Among the materials housed in the microform reading room are a variety of noted research and reference collections on microfilm and microfiche. Large sets of auction sales and exhibition catalogues, personal papers, dissertations, and rare periodicals are available. Information on each microform set can be found in Mercury; however, individual titles remain uncatalogued. Feel free to contact the reference librarian for assistance.
Collections of Note
Auction catalogues in a number of microfilm and microfiche sets supplement the library’s print holdings.
Lugt’s Art Sales Catalogues, 1600‒1900
This microfiche collection is based on the famous art historical reference work by Frits Lugt, Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques intéressant l'art ou la curiosité. More than 28,000 sales catalogues are organized chronologically. A print guide is available as well as a subscription index, Lugt’s Répertoire Online, which is accessible on site within the library.
The Knoedler Library’s Auction Catalogues on Microfiche
Composed of more than 20,000 sales catalogues, the majority from the late 19th and 20th centuries, this microfiche set provides a valuable source of information on provenance and pricing, particularly because many of the sales catalogues were annotated by Knoedler staff. Newspaper accounts frequently accompany the catalogues.
Sotheby’s London Catalogues of Sales
The 10,000 catalogues in this set record 250 years of transactions at the prestigious art auction house, divided into five chronological units covering the years 1734‒1980, each with a corresponding printed guide.
This microfilm collection allows unprecedented access to treatises, books, and pamphlets from the Fondo Cicognara of the Vatican Library. Five thousand titles on the history of art, from antiquity to the 19th century, address the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, philosophy, and literature. Each work has received full-level cataloguing and can be found in Mercury.
History of Photography Microfilm Collection
The 489-reel History of Photography Microfilm Collection is a comprehensive collection covering the history, technology, and aesthetics of photography. The set includes published works by pioneers in the field, ranging from purely technical to theoretical. The core of the collection is drawn from the holdings of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. It also encompasses materials from the extensive collections of other major libraries, including the New York Public Library and Columbia University’s Epstean Collection. The monographs and serials within History of Photography are catalogued and searchable in Mercury.
Nineteenth Century Books on Art and Architecture
Nineteenth Century Books on Art and Architecture reissues more than 2,000 titles on microfiche. Microfilmed from the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum National Art Library, this collection documents the artistic movements that defined the century. Reference works, historical surveys, instruction books, trade catalogues, artist monographs, and works of criticism are reproduced. Richly illustrated books cover the fields of architecture, painting, illustration, design, and photography. Individual titles have not received full cataloguing; however, a subscription database indexing each title is available on site from the database list.
The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books
This is an invaluable collection of 448 significant architectural books, including multiple editions of works by such renowned architects as Vitruvius, Leon Battista Alberti, Sebastiano Serlio, Andrea Palladio, Giacomo Barozzi Vignola, and Vincenzo Scamozzi. The microform set includes Laurence Hall Fowler’s collection, which was donated to The Johns Hopkins University in 1945, as well as 36 supplemental titles added to round out the collection. Fowler’s titles are arranged alphabetically.
Monday, noon to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
(except federal holidays)
For information on volunteer opportunities in the National Gallery of Art Library, please send a letter and résumé to
Reference Librarian, [email protected].