The Menil Archive of the Image of the Black in Western Art (IBWA) was launched by French-American art collectors, patrons and philanthropists Dominique (1908 – 1997) and John (1904 – 1973) de Menil in response to the 1960s Civil Rights movement in the US. Originally established in Paris and Houston, the IBWA represented a research project to create a collection of reference photographs of paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, decorative arts, and other objects that document the depictions of people of African descent from the 16th century BC up to the 19th-20th centuries.
The Paris version of the Archive moved to the Warburg in 1999. The IBWA collection of over 30,000 photographs taken across Europe, the United States, and North Africa as well as accompanying resources, including books, negatives, and slides, are held in the Photographic Collection. Some books from the Menil Archive can be found in the Warburg Library.
The Houston version of the Archive was transferred to Harvard in the early 1990s and is currently located at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.