The Library is a great place to find inspiration. In addition to thousands of books, journals, and videos documenting artists, art movements and technique, there is access to unlimited cross disciplinary topics; Printing services and media equipment are available in the IMC; The Special Collections department is home to unique print and digital materials.
For more detailed information about art historical research, please visit the Art History Research Guide.
Searching for resources in the Library
Libraries use specialized language to describe the materials in their collections. When searching a library catalog, observe the words or tags used most. Collect the tags from your best results to help build a strong search strategy. Try these searches:
Movement/Style/Period (e.g. Impressionism)
Location/Region and Technique/Medium (e.g. Japanese Painting)
Artist’s name AND Themes, motives
Artist’s name AND Criticism and interpretation
Artist's name AND exhibitions
Artist's name AND catalogue raisonne
Library Databases for Art research
This search box is a great place to start your research - it offers a wide variety of results in one place. ARTstor and Oxford Art Online are important art resources that do not work well in this search so it is better to access them directly. Direct access to all our Art databases can be found here.
Comprehensive database of art images to view, analyze, and save for use in presentations.
Note: You will need to create a personal user account to access Artstor. If you have an existing JSTOR account, you can use that by linking it to Artstor.
Oxford Art Online
Unified access to Oxford’s leading art reference sources including Grove Art, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, and nore. Authoritative, peer-reviewed articles with rich supporting materials including bibliographies, media, and links to related resources
NOTE: There is a limit of 8 concurrent users.
Art Image Collections on the Web
Explore artworks, artifacts, books, films and music from European museums, galleries, libraries and archives. Some content requires subscription.
Google Arts & Culture
Features content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute
Library of Congress Digital Collections
The Library of Congress provides digital access to extensive collections of photographs, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings and more.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
The Met's Timeline of Art History pairs essays and works of art with chronologies and tells the story of art and global culture through the collection
NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art.
New York Public Library's Digital Collections
NYPL Digital Collections is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.
The Web Gallery of Art
The Web Gallery of Art is a searchable database of European fine arts and architecture (3rd-19th centuries), currently containing over 48.600 reproductions.
Cross Collection Discovery (CCD) provides a way to search across Yale's collections of art, natural history, books, and maps, as well as photos, audio, and video documenting people, places, and events that form part of Yale's institutional identity and contribution to scholarship.Not all content available through Discover Yale Digital Content is unrestricted.
Images from Museum Collections
Many museums offer online access to their collections. Try these if you are looking for a particular work from a particular museum:
American Folk Art Museum e Museum Collection
American Folk Art Museum collection includes more than eight thousand works of art from self-taught artist from around the world.
Museum of Modern Art The Collection
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is often identified as one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world. The evolving collection contains almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. More than 89,000 works are currently available online.
Penn Museum Online Collections
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is home to Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Mediterranean, from the very first cities of the Middle East to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt; from early Mexico to the lives of Native American communities today.
PMA Online Collection Search
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers a wide overview of art and objects from around the world, from ancient times to today.
Tate Modern Art & Artists
The Tate Modern is a British international modern and contemporary art museum. Their multimedia site allows you to explore their collection, learn art terms, listen to podcasts, and dig deeper into the stories behind the art and artists in their collection.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Online Collection
This website represents Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s diverse collection, spanning thirty centuries of historic and contemporary design.
The Barnes Foundation
The mission of the Barnes is to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture. On display are some of the world’s most important impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings alongside African masks, native American jewelry, Greek antiquities, and decorative metalwork.
If you cannot find what you need in the WCU Library, you can use Interlibrary Loan.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a free service for WCU students, faculty, and staff that gets you a book, article, or other material not available at West Chester University Libraries. We work with libraries around the world to get you what you need!
View this tutorial to see how to request items through ILL
Types of Art Books
Call Number: F.H. Green Library, Fifth Floor General Collection 779.092 S553
These publications accompany museum or gallery exhibits and often include high-quality images, artist biographies, interviews and/or career chronologies.
Use your artist's name AND exhibitions as keywords when searching for exhibition catalogs.
The Complete Jacob Lawrence
Call Number: F.H. Green Library, Fifth Floor General Collection 759.13 L421xn
A catalogue raisonne contains a thorough chronology of biographical events, images, descriptions of work and usually notes about provenance and a bibliography. A complete study, it can focus on an artist's entire body of work or work in a specific medium or time period.
Use your artist's name AND catalogue raisonne when searching for these books.
Call Number: F.H. Green Library, Fifth Floor General Collection 759.13 D559n 2001
These books about artists are published separately from exhibition catalogs and catalogue raisonne but include high-quality images typically with some contextual information.
Images in Press Collections