with private lenders, is pleased to present WET PAINT!! The exhibit displays items dating from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century and is designed to complement the Avery Classics exhibit: “Color Harmony in the Home: American Paint Publications from 1870-1950” which showcases a selection of items from Avery’s extensive trade catalog and brochure collection.
Lenders to WET PAINT!! are: Mary Jablonski, Judith M. Jacob, Norman R. Weiss and Adam Woodward. Exhibit installation was done with the assistance of GSAPP Historic Preservation graduate students Tania Alam, Alex Ray and Katrina Virbitsky.
This exhibition is presented to coincide with the 6th International Architectural Paint Research Conference hosted by Columbia University GSAPP in New York City from March 15 to 17, 2017.
Both exhibitions are on view in Avery Library through April 25th.
For details and information on visiting the exhibits, contact: Avery Classics
Avery Classics recently acquired a complete set of the Dutch magazine Utopia: Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift voor wetenscahpp amusement (Utopia: Bi-monthly for scientific entertainment). Utopia was published between 1975 and 1978 in Delft. Obviously influenced by Archigram‘s style, each issue features a unique format with illustrations drawing on contemporary trends such as Pop Art. The magazine explores broad cultural trends like television and architectural topics such as Dutch pavilions for world exhibitions or a proposal for a working community in the water tower complex in Rotterdam.
Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have been selected as the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates.
Known for their highly collaborative practice, the three architects’ work makes use of modern materials including steel and plastic, contextualized to local environments.
The 2017 Pritzker Prize Jury Citation states, in part: “we live in a globalized world where we must rely on international influences, trade, discussion, transactions, etc. But more and more people fear that because of this international influence…we will lose our local values, our local art, and our local customs…Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigemand Ramon Vilalta tell us that it may be possible to have both. They help us to see, in a most beautiful and poetic way, that the answer to the question is not ‘either/or’ and that we can, at least in architecture, aspire to have both; our roots firmly in place and our arms outstretched to the rest of the world.”
New York Times
Pritzker Prize homepage
Every semester, Avery welcomes classes to Drawings and Archives. This semester has already seen class visits from 1st year Core Architecture Studio II students, whose section is coordinated by Mimi Hoang, students from the American Architecture II history lecture being taught by Jennifer Gray, as well as a visiting group of final year undergraduate students from UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture with their professor Guan Lee. Faculty are encouraged to reach out to Drawings & Archives to coordinate a class visit and discuss archival collections that will be relevant to their courses.Visit the Drawings and Archives website to see our full collections list and email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Avery Drawings & Archives Checkman archive of architectural model photography was used by Columbia GSAPP for their current exhibition Stagecraft: Models & Photos.
The exhibition will be on display at The Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery from February 9 until March 10, 2017.
Read Kenneth Frampton’s article in Metropolis magazine about the exhibition here.
Color Harmony in the Home: American Paint Publications from 1870-1950
Guest curator: Judy Jacob
January 17 – April 25, 2017
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Avery Classics Reading Room, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
Paint is practical. Paint is beautiful. Paint hides flaws. Paint reflects taste and status. The brochures and samples presented in this exhibition offer an insight to painting practice and color history, and give hints—both subtle and direct—on changing trends in style and advertising.
Avery Library’s collection of trade publications, of which paint catalogs are a substantial subset, features over 4,000 individual items. Never intended for library holdings, these items represent the marketing acumen of paint manufacturers and the decorating aspirations of American homeowners from the 1870s to the 1950s. Avery’s collection was started by Herbert Mitchell (1924-2008), former Curator of Avery Classics, who saw research potential in brochures found on flea-market tables.
Following the Civil War, advances in manufacturing had an enormous impact on the paint industry, as well as on marketing. Publications such as those displayed here arose from the new convenience of ready-mixed paints, provided in cans with re-sealable lids, a major advancement in paint storage. Ready-mixed paints enabled the do-it-yourself painters; homeowners could now easily paint their own homes and furnishings. One could purchase paint, pick-up a free how-to manual, head home to don old clothes and transform one’s surroundings through color.
This exhibition is presented to coincide with the 6th International Architectural Paint Research Conference, hosted by Columbia University in New York City from March 15 to 17, 2017.
(l-r) Teresa Harris, Chloé Demonet, Lena Newman
Chloé Demonet joined Avery Classics as an intern this fall. She is transcribing the unpublished manuscript of Sebastiano Serlio’s sixth book on domestic architecture as part of Avery Library’s Digital Serlio Project. The Digital Serlio Project brings together international scholars to investigate the manuscript that Serlio prepared between 1541 and 1551.
Ms. Demonet is uniquely qualified to undertake this work as she is simultaneously pursuing a degree in archival paleography at the École nationale des chartes in Paris and a doctorate in Renaissance art history at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris and University Roma I La Sapienza. She also holds masters degrees in history and architectural heritage and is a researcher for the conservation and restoration of historic monuments and sites. Her own research focuses on the drawings of Giuliano da Sangallo. She has written about her experiences for the blog of the École nationale des chartes.
Pamela Casey comes to us from the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, where she worked as Archivist after receiving her Master in Library and Information Studies at McGill University in May 2015. From 2012-2013, Pamela was a Graduate Archival Intern at Avery Drawings and Archives and at Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In 2012, she taught academic writing to architecture students at Pratt in New York. In addition, Pamela has worked as an editor and researcher for Bartlett faculty member Guan Lee, as a researcher for Montreal heritage architect Louis Brillant, and as a copyeditor for University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture O’Donovan Director Anne Bordeleau.
Pamela received her MFA in Writing from Columbia University in 2014, where she also taught creative writing in the Columbia Undergraduate Writing Program. Prior to coming to Columbia, Pamela was a producer in London, England, working on independent productions and supporting new film talent at organizations like the BBC, the UK Film Council and the National Film and Television School. She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in International Affairs, from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1996.
Pamela Casey joins us as Architecture Archivist in Drawings and Archives, where her focus will be on outreach to faculty and students, planning for architectural born-digital collections, processing visual materials across Avery’s archival collections including the photographic material in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive.
Installation view at The New-York Historical Society: Unknown artist, Portrait of Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838), ca. 1820, oil on canvas, frame size: 56 x 44 in. (142.2 x 111.7 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York (C00.37)
Art Properties has loaned a painting to the exhibition The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World, which is now open at The New-York Historical Society. This exhibition focuses on the historical and cultural lives of Jewish immigrants, forced from their ancestral lands in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, to newfound freedom in colonial New Amsterdam through early 19th-century New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.
The painting on loan from the Columbia University art collection is this early 19th-century, three-quarter-length seated portrait of Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838). Born in a Jewish ghetto near Venice, Da Ponte later converted to Catholicism and eventually emigrated to the United States where, at the age of 76, he became the first professor of Italian at Columbia College. Da Ponte is best known around the world as the librettist for three operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte. (You can read more about Da Ponte’s colorful life here.)
The painting of Da Ponte and its historical frame were in need of conservation in order to be shown at the exhibition. We are very grateful to Mr. Leonard L. Milberg for providing full financial support to have this work completed. Our thanks also to conservator Stephen Kornhauser and Eli Wilner & Co. for all their hard work restoring Da Ponte’s grandeur for this exhibition.