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Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

For more information or to ask a reference question, please fill out the Reference Questions form, or call 215-684-7650 or send an e-mail to .

Access to the Library is free. Visitors may request a Researcher’s Pass from the guard at the Perelman Building entrance.

Search Online: Library CatalogFinding AidsDatabases & IndexesAuction ResourcesDigital Collections

As one of the major art reference libraries in the United States, the Museum Library houses approximately 200,000 books, auction catalogues, and periodicals dating from the sixteenth century to the present. Reflecting the Museum's rich and distinctive collections, the Library's holdings focus on European, American, and Asian painting and sculpture; furniture and decorative arts; arms and armor; costume and textiles; prints, drawings, and photographs; and modern and contemporary art. The Library also subscribes to a growing collection of electronic resources, available on workstations in the Reading Room.

National Digital Stewardship Residency

The Museum, in partnership with ARLIS/NA, is implementing a National Digital Stewardship Residency program for art information professionals through generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) via a 2016 Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program grant.

The National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program fosters digital information expertise through meaningful hands-on experiences. NDSR Art supports art librarians and visual resource curators in their endeavor to provide long-term, durable access to born-digital works of art and publications, images, institutional repositories, and interactive technologies. NDSR Art enhances skills to ensure quality access, presentation, and preservation of our digital cultural heritage for twenty-first-century users and future generations. Over the course of two years, eight residents will be matched with host institutions across the country for twelve-month paid residencies.

Visit the NDSR Art website for more information.

Library Installation

One Consequence
One Consequence, 1930
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican
Block: 3 3/8 × 5 1/8 inches (8.6 × 13 cm) Sheet: 4 9/16 × 6 inches (11.6 × 15.2 cm) Mount: 9 3/8 × 6 15/16 inches (23.8 × 17.6 cm)
Gift of the American Federation of Arts, 1943
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A Revolutionary Legacy: Mexican Modernism
October 25, 2016–January 20, 2017

Mexican modernism is an art movement that was inspired by the Mexican Revolution (1910–20) and continued through the aftermath of World War II (1939–45). Artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, and Julio Castellanos sought to banish stereotypical depictions of Mexican culture. They embraced deeper, more meaningful subjects that reflected the political and social agitation they witnessed around them. In their struggle to create a unique cultural identity for their country, they sought to “paint the revolution,” an act taken as the title of a corresponding special exhibition in the Museum’s main building.

The Museum’s relationship to modern Mexican art is long and rich. Beginning in the 1930s, the Museum sought to augment its already extensive colonial Mexican art collection with works that challenged viewers’ expectations. In 1932 an exhibition of the art of Diego Rivera at the Museum’s 69th Street branch established important ties between Americans in Philadelphia and Mexico. Then in 1943 the Museum hosted another exhibition, Mexican Art Today, that proved to be immensely important and popular thanks to the efforts of Henry Clifford, the Museum’s Curator of Paintings. Clifford was one of the main proponents of modern Mexican art in the 1930s and 1940s and his efforts, along with those of colleague Carl Zigrosser, contributed significantly to the Museum’s acquisition of many of the Mexican prints, drawings, photographs, and paintings in the collection today.

The Library Reading Room, second floor, Perelman Building

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