Art Properties

Art Properties

Art Properties oversees the art collection owned by Columbia University. The collection comprises more than 13,000 works of art in all media, reflects nearly all cultures and time periods, and has been built up over two centuries primarily through gifts and bequests. The mission of the University art collection is to support educational programs, curricular integration, and research and study. Students, faculty, and outside scholars may make appointments to view and study most works from the collection with advance notice. Art work is displayed in selective locations on each campus and held in storage. Art Properties has a robust exhibition program, lending art both domestically and internationally, and photographic reproductions of art from the collection may be available for publication.

1_C00_1308_dp3456-78_GreyEDIT_postconservation Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661), Portrait of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665), 1626, oil on panel, Gift of the Estate of Dr. Jerome Webster (Professor Emeritus of Clinical Surgery) to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (C00.1308), Photo: Juan Trujillo
2_C00_1483_302 Maker unknown, Inupiat people of Northwest Alaska, Wolf Dance: The Transformation of the Eagles into Wolves, 1890s, pencil, brown and red ink, and wash on paper, The Bush Collection of Religion and Culture (C00.1483.302)
3_C00_837_view2 Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), Cranes Rising, 1934, bronze, Gift of the artist (C00.0837), Photo: Mark Ostrader
4_C00_1371_Avery_AP_4212_001 Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922), The Enchanted Mesa, 1913, oil on canvas, Transferred from the Women's Faculty Club (C00.1371)
5_S3814 Maker unknown, China, Altarpiece with Pensive Figure of a Bodhisattva, 556, Northern Qi dynasty (550-577), marble with traces of limestone, Arthur M. Sackler Collections (S3814)
6_C00_1580_92 Martin M. Lawrence (1808-1859), Portrait of James Watson Webb (1802-1884), 1850-51, mammoth-plate daguerreotype, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection (C00.1580.92)
7_1967_23_13 Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944), Self-Portrait with Paradise Birds (Self-Portrait in Front of Chinese Screen), no date (ca. 1905), oil on canvas, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer (1967.23.013)

Image Credits:

All works in Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York


Highlights from the collection include:

  • public outdoor sculpture with works by Auguste Rodin, Daniel Chester French, Henry Moore, Clement Meadmore, and others;
  • over 2,500 oil paintings, including hundreds of portraits of Columbia administrators and faculty since the eighteenth century, and the largest repository of art work by Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944);
  • about 2,000 works of fine art photography from daguerreotypes to digital prints, including significant holdings of nineteenth-century American photography, and works by photographers such as Mike Disfarmer, Donna Ferrato, Larry Fink, Ralph Gibson, Leon Levinstein, Helen Levitt, Aubrey Mayer, Arthur Rothstein, Andy Warhol, and Garry Winogrand;
  • thousands of works on paper (drawings, watercolors, prints);
  • nearly 500 works of art and cultural heritage objects made by American Indian and Native Alaskan tribal communities;
  • archaeological collections from ancient Rome, Etruria, and the Aegean, excavated and brought to the University by alumni-professors George N. Olcott (1869-1912) and Clarence H. Young (1866-1957);
  • the Arthur M. Sackler Collection donated between the years 1964 and 1972 of over 2,500 ancient Near Eastern and East Asian art works and cultural heritage objects, including Buddhist sculpture in stone, bronze, and polychrome wood, and decorative arts and archaeological artifacts from India, China, Japan, and Korea; and
  • hundreds of sculptures and decorative arts (ceramics, tapestries, furniture) from around the globe.

Works from the art collections are available for research and study, curricular use, and educational programs, and also may be requested as external loans for special exhibitions. A small selection of works from the collection are available for on-campus installation in selected Columbia University department and staff offices.  

To learn more about Art Properties and aspects of the University art collection, please see these articles and blog posts:

Collection Resources



Consulting the Collection

Art Properties is committed to consultations with American Indian and Native Alaskan tribal nations as part of its mission to maintain professional standards of ethical stewardship for the University collections. This includes proactively fulfilling the requirements of the federal government’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). For more information, consult our Native American Art & Cultural Heritage Objects webpage.

For all inquiries and communications regarding Art Properties collections, see our contact information below.


Avery Library

Monday – Friday, 1:00 - 4:00 PM for research appointments


Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator
Lillian Vargas, Administrative Assistant
Eric Reisenger, Art Handler