Author Archives: Teresa Harris

Connections in Collections

February 10 – April 15, 2020
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Warrior I

Seymour Lipton (1903-1986), Warrior I, 1948, sheet-lead, steel, and plaster, H. 27 1/4 x W. 16 x D. 13 in. (69.3 x 40.1 x 30.3 cm), Art Properties, Avery Library, Columbia University, Gift of the Lipton Estate (2016.20).

Now open in Avery Library’s Wallach Study Center for Art and Architecture is the new exhibition “Connections in Collections: Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture.” Co-curated by Roberto C. Ferrari (Curator of Art Properties) and Chris Sala (Architecture Librarian), this exhibition brings together a selection of sculptures—recent acquisitions in the University’s permanent art collection stewarded by Art Properties—and connects them with images from architecture books in Avery Library’s research collection. 


These connections in Avery’s collections may not immediately seem obvious, and at times may even seem surprising. They encompass an array of ideas: structure and symbolism; color and materiality; geometry and organic forms. This was part of the curatorial goal: to think of ways in which these works of art and examples of architecture transcend their own intrinsic natures. Some of the books on view can even be seen as architectural or sculptural objects. There are no determined answers, only interesting observations, and viewers are encouraged to draw their own connections between the works on view.

Clodion and “Clodion Mania” Exhibition

September 24 – December 13, 2019
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Style of Clodion, Satyr and Two Nymphs (detail)

Style of Clodion, Satyr and Two Nymphs (detail), signed & dated 1778, terracotta (?), H. 25 7/8 x W. 17 1/8 x D. 13 1/4 in. (65.1 x 43.4 x 33.6 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Gift of Mrs. Lewis Bloomingdale (1976.12.5).

Now on view in Avery Library is the new exhibition Clodion (1738-1814) and “Clodion Mania” in Nineteenth-Century France. This exhibition is the third in a series curated by the MA students in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, under the guidance of Frédérique Baumgartner, director of the MA in Art History program, and Roberto C. Ferrari, curator of Art Properties.

In 1976 Columbia received a gift from Mrs. Irma H. Bloomingdale (1888-1989) of two terracotta sculptures: Satyr and Two Nymphs, and Nymph and Two Satyrs. Conceived as a pair, the complex compositions, imposing in size for works created in clay, portray the companions of the Roman god Bacchus in the midst of a spirited dance. The statuettes are signed and dated by the celebrated eighteenth-century French sculptor Claude-Michel Adam, called Clodion, whose art is associated with the rococo and neoclassical styles. But could the Columbia sculptures be forgeries? This exhibition reconsiders the two statuettes in Columbia’s permanent collection through a study of Clodion’s terracotta production. The online exhibition website ( includes numerous images of both sculptures and longer essays on Clodion and his practice by some of the students who curated the show.

Accompanying the Clodion exhibition is a related installation of nineteenth-century art from the permanent collection on the theme of the goddess Diana and the hunt. This installation was coordinated by Roberto C. Ferrari with Mateusz Mayer, PhD student, Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Avery Art Properties in 20 and Odd Exhibition

 Fisk Jubilee Singers

Photographer unknown, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, ca. 1885, carbon print, Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection (C00.1580.77).

Art Properties is pleased to be among the lenders to the current exhibition 20 and Odd: The 400-Year Anniversary of 1619, now on view in the Leroy Neiman Gallery, Dodge Hall, on the Morningside campus until September 30, 2019. This exhibition commemorates the 400-year anniversary of the first documented arrival of Africans landing at the Jamestown settlement in 1619, and serves to explore this history through images, documents, archival materials and contemporary art, recounting the first documented Africans in the British colony.

Art work from the University art collection, based in Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, along with material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress, have been brought together to help rethink the early history of the United States and to provide insight as to what life would have been like for Africans in the conflicted space of the New World. Works on view from Art Properties include: a 1967 oil painting by Charles Mwenze Mungolo, an artist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; prints by the African-American artist Hale Woodruff; and an enlarged facsimile of the image seen here, a carbon-print photograph of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, taken in the mid-1880s.

For more information about the exhibition and related programs, go to

Announcing a new Director for Avery Library

Hannah BennettWe are pleased to announce the appointment of Hannah Bennett as the new Director of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.

Bennett, who will join Avery on October 7, comes to Columbia after more than four years at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries where she oversaw three divisions – the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Penn Museum Library, and the Music Library – as well as the Materials Library and Common Press Letterpress Studio. She has served in other management roles at Penn including, most recently, the Assistant University Librarian for Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The Avery’s incomparable collections and services have been a critical bass note to my career in art and architecture librarianship,” said Bennett. “It’s an absolute honor now to be at its helm and, with its talented staff and faculty, to continue shaping the Avery’s pivotal role in the future of arts scholarship and education.”

For the official announcement, see Columbia Libraries’ News & Events page.


June 17 – September 13, 2019
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Vessel in the form of a Dog, Colima culture, Mexico, ca. 200, polychrome earthenware, H. 7 1/4 x W. 5 3/4 x L. 12 1/2 in. (18.4 x 14.6 x 31.8 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Samuel Kirkland Lothrop Collection, Gift of René A. Wormser (1968.8.22).

Now on view in Avery Library is a new summer exhibition called Animalia, which celebrates the essence of animal life as depicted in sculpture, decorative arts, and cultural heritage objects, all drawn from the Art Properties collection. The works on view date from antiquity to today and present animal forms in various media, including soapstone, wood, ceramic, and watercolor on paper.

For many world cultures, the representation of animals in art has had a spiritual significance, reminding viewers today of the perpetually strong ties humans and animals have always had for survival and companionship. The first two cases include works by indigenous populations from Canada, the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America, while the latter two cases showcase works of art from China and Japan. With the exception of two modern sculptures, each of the objects on view was made by an artisan whose identity remains unknown to us. That anonymity arguably forces our attention away from the maker and toward the subject represented, reminding us that humankind, and the animals around us, are all one, united as part of nature.

Hoppner, Beechey, Fisher, Lavery: Researching Columbia’s Portraits.

February 11 – May 10, 2019
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

John Hoppner, Portrait of Isabella Ricketts, later Mrs. Stanlake Henry Batson (1782-1845), ca. 1800-01, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 30 in. (100.2 x 76.2 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Gift of Loyd H. Langston (C00.762).

Now on view in Avery Library is the exhibition Hoppner, Beechey, Fisher, Lavery: Researching Columbia’s Portraits, curated by Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, with Mateusz Mayer, Ph.D. student, Department of Art History & Archaeology. This focused exhibition showcases four rarely-seen historical British portraits from the University art collection, painted by these artists between the years 1800 and 1927. The show highlights new discoveries made about each painting, ranging from biography to provenance to political propaganda, but also proposes to question what “British” means both historically and in the age of Brexit.

The Columbia University art collection, stewarded by Art Properties and based in Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, includes nearly 1,000 portrait paintings, as well as hundreds of portrait busts, photographs, and prints. This exhibition encourages students, faculty, and researchers to reconsider the world of portraiture and to encourage the use of the entire University art collection for curricular and educational programs, where new discoveries can be made every day.


Celebrating the publication of New York Rising

New York Rising : An Illustrated History from the Durst Collection
The Monacelli Press, 2018
Published in association with The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

From the first European settlement in the seventeenth century through the skyscrapers and large-scale urban planning schemes of the late twentieth century, this book presents a broad historical survey, illustrated with images drawn largely from the rich archival resources of the Durst Collection at Avery Library. Authors Kate Ascher and Thomas Mellins with ten contributing scholars — the late Hilary Ballon, Ann Buttenwieser, Andrew Dolkart, David King, Reinhold Martin, Richard Plunz, Lynne B. Sagalyn, Hilary Sample, Russell Shorto, and Carol Willis — delved into the collection assisted by Chris Sala (Avery Architecture Librarian and Durst Collection curator) to select objects that reflect their own areas of interest and expertise.

Book reviews:

Kate Ascher and Tom Mellins interviewed by George Bodarky on “Cityscape.”

Transportation Alternatives

New York City as it will be in 1999: a pictorial forecast of the city, 1900. (AA735 N4 N422)



Curator: Lena Newman, Special Collections Librarian

November 9, 2018 – February 8, 2019
Monday – Friday9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Avery Classics Reading Room, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

In April 2019, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will shut down the Canarsie Tunnel, a vital underground link that carries L-train riders between Manhattan and Brooklyn, for much-needed repairs. As New Yorkers know all too well, the problems plaguing the city’s transportation infrastructure extend far beyond a single subway line. Express bus lanes, Citi bikes, pedestrian plazas, the constant debate around congestion pricing for cars – all these are attempts made by the city to deal with an aging and increasingly inadequate transportation system. But the challenge of moving people in to, out of and around the city isn’t a new one. The objects in this exhibit seek to illustrate various transportation solutions – from the never realized to the barely still working – throughout New York’s history.