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Guide to the Prints & Drawings collection

The Prints & Drawings collection ranges in date from the late-fifteenth century to the present and comprises some 100,000 works. Holdings before the nineteenth century are relatively small and selective, including significant individual works or sets of drawings with great research potential, primarily from France and Italy, with Britain well represented in the eighteenth century.

The collection originated with Phyllis Lambert’s personal collection—which numbered about 4,000 items when the CCA was founded in 1979. The collection was mandated to assemble material reflecting the emergence of new ideas in architecture and build a diverse body of research materials, documenting the development of architectural theory and practice chronologically and geographically. The strategy was oriented towards sets of drawings, in order to reveal architectural process, and towards conceptual and design development drawings, in preference to finished presentation drawings. Both approaches privilege the architect’s thinking process.

In the late 1980s, twentieth century and contemporary materials were acquired in greater proportion. While collecting initially focussed on sets of drawings and suites of prints, larger collections and archives were also acquired during the early years, such as the 3,000 drawings contained in some 40 albums relating to the Rohault de Fleury family, several hundred engraved portraits of architects, and over 100 drawings by Pietro Bracci for buildings and monuments in Italy. The late 1980s saw the acquisition of large groups of drawings by single architects or for a single building; nearly 400 drawings by Mart Stam for Hellerhof Housing Estate, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; some 600 drawings for projects by JJP Oud; 470 drawings for the Monadnock Block; and, beginning in 1987, the first instalments of what would become the Peter Eisenman archive.

A small representative collection of drawing instruments (primarily nineteenth and twentieth century) are intended to help explain how drawings are made rather than to serve as examples of craftsmanship in their own right. With one exception models are twentieth century and are usually supported by related drawings and documents. Overall the collection has favoured conceptual and design development drawings (and models) to finished presentation drawings, the spontaneous and unmediated graphic thought process over the final representation of the proposed building.

Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

Drawings and prints for this period, from France, Germany and Italy, consist almost entirely of records of ancient monuments and designs for the orders. These include: the seven, double-sided sheets of pen and ink studies made by Il Cronaca in the late fifteeenth century which record details of buildings in Florence (Baptistry, Ss. Apostoli) and Rome (Pantheon, Arch of Septimus Severus, Basilica of Constantine), and the sketchbook of an unknown architect recording the mostly centralized ground plans of ancient monuments and the orders as derived from buildings in Rome and Tivoli, the so-called “Roman Sketchbook”, and prints by Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau, Hans Sebald Beham, and Rudolph, Johann, and Heinrich Wyssenbach. A collection of prints by Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau is being built to support the study of a remarkable modelbook of designs for the orders, and for buildings and monuments, made in ink on vellum and produced in the studio. Other notable works of this period include a presentation drawing for the façade of San Petronio, Bologna by Camillo Azzone for Andrea Palladio, and two prints by Natale Bonifacio documenting the transportation and erection of the Vatican obelisk.

Seventeenth Century

The collection holds over 200 prints and more than 500 drawings for this period, primarily from France, Germany, Holland and Italy. Subjects include records of ancient and contemporary monuments, ecclesiastical architecture, fortfications, and gardens. Notable holdings are: 96 prints from the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, an album of drawings recording architectural details and Roman monuments after originals by Pietro da Cortona, over 130 drawings and prints by Luca Danese, including topographical views, mainly castles and fortifications in central Italy, maps and architectural details, nearly 400 drawings for ecclesiastical (Jesuit) subjects by Italian and German architects (the so-called “Sandrart” collection), a drawing by Vincenzo Scamozzi for Salzburg Cathedral, a drawing by Mauro Oddi for Santa Maria della Steccata, 14 prints by Jules Hardouin Mansart for Les Invalides, an unpublished treatise on fortifications by Wilhelm Dilich, an album of prints by Langlois/Perelle and individual prints by Hans Vriedeman de Vries for garden design. There are about 300 unattributed drawings in the collection for this period, many contained in the “Sandrart” collection.

Eighteenth Century

The collection has great strength for this period with remarkable individual works and significant holdings for particular subject areas from France, Great Britain and Italy. For France and Italy representation of drawings and prints related to ornament, capricci, stage design and views is particularly strong. There is considerable material concerning education and theory for Great Britain and France. Architectural practice is well represented for France, Great Britain and Italy. There are some 200 unattributed drawings in the collection for this period.

Nineteenth Century

The collection has great strength in the nineteenth century in France and Great Britain. There are smaller holdings of significant work for Belgium (Albert Ballat), Canada, Denmark (Christian Frederick Hansen), Germany (Karl Friedrich Schinkel), Italy (Ernesto + Giovanni Battista Filippo Basile, Guiseppe Mengoni, Luigi Rossini), Russia (Ivan Iossitovitch Bauman + Karl Ivanovitch Rossi), Sweden (Albert Barnekow), and the United States (Burnham & Root; McKim, Mead & White). Important subject areas include education (especially for France), travel sketches, notebooks and journals, domestic architecture, ecclesiastical architecture, theatre architecture, engineering (bridge design), and the Neo-Gothic. The collection holds nearly 500 drawings, the complete surviving record, for the Monadnock Building, Chicago by Burnham & Root, with many early design drawings in John Wellborn Root’s own hand.

Twentieth Century

The collection has extensive holdings for France, Germany, Netherlands, United States, and USSR with important material for Austria (Josef Franz Maria Hoffman, Frederick Kiesler, 1 drawing for the Endless House), Canada (John Macintosh Lyle), Czechoslovakia (Vlastislav Hofmann), Great Britain (Mackay Hugh Baillie-Scott, Cecil Eve, Henry Hyams), Italy (Virgilio Marchi, Alberto Sartoris), and Sweden (86 drawings by Erik Gunnar Asplund for Woodland Chapel, Cemetery and Crematorium; Lister County Courthouse, Solvesborg; Gustav Adolf Square, Lawcourts Annex and Karl Johan School, Goteborg). There are particularly strong holdings for the work of Le Corbusier, Die gläserne Kette (Crystal Chain), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, J.J.P. Oud, Mart Stam, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The collection also holds over 300 photographs showing buildings under construction by Oscar Niemeyer and Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Related holdings in the Archives Collection include the archives of Wells Coates, Paul Cret (Pan American Union Building), and Maxwell Levinson (Shelter and T-Square journals).

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