National Gallery of Art - RESOURCES

Image Collections: Slides and Photographs

Search Image Collections

The department of image collections is a study and research center for images of Western art and architecture at the National Gallery of Art. It was formed in 2004 when two visual resources departments merged: the slide collection, begun in 1941, and the photograph collection, founded in 1943. Now combined, this resource is one of the largest of its kind, numbering almost 13 million photographs, slides, negatives, and microform images. The department of image collections serves the Gallery's staff, members of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, visiting scholars, and serious adult researchers.

The department of image collections is open to the public (except on federal holidays) by appointment from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Further Information
Image Collections
National Gallery of Art
Washington, DC 20565
Telephone: (202) 842-6026
Fax: (202) 789-3068
E-mail Us

Mailing Address
Image Collections
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

Copyright Information and Notes to Researchers

Slide Collection

detail of Jan van Eyck 
, The Annunciation  detail of René Magritte 
, La condition humaine    detail of Master of the Catholic Kings, Christ among the Doctors   detail of Francis William Edmonds, The Bashful Cousin   detail of François-Hubert Drouais, Group Portrait

The National Gallery of Art maintains a color slide collection of more than 225,000 works of art. The slide library catalog contains records for the collection and is restricted to staff use.

Manual for Classifying and Cataloging Slides (version 4.0)
(updated August 16, 2002)

The National Gallery of Art slide classification system and guide to cataloging practice is now available as an electronic document. The online manual includes specialized sections for describing Western and non-Western art and architecture as well as core chapters on slide labeling and MARC cataloguing basics. The conversion of the Slide Library Manual into an interactive and searchable document is an ongoing project. Revisions and additional chapters will be added in the near future.

Download Slide Library Manual (PDF 1.2MB)

To access PDF documents you must download Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free of charge at

Photograph Collection

detail of Lorenzo Lotto, Saint Catherine   detail of Conwy Castle, Wales   detail of Francois Boucher, A Nymph   detail of Tullio Lombardo, Warrior   Dôme Central and Fontaine Monumentale

The photograph collection is a study and research collection documenting European and American art and architecture that now contains more than 9,600,000 black-and-white photographs, negatives, and microform images of all aspects of Western art. For more information on these images see the following:

Core Collections
including Alinari, IADPC, Kress Collection,
and Munich Central Collecting Point

Collections from Scholars
including Kress Subvention Grants

Featured Photographers
and Photograph Campaign Organizers
including Brumfield, Lieberman, Reali, and Rigamonti

Dealers' Archives
including Parke Bernet and Waterman

Rare Collections
Albums and Nineteenth-Century Photographs
including International Expositions and Salons
Photographs of Artists
Reproductive Prints

History of the Photographic Archives

Research in the Collection

Special Features:
Revelations from Reproductions: Fifteenth-Century Italian Paintings
International Expositions