The library of the Institute of Art History was founded in 1956 by Professor George Oprescu, starting from a core of 18000 books and periodicals donated by the Romanian Academy Library. Most of the donation came from the former royal library founded by king Charles I, a bibliophile and art collector. The library endowment increased with the addition of books from various museums that had been closed down and whose collections had become part of the MNAR. An approximate 2000 volumes, in particular books on modern art, came from the Toma Stelian Museum; another book fund was obtained from the Simu Museum opened in 1910 by art collector Anastase Simu, one of Antoine Bourdelle's patrons and friends. The library later received another 6000 volumes bequeathed by George Oprescu in his will; many of these are rarities. The book collection increased over time via acquisitions, donations, exchanges and subscriptions to Romanian and Eastern-European periodicals.

The increase and diversification of library collections, particularly of the periodical collection, is mainly due to international exchanges with art universities, research institutes, and museums. Below is a list of the publications received on a regular basis from the Institute's partners in Germany, France, Italy, UK, USA, and the Netherlands:

- from Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich: books, catalogues, Kunstchronik

- from Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich: Münchener Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst

- from Berlinische Galerie - Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur: exhibition catalogues, books

- from Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum: the Arbeitshefte series; books

- from Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg: Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseum, catalogues, books

- from Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn: Bonner Jahrbücher

- from Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel: exhibition catalogues, books

- from Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Jahrbuch Preussischer Kulturbesitz and Jahresbericht SMBPK

- from Südost-Institut, Regensburg: Südost Forschungen

- from Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris: books

- from Centre d'Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale, Poitiers: Cahiers de civilization médiévale

- from Institut Byzantin du Collège de France, Bibliothèque Byzantine (Thomas Whittemore Fund): books

- from Direction des musées de France, Bibliothèques et archives des musées nationaux au Louvre: Le Petit Journal des grandes expositions and La Revue du Louvre

- from Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institut de France: Lettre de l'Académie des Beaux-Arts

- from Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art: Les Nouvelles de l'INHA

- from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon: catalogues, Bulletin des musées et monuments Lyonnais

- from Scuola Beato Angelico, Milan: Arte Cristiana

- from Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice: Saggi e memorie di Storia dell'arte

- from Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz and Jahresberichte / Forschungsberichte

- from Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza: Faenza

- from Università degli studi di Venezia Ca' Foscari: Venezia Arti

- from Centro de Estudios Historicos, Madrid: Archivo Español de Arte

- from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford: Highlights of the Annual Report

- from Blackwell Publishing: Art History

- from the National Gallery, London: The National Gallery Review, catalogues, The National Gallery Report

- from the Warburg Institute, London: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, catalogues, books

- from Institut suisse pour l'étude de l'art: Rapport annuel

- from Bibliothèque d'art et d'archéologie, Geneva: library publications

- from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Annual Report

- from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Annual Report

- from the National Gallery of Art, Washington: publications of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

- from Princeton University Art Museum: Record of the Art Museum

- from Rijksmuseum AmsterdamThe Rijksmuseum Bulletin


There are other partner institutions in Belgium, Austria, Finland, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, and Japan. Domestic partners of the library include New Europe College, Goethe Institut - Bucharest, the National Museum of Art, the Art University of Bucharest, the Institute of Archaeology and Art History in Cluj-Napoca, the Banat Museum in Timiºoara, "Nicolae Iorga" History Institute, Constanþa Museum of Art.

In 1993, the Getty Foundation awarded the institute library a 50 000 USD grant for the acquisition of books. Goethe Institut made a generous contribution of books on modern and contemporary German art. A sizeable collection of books on Japanese art was acquired from Tokyo due to a grant obtained in 2001 by the Institute librarian, Antoaneta Alexandru.