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[Your Name Here]: The Ex-Libris and Image Making


April 30 to August 17
The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
180 York Street

Also known as ex-libris, bookplates are labels pasted inside the front covers of books to indicate ownership. This exhibition explores the ex-libris through the theme of image making. Despite its small format, the bookplate is an inventive art form that inspires artists working in an encyclopedic array of graphic media. The bookplate functions as a mark of possession; however, this simple purpose belies how fervently book owners and artists consider the bookplate a vehicle for self-expression. [Your Name Here] examines both historic and modern examples of bookplates with a variety of motifs. It also uncovers how questions of authorship arise in the collaboration between artist and patron as well as in the act of collecting itself.

With an estimated one million individual bookplate specimens, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, the Yale Bookplate Collection is one of the largest such collections in the world. However, this collection is not a singular entity; rather, its holdings comprise many different collections and an assortment of documentary materials. It is a unique visual archive that forms a timeline of the history and the art of the ex-libris. Moreover, the collection serves as a significant resource for the study of bookplates as well as that of biography and histories of the book, art and design, and collecting. In addition to bookplates, the selections on view include process materials, original sketches, correspondence, publications, and other related printed ephemera.

The exhibit is curated by Molly Dotson, Bookplate Project Archivist in the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library. For more information, contact her at molly.dotson@yale.edu or at (203) 432-7074.

The exhibit will be on view until August 17. It is free and open to the public. A current Yale ID (with a prox chip) is required to enter the Haas Family Arts Library during all regular business hours. Non-Yale visitors are also welcome and can gain access to the Library through the security guard in the Loria Center entrance hall.