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Starting points for research in art

Museum Collections and Holdings


Many museums host collections online and have a searchable repository of images. For specific works or museums, see the museum web page.


Catalogue raisonné: A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive list of all known artworks by an artist. If one is available for your artist this is the best way to find a location of a work.

Museum holdings catalogs: If you know which museum holds a particular artwork, museum holdings catalogs are another good place to check.  Like a catalogue raisonné, a museum holdings catalog will generally include a picture of the art work, critical commentary and a bibliography Find permanent holdings catalogs in the library catalog by searching for [name of museum] catalogs

Provenance Research

Provenance research concerns the historical record of ownership of an object or artwork. It can be useful for tracing the origin of a work, determining a work’s authenticity and assigning a work to a particular artist. Provenance database information may also be used to explore patterns and trends in art collecting, social and political alliance, consumer behavior and market conditions.

Auction Records