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Visual Research: Art Books

Find information to feed your creativity.

Types of Art Books

Cai Guo-Qiang

Exhibition Catalogs

  • Document museum and gallery shows
  • Best source for high-quality images
  • Usually include artist biographies, curatorial essays, artist interviews and/or writings, and career chronologies.

Look for "Exhibitions" as part of the subject heading. Museums are often listed as the publishers.

To find contemporary artists featured in group exhibitions, use the
Contemporary Artists Index.


Artist Monographs
Books by or about artists published independent of any exhibition. Usually, these are in-depth writings that analyze or provide context for an artist and his/her work.

Look for words like "Criticism and Interpretation" in the subject heading of a book. Search using "criticism" or "analysis" as keywords.

Catalogue Raisonne
A complete study of an artist's entire entire body of work (at least in one medium). Usually include images of every piece of work ever created by an artist, along with each piece's provenance/history.

Search for "catalogue raisonne" as a phrase, combined with an artist's name.

Browsing Art

N Visual arts

NA Architecture

NB Sculpture

NC Drawing. Design. Illustration

ND Painting

NE Print media

NK Decorative arts

NX Arts in general

TR Photography

Search the Catalog

Do a quick TITLE search in the GIL Universal Catalog.

Arts Librarian