This is a research guide for finding biographical information on visual artists in the Greenfield Library at the University of the Arts®. Artists is a broad topic that may include painters, illustrators, sculptors, printmakers, designers, architects, etc.

The first place to look when beginning research on a topic is in reference material: specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks. These allow you to check names, dates and places, find additional information, look up unknown terms, and check for the proper spelling of words. They are particularly helpful for finding basic background information on a topic, and are often the only place many students may need to look to find answers to their questions.

Be aware that reference books on artists may be limited to a specific gender, time period, country or race. Also, always check the publication date against the birth date of the person you are researching.


A biographical dictionary of artists. Rev. ed. Facts on File, c1995. REF 709.22 B52 1995
includes architecture

Dictionary of artists [Benezit]. 1st English-language ed. Grund, 2006. REF 703 B43d 2006 v. 1-14

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Scarecrow Press, 2008. REF 709.02403 Z68h

International dictionary of art and artists. St. James Press, 1990. REF 703 In8s v.1 Artists

Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, 2007- . [Includes The Oxford companion to Western art. Oxford University Press, 2004- ].
includes architecture

The Oxford companion to Western art. Oxford University Press, 2001. REF 709 Ox2w

The Oxford dictionary of art. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2004. REF 703 Ox2c 2004

The Oxford dictionary of art and artists. 4th ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. REF 703 Ox2c 2009

The Random House dictionary of art and artists. 1st American ed. Random House, c1988. REF 703 R159p

The Thames and Hudson dictionary of art and artists. Rev., expanded and updated ed. Thames and Hudson, 1988, c1985. REF 703 T329r

The Yale dictionary of art and artists. Yale University Press, c2000. REF 703 L267y


Contemporary artists. St. James Press 1st - 5th eds. 1977, 1983, 1989, 1996, 2002. REF 709.22 C767

A dictionary of twentieth-century art. Oxford University Press, 1998. REF 709.04003 C439d

The dictionary of the avant-gardes. Routledge, 2001. REF 700.904 K848d 2001

Lives of the great modern artists. Rev. and expanded ed. Thames & Hudson, 2009. REF 709.22 L963l 2009

Modern Chinese artists: a biographical dictionary. University of California Press, c2006. REF 709.22 Su55m

The Oxford companion to twentieth-century art. Oxford University Press, 1988, c1981. REF 709.04 Ox2o

The Prestel dictionary of art and artists of the 20th century.Prestel, c2000. REF 709.04003 P926d

World artists, 1950-1980: an H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary. H.W. Wilson, 1984.
709.22 M342w
World artists 1980-1990: an H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary. H.W. Wilson, 1991. 709.22 M342w 1980-90


A to Z of American women in the visual arts. Facts on File, c2002. REF 704.0420973 K845a

A biographical dictionary of women artists in Europe and America since 1850. University of Pennsylvania Press, c1989. REF 709.22 D918b

Contemporary women artists. St. James Press, c1999. REF 704.042 C767h

Dictionary of women artists. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997. REF 709.22 D561g 2 vols.

Dictionary of women artists: an international dictionary of women artists born before 1900. G.K. Hall, c1985.
REF 709.22 P452d (also copy in open stacks)

The international dictionary of women workers in the decorative arts: a historical survey from the distant past to the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Scarecrow Press, 1981. REF 704.042 P887i 1981

North American women artists of the twentieth century: a biographical dictionary. Garland, 1995. REF 709.22 N811h

Women artists in the 20th and 21st century. Taschen, c2001. REF 700.88042 W842g


American artists: an illustrated survey of leading contemporary Americans. Facts on File Publications, c1985. REF 709.22 Am35k

The biographical directory of Native American painters. SIR Publications c1995. REF 709.22 L568b

Dictionary of American painters, sculptors & engravers. 2nd newly-rev., enl., and updated ed. Apollo, c1986. REF 709.73 F46 1986

A dictionary of contemporary American artists. St. Martin's Press [1966] 19711977 1982 1988 1994 REF 709.22 C912

The illustrated biographical encyclopedia of artists of the American West. 1st ed. Doubleday, 1976. REF 709.203 Sa49

The Oxford dictionary of American art and artists. Oxford University Press, 2007. REF 709.7303 M821o


A good bibliography leads you to writings about an artist or topic, thus saving you time. Again, always check the year written and the scope. Bibliographies may appear in book form, or at the end of a journal article or encyclopedia entry.

Pyle, Howard. Howard Pyle: his life--his work: a comprehensive bibliography and pictorial record of Howard Pyle: illustrator, author, teacher, father of American illustration, America's foremost illustrator.
1st ed. Oak Knoll Press ; Wilmington, Del.: Delaware Art Museum, 2004.
REF 709.24 P993d 2004 v.1&2

Freitag, Wolfgang M. Art books: a basic bibliography of monographs on artists. 2nd ed. Garland Pub., 1997.
REF 709.22016 F884a 1997

Puniello, Francoise S. Abstract expressionist women painters: an annotated bibliography: Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Ethel Schwabacher. Scarecrow Press, c1996.
REF 759.13082016 P969a

The Grove Dictionary of Art. Paul Cezanne bibliography
view the online version.

Searching the Catalog


Begin your search with the LAST NAME of the artist as a subject heading. (e.g. last name first: Degas, Edgar)

If your results are not satisfactory, try searching BROADER terms associated with your artist such as gender, nationality, occupation:

  • Subdivide the type of artist by the term biography. (e.g. women artists--biography)
  • Subdivide the type of artist by country: France, Germany, Italy, United States, etc.(e.g. artists--germany)
  • Further subdivide by the term biography.(e.g. artists--germany--biography)

ARTISTS-subdivided by country
WOMEN ARTISTS-subdivided by country
ARCHITECTS-subdivided by country
SCULPTORS-subdivided by country
PHOTOGRAPHERS-subdivided by country
PAINTERS-subdivided by country

When searching by subject in the online catalog, be careful to follow the exact spelling and form of the subject headings. These subject headings are standard and are used in most libraries.


Continue your search with the LAST NAME of the artist as an author. (e.g. last name first: Degas, Edgar) In the library catalog, the artist is considered an author of his work. A book of Cezanne's painting will show him as the author. (e.g. last name first: Degas, Edgar)

If you don't get ANY results from your subject or author searches, search the LAST NAME of the artist as a KEYWORD.
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.