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How to Research Works of Art on Paper: Research Basics

Barbara Polowy, Fall 2015

General Reference Essentials

Oxford Art Online
A collection of art encyclopedias and dictionary covering every aspect of the visual arts from prehistory to the present. Entries range from excellent survey articles on major art and architecture movements; the art and architecture of countries, cultures, and regions; artistic mediums; and the life and work of individual artists. Artist entries include biographical, critical, and contextual information. Each article is supplemented by a bibliography of major secondary and primary sources. Most articles include with bibliographies and links to images on museum and other reputable Internet sites.

Books & Catalogs: Search Strategies

Subject Headings for Common Research Topics


  • [artist's name] as a subject --
    • Bibliography | Catalogues Raisonnes
      Congresses | Criticism And interpretation
      Exhibitions | Influence | Sources | Correspondence
      Themes, Motives
  • [artist's name] as an author

Exhibition documentation

  • [artist's name] -- Exhibitions
  • [topic/subject]-- Exhibitions

Art Collection Documentation

  • [museum name] -- Catalogs
  • [collector's name] --Art Collection

Library Catalogs

    Art Research Library Catalogs

    Art Periodical Articles & Other Analytics

    These databases provide access to articles, exhibition and book reviews, and reproductions published in scholarly journals, magazines, conference proceedings,  museum publications, and newspapers. Some also include books, exhibition catalogs, and other publications.

    A complete list of Smith subscriptions to art and architecture journal databases is given on the Art & Architecture Subject Resources: Articles Tab.