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History of Art & Design: Conducting Research

This guide will help to research works in visual arts and design.

Finding Information on Artists and Designers

To find information on artists and designers, use both print and electronic resources. Check various spelling of artist’s name by searching the Union List of Artists Names (ULAN). It also provides some basic biographical data.

Dictionaries, encyclopedias and general histories of art can be a good starting point. They contain brief authoritative information and often some bibliographic citations. They also can help to put a particular artist or a designer, a group of artists or a design firm into historical and cultural context. These resources can be found by searching the online catalog: use subject phrases: "art--dictionaries" or "art--dictionaries and encyclopedias". You can also simply browse our reference section: (aisles 1 and 2 in the Littman Library). The page "Books" in this guide will list more specific titles in this category.

"Grove Dictionary of Art" or its on-line version in "Oxford Art Online" can be an excellent source of information on artists, designers, styles, time periods, and movements.

Monographs will offer the most complete information; exhibition catalogues or catalogues of various museum collections can provide both information and images of works. Also a series of compilations of artists works "Art Now" (3 volumes), "Design Now" and some other similar publications will provide brief essays on contemporary artists and designers.

Very often periodical articles are the only source available, especially when you are looking for information on emerging designers. To locate articles, search databases listed on page "Articles". They will provide citations and often full text articles (check each database for full-text coverage).

Personal websites of contemporary artists and designers can also provide valuable and unique information. Specialized information portals, sites of auction catalogs, museums, galleries, or individual exhibits and shows can be used as sources of both data and images. E-journals and specialized blogs, some of which are listed in this guide under "Web Resources" can be used as supplement materials.

Materials & Techniques

More titles can be found by searching online catalog. Use subject terms "Art--Technique" and "Artists' materials"

Information on Periods, Styles, Schools & Movements

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History offers a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of visual arts.

Find listed below a few books on  styles, movements , various cultures and periods in the history of art are. More titles can be located by searching online catalog  - use  such subject terms as "Art movements", "Art movements-- history","Romanticism in art","Baroque", "Futurism","Art, Chinese", etc.


Subject Guide


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