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Art: Painting: Overview

In this guide

Basics for finding information on painters and painting:

  • How to browse the book stacks for surveys, exhibition and museum catalogs, biography and other print materials in Hunt Library 
  • How to access databases for journal articles, images and other media.

Browse the stacks for books on painting and painters

ND25-3416        Painting
ND25-48           General                
ND49-813         History; artists
ND1115-1120    Study/teaching     
ND1290-1460    Special subjects     
ND1470-1625    Techniques and materials     
ND1700-2495    Watercolor painting     
ND2550-2733    Mural painting     
ND2889-3416    Illuminating of manuscripts and books   

Or search Cameo the library catalog. It lists all print and electronic holdings in the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.

Basic resources

A number of basic art surveys are shelved  in the HUNT-FA-REF section on the 4th floor of Hunt Library.


Painting today
Godfrey, Tony. Phaidon Press, 2009
HUNT-FA-REF-4 (Arts Reference Hunt 4th Floor)
ND195 .G63 2009

Museum and Gallery Collection Catalogs
Some major museum and gallery collections catalogs (such as the ones below) are shelved in the non-circulating section of the 4th floor in Hunt Library called Arts Reference. (Location: HUNT FA-REF) Many others are shelved in the circulating stacks. To search for museum and gallery collection catalogs in Cameo, The Library Catalog, search the name of a museum, gallery.

The triumph of painting : the Saatchi Gallery
Schwabsky, Barry. London :Jonathan Cape, 2005
HUNT FA-REF-4 ND458 .T75 2005 painting and sculpture : 1880 to the present at the Museum of Modern Art
Elderfield, John. New York :Museum of Modern Art, 2004
HUNT FA-REF-4 N6447 .M88 2004

search the web sites of museums, galleries and other institutions such as such as Carnegie Museum of Art or the Whitney Museum of Art etc. to access images or information about exhibitions and artists in their collections.

Exhibition Catalogs
A number of major exhibition catalogs are shelved  in the HUNT-FA-REF section on the 4th floor of Hunt Library.


2013 Carnegie International. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Museum of Art, 2013
HUNT FA-REF-4 N6487 .P57 C378 2013

Here are more examples of exhibition biennial and triennial catalogs shelved in location HUNT FA-REF-4 (4th Floor Hunt Library)

To search exhibition catalogs in Cameo, the library catalog, try using the keyword phrase:
exhibitions and painting; AND/OR limit that search by adding keyword(s) such as 21st Century


Search the web for the web sites of museums, galleries and other institutions to access images or information about their exhibitions.

Biographical Dictionaries/Encyclopedias

Pendergast, Sara and Pendergast,Tom, eds. Contemporary Artists. Chicago: St. James Press, 2002.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N6490 .C6567 2002, 2 Vols.
Focus is on known, established artists with comprehensive information. Previous editions by various editors are shelved next the most recent edition.

A monograph=books, exhibition catalogs or other writings on a single artist or topic. Look up monographs by the name of the artist in Cameo, the library catalog.

Example of an artist monograph:
Klein, Alex Barbara Kasten: Stages. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Zurich Switzerland: Institute of Contemporary Art, 2015.
HUNT OVRSZQ-4 TR647 .K37 2015



Art 21: Art in the 21st Century
Is a PBS television series/website and a series of books videos and dvds.
Search Art 21 as SERIES in Cameo, the library catalog, to get book or media locations.

Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture. Phaidon Press
A series of very thick volumes with good images of contemporary artists and information on an artist/work
Titles in the Hunt Arts Reference section (FA-REF) include Cream N6490 .C729 1998
Fresh Cream N6490 .F74 2000, Cream 3 N6490 .C742 2003 and Ice Cream N6490 .I24X 2007


One journal you may want to browse periodically is New American Paintings. You can find the current issue of the journal on the 4th floor of Hunt Library (back issues on the the 3rd floor of Hunt). Check out the following website for the annual New American Paintings Juried exhibition: American Paintings:Juried Exhibitions in Print

Article Databases
Periodical literature is one of the best ways to look for more in-depth information on just-emerging artists. Some of these databases are full-text and/or in PDF format. Note: If you don't find an article online, check the University Libraries e-journals list for alternative sources.

  • Art Source
    Focus on art and architecture; combines article databases Art Full-Text, Art Index Retrospective and Art and Architecture Complete with increased access to full-text content. International coverage including some full-text books and images.

  • ARTbibliographies Modern 1974-present
    Citations and abstracts
    Journal articles, exhibition catalogs, exhibition reviews, books, dissertations and essays in books or exhibition catalogs. Covers modern and contemporary art, art history, photography and design beginning with artists and movements in the late 19th century, and photography since it's invention in 1839.

  • Bibliography of the History of Art/Repertoire de la literature de l'art
    Citations and abstracts
    The(BHA/RILA) database contains citations and abstracts for European and American books, journal articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, exhibition catalogs and dealers' catalogs covering topics from late antiquity through the first decade of the 21st century. The database combines the records of BHA from 1990-2007 and records from The Repertoire de la litterature de l'art (RILA), one of the predecessors of BHA, covering publication years 1975-1989.

Periodicals: Interdisciplinary

  • Academic OneFile
    Scholarly and other articles in all fields.

  • ArticleFirst
    Scholarly citations in all disciplines.

  • General OneFile
    News and periodical articles both popular and scholarly.

  • LexisNexis Academic
    International news, law & business information.

  • ProQuest
    U.S. newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, dissertations and reports.

Images and Media CMU Collections

Open-access web resources (a few good ones)

Famed PBS series on visual art and artists

Artcylopedia (John Malyon, Alberta, Canada)
Free-web encyclopedia of thousands of links to artists and their work with introductory biographies for each artist. Includes a glossary and handy gateway to museum links worldwide.

Modern and Contemporary Artists and Art
Major 20th-21st century artists biographies and photo portraits, selected images of artists works. Also includes images and links via art movements or medium. Site began in 1998, based in the Netherlands and is hosted at in the United States. Partners with the for-profit sector, so expect promos and advertisements that may not be related to your search. Artists and galleries can also pay to be listed.

Google Images
You can find many images here, but the image quality will vary. Assess carefully the original source of the images/information. Is the source reliable?

You Tube
Individual artists and museums and galleries are increasingly using You Tube to broadcast information.
Assess carefully where the information is coming from when you use this resource- anyone can broadcast on You Tube.

Vimeo Art


Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian

Related research guides:

Featured New Survey

Hudson, Suzanne Perling. Painting Now. New York, New York: Thames & Hudson, 2015
HUNT OVRSZQ-4 ND195 .H83 2015

More New Books

Douglas Walla. The Essential Paul Laffoley: Works from the Boston Visionary Cell.
FA-NEWBK-4  N6537 .L335 E87 2016


Tristan Manco.  Make Your Mark: The New Urban Artists.   New York: Thames and Hudson, 2016
FA-NEWBK-4 N6497 .M36 2016


Yayoi Kusama: Give Me Love
New York : David Zwirner Books, 2016
FA-NEWBK-4 N7359 .K87 A4 2016


Martin Filler William Wegman Paintings.  New York, NY: Abrams, 2016.

HUNT- OVRSZQ-4 N6537 .W345 A4 2016