The Jacques de Caso Visual Archive and Library Collection (JCVAL)

March 5, 2017

Jacques de Caso, professor emeritus of the history of art at the University of California Berkeley, is a world-renowned specialist on 19th-century French art. He has made several precious gifts to the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa: his library collection consisting largely of rare books on 19th-century French and European art, especially sculpture; his slide collection consisting of approximately 25,000 slides (digitized and incorporated into the School’s digital image collection); and a vast digital image library of original photographs, documents, source material and bibliographical data.

This rare and priceless collection is preserved in the Jacques de Caso Seminar Room and Special Collections in the Art Library of Art Building West, an internationally recognized, award-winning building designed by Steven Holl.

There are two parts to the Jacques de Caso Visual Archive and Library (JCVAL):

1.  A collection of 25,000 original black and white photographic negatives taken approximately between 1960 and 1995 by Professor de Caso. This collection has been cataloged and will be made accessible online.

2.  A collection of 30,000 digitized images (works of art, documents, source and archival material, bibliographical data) from the mid-18th to the early 20th century found in European and American museums and private collections and institutions in the US and abroad. This collection was started around 1995 and is ongoing. It is being cataloged and will be made accessible online.

​Both collections are unmatched in scope. They include a large number of works that are preserved in public and private collections that are not generally available for scholarly research and seldom known to the public. The combined collection numbers approximately 55,000 images. They reflect Professor de Caso's published and unpublished research and his graduate seminars taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley. They include the following:

  • Public and privately owned sculpture, as well as painting and drawings, located predominantly in France and in the collections of major as well as less well-known European and American museums.
  • A wide and diverse range of specialized images used by Professor de Caso in his research and in the preparation of his graduate seminars.
  • Unpublished archival material in public and private collections. Rare early modern and modern bibliographical data.

The Office of Visual Materials in the School of Art & Art History has scanned the negatives and professionally catalogued each of the images using basic descriptive information provided largely by Professor de Caso. Entries for the images have been written by the research staff of the OVM and the repositories of the art works. The JCVAL archive was conceived by Professor de Caso and by the Office of Visual Materials in the School of Art & Art History as an open research tool, so summary identification is provided pending fuller description of the images that demand further research. The images will be made available for scholarly use but no authorization will be given for commercial use or publication.