The 1946 inventory taken after John Ringling's death revealed that he educated himself with books on art, interior design, and circus history, while simultaneously acquiring pieces for his intended art museum. This digital collection is a sample of his personal library.
These Ringling publications refer to works of art in the permanent collection and the history of the museum. The authors of these volumes include museum curators, librarians, conservators, researchers, and directors.
The Ringling Exhibitions, 1948-Present, is a sampling of exhibition guides and catalogs of museum-owned works. The Ringling Art Library provides these catalogs online for research purposes only.
This collection is comprised of Ringling newsletters, reports, & symposia materials ranging from 1964 to the present, that discuss new initiatives at the museum, incoming/outgoing exhibitions, new acquisitions, & permanent collections.
The Ringling Art Library is based at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The Library was founded in 1948 by Arthur Everett "Chick" Austin, the museum's first director. The foundation for the Library was a personal collection of books owned by circus magnate John Ringling. During his lifetime, Ringling amassed over 540 art history titles and about 690 sale catalogs. He used this literature to inform his decisions at art auctions, puchasing 625 Baroque and Renaissance paintings in only 6 years.
Over the years, the Library's book collection has grown to house over 60,000 books, 1,500 periodical titles, and several thousand sale catalogs. We provide our patrons open browsing stacks and a spacious reading room. Our digital resources include subject guides & bibliographies on popular Ringling topics, exhibitions, and art genres. We also provide high resolution images of our substantial rare book collection on our Flickr page. Our public hours are Monday-Friday, 1-5pm. Contact us with any art history related reference questions, and please enjoy our online collections.
The Ringling Museum Art Library
5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243