The North Carolina Museum of Art

Research an Artist

There are several ways to use the Museum Library’s resources when doing research about a particular artist. Through a general Web search, you can discover artists’ Web sites and those of the galleries that represent them. Additional research tools include:

Getty Union List of Artist Names
Bibliography of the History of Art

These are free online tools for doing research. Other helpful resources can be accessed by visiting the Library.

Online Research Tools

By visiting the library, you can access a variety of resources for information about an artist’s life and works:

Oxford Art Online
Mutual Art Online
Getty Union List of Artist Names

Print Research Tools

The Library’s collection contains monographs on hundreds of artists. You can see which volumes are in the Library’s collection by using the online catalogue. When searching this catalogue for materials about a particular artist, you will achieve better results if you follow these tips:

  • First, click on the Advanced Search tab for more search options.
  • Enter the artist’s name in the Search box, either as a Keyword search or as a Personal Name as Subject search.
  • In the Library Location box, select Museum of Art Library.

Other sources to consult when researching an artist include:

Auction Catalogues
Davenport’s, Gordon’s, and Art Price Index are good sources for information on the value of an artist’s works and contain references to both the hammer and the premium prices of works. (The hammer price is the highest bid for which an item or lot is sold, and the premium price includes the fee paid by the buyer to the auction house and the hammer price.)

Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Useful for general reference as well as for more detailed biographical information about an artist’s life and works.

Catalogues Raisonnés
Definitive catalogues of every known work done by an artist up to the book’s publication date, written by an accepted expert on the artist. 

Artists’ Files
May contain artists’ résumés, exhibition press releases and announcements, and other ephemera. They are arranged alphabetically by artists’ last names and are especially useful for local and lesser-known artists.

Image Research Tools

Images of works by particular artists can be found in the following databases:

ARTStor This site can be accessed in the Museum Library.
CAMIO (available though NCLIVE)
TMS: The Museum System: contains images of all works of art in the Museum’s permanent collection. This database can be accessed only in the Museum Library.

Online Art Resources

Art History Resources on the Web 
One of the longest-maintained Web sites; features a comprehensive approach to the art of all world cultures.

Getty Research Institute
Resources available for searching include Provenance Research, Union List of Artist Names, and access to many collections.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
A comprehensive timeline found on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Web page. Each section of the timeline is divided geographically with an overview section, key events, works of art, and related material. The user can browse chronologically or thematically. 

Mother of All Art and Art History Links Pages
Although some of the links on these pages are geared toward students and faculty, much of the information will be of interest to the general art enthusiast, such as an international list of museums, categories of images, and other resources.
Two professors of art history videotape and record their conversations as they look at works of art. The site is arranged in a chronological timeline; the art historians discuss art from the ancient world to contemporary times. 

Local Art and Design Libraries

Sloane Art Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Harrye B. Lyons Design Library, North Carolina State University
Lilly Library, Duke University



Art Periodicals

The Library has a collection of current and back issues of several important journals related to art trends, art history, and museum studies. See featured titles

  • African Arts 
  • Apollo
  • Art Bulletin
  • ArtForum 
  • Art in America 
  • Art News
  • Art Papers
  • Burlington Magazine
  • Modern Painters
  • Museum

Ask the Librarian

Reference services are provided in person, by telephone at (919) 664-6770, or by email.