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Resources in art at Ball State University Libraries.

Researching a Work of Art

There may not be an entire book or article on an artwork, so be sure to search for information on the artist and/or his or her style or time period.

Look for books and articles on:

  • the artist
  • the style
  • the time period
  • the museum that owns the work, or other works by the artist

Resources for Researching Works of Art

Researching Art Works in the Ball State Art Museum Collection

Museum Web Sites

Museum websites are a great source of information on artworks in their collections.

  • Look for "collections" pages on museum sites.
  • Consult art dictionaries or books to find out who owns an artwork.
  • You may also use the Google image search to discover if a museum owns the artwork.

Once you know if a museum owns the art work, look for books on the museum's collection in CardCat or WorldCat.

Sample Searches

Researching Mary Cassatt's Boating Party

Online Biographical Resources
Search:  Oxford Art Online for Mary Cassatt
Results:  Biography of Mary Cassatt, including a bibliography with MultiLink BSU buttons for finding the books and articles in the University Libraries.

Find Books
Search:  OneSearch for Mary Cassatt and click on "Library Catalog" in the Filters menu on the left.
Results:  books and some articles.

Search:  OneSearch, Advanced Search for Impressionism as a "Subject term."
Results:  books and some articles.

Find Articles
Search:  Art Full Text for Mary Cassatt.
Results: 309 articles.

Museum Websites
Search:  Internet for Mary Cassatt's The Boating Party. Results indicate that it is in the National Gallery of Art.
Search Internet for National Gallery of Art, then search The Collection on the museum website.
Results:  The Boating Party on the museum website. The entry includes both a bibliography of articles and books on the painting and an exhibition history listing exhibition catalogs that include the work.

Books on Museum Collection
Search:  OneSearch, Advanced Search for National Gallery of Art as a "Subject term."
Results:  39 titles, including this one on the American artworks at the National Gallery.

Photo credit:  Image from the Art History Images Collection in the DMR.