Russian fine art book collection at Stanford University Libraries


Stanford's Russian art collection is housed in several locations: in the Green Library stacks, in the Art Library, in Special Collections, in SAL, in SAL3, and at the Hoover Institution Library. The Hoover component is not cataloged online yet, but it can be accessed through a card file in the Hoover Library Reference Room. The Hoover collection was acquired mainly by Professor Frank A. Golder during his travels to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and represents pre-revolutionary, often rare, materials. A significant portion of it is duplicated in Green Library. The  comments below apply to all print resources available at Stanford, regardless of their location. They offer a general impression of the collection by exemplifying categories of materials rather than providing a list or following an outline of the history of art.

This description was prepared by Valentina Fedorova, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Wojciech Zalewski, Curator for Slavic & East European Collections (now Curator Emeritus) in the 1990s. Karen Rondestvedt, Wojciech's successor, edited and updated it slightly in 2015.

Reference works

There is a solid collection of iconographic materials. Among the older works are: F.I. Bulgakov, N.P. Sobko, Slovar' russkikh khudozhnikov (1893- 3 vols).; S. N. Kondakov, Iubileinyi spravochnik Imperatorskoi Akademii khudozhestv, 1764-1914
(1914-15); A.I. Uspenskii, Slovar' khudozhnikov, v XVIII viekie pisavshikh v imperatorskikh dvortsakh (1913); N.N. Vrangel', Sto russkikh dieiatelei iskusstva (Parizh, 1910?), and the series Russkie khudozhniki.

More focused works are those by D. Rovinskii, among which are his works on engraved portraits (several editions and a supplement by A. Obol'ianov (1913)) and folk cards (kartinki); V. Adariukov, Slovar' russkikh litografirovannykh portretov (1916); A.V. Morozov, Katalog moego sobraniia russkikh gravirovanykh i litografirovannykh portretov (1912-13); Russkie portrety XVIII i XIX vieka, published by Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich (1905-1909, 5 vols.); V. Durasov, Gerbovnik vserosiiskago dvorianstva (1906, (Hoover)); works by A.I. Somov, N.P. Kondakov and others; and the monographic series Sobranie illiustrirovannykh monografii, published by Knebel', with contributions by major art historians.

Among more recent publications are the unfinished Khudozhniki narodov SSSR: biobibliograficheskii slovar', edited by T.N. Gorina, compiled on the basis of O.E. Vol'tsenburg's files (Moskva, 1970- ), planned in 6 vols., 4 vols. published as of 2015; J. Milner, A Dictionary of Russian and Soviet artists, 1420-1970 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1993); D.IA. Severiukhin and O.L. Leikind, Khudozhniki russkoi emigratsii, 1917-1941 (Sankt-Peterburg, 1994); the same authors' earlier Khudozhniki Rossii za rubezhom: bio-bibliograficheskii slovar' (Leningrad, 1986- ); A.V. Tol'stoi, Khudozhniki russkoi emigratsii: Istanbul, Beograd, Praha, Berlin, Paris (Moskva, 2005); and the more specialized G.K. Burova et al., Tovarishchestvo peredvizhnykh khudozhestvennykh vystavok (Moskva, 1952, 2 vols.), which contains not only catalogs and guides to museums but also biographical data about the artists. Iubileinyi katalog-spravochnik Akademii khudozhestv SSSR (1957) has short biographies of artists/academicians of the Soviet period. Biographies of artists were also published in the series Zhivopis', skul'ptura, grafika: monografii (1953- ); Russkaia grafika (1949-52); Mastera sovetskogo iskusstva (1948-54); and others.


The collection encompasses all the important pre-revolutionary Russian art journals in original format: Mir iskusstva (1899-1901); Zolotoe runo (1906-1909); Iskusstvo v iuzhnoi Rossii (1913-1914); Iskusstvo i pechatnoe dielo (1909-1910); Khudozhestvennyia sokrovishcha Rossii (1901-1907); Iskusstvo i khudozhestvennaia promyshlennost' (1898-1900); Apollon (1909-1917); and Starye gody (1907-1916). The journals contain research by scholars from the beginning of the 20th century, including K. Somov, A. Benois, M. Dobuzhinskii, V. Serov, L. Bakst, and others. Also present in the collection is the emigre publication Zhar-ptitsa (1921-1926). Hoover holds Stolitsa i usad'ba (1913-1917) and Sofiia: zhurnal iskusstva i literatury (1914). For the Soviet period there are Russkoe iskusstvo (1923); Iskusstvo (1923-28); and all the important journals published in the Soviet Union and Russia, including microforms of the majority of the journals listed in K.D. Muratova, Periodika po literature i iskusstvu za gody revoliutsii, 1917-1932 (1933).


In addition to journals, collections of research papers (sbomiki, trudy) by major research centers should be mentioned. These include: the Tretiakov Gallery, the Ermitazh Museum, the Russian Museum, the Institute for the History of Art in Moscow, and the Scientific Institute of the Academy of Arts. The series, containing contributions by prominent Russian art historians, discuss the arts not only of Russia but also of other regions of the former Soviet Union, e.g., Georgia, Ukraine, Mordovia, Tatarstan, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. There are also collections of articles issued by other publishers: Muzei; Voprosy iskusstvoznaniia; Sovetskaia zhivopis'; and Pamiatniki Otechestva.

Holdings of monographic series for the Soviet period are quite rich. Here could be listed Biblioteka iskusstvoznaniia; Mastera iskusstva ob iskusstve; Mastera sovetskogo iskusstva; Mastera russkogo iskusstva; and Mastera sovetskogo khnizhnogo iskusstva. Pre-revolutionary series in the collection are Khudozhestvennyia sokrovishcha Rossii and Kul'turnyia sokrovishcha Rossii (1912-1919), with holdings of the latter spread between the Green Library and Hoover.

Monographic works

The collection holds key histories of Russian art. Among them are works by I.E. Grabar' (both the pre-revolutionary edition (6 vols., 1910-1914), and the Academy of Sciences edition (13 vols., 1953-1969)). They are held in Hoover as well. Additional key histories in the collection: A. Benois, Materialy dlia istorii iskusstva v Rossii (1910), in Hoover; and A. Uspenskii, Ocherki po istorii russkago iskusstva (1910). There are many surveys, some in series, dealing with various periods, including medieval Russia, the time of Peter the Great, art of the 1905 revolution, avantgarde, modernism, the Soviet Revolution, and various periods in Soviet history. Artistic schools are well-represented. There are histories of institutions such as the Academy of Arts, e.g., Sbornik materialov dlia istorii Imperatorskoi S.-Peterburgskoi akademii khudozhestv za sto liet eia sushchestvovaniia (1864-66, 3 vols).

Most works by prominent Russian and Soviet art historians and critics can be found in the SUL collections. Among the pre-revolutionary scholars cited should be of N.N. Vrangel, N.E. Makarenko (rare among his works is Shkola Imperatorskago obshchestva pooshchreniia khudozhestv (1914, at Hoover), V.V. Stasov, A. Benois (Benua), E.F. Golerbakh, and A.A. Fedorov-Davydov.

Major published memoirs (A. Benois, V.A. Favorskii, V.S. Serova, A.A. Rylov, A.N. Samokvasov, and others) and correspondence of artists (I.E. Grabar, I.N. Kramskoi, I.E. Repin, V. Serov, V.I. Surikov, and many others) are at Stanford. The history of Russian art is also illustrated on a CD-ROM: Treasures of Russia = Sokrovishcha Rossii (1995).

Catalogs of collections

There are catalogs of the major Russian museums of St. Petersburg, e.g., the Ermitazh, including a CD-ROM on this museum; the State Russian Museum; and the Shtiglits Museum (Muzei barona Shtiglitsa, 1994); as well as of Moscow, e.g., the Tretiakov Gallery, the Academy of Arts, the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, the Kremlin Armory (Oruzheinaia palata), and catalogs of some regional museums. Some fine pre-revolutionary catalogs are, for example, several catalogs by N.N. Vrangel; A.V. Morozov, Katalog moego sobraniia russkikh gravirovannykh i litografirovannykh portretov (4 vols. plus supplement, 1912-1913); and Kollektsiia M.P. Botkina (1911, at Hoover). An interesting type of catalog is (rare) works by the Komissia po okhrane pamiatnikov i stariny: Opis ikon Troitse-Sergievoi lavry do XVIII veka i naibolee tipichnykh XVIII i XIX vekov (1920); and Opis' krestov Troitse-Sergievoi lavry do XIX veka i naibolee tipichnykh XIX veka (1921).


Exhibition catalogs

Exhibition catalogs are not held in a separate collection. You can find them using SUL's online catalog, SearchWorks. A subject search there using the words "Russia exhibitions" (without the quotes) reveals several pre-revolutionary catalogs, Russian art exhibitions that took place in the West, catalogs of some exhibitions from the Soviet period and a significant number from exhibits that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union. A subject search with the words "Soviet Union exhibitions" (again, without quotes) produces Soviet and Western exhibitions, of which some relate to the arts. The following are a few examples of older catalogs in the collection: S.-Peterburgskoe Obshchestvo Khudozhnikov, Illiustrirovannyi katalog 2-i narodnoi vystavki kartin v S.-Peterburgie (1901); Katalog vystavki kartin "Mir iskusstva" (1913); N. Makarenko, Vystavka tserkovnoi stariny v Muzee barona Shtiglitsa (1915); N.V. Solovev, Pridvornaia zhizn' 1613-1913: koronatsii, feierverki, dvortsy: vystavka graviur i risunkov: [katalog vystavki] (1913); N.P. Sobko, Illiustrirovannyi katalog skul'pturnoi vystavki...i kratkie biograficheskie ocherki khudozhnikov (1886); and Al'bum dvadtsatipiatilietiia peredvizhnykh khudozhestvennykh vystavok 1872-1897 (1900, at Hoover).

For the Soviet period only major exhibition catalogs were collected. Two examples: Desiataia vystavka AKhRR, pri uchastii khudozhnikov drugikh ob"edinenii, posviashchennaia desiatiletiiu Raboche-Krestianskoi Krasnoi Armii (Moskva: Izd-vo AKhRR, 1928); and Khudozhniki RSFSR za XV let, 1917-1932: katalog vystavki (Moskva, 1933).


Stanford has been systematically acquiring albums of scholarly quality for many years. They cover all aspects of fine arts soundly, especially in regard to albums published after World War II. Earlier albums have also been acquired. A number of them, now held at Hoover, were brought to Stanford by Professor Frank A. Golder in the 1920s. While the Soviet publishing period is well-represented, it is the pre-revolutionary fine art albums that are indicative of the scope and depth of Stanford's holdings. Some of the ones listed below are art albums, others are reproductions of artistic representations or drawings, or engravings by themselves. Examples: Koronatsionnyi sbornik (2 vols., 1899: coronation of Nicholas II, illustrated by prominent Russian artists of the time); several fine albums by I.N. Bozherianov; I.M. Snegirev, Uspenskii sobor v Moskvie (1856); V.M. Vasnetsov, Russkiia poslovitsy i pogovorki v risunkakh V.M. Vasnetsova i v literaturie nashikh pisatelei (2nd ed., [1915?]); L. de Saint-Aubin, Tridtsat' deviat' portretov, 1808-1815 g. (1902); D.A. Rovinskii, Obozrienie ikonopisaniia v Rossii do kontsa XVII vieka: opisanie feierverkov illiuminatsii 1674-1891 gg. (1903); A. Meyerberg, A'bom Meierberga: vidy i bytovyia kartiny Rossii XVII vieka (1903, Ob"iasitel'nyia primiechaniia k risunkam sostavleny F. Adelungom); Russkie portrety XVIII i XIX stolietii (5 vols., 1905-1909); and 100 kartin sovremennykh russkikh khudozhnikov (10 vols., 1905).

Hoover holds such albums as Rossiia v kartinkakh po stolietiiam (155 plates); V.M. Glinka, Voennaia galereia Zimnego dvortsa: k iubileiu Otechestvennoi voiny 1812 goda (1963); P.P. Petrov, Al’bom 200-lietniago iubileia Petra Velikago (1872); Dvor Imperatritsy Ekateriny II: eia sotrudniki i priblizhennye: sto vosemdesiat' deviat' siluetov (2 vols., 1899); and G.G. Gagarin, Risunki i nabroski s natury (1902). Unique is the work Kniga ob Olegie (1915, with the only contemporary portrait of Grand Prince Oleg Konstantinovich Romanov by V.V. Mate in etching).

Stanford acquires facsimile editions extensively. Examples: Ostromirovo evangelie; Arkhangel'skoe evangelie; Radzivillovskaia letopis'.

Specific subjects

The descriptions below single out a few areas of fine arts to provide a brief orientation to Stanford's holdings.


For histories of Russian painting see histories of art, above. A search in SearchWorks under the subjects "Painting Russia history" and "Painting Soviet Union history: (without quotes) will reveal several important works on the history of Russian painting and specific aspects of it.

Monographic works on individual painters reflect all trends and schools, beginning with icon painters and ending with contemporary painters. For early art, we should mention several works by N.P. Kondakov; G. Gagarin, Recueil d’ornements byzantins et russes anciens = Sobranie vizantiiskikh i drevnerusskikh ornamentov (1897); works on Feofan Grek and A. Rublev; such artist-academicians as K.P. Briullov and Aleksandr Andreevich Ivanov; the Itinerants (peredvizhniki), including Repin, Surikov, Shishkin, Aivazovskii, and Kramskoi, including catalogs of their expositions; artists related to the journal Mir iskusstva; many works on M. Vrubel' (including the rare edition Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel', Moskva, Otdel pechati Moskovskogo soveta R. i K.D., 1919); such avantgarde artists as Chagall, Kandinskii, Malevich, Gabo, Kravchenko, Rodchenko, and Tatlin; and representatives of Soviet underground art of the 1960s and 1970s like Rabin, Kropivnitskii, Chemiakin, and Krasnopevtsev.

Catalogs and albums on schools of painting as well as individual painters are also available.

Graphic arts

As mentioned above, newer works are quite extensively represented in the collection. Older titles include works by the above mentioned D.A. Rovinskii with N. Obol'ianinov; V. Adariukov, Ocherk po istorii litografii v Rossii (1912); and V.A. Vereshchagin, Russkaia karikatura (1911-1913, 3 vols).

Book art

The collection includes a good representation on history of the book, including book art--encompassing drawing, engraving and illustration. Among the more interesting works are V.A. Vereshchagin, Russkiia illiustrirovannyia izdaniia XVIII i XIX stolietii (1898) and P.K. Simoni, Opyt sbornika sviedieniia po istorii i tekhnikie knigoperepletnago khudozhestva na Rusi s XI po XVIII v. (1903). Hoover holds V. Timm, Russkii khudozhestvennyi listok (1851-1862, 12 vyp.) and A.A. Bobrinskoi, Kievskiia miniatiury XI vieka (1902) on early illustrated church books. For the Soviet period but still within the pre-Soviet tradition is A.A. Sidorov, Russkaia grafika nachala XX veka (1969). Monographs about artist-illustrators present in the collection are, for example, works on Serov, Bilibin, Kibrik, Pakhomov, Kukryniksy and Deni. There are also memoirs by D.V. Ul'ianinskii (Sredi knig i ikh druzei, 1903), D.A. Shmarinov, A. Pistunova, M. Chegodaeva and others.

Stanford has had an interest in hand-made artist's books for many years. Particularly noteworthy is a collection of works by St. Petersburg artist Mikhail Karasik, covering publications by him published from 1988 to 2012. Karasik continues the tradition of Russian hand-made books of the 1920s. There are also works by such fine publishers as A. Sevastianov and S.A. Nitochkin. Stanford also holds a selection of Russian emigre books with illustrations by Belkin, Goncharova, Larionov and Burliuk.


The history of Russian architecture is represented by works of major Russian scholars such as I. Grabar'; G.K. Lukomskii, Russkaia starina: arkhitektura i prikladnoe iskusstvo (1923) and his many works on Russian cities; M. Krasovskii; A.V. Ikonnikov, Tysiacha let russkoi arkhitektury (1990); and Russkoe zodchestvo (7 vols., 1953-1957). Various periods are covered in such works as N.N. Voronin, Zodchestvo severo-vostochnoi Rusi XII-XV vekov (2 vols., 1961-1962) and Drevnerusskoe gradostroitel'stvo X-XV vekov (1993). Other periods of Russian architecture are also well covered.

In the field of types of architectural forms there is ample literature on church architecture. Recent works include P.G. Palamarchuk, Sorok sorokov: al'bom-ukazatel' vsekh moskovskikh tserkvei (Paris, 1988-1990, 4 vols.); its Russian edition, Sorok sorokov: kratkaia illiustrirovannaia istoriia vsekh moskovskikh tserkvei (Moskva, 1992-  4 vols. ); works by V.K. Vagner, and others. There are significant monographs on the architecture of Russian cities, especially the major ones as well as historical cities such as the "Golden Circle" (zolotoe kol'tso). There is a solid collection of pre- and post revolutionary works on imperial palaces both in and around Moscow (S.P. Bartenev, Moskovskii kreml' v starinu i teper' (1912-1916, 2 vols.)), and in St. Petersburg. Architecture of non-Russian areas was not neglected, e.g., F.F.  Gornostaev, Dvortsy i tserkvi Iuga (1914), on Ukraine.

Also noteworthy is the 5-disk I.F. Barshchevsky, photographer of the Imperial Archaeological Society: complete collection of photographs, 1882-1896, from the Moscow Museum of Architecture (Wilmington, DE: Russian Images, Inc., 1995), containing over 2000 images of architecture and art objects of Imperial Russia.

It is reasonably safe to conclude that the Russian art collection at Stanford is capable of supporting advanced research in Russian fine arts.