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Art and Art History : Objects / Exhibits

collection of e-resources useful for art historical research

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Anna Simon
Kohler Art Library
160b Elvehjem Building
800 University Ave.
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Oeuvre Catalogs

A catalog listing every known work by an artist is often referred to as an oeuvre catalogue or catalogue raisonne​--or called by a variety of other descriptive titles, such as "complete works of...," "l'opera completa..." in Italian, "werkverzeichnis" or "oeuvre-katalog" in German, etc.  Discovering whether such a catalog exists for a given artist can take some searching.

Look for a citations in published bibliographies on the artist in question. Search library catalogs for the artist name and some of the alternative title words suggested above.

Indexes that compile information about known oeuvre catalogues include the following:

Exhibitions and Exhibit Catalogues

Exhibition catalogues often provide detailed descriptive information about works exhibited.

Collection Catalogues

Museums often publish guides to works of art in their collections.  These "collection catalogues" can provide well-researched background information on the objects.  If you are researching an object you know is owned by a specific museum, search the UW-Madison Library Catalog for books published by the museum or go to the museum website for online collection information.

In print, a comprehensive museum catalogue may be titled something similar to:
  • Complete illustrated catalogue : National Portrait Gallery, London / edited by David Saywell and Jacob Simon

A large museum may publish several thematic collection catalogues, such as:
  • Dutch paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Masterpieces of European painting, 1800-1920, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • European furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art : highlights of the collection
  • Handbook of the Benjamin Altman collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Researching an Art Object