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Art Basic Reference: Overview

In this research guide....

This "quick" list provides a glimpse of suggested reference works and web sites that can be used to begin art research. Arts reference works (but not all) are generally located in the non-circulating Arts Reference area (HUNT FA-REF-4) so that the art researcher can gain quick access to basic information on a particular topic.

Choose individual tabs above for:




Surveys 20th Century

Surveys Post-1940

Artist Biographies


Art Theory and Criticism


These resources are commonly used to:

  • identify an artist or topic
  • get an overview of an artist or topic
  • help focus a broad topic
  • formulate keywords and concepts for database searching
  • find definitions of key words and concepts
  • learn about more in-depth resources on a topic


Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian


Smithsonian Art and Artists' File Database