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Detail from The Calling of St. Matthew, ca. 1685, Luca Giordano, on display in Carroll Parlor, University Art Collection

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University Art Collection

The University Art Collection, much of which is displayed in various administrative offices around campus, is composed mostly of gifts from alumni and friends. Because it reflects manifold tastes and collecting interests, the collection is quite diverse. It includes paintings, antique furnishings, sculpture and objets d’art.

In addition, the University holds a collection of over 12,000 fine prints, housed in Lauinger Library, which are displayed in its Charles Marvin Fairchild Memorial Gallery in rotating exhibitions throughout the year. This collection emphasizes 20th-century American prints, as well as works produced in or relating to Georgetown and the greater Washington area. The result of generous gifts and some judicious acquisitions, the core of the collection was assembled by the late Joseph A. Haller, S.J., Emeritus Curator of Fine Prints, formerly the University Treasurer. The collection continues to expand under the current Curator. A searchable list of the prints and printmakers is available online. Current and past exhibitions in the Fairchild Gallery may be browsed for inventory, descriptions and images on the Exhibitions page. The collection is often used in teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses from various disciplines including English, studio art, and art history.

The paintings collection is strong in the Baroque period, 19th-century American art, portraiture, and works of religious significance. Treasured paintings by Luca Giordano, Anthony Van Dyck, James Alexander Simpson and Adolfo Müller-Ury are on permanent display in Carroll Parlor in historic Healy Hall.

Carroll Parlor (Healy Hall 107) has been put to many uses since it was completed at the turn of the 20th century by Jesuit brother Francis Schroen. Fr. Schroen designed and decorated the interior of Healy Hall, including Riggs Library, Gaston Hall and the Hirst Room (now the Bioethics Library), in addition to religious interiors in Baltimore and elsewhere along the east coast. The elaborate gilded designs on Carroll Parlor's ceiling and walls, executed entirely by hand, combine the symbols of religion and learning with neoclassical motifs and forms inspired by nature. The 20-foot-high ceiling is emblazoned with the seals of the University and the Society of Jesus, while the reliefs covering the walls employ classical symbols of the light of knowledge: the oil lamp and the flame. Below the chair rail, Schroen molded the pattern of oak and laurel leaves in a freestyle technique, without the use of stencils.

Over its lifetime, Carroll Parlor has been maintained as a traditional Victorian parlor. It has been used for receptions, such as the one for Cardinal Martinelli in 1901; formal occasions, including Jesuit funerals; and during the 1960s, advanced music students were able to practice on a Steinway piano installed in the Parlor if they made the necessary arrangements beforehand. From the 1920s it served as a museum space to display highlights from the University Art Collection. It is currently being renovated. However, you can virtually visit the Parlor and the art objects that were displayed there, from multiple perspectives, online here.

Works for which the University lacks adequate display space, as well as those too fragile to display, are in vault storage.

Visitors are welcome to view prints or other objects from the art collection and are encouraged to schedule an appointment ahead of time.

Click here for information on purchasing the Georgetown Bicentennial Suite of Prints.