To enhance the discoverability of Photoarchive materials, the library launched a collaboration with the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information at Hunter College, City University of New York in 2014 to develop an interactive digital map that traces the movement of library staff and photographers as they traveled across the United States and recorded paintings and sculptures in private homes and little-known public collections.
Scholars celebrate photoarchives for providing access to little-known works of art housed in private collections or in circulation on the art market. A feature of photoarchives that is less often appreciated, however, is how comprehensively they document famous works of art on public view.
The story of the "overzealous" restoration of a family portrait as related by the painting's current owner illustrates how crucial this type of personal information is to the documentation of the Photoarchive.
Perhaps one third of Photoarchive reproductions are cut from publications, including catalogs, books, newspapers, and magazines. This advertisement sheet for a painting possibly by Ralph Albert Blakelock (illustrated at left) was printed in 1942. As the sheet describes, the dealer Americana Arts is offering a landscape with teepees that might or might not be a good deal:
Although most of the Photoarchive’s 1.2 million reproductions illustrate art from just eight national schools, works from an additional forty countries and regions classified “minor schools” are also represented.