The Department of Image Collections (National Gallery of Art, Library) has contributed approximately 3,900 images from the Clarence Ward Archive to the Artstor Digital Library. The selection focuses on Romanesque and Gothic architecture in France, as well as American architecture from the Colonial period to the early 20th century.

The Clarence Ward Archive holds material on both French Medieval and American architecture, consisting of thousands of large-format nitrate negatives, the product of photographic campaigns undertaken by Clarence Ward (1884-1973) during the 1920s and 1930s, with the assistance of Arthur Princehorn (1904-2001), staff photographer at Oberlin College. Ward was a distinguished professor of art history at Oberlin, as well as the founder of the college’s Art Library and the first director of the campus museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum. Ward was also a practicing architect, who designed a number of buildings in the Oberlin community. Since he conducted his French campaigns during the early part of the 20th century, the resulting photographs provide vital documentation of many structures that were subsequently damaged during World War II. Indeed, according to Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art History at Duke University, “The Clarence Ward archive of photographs of medieval buildings is an immensely important source for high quality images of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. To many students and scholars, these photographs will already be familiar from Jean Bony’s book on Gothic Architecture in France. Clarence Ward looked at, and photographed, buildings with the eye of an architectural historian, so that his pictures are especially valuable for the history of construction technique and architectural design. Moreover, a good proportion of the photographs were taken before the destruction wrought by World War II.”

The Department of Image Collections (National Gallery of Art, Library) is a study and research center for images of Western art and architecture with collections of over 15 million photographs, slides, negatives, microforms, and digital images. The department serves the Gallery’s staff, members of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, visiting scholars, and researchers. The Foto Reali Archive, also from the Department of Image Collections, is available in Artstor as well.