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Ricker News Fall 2017
Librarian's Corner
Image of Ricker Library 

Fall is always a busy time of year in the library. Ricker Library staff and librarians have been working hard to meet new students and provide them with engaging experiences in the library. We continue to re-evaluate collections and consider how to make the best use of our limited space. Additionally, we have been looking for new, useful resources for students and faculty. Here are just a couple of examples of recent additions to our databases:

Material ConneXion, which is a database that offers access to an eclectic and constantly growing collection of over 7,000 innovative materials and processes. The database is searchable by over 100 specific criteria within the categories of Processing, Sustainability, Usage, and Physical Properties. Manufacturer information and access is provided.

Building Types Online is a resource for the study and practice of architectural design.The database offers exclusive and unparalleled, highly flexible and detailed search and browse access to the contents of the Birkhäuser program on building types. All content is written and selected by internationally renowned authors in architectural design.

On your next visit to the library, please don’t hesitate to stop by my office. My door is always open and I relish the chance to hear about your experiences with the library, as well as any suggestions you might have. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Melanie E. Emerson
Head, Ricker Library of Architecture and Art


Ricker Library Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary
Ricker Library celebrates its centennial anniversary (1917 - 2017) 
Ricker Library celebrates its centennial anniversary (1917 - 2017) 

Nathan Clifford Ricker was a prominent figure in the formation of architecture education in the United States. He was the first person in the U.S. to receive a degree in Architecture in 1873, and he later went on to become a faculty member, the Dean of the College of Engineering (which included Architecture at the time), the Head of the School of Architecture, and campus architect—he designed Altgeld Hall with James McLaren White. Ricker even expanded the Dewey Decimal System classification for architecture.  

As the first student to earn a degree and one of the first faculty members at Illinois, Ricker was instrumental in building the early library collection, including his original translated volumes of important French and German treatises on architecture. These texts, along with lantern slides, photographs, and other reference materials allowed students in the Midwest to study famous examples of architecture. Upon Ricker’s retirement in 1917, the University honored him by naming the library after him.

We celebrated Ricker Library's centennial with two events on Tuesday, November 7. In the morning, we hosted a gathering for students, providing cake, refreshments, and gifts of tote bags and pencils, as well as highlights from the library's collection related to Nathan Clifford Ricker on view in the Library. 

On Tuesday evening, we held a celebration for the community, which included a reception followed by our Ricker Library Centennial Lecture: "Nathan Clifford Ricker and the University of Illinois" by Paul Kruty, Professor Emeritus of Architectural History.

Thank you to everyone who came and helped us celebrate!

NC Ricker paraphernalia

                      Students examine collection items related to Nathan Clifford Ricker

Class Visits
Picture of Architecture 101 students studying sketchbooks 
Architecture 101 students exploring the library's sketchbooks 

This fall semester, Ricker Library hosted twenty-two class visits and instruction sessions, teaching a total of 522 students about the resources available in the library. We held a library orientation for first year Architecture graduate students and provided instruction sessions for several other seminar and studio courses. During many of these sessions, we highlighted our great collection of artists' and architects' sketchbook facsimilies. Ricker library hosted four sections of the Art Foundation course Observational Drawing, where all viewed a selection of sketchbook facsimiles by artists such as Henri Tolouse Lautrec, David Hockney, and Richard Serra. Additionally, we brought all of the Architecture 101 students to the library to look at facsimiles of architects' sketchbooks.

Over the summer, we introduced a class of 5th graders from a Uni-High summer program to architects' sketchbooks facsimilies and monographs--the same that the Architecture 101 students would later view! We then facilitated an activity where these students got to create their own sketches based on the works they observed.

Ricker Library and the Arts Exchange
Picture of Fine + Applied Arts students at Ricker's Arts Exchange workshop 
Fine + Applied Arts students at Ricker's Arts Exchange workshop 

On Tuesday, October 10th, Ricker Library hosted students from across the College of Fine+Applied Arts as part of the Arts Exchange Program. The Library's workshop: Surreal Beasts and Exquisite Corpses provided the opportunity to learn about the history of exquisite corpses and surrealist artists such as Max Ernst, Andre Breton, and Lorena Carrington, as well as see some of the Library's collection of Surrealist books from the Vault Collection. After a brief overview of these materials, students had the chance to make their own exquisite corpse book filled with Surrealist inspired creatures. 

Krannert Art Museum Library Guides

Starting in Fall 2015, staff at Ricker have been creating guides for Krannert Art Museum exhibitions, which include books and reference sources related to the exhibition topic, as well as information and resources about the art and artists. Guides for current and past Krannert exhibitions can be found on our website

Recently created exhibition guides include Propositions on Revolution (Slogans for a Future), Coveting Nature: Art, Collecting, and Natural History in Early Modern Europe, Postwar Printmaking in the United States, 1945-1955, and Encounters: The Arts of Africa.

Print from Initiation à la Composition Décorative by C. Patissié, Paris: Librairie Classique F. Nathan, 1911 
Initiation à la Composition Décorative by C. Patissié, Paris: Librairie Classique F. Nathan, 1911 

Ricker Library's current exhibition, Learning to Draw: An Exhibition of Books and Manuals for Art Students is composed of three separate installations which showcase our instructional drawing books and manuals. Concepts explored include: tools and forms, design techniques, and the application of color theory. Learning How to Draw will be on display from October 15, 2017 to January 31, 2018.

Our Summer exhibition, Floral Ornamentation included late-19th Century and early 20th-Century books featuring plant patterns, floral decorative motifs and ornamental designs. These patterns and designs could be used in all of the arts, but are especially applicable to architecture and the decorative arts.



We also curate a rotating collection; every month, we craft an interesting and relevant theme, select related works, and create an eye-catching display. These rotating collections can be seen on the shelf nearest the reference desk.

The September display featured a collection of books that explore the design of school buildings and schools of artistic thought and style.

For October, we put together a collection of Halloween-themed works, with everything from eerie cemetery photography to witches in 18th century art.

In honor of Indigenous Heritage Month, Ricker Library's November collection highlighted works of art and design by North American Indigenous Peoples. This selection of books had a contemporary as well as traditional focus with artists from a variety of Native nations. 

Coming up, our December display will focus on the use of light--both in architecture and art--as a counterpoint to the gloomy winter weather. 

Notable Acquisitions

The Ricker Library generally obtains more than 3,000 new titles each year. Below are just a few examples of some of our notable acquisitions. View more of our recent additions through the library’s website.


Meine Harmonie by Joseph Sattler

Berlin: J.A. Stargardt, 1896. Joseph Sattler was a German painter, bookplate artist, and Art Nouveau illustrator. This portfolio contains 16 leaves of his etchings and aquatints, including a colorful title page, musical notations, and portraits of figures that illustrate the human condition through careful and specific color choice.



Intérieurs au Salon des Artistes Décorateurs Paris 1929 by Léon Bouchet

Paris: Moreau n.d. Intérieurs, IV. This work includes an introduction and 48 plates, including 6 color plates which show the modernist style of domestic and hotel interiors of the 1920s. Subject matter includes furniture, rugs, screens, wallpaper, mirrors, and lighting fixtures by designers such as Ruhlmann, Kohlmann, Leleu, Prou, Roux Spitz, and Sognot.


Aphorismes sur la Décoration. Nos. 1 (April 1930) through 10 (December 1931)

Paris/Boulogne-sur-Seine: Viacroze Décoration / Edmond Plan, 1930-1931. This complete run of the ten issue periodical features elegantly produced and typographically progressive content printed on heavy stock. Apart from its dynamic writing, Aphorismes contains many original woodcut illustrations on interior decoration during the interwar period.


Staatliche Bauhochschule Weimar, 1929, by Werner Gräff and Otto Bartning

Weimar: Verlag Staatliche Bauhochschule, 1929. Gräff and Barning's 52 page volume focuses on the Weimar branch of the Bauhaus School, even though it only operated in Weimar from 1919 to 1925 (later moving to Dessau and then Berlin). The text has a brief introduction on the purpose of the school followed by three short sections containing information on the construction division, model studio, and urban design; the various workshops including carpentry, weaving and dyeing, metalwork, ceramics, and bookbinding; and details on the administrative structure of the school. Profusely illustrated throughout with photographs, diagrams, floor plans, and elevations.

New Catalogues Raisonnes at Ricker
Charlotte Perriand: complete works book cover


Charlotte Perriand: complete works, Volumes 1-3

Zurrich: Scheidegger and Spiess, 2017. Complete work of Perriand (1903-1999), French designer and architect. Three volumes have been published as of 2017, with coverage up to 1968. One more volume will be published. 

Jacob Duck (c.1600–1667) Catalogue Raisonné book cover


Jacob Duck: 1600-1667: catalogue raisonné

Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2017. Catalogue raisonné of the Dutch painter; much of his work consists of genre scenes of guardrooms and brothels.

Martin Kippenberg Catalog Raisonne book cover


Martin Kippenberger: catalogue raisonné of the paintings

Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2014. Four volume catalogue raisonné of the German painter and sculptor (1953-1997). Volumes 3 and 4 have been published as of 2017. Volume 3 covers 1987-1992, and Volume 4 covers 1993-1997.

Jasper Johns Catalog Raisonne book cover


Jasper Johns : a catalogue Raisonné of the painting and sculpture, Volumes 1-5

New York: Wildenstein Plattner Institute, 2016. Long-awaited catalogue raisonné of the American painter and sculptor. Johns (1930-) is a key figure of the pop art movement. Volume 1 contains essays on his work, Volumes 2-3 detail his paintings from 1954-1970 and 1971-2014, Volume 4 is on sculpture and Volume 5 contains reference material, including bibliography, chronology, exhibition history, etc.

Mimmo Rotella: catalogue raisonne book cover


Mimmo Rotella: catalogue raisonne

Milano: Skira Editore, 2015. Rotella (1918-2006) was an Italian painter, also working in the medium of décollage. He was later a member of Nouveau Réalisme. Only Volume 1 (in 2 parts) has been published as of 2017, covering work from 1944-1961. Three additional volumes are to be published. 

Generous Donations

Thanks to the individuals who have helped Ricker Library grow:

Mr. Randall J. Biallas

Profs. Jane Block & Paul Kruty

Ms. Elizabeth B. Grob

Ms. Angela K. Gruendl

Mr. Bjørg Holte

Ms. Sharon Irish

Ms. Sharon K. Kitzmiller

Mr. Richard J. Meisinger Jr. 

Ms. Bea Nettles & Mr. Lionel Suntop

Mr. Camilo Ordonez Robayo

Prof. Ronald E. Schmitt

Ms. Olivia Skvarla in Memory of Mr. Melvyn A. Skvarla

Ms. Maria Sol Baron Pino

Mr. Michael A. West

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