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.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, many of the usual services offered by Art Properties, including the on-campus loan program, may not be available. Research appointments are restricted to Columbia University affiliates and require advance notice. Visitor and alumni access remains suspended until further notice. Please contact Art Properties for more information.


Image Credits:

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

Top to bottom:

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

Wolf Dance: The Transformation of the Eagles into Wolves
, Inupiat people of Northwest Alaska, 1890s, pencil, brown and red ink, and wash on paper, The Bush Collection of Religion and Culture (C00.1483.302)

Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), Cranes Rising, 1934, bronze, Gift of the artist (C00.837), Photo: Mark Ostrader

Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922), The Enchanted Mesa, 1913, oil on canvas, Transferred from the Women's Faculty Club (C00.1371)

Altarpiece with Pensive Figure of a Bodhisattva
, from China, dated 556, Northern Qi dynasty (550-577), marble with traces of limestone, Sackler Collections (S3814)

Martin M. Lawrence (1808-1859), Portrait of James Watson Webb (1802-1884), 1850-51, daguerreotype, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection (C00.1580.92)

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 (1967.23.13)


Highlights from the collection include:

  • public outdoor sculpture with works by Auguste Rodin, Daniel Chester French, Henry Moore, Clement Meadmore, and others
  • over 2,000 paintings, including hundreds of portraits of Columbia administrators and faculty since the eighteenth century, and the largest repository of paintings 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, Ralph Gibson, Leon Levinstein, Helen Levitt, Aubrey Mayer, Arthur Rothstein, Andy Warhol, and Garry Winogrand.
  • the Sackler Collection of over 2,500 Ancient Near Eastern and Asian art works, including Buddhist sculpture in stone, bronze, and polychrome wood, and decorative arts and archaeological artifacts from India, China, Japan, and Korea.
  • thousands of works on paper (drawings, watercolors, prints)
  • hundreds of sculptures and decorative arts (ceramics, tapestries, furniture) from around the globe

Works from the art collections are available for research consultation and curricular use, and also may be requested as external loans for special exhibitions and for on-campus installation in selected  Columbia University department and staff offices. Art Properties also is responsible for the permanent installation of Chinese art in the Sackler Gallery, Low Library 207 (Faculty Room), and for coordinating the rotating exhibitions in the Rotunda of Low Library.

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

Art Properties on the Avery Library blog

ArtDaily Newsletter

Columbia Magazine

Columbia News

The New York Times

Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

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 all inquiries and communications regarding Art Properties collections, including NAGPRA and our Indigenous collections, see contact information below.


Avery Library

By appointment only: Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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