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ART: Find images and biographies

An introduction to art research for University of Redlands students

This page will help you...

  • Find information about an artist
  • Find images of art online or in library books

Find artist biographies

Try a combination of web searching and library resources to find information on living artists:

  • Check for the artists' statements about themselves on blogs, exhibition websites and social media.
  • Wikipedia is an effective source of background information, but track claims back to the original source.
  • Try Nexis Uni searches to find news articles on past exhibitions of their work. (You can find news articles through web searching too, but Nexis Uni gets you past paywalls)
  • Check library databases for biographical profiles on your artist published in art journals and magazines.
  • Search the library catalog for books on your artist. Even if there isn't an entire book on your artist, they may be mentioned in a catalogue or anthology covering a broader historical period, style or geographic region. Practice your keyword searching skills (synonyms, broader and lesser terms)

For artists from the 20th century and earlier, try consulting a library encyclopedia at the start of your research. Encyclopedias summarize what is known about an artist and their work in a few pages and typically include a list of recommended readings. Encyclopedias are created through collaboration among many researchers. An experienced editor oversees the project and recruits other scholars to contribute entries in their areas of specialization.

Like other printed reference books, encyclopedias often feature high quality scholarship. However, because they are so labor intensive, they quickly become outdated.

Find images

Try a combination of physical and online searching to find images of an artist's work.

  • Many museums now offer open access to images from their collections on their websites.
  • Images from the ArtStor Digital Library are licensed for educational use.
  • Library books and ebooks often include images of art. You are responsible for using images fairly in your assignments.
  • Use a Creative Commons image search to find images licensed for noncommercial use.

Key points

  • Use a combination of web searches and library resources to find images and biographical information about artists.
  • Library books and reference books are useful sources of information. Many of these are now available electronically.