University of Oregon

Art and Art History

Contact Mar Gonzalez Palacios, Art and Architecture Librarian, and subject specialist for Art and Art History, at

To find other subject specialists at the University of Oregon check our Subject Specialists page.

Starting Your Research

These reference sources may provide an overview of a specific topic, define a term or concept, provide biographical information on an artist or suggest books, articles and other materials that may be useful in your research. The entries in these resources range from brief descriptions to signed, scholarly articles.

Other Useful Guides to Art History
and related fields

Union Catalogs

  • WorldCat provides access to library catalogs from around the world. The database contains millions of bibliographic records describing books, journals, maps, musical scores, recordings, videos, manuscripts, etc.


  • Oxford Art Online is a gateway to search art reference sources including Grove Art Online, the online version of the Grove Dictionary of Art originally published in paper in 1996. This online version continues to grow with entries range from a paragraph to many pages, but all contain a bibliography and some also include images.
  • Oxford Reference is a suite of Oxford reference resources available online. You may wish to use sources listed under Art & Architecture, Performing Arts to name a few likely areas of interdisciplinary interest.  Individual titles include:



  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus
    Use this resource to brainstorm for terms to use in key word searches. One of the many problems in indexing and describing art is that there are few precise and definite terms. This resource may help you to come up with a few.
  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
    Very easy to use and very helpful, especially if you are interested in ancient art or art from non-western cultures. Entries provide basic information about the place, as well as variations and changes in place names. Authorities for names are also cited.

Biographical Sources

The directories and biographical sources listed below are all major works in which some effort to be comprehensive has been made. These are quick reference lists, leading or linking you to more detailed information.

  • Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon : Bio-bibliographischer Index A-Z = The artists of the world : Bio-bibliographical index A-Z; AAARef N40 .A62 1999
    With the Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon less than a quarter complete, the publisher has created this name authority that contains the c. 500,000 artists' names that should appear in the finished biographical work. This resource does not provide the biographical sketch that the complete reference work will, but it does provide basic information about a massive number of artists. Name, artistic occupation, date and place of birth and death, and most importantly, a bibliographic reference are included. In English. This resource, published in 1999, is less helpful for very contemporary artists.
  • the artists bluebook
    AskART provides directories to museums, dealers, auction houses and other art related organizations and services, but its true strength is the database of American artists. Type in the artist's name or browse the directory of over 27,000 American artists to find images, biographies, and references to museum holdings, books and articles, and auction records.
  • Union List of Artists' Names
    This is a searchable database of artists' names and their variations. It may help you to clarify the way an artist's name is spelled (this is especially helpful in cases of transliteration) or represented, middle names, prefixes, hyphens and all. The list also contains references to the resources cited for each artist. This directory is helpful with well known historical artists, but contains strange gaps for artists active in the later part of the twentieth century.
  • Who's Who in American Art : a biographical directory of contemporary artists, editors, critics, executives, etc.; N6536.W5
    Extremely brief entries for living American artists.


  • Artcyclopedia is a cross referenced directory to artists and museums on the web. Entries for individual artists consist of links to sites hosting images, articles and to museums with holdings by the artist. Other content includes articles, primarily by the site's developers, art news and links to museums.
  • ArtSource This gateway site provides annotated links to hundreds of internet resources on art, architecture and design.
  • World Wide Arts Resources
    This is the only comprehensive registry of art information on the world wide web. Thousands of sites are registered and organized here.

Finding Articles

To find articles or essays in journals, art magazines and sometimes in museum catalogs, you will need to start with an index. Indexes allow you to search the content of art periodicals using keywords, author's names and titles among other search strategies. Use the Find Text button in the citation entry to locate the journal online, at the UO Libraries, or to request it through Interlibrary Loan.

  • Art Full Text indexes art periodicals dating back to 1984. Art Index Retrospective, the companion database indexes art periodicals published between 1929 and 1983, where Art Full Text takes over. These indexes are strongest for English language publications, and include many smaller or more regionally oriented U.S. publications that may not be indexed in other databases.
  • ARTbibliographies Modern specialises in or the study of modern and contemporary art. Covers all art forms, including fine art, digital art, crafts, design and photography. Features full abstracts and indexing from art journals published from the late 1960s onwards.
  • Bibliography of the History of Art an important index of articles, chapters and essays on Western art, BHA provides the best coverage of foreign (primarily European) language publications.
  • Design and Applied Art Index this index, created in the UK, is ideal for searches for material on design (graphic, digital, automative, fashion, etc.) and applied arts (ceramics, weaving, and metalsmithing among others).

Finding Books & more

  • LibrarySearch accesses books and other cataloged materials owned by the UO Libraries and other libraries, as well as articles from selected databases.  Read more about Library Search and how to use it.
  • Google Books,, is especially useful in located information within books because of its full-text searching ability but it is limited in content (not all books are in Google Books!).  The books can then be obtained in the library.
  • Notable artists may have a catalogue raisonne. Catalogues raisonnes contain the complete works of an artist. In the case of a particularly prolific artist, a catalogue raisonne may be limited to a single media such as the complete paintings or the complete graphic works. Add the term "catalogue raisonne" to your keyword search on the artist's name to search for these resources.

Finding Art Images

The following resources are searchable image databases. Some of these are part of the University of Oregon Libraries' collections and some are available on the free web. For more information on locating images see the Art Image Searching guide.

  • UO Libraries Art and Architecture Image Collection created by UO Libraries staff and restricted to the UO community, this resource provides access to over 100,000 images scanned from books, periodicals, or commercially acquired.
  • ARTstor contains over a million digital images of visual material encompassing artistic and historical traditions across many time periods and cultures, including architectural drawings. The concistent high quality of the images and information accompanying them makes these a preferred source for images.
  • Google Image Search allows you to do a keyword search including the artist's name and/or title of the work of art. Keep in mind that results may vary considerably in quality and authority.
  • Art Resource is a commercial stock photo vendor specializing in fine art. As a study resource, the searchable database of 250,000 images is a valuable resource.
  • Web Gallery of Art is a searchable database of Western painting and sculpture from 1100 to 1850.

Special Topics in Art and Art History

These online resources address particular areas within the visual arts.

Art Education

  • Art Teacher on the Net is an award winning site featuring K-12 project ideas for a variety of circumstances.
  • PBS TeacherSource provides a searchable directory of lesson and curriculum guides for art educators. Guides can be downloaded as PDF files, or email PBS to receive the complete color guides by postal service.

Art History

  • Dictionary of Art Historians is a biographical dictionary of art historians. Entries for art historians are based on their presence in a growing list of major art historiographies. Searchable by name and methodology.
  • Mother of All Art History Links Pages is a metasite for online art history resources. Links to hundreds of websites of practical or research value to the art historian. From the University of Michigan.
  • Timeline of Art History Produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The timeline contextualizes art history by providing a geographical and chronological overview of key events in world history. Illustrated with works of art from the appropriate time periods and regions.

Fine Arts

  • is an online magazine (artnet Magazine: the insiders guide to the art market), a network of galleries from around the world and an index of active artists. Use the artists index to find images, galleries and biographical information about artists who are working and showing now. This may be the best online resource for contemporary, emerging and cutting edge artists.
  • Imagesite is an annotated yellowpages for organizations, individuals, supplies, schools and other products and services for fine artists.
  • PaintersStudio: resource for studio artists provides history, technique and other useful information about the broad variety of materials used in painting and drawing


  • American Association of Museums provides a wealth of helpful pages for museum professionals. The "information center" contains information about best practices, guidelines for creating a collection management policy and more.
  • Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) promotes the role of art in society and acts as an advocate for member museums by establishing high standards of professional practice and by supporting the sharing of information. The Art Museum Network is a communication project of the AAMD and is an important online resource for art museum news and information.
  • Association of Children's Museums "endeavors to expand the capacity and further the vision of children's museums around the world". The "all about ACM" page contains information about the mission of this organization.
  • The Smithsonian: Museum Studies provides links to many continuing education and training opportunities such as workshops and fellowships.
  • Museum Computer Network (MCN) is a non-profit organization supporting the use of technology to achieve the cultural and educational aims of museums. Click on "Museum Sites Online" to find an extensive list of links to museum homepages from around the world.
  • Museum Loan Network facilitates sharing and collaboration between museums and cultural institutes by funding the long-term loan of art and cultural objects. Several publications are available in their "Collection Sharing/ What's New section.

Professional Organizations

  • College Art Association. Among many services provided by the College Art Association, are advocasy for arts and humanities issues, the promotion of excellence in the teaching and criticism of art history and the visual arts, and the fostering of career development for artists, art historians and others associated with these fields.
  • National Endowment for the Arts is an independant agency of the U.S. Federal government. Their mission is to support excellence in the arts through grants for artists and art organizations.
Created by clist on Jul 17, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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