The World Wide Web has opened up an amazing array of images in digital format. However, even though the internet provides a true bounty, it is by no means complete and it is not as well-organized as the indexed bibliographies created by a librarian’s hand.
The library has a number of resources for finding paintings that go beyond websites like Google Images, Yahoo Images, or the Artcyclopedia. The Art Museum Image Gallery is a database of high quality digital reproductions of more than 150,000 artistic works. It is available in the library, and remotely to San Francisco Public Library card holders.
Perhaps the most in-depth source is the World Painting Index by Patricia Pate Havlice, first published in 1977 and supplemented by three later editions. This set is comprised of volumes indexing paintings both by artist and by title. It provides citations for reproductions in thousands of books published between 1940 and 1999. The works indexed may include any painting rendered using oil, tempera, gouache, acrylic, fresco, pastel or watercolor. The index also indicates whether the reproduction is in color, or whether only a detail is reproduced.
The World Painting Index builds on the work of earlier works by Isabel Stevenson Monro and Kate M. Monro – their Index to Reproductions of American Paintings (1948) with its supplement (1964), and Index to Reproductions of European Paintings (1956). These reference books along with the later Index to Reproductions of American Paintings (1977) by Lyn Wall Smith and Nancy Dustin Wall Moure share an important feature. They provide indexing for paintings not only by the artist’s name and the painting’s title but also by their subject matter. Thus, there are listings for categories like children, animals (by name), churches, circuses, cities (by name), railroads, etc…
Do not overlook our department’s Picture File. This resource also provides access to thousands of images organized by subject.
Related blog entry: Images from Life.
World Painting Index by Patricia Pate Havlice. (Scarecrow Press, 1977).
Index to Reproductions of American Paintings: Guide to Pictures Occurring in More Than Eight Hundred Books by Isabel Stevenson Monro and Kate M. Monro. (H.W. Wilson Co., 1948).
Index to Reproductions of American Paintings, First Supplement : Guide to Pictures Occurring in More Than Four Hundred Works by Isabel Stevenson Monro and Kate M. Monro. (H. W. Wilson, 1964).
Index to Reproductions of American Paintings Appearing in Over 400 Books Mostly Published Since 1960 by Lyn Wall Smith, Nancy Dustin Wall Moure. (Scarecrow Press, 1977).
Index to Reproductions of European Paintings: A Guide to Pictures In More Than Three Hundred Books by Isabel Stevenson Monro and Kate M. Monro. (Wilson, 1956).
Ladies & Gentlemen, Ursula K. LeGuin
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