What's the Best Way to Do Research on an Artist?


Quick Answer

The Smithsonian Institute and other museums provide several resources to research an artist, including regional biographical dictionaries which can serve as a starting point for deeper research. Monographs and exhibition catalogs are also valuable research tools. In addition, ArchiveGrid and similar sites provide are archival collections for research.

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What's the Best Way to Do Research on an Artist?
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Full Answer

A biographical dictionary such as The Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names is usually an excellent place to begin searching for artist information and can provide alternate names, representative images, related artists and sources for further information. Some artists' entries are more detailed than others, providing brief biographical summaries or names of mentors or associates.

A name search might also point toward sources for further research, such as monographs or catalogs of the artist's work. These sources often contain much more thorough biographies along with high-quality images of the artist's work and information on museums that contain significant collections of the artist's work.

Primary sources, such as letters, sketchbooks and journals, are excellent sources of information, provided the items are well preserved. An archive or a library may have originals or provide access to digitized versions of these sources, which can give researchers much more personal and historical context while researching specific artists.

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