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Art: Reference Resources

Where is the reference collection?

The reference collection is on the 2nd floor of the library, behind the reference desk. Conveniently, there will be a librarian at the reference desk who can help you use this collection!

Are you writing about a specific artwork at the Metropolitan Museum?

We have reference books that specifically discuss many of the Met's works:

Abraham Walkowitz

Max Weber (1907)

How are the art reference books organized?

It can be helpful to start your research by browsing the relevant section of the reference collection.

You can find information on a work of art by looking at reference books on that type of artwork (such as sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.). Thankfully, the reference collection is organized that way! The entire "N" section in the reference collection is devoted to visual art. Take a look at the following list of sub-sections of the "N" classification:

  • NA -- Architecture
  • NB -- Sculpture
  • NC -- Drawing. Design. Illustration
  • ND -- Painting
  • NE -- Print media
  • NK -- Decorative arts

So, for example, if you are looking for information on the French painter Paul Gauguin, you may want to browse the "ND" section of the reference collection (which is the section for painting) for books on French painters, or on books on post-Impressionist painters. Some of these reference books will likely have information about Paul Gauguin and his paintings.

To find what you need, check the book's index for the name of the artist, or for the name of the painting, you are interested in.