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Modern Art: Find Books

Modern Art History: Impressionism to Surrealism

Reference Books

Encyclopedias (both in print and online) can be great sources of background information and a good place to start when you aren't yet familiar with a new topic. Here are a couple reference books that may help you get started:


Artists' Biographies

Biographies, obviously, are good sources of information about artists' lives. The following are just a few examples. You can search for other artists that interest you in Summon simply by adding the word "biography" to your search. For example, a search like "Rene Magritte biography" will be more likely to return books about his life.

Catalogues Raisonnés

A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive catalog offering annoted reproductions of all known works by an artist. Sometimes, however, these works may be scoped to certain mediums (e.g. all of Degas' sculptures, but not his paintings). These tend to be large, impressive books.

The best way to find these specific types of books is to do a subject search in CONSORT for an artist's last name. If there are any catalogues raisonnés for the artist, you will see a result that looks something like "Manet Edouard 1832 1883 Catalogues Raisonnes", and you can click on that result to see which catalogs are available.

Here are a few examples:

Secondary Sources

A secondary source in art history could include a collection of essays written by multiple authors on a central theme or it could be a longer book offering some criticism and interpretation of an artist or his/her work.

Some examples include:

Exhibition Catalogs

Exhibition catalogs are printed catalogs that accompany an actual exhibition. These are often beautiful works offering high quality reproductions of the pieces from the exhibition. They often include critical essays that expand on the background, theoretical perspectives, or history of the works and/or their artists.

Some examples include: