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Researching an Individual Works of Art: Specialty Sources


Special Books for Art

Catalogues Raisonnés
"All the works of an artist".  A scholar or a group of scholars documents every work of an artist's career.  Each work is pictured, with scholarly opinions, provenance (where the work has been), literature about the work, and spurious works (forgeries).  The first place to start when researching an artist or individual work. Not all artists have catalogues raisonnés.

Jacob Lawrence : the complete prints (1963-2000) : a catalogue raisonné

Seattle, Wash. : University of Washington Press, 2005.

Lilly Library    NE539.L35 A4 2005



Like a catalogue raisonné, only for a single kind of object.  Famous corpora are written for Greek pottery (Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum), stain glass windows (Corpus Vitrirarum) and Florentine altarpieces (Offner).

The image of the Black in western art.

Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press : In collaboration with the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research ; [Houston, Tex.] : Menil Collection, 2010-

N8232 .I46 2010 (4 vols) and Artstor



Some Corpora are being issued online.  This is one (through Artstor).


Permanent Holdings Catalogs (of museums)

Detailed catalogs of a period or genre of art in a particular museum.  Like a catalogue raisonné, it will contain a collection of scholar's opinion on an object, conservation reports, provenance and literature (written about it).  If you know of the location of a work of art, check for permanent holdings catalogs.


African American masters : highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Everett, Gwen.
New York : H.N. Abrams ; [Washington, D.C.] : Smithsonian American Art Museum, 200s 

Lilly Library N6538.N5 E84 2003


Subject Guide

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Lee Sorensen
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Lilly Library