Posts Tagged 'Library'

As the Page Turns

Have you ever looked up information online and discovered that what you were looking for is in a published book, but after a few clicks found out that the book is not actually available online? Perhaps this was your experience—at first it appears that the publisher has made some parts of the book available, and you start browsing it, but just when you get to the good part, the online content stops! That happens a lot with art books, which are usually the best kind of books to browse in person. Nothing can replicate the experience of holding a book in your hand, especially an art book that has a beautiful hardcover binding, sturdy paper, lovely images, and reliable information. There is also a certain thrill of discovery when you are browsing in a library of any kind, and you find out something new that you would not have known otherwise. It can make your day!

In the DMA’s Mayer Library, thanks to a team-based summer moving project, you can now browse 500 more books than before, along with literally thousands of art magazine issues dating from the 1800s up to today. In order to make the items available, new shelves were added and the staff moved almost everything to new locations—over 60,000 items from 2,241 shelves! The library adds an average of 1,500 items every year, but most of them are stored in closed stacks—that means the books are available on request; however, the good news is that as soon as the books are processed and in the online catalog, we display them in a New Books area. New titles are on view every week, so no matter when or how often you visit the library, there is always something new and exciting to discover. Within this expanded browsing area, you can also now find publications by the DMA all together right at the front of the library, along with the current exhibition catalogs. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the reading room, our reference librarian on duty will be happy to help you find it. We plan to keep adding items to our reading room selection, and your question might help us do that. We look forward to welcoming you to the library—see you soon!

Jacqueline Allen is the Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Director of Libraries at the DMA.

Rare Books

The DMA’s Mayer Library staff spent the last two months cataloging books from the Reves Library. At the start of the project, only one hundred or so books from the Reves Collection were searchable in the library’s catalog.  We knew there were important books that had not yet been entered that could significantly improve research on the collection, if only they were more accessible. Taking advantage of the temporary closure of the Reves Grand Salon and Library for refurbishment this past February, we embarked on a project to do just that.

It required removing all nine hundred and fifty art and antiquarian books from the shelves in the Reves Library, transferring them on book carts through the Museum galleries to the Mayer Library, and then, one by one, cataloging each book in the library’s database. To give you a sense of how large an endeavor this was, our two catalogers usually catalog three hundred books in the same time frame.

Reves Library after books to be cataloged were moved out.

Reves Library after books to be cataloged were moved out

Reves books in the library workroom, their home during the cataloging project.

Reves books in the library workroom, their home during the cataloging project

Most of the books in the Reves Library are art related, with an emphasis on areas in which the couple collected, including many rare gallery and exhibition catalogues. The library also contains collections of writings by Winston Churchill, translations of Emery Reves’ Anatomy of Peace, and a significant collection of antiquarian books—one of the earliest dating back to 1547, Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello, a commentary on Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta.

As the project progressed, interesting findings began to emerge that brought Wendy and Emery Reves and the history of the DMA collection to life. For example, auction catalogs annotated by Emery Reves gave us a glimpse into their collecting habits and interests. Lot 18 of this Sotheby’s catalogue from 1974 was Edouard Manet’s Portrait of Isabelle Lemonnier with a Muff, now in the DMA’s collection; however, it wasn’t Wendy and Emery Reves who purchased it. A close-up of the annotation reads “100,000 Schmit (Paris).” That is a reference to Galerie Schmit. According to the provenance for this painting, it was then acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Algur Meadows, who gifted it to the DMA in 1978.

Page of the Sotheby's catalog showing the Manet

Page of the Sotheby’s catalog showing the Manet

The keen eye of our cataloger discovered this bookplate of Paul Iribe, a French fashion illustrator and interior designer, on the last page of Spinoza’s Ethique. Iribe died in 1935 while visiting Coco Chanel at La Pausa, the French Riviera villa later owned by Wendy and Emery Reves.

Paul Iribe bookplate

Paul Iribe bookplate

With a mix of satisfaction, relief, and a tinge of sadness, the books have all been returned to the shelves of the new and improved Reves Library.

You can browse through a list of the rest of the books from the Reves Collection in the library’s online catalog.

Jenny Stone is the Librarian at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 


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