Art and the History of Art Research Guide

A note on searching for exhibition catalogs:
Almost all Five College Library catalog records for exhibition catalogs contain the word "exhibitions," either as a subject term, or in the description. To find a catalog focused on a specific artist or topic, perform a keyword search that includes the artist's name (last name is often enough) and/or the topic word or words, and the word exhibition* (using the truncation symbol * will search for both the word exhibition and the subject term exhibitions).

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Try these databases first to find journal articles in this discipline.
  • Art Abstracts (1984 to present)
    Index to leading English-language publications in the world of the arts.
  • Art Index Retrospective (1929-1984)
    Index to leading English-language publications in the world of the arts.
  • Arts & Humanities Database
    Full-text publications that focus on art, architecture, design, history, philosophy, music, literature, theatre and cultural studies.
  • ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM) (1974 to present)
    Citations to and abstracts of journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, dissertations, and exhibition reviews on all forms of modern and contemporary art; some entries date back as far as the late 1960s.
  • ARTicles Online ( (date coverage varies)
    Index of art historical articles, compiled by the University Library of Regensburg (Germany).
  • Arts:Search
    Resource for research into the history of modern design and the applied arts.
  • BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art (1973 to present)
    Bilingual database on the history of post-classical western art. Also includes RAA (Repertoire d'Art et d'Archeologie) from 1973 to 1989 and RILA (International Repertory of the Literature of Art) from 1975 to 1989.
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (1973 to present)
    Index to articles and books in Asian Studies, including humanities and social sciences.
  • British Periodicals
    Searchable full text of hundreds of British periodicals from the late 17th century to the early 20th, with high-resolution facsimile page images.
  • Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI) (1973 to present)
    Covers both new designers and the development of design and the applied arts since the mid-19th century.
  • Getty Publications Virtual Library
    Art historical research, exhibition catalogues, journals, and other full-text publications from the Getty Publications Archives.
  • International Bibliography of Art (IBA) (1973 to present)
    Covers scholarly literature on western art including traditional visual arts as well as new media, architectural history, museum studies and conservation, archaeology, and classical studies.
  • ITER: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1784 to present)
    Index of resources pertaining to the study of the Middle Ages & Renaissance
  • Oxford Islamic Studies Online
    Interdisciplinary reference content and commentary, plus Quranic materials, primary sources, images, maps, and timelines. Includes Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World and other core reference works on Islam.
  • Worldcat Art Libraries (1906 to present)
    Access to Worldcat content, including the articles database of 200 million records, specific to the visual arts. Includes information on which libraries hold the material.
    Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)

 For more databases, use the subject filter on A-Z Databases


Use these encyclopedias and reference works to get started on a topic.


Find images and streaming audio and video in these collections (also see the Images Research Guide, and the Web tab of this guide).
  • Amherst College Digital Collections
    Digitized art works, photographs, manuscripts, books, and other media from Amherst College Archives & Special Collections and the library’s Art & Architecture Collection.
  • ARTstor
    Image database including architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture.
  • Bridgeman Education
    A visual resource offering digital images of art, history, and culture from museums, galleries, private collections, and contemporary artists.
  • UbuWeb
    Large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material.
  • Aluka
    Digital resources and data in three major content areas: African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes, The African Plants Initiative and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.
  • Rhizome ArtBase
    An online archive of new media art.


Start with these recommended freely available resources in this discipline.

Primary Sources

Also see the Primary Sources research guide.
  • Aluka
    Digital resources and data in three major content areas: African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes, The African Plants Initiative and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.
  • UbuWeb
    Large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material.
  • MetPublications (1964 to present)
    Full-text access to out-of-print exhibition catalogues, collection catalogues, museum guides, and educational materials from the the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • MoMA exhibitions archive online
    Information, images, and digitized catalogs and gallery text from exhibitions dating from the museum's founding in 1929 to the present.

New Titles

The shape of time : an exhibition of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, 6 March to 8 July 2018 Frost Library; N1677 .A63 2018

Talking art : the culture of practice and the practice of culture in MFA education (Fine, Gary Alan, author.) Frost Library; N346.A1 F56 2018

Children draw : a guide to why, when and how children make art (Goodman, Marilyn JS, 1947-, author.) Frost Library; N352 .G66 2018

The art of curating : Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard (Duncan, Sally Anne, -2007, author.) Frost Library; N408 .D86 2018

Art museum education : facilitating gallery experiences (Hubard, Olga M., author.) Frost Library; N430 .H83 2015

Deaccessioning and its discontents : a critical history (Gammon, Martin, author.) Frost Library; N440 .G36 2018

A surreal archive (Philadelphia Museum of Art, author, publisher.) Archives and Special Collections; N5220.Y68 S87 2018

Hugh Lane : the art market and the art museum, 1893-1915 (O'Neill, Morna, author.) Frost Library; N5247.L3 O26 2018

The collector : the story of Sergei Shchukin and his lost masterpieces (Semenova, N. I︠U︡., author.) Frost Library; N5276.2.S5 S4613 2018

The art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450 (Elsner, Jaś, author.) Frost Library; N5760 .E484 2018

Being an artist : artist interviews with Art21 Frost Library; N6490 .B45 2018

Vile days : the Village Voice art columns, 1985-1988 (Indiana, Gary, author.) Frost Library; N6490 .I53 2018

Materiality Frost Library; N6490 .M337 2015

A slap in the face! : futurists in Russia (Milner, John, 1946-) Frost Library; N6494.F8 M55 2007

Pop América, 1965-1975 Frost Library; N6494.P6 P66 2018

Unlimited Frost Library; N6496.3.S9 B378 2018

The go-to how-to book of anarchiving Frost Library; N6498.C66 G6 2016

What's next : eco materialism and contemporary art (Weintraub, Linda, author.) Frost Library; N6498.E26 W45 2019

The art of solidarity : visual and performative politics in Cold War Latin America Frost Library; N6502.5 .A73 2018

Hairy Who? 1966-1969 Frost Library; N6512.5.H35 H35 2018

Art in Chicago : a history from the fire to now Frost Library; N6535.C5 A78 2018

Siah Armajani : follow this line (Walker Art Center, author.) Frost Library; N6537.A667 A4 2018

An American odyssey : the life and work of Romare Bearden (Campbell, Mary Schmidt, author.) Frost Library; N6537.B4 C36 2018

Becoming Judy Chicago : a biography of the artist (Levin, Gail, author.) Frost Library; N6537.C48 L48 2018

The Jean Freeman Gallery does not exist (Howard, Christopher, 1974- author.) Frost Library; N6537.F84 H69 2018

Robert Gober (Gober, Robert, 1954-, artist.) Frost Library; N6537.G56 A4 2018

That was the answer : interviews with Ray Johnson Frost Library; N6537.J63 A35 2018

Bruce Nauman Frost Library; N6537.N38 B777 2018

Rauschenberg graphic art. Frost Library; N6537.R27 R38 1970 x

Sean Scully : Landline Frost Library; N6537.S365 A67 2018

Conversations about sculpture (Serra, Richard, 1938-, artist.) Frost Library; N6537.S385 A4 2018

Kiki Smith Frost Library; N6537.S6164 A4 2018

Timekeeper Frost Library; N6537.S99 A75 2017

Extraordinary ideas - realized Frost Library; N6537.T78 A4 2018

Contact Warhol : photography without end (Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987, photographer.) Frost Library; N6537.W28 A4 2018

Artists on Andy Warhol Frost Library; N6537.W28 A85 2018

Andy Warhol, publisher (Mulroney, Lucy, author.) Frost Library; N6537.W28 M85 2018

John Waters : indecent exposure Frost Library; N6537.W294 A4 2018 x

Rebecca Belmore : March 5, 1819 Frost Library; N6549.B445 A72 2018

Faye HeavyShield : calling stones (conversations) (HeavyShield, Faye, 1953- artist.) Frost Library; N6549.H395 A4 2018

Mathias Goeritz : modernist art and architecture in Cold War Mexico (Josten, Jennifer, author.) Frost Library; N6559.G64 J67 2018

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (Ramírez-Figueroa, Naufus, 1978- artist.) Frost Library; N6578.R36 A4 2018

Victorian radicals : from the Pre-Raphaelites to the arts & crafts movement (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, author.) Frost Library; N6767.5.P7 B575 2018 x

Gilbert & George : the great exhibition 1971-2016 Frost Library; N6797.G47 A4 2018 xx

True to life : twenty-five years of conversations with David Hockney (Weschler, Lawrence.) Frost Library; N6797.H57 A35 2008

Sarah Lucas : au naturel (Lucas, Sarah, 1962-, artist, interviewee.) Frost Library; N6797.L84 A4 2018

Yinka Shonibare MBE Frost Library; N6797.S53 A4 2014 x

Matisse and decoration (Klein, John, author.) Frost Library; N6853.M33 K54 2018

The art of war Frost Library; N6868 .A77 2017

Franz Marc and August Macke 1909-1914 Frost Library; N6888.M34 A4 2018

Post Zang Tumb Tumb : art life politics : Italia, 1918-1943 Frost Library; N6918 .P67 2018

1600-1700 (Rijksmuseum (Netherlands), author, issuing body.) Frost Library; N6946 .R492 2018

Modernism and the spiritual in Russian art : new perspectives Frost Library; N6987 .M63 2017

Revolution : Russian art 1917-1932 Frost Library; N6988.5.A83 R48 2017 x

The futurist files : avant-garde, politics, and ideology in Russia, 1905-1930 (Glisic, Iva, author.) Frost Library; N6988.5.F87 G55 2018

Learning from madness : Brazilian modernism and global contemporary art (Cabañas, Kaira Marie, 1974-, author.) Frost Library; N71.5 .C33 2018

Pamela Rosenkranz : our product (Rosenkranz, Pamela.) Frost Library; N7153.R655 A4 2017

Pamela Rosenkranz : no core (Rosenkranz, Pamela.) Frost Library; N7153.R6675 A4 2012

Why does Michelangelo matter? : a historian's questions about the visual arts (Rabb, Theodore K., author.) Frost Library; N72.H58 R33 2018

Weather as medium : toward a meteorological art (Randerson, Janine, author.) Frost Library; N72.M48 R36 2018

Art and engagement in early postwar Japan (Jesty, Justin, 1974- author.) Frost Library; N72.P6 J47 2018

Heaven on earth : painting and the life to come (Clark, T. J. (Timothy J.) author.) Frost Library; N72.R4 C53 2018

Dimensionism : modern art in the age of Einstein Frost Library; N72.S3 D56 2018

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, author.) Frost Library; N7262 .A8815 2018

Armenia : art, religion, and trade in the Middle Ages Frost Library; N7274 .A76 2018

Nabil Anani : Palestine, land and people (ʻAnānī, Nabīl, 1943- artist.) Frost Library; N7279.A53 A4 2018

Dissidence : the rise of Chinese contemporary art in the West (Leduc, Marie, author.) Frost Library; N7340 .L385 2018

In the world : essays on contemporary South African art (Jamal, Ashraf, author.) Frost Library; N7393 .J362 2017

Ibrahim El-Salahi : prison notebook (El Salahi, Ibrahim, 1930-, artist.) Frost Library; N7397.6.S733 S34 2018

How art can be thought : a handbook for change (DeSouza, Allan, 1958-, author.) Frost Library; N7425 .D459 2018

Alternative moons (Pufleb, Robert, photographer.) Frost Library; N7433.35.G3 A48 2017 x

A tale from beginningless time (Argetsinger, Sophie, author.) Frost Library; N7433.4.A73 T364 2014

Ten moments (Mackler, Deborah, photographer.) Archives and Special Collections; N7433.4.M335 T46 1995

The crime of art (Ezawa, Kota, author, artist.) Frost Library; N7433.85.E93 A4 2018

Observation : notation : selected writings of Andrew Forge (1955-2002) (Forge, Andrew, author.) Frost Library; N7445.2 .F67 2018

Forms of enchantment : writings on art & artists (Warner, Marina, 1946-, author.) Frost Library; N7560 .W37 2018

Moving images, mobile bodies Frost Library; N7570 .M68 2018

The Renaissance nude Frost Library; N7572 .R46 2018 x

Beyond the face : new perspectives on portraiture Frost Library; N7575 .B49 2018

Virtual normality : the female gaze in the age of the internet Frost Library; N7629.2.G3 L458 2018

Nature's nation: American art and environment (Kusserow, Karl, author.) Frost Library; N7650 .K87 2018

Erie Railway tourist, 1854-1886 : transporting visual culture (Gottfried, Herbert, 1940-, author.) Frost Library; N8214.5.U6 G68 2018

Posing modernity : the black model from Manet and Matisse to today (Murrell, Denise, author.) Frost Library; N8217.A67 M87 2018

Crusading in art, thought and will Frost Library; N8217.C793 C78 2018

Veiled presence : body and drapery from Giotto to Titian (Hills, Paul, author.) Frost Library; N8217.D73 H55 2018

Art, theory and practice in the Anthropocene Frost Library; N8217.E28 A784 2019

Dread & delight : fairy tales in an anxious world (Stamey, Emily, author.) Frost Library; N8217.F24 S73 2018

Homeward : selections from the Wieland Collection (Cochran, Rebecca Dimling.) Frost Library; N8217.H66 C63 2016 x

The word is art (Petry, Michael, author.) Frost Library; N8219.L4 P48 2018

The transported man Frost Library; N8222.M3 T73 2018

Everything is connected : art and conspiracy (Eklund, Douglas, author.) Frost Library; N8236.P5 E35 2018

Getting your sh*t together (Atkinson, Karen.) Frost Library; N8350 .A85 2014

The conditions of being art : Pat Hearn Gallery & American Fine Arts, Co. Frost Library; N8655.N4 A44 2018

Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture in England Frost Library; NB1209.G7 C67 1984

Head to toe : the nude in graphic design (Ilić, Mirko, 1956-) Frost Library; NC1002.N8 I4 2018

Communicating visually : the graphic design of the brand Frost Library; NC1003 .C66 2018

Between worlds : the art of Bill Traylor (Umberger, Leslie, author.) Frost Library; NC139.T69 A4 2018

Drawn to Berlin : comic workshops in refugee shelters and other stories from a new Europe (Fitzgerald, Ali, author, illustrator.) Frost Library; NC1509.F45 D73 2018

The animation studies reader Frost Library; NC1765 .A544 2019

Redesigning animation : United Productions of America (Bottini, Cinzia, author.) Frost Library; NC1766.U52 U7335 2019