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
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.
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.
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.
Art Properties has loaned a painting to the exhibition The Battle of Brooklyn which is now open at The New-York Historical Society. This exhibition commemorates the decisive first battle that took place between the rebel forces and the British following the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Although the American forces suffered a tremendous defeat, this battle became a decisive moment in the military campaign led by Washington and his troops.
The painting loaned by Art Properties is this whole-length portrait of King George III (1738-1820), the reigning British monarch during the American Revolution. Painted by Sir William Beechey (1753-1839) and his studio, the portrait depicts the monarch wearing the Field-Marshal uniform of a red coat adorned with the Star of the Garter, white breeches, black boots, and a black bicorn hat. In his right hand he holds a cane and in his left a pair of gloves. He stands in a landscape with Windsor Castle in the distance. This portrait is one of a number produced by Beechey’s studio after the success of the original life-size version exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1800.
George III was the grandson of George II, the eponymous founder of King’s College. This portrait was donated to Columbia in 1943 by Mrs. Mary Hill Hill, who claimed to have purchased it in England. Remnants of a label on the stretcher, however, also identify the painting as the same sold at the April 2, 1931 auction by American Art Association of works owned by Ehrich Gallery in New York. The purchaser at that time was recorded as a Miss M. Brown. The description of the painting in the catalogue incorrectly describes it as depicting the king as the Prince of Wales and the building in the background as Hatfield House. George III had been king since 1760, so the painting would not depict him as the Prince of Wales at that time, and a visual comparison of images of Hatfield House clearly shows that they are different buildings and that ours is Windsor Castle. There is other evidence that the same painting was sold at a Christie’s London auction in 1926, but its provenance prior to that date is still undetermined.
Avery Library welcomed Professor Ioana Manolache’s architectural drawing class for the School of the Arts undergraduate program on Sept. 21, 2016. They were studying one-point perspective of a large architectural space.
Popularized during the Renaissance, one-point perspective makes use of linear geometric planes that converge on the horizon onto one vanishing point.
According to Professor Manolache “The assignment isn’t just to teach perspective, but is also meant to show students that interesting, evocative spaces can be found on campus, and not have our surroundings be taken for granted.”
The Metropolitan Opera House, the “old Met” opened on October 22, 1883 and was designed by J. Cleveland Cady. Located at 1411 Broadway, the Opera House occupied the entire block between West 39th Street and West 40th Street. Nine years later on August 27, 1892, the theater was gutted by fire. In 1903, the interior of the opera house was extensively redesigned by the firm Carrère and Hastings.
It was quickly realized that the backstage facilities were deemed to be severely inadequate for such a large opera company. Over the years, plans were put forward to build a new home for the company. Designs for a new opera house were created by various architects including Joseph Urban and Benjamin Morris. Several sites were also proposed including Columbus Circle. Rockefeller Center (as it is now known) was considered but financial troubles, coupled with the stock market crash in October 1929, put an end to this scheme.
At long last, the Upper West Side gave the Met the opportunity to build a modern opera house with the most technically advanced stages in the world. Since 1966, Lincoln Center has been home to the Metropolitan Opera, designed by Wallace K. Harrison of the firm Harrison & Abramovitz. 50 years later, this building is still captivating students from around the world.
Interested in studying the Met? Explore the vast holdings for Lincoln Center at the department of Drawings & Archives. Email email@example.com
The Douglas Darden Collection has been processed and is now available for researchers! This project was completed as a part of the Columbia Libraries Graduate Internship Program in Primary Sources by Sara McGillivray, a Master’s student in GSAPP’s CCCP Program.
Douglas Darden was an American architect based out of Denver, Colorado. He was best known for his book Condemned Building, an assembly of ten allegorical projects. The Archives’ collection contains much of Darden’s work for that book as well as the process work for his second book, Laughing Girls. It also contains a large portion of Darden’s early works and his professional papers, which lend background and context to his later work.
Born in Denver, Colorado in 1951, Darden studied ballet, before graduating with a Bachelors of English and Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1974. His background in literature and dance translate into expressive works which rely on narrative structuring. Darden also studied Industrial Design at Parsons School of Design, and received his Masters of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1983. He began work on the projects that would be later featured in Condemned Building, meanwhile, teaching at Harvard, then at the Catholic University of America, here at Columbia University, and later at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Darden’s explorations of his industrial surroundings in New Jersey influenced the atmosphere of his work. Likewise, his time as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome from (1988-9) gave him a deeper interest in the history and buildings of Rome.
Darden began teaching at the University of Colorado at Denver in 1990; it was at this time that he was diagnosed with leukemia. Darden continued to work through his illness, teaching and designing, and in 1993, Darden released Condemned Building. (Condemned Building is now out of print, but Avery Library does have a copy.) Although drawn in very detailed plan, section, and elevation, the projects in Condemned Building were unbuilt works, designed as allegorical structures only. Each project is described with a narrative akin to the acts in a play, describing the use of and circulation through each project. Darden’s process for these projects integrated visual and textual research, combining literary sources with the manipulation of graphic materials, and the Archives’ collection includes much of this work, in addition to the more well-known finished drawings featured in Darden’s book. This process work provides the researcher with an inside look into the allusions Darden tucks into each project from Duchamp, to Lequeu, to Piranesi, revealing his mischievous sense of humor.
Darden’s second book, Laughing Girls, moved further into narrative. Taking the form of a graphic architectural novel, Laughing Girls combined architectural drawing and collage with a storyline centered on three characters that moved from Troy, New York to Troy in Greece. Darden experimented with text and font, graphic images from his research and travels, and graphic elements converted from audio recordings. The Archives’ collection includes Darden’s research, studies, and drafts for Laughing Girls, however, the book was left unfinished when Darden’s leukemia returned; he passed away in April 1996.
In addition to teaching, Darden lectured and exhibited his works internationally. The Archives’ collection contains promotional material for many of these events, along with his faculty papers. The collection also includes many of Darden’s writings on architectural theory which were featured in a myriad of publications, and some which were never published, making it a valuable resource for anyone researching Darden, architectural theory, allegory, or narrative in architecture.