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Visual Arts information resources: Background information

Dictionaries and terminology

Encyclopedias and visual arts guides

  • The artist's complete health and safety guide [print]
  • The artist's handbook of materials and techniques [print]
  • The color compendium [print]
  • Oxford Art Online
  • The Grove Dictionary of Art [online or print]
  • The art atlas [print]
  • International dictionary of art and artists [print]
  • Prestel Dictionary of art and artists in the 20th century [print]
  • The 20th-century art book [print]
  • The Great Buildings Collection -- This gateway to architecture around the world and across history documents a thousand buildings and hundreds of leading architects, with 3D models, photographic images and architectural drawings, commentaries, bibliographies, web links, and more, for famous designers and structures of all kinds.
  • Hall's illustrated dictionary of symbols in Eastern and Western art [print]
  • The Oxford companion to Christian art and architecture [print]
  • The Dent dictionary of symbols in Christian art [print]
  • The Oxford guide to classical mythology in the arts, 1300-1990s [print]
  • Symbols and allegories in art [print]

Biographical dictionaries

  • The Grove Dictionary of Art [online or print]
  • Grove Art Online
  • A biographical dictionary of artists [print]
  • The Penguin dictionary of art and artists [print]
  • Dictionary of artists. Benezit -- Dictionary of painters, sculptors, and graphic artists of all times and nations. Based on the 1999 French edition by Emmanuel Bénézit  [print]
  • Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. 1907-50 -- The most comprehensive biographical dictionary of artists from antiquity to the present [print]
  • Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler des XX. Jahrhunderts. 1953-62 -- Biographical dictionary of 20th-century artists in all media, emphasizing artists born after 1870 [print]
  • Dictionary of art historians -- Biographical information about western art historians
  • Dictionary of international contemporary artists [print]
  • Contemporary artists [print]
  • Dictionary of the avant-gardes [print]
  • ICP encyclopedia of photography [print]
  • A to Z of Canadian art: artists & art terms [print]
  • Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
  • Contemporary Canadian artists [print]
  • A dictionary of Canadian artists [print]
  • First nations art, an introduction to contemporary native artists in Canada -- From Concordia University and SchoolNet Digital Collections Program, Industry Canada.
  • Artists of the Pacific Northwest, a biographical dictionary, 1600s-1970. Includes artists working in BC [print]
  • Peintres et ateliers, Québec = Artists and studios, Quebec [print]
  • Artistes du Québec [print]
  • Women artists in Canada - Celebrating Women's Achievements -- Library and Archives Canada
  • AskART -- "The world's most comprehensive database about American artists." Includes Auction Records, Biography, Image Gallery, Book and Periodical References, Exhibitions and other information sources.
  • Dictionary of contemporary American artists [print]
  • Contemporary American women sculptors [print]
  • Who's who in American art -- Covers all fields of art and related disciplines in Canada, Mexico and the US [print]
  • Who's who in art: biographies of leading men and women in the world of art today. 1970- Primarily British focus on all fields of art and related disciplines [print]
  • Contemporary artists [print]
  • Contemporary women artists [print]
  • Dictionary of women artists [print]
  • Dictionary of women artists: an international dictionary of women artists born before 1900. [print]
  • North American women artists of the twentieth century: a biographical dictionary [print]
  • designinform research guides: Internet sources of biographical information

Bibliographies and guides to visual arts research

  • Action art: a bibliography of artists' performance from futurism to Fluxus and beyond [print]
  • American women artists, past and present: a selected bibliographic guide [print]
  • Art and architecture in Canada: a bibliography and guide to the literature to 1981 [print]
  • Art books: a basic bibliography of monographs on artists [print]
  • Art information: research methods and sources [print]
  • Art on screen: a directory of films and videos about the visual arts [print]
  • Artexte Bibliographic Database -- A bilingual database describing more than 16,000 documents on contemporary art. Includes exhibition catalogues, artists' books, and monographs.
  • Contemporary art trends 1960-1980: a guide to sources [print]
  • Guide to the literature of art history [print]
  • Guide to the literature of art history 2 [print]
  • Photographic literature + Suppl. 1960-1970 [print]
  • Research guide to the history of Western art [print]
  • Twentieth-century artists on art: an index to writings, statements, and interviews by artists, architects, and designers [print]
  • Women artists: a historical, contemporary and feminist bibliography [print]
  • Women artists in the United States: a selective bibliography and resource guide on the fine and decorative arts, 1750-1986 [print]
  • "is an international specialized meta catalogue ... which conducts a simultaneous search in a number of web catalogues" for major art institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, The Canadian Centre for Architecture