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| University Libraries
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Art History

Scholarly resources for study and research in Art History

Finding Books & Literature Abstracts

The gold standard of historical scholarship remains the monograph. Books about a single subject published by university presses are typically the culmination of years of scholarship on a topic. Use library catalogs to find these materials.

  • University Libraries Catalog: Search for books, journals, and media available through Mason Libraries.
  • WRLC Catalog: Search for books, journals, and media in our partner D.C.-area libraries (and request to borrow through our catalog)
  • WorldCat: Search for books in libraries across the world, then request to borrow them through Interlibrary Loan

Finding Exhibition Catalogs or Artist Catalogs

When doing research in the arts, you may encounter and rely on the use of various kinds of catalogs. These publications serve different purposes, and can include:

  • Exhibition Catalogs: include images and essays from specific exhibitions. Exhibitions might focus on a particular topic/subject or artist, and these catalogs can help you to understand in what context artworks have been shown and discussed by curators and scholars.
  • Catalogues raisonnés: Catalogues raisonnés are the collected works of an individual artist or studio, and might be organized by medium (e.g. drawing, painting), subject/theme, or time period. 

How do I find them at Mason?

On the library homepage, look for the the "Advanced Search" link under the central/main search box. 

  • Click the "Mason Catalogs" button at the top.
  • On the first line, change "Any Field" to "Subject", and enter your artist's name.
    • For exhibition catalogs, add "exhibition catalogs" on the next line (ex.: ai weiwei "exhibition catalogs")
    • For general artist catalogs or catalogues raisonnés, add just "catalog" (ex. judy chicago catalogs)

Screenshot of Mason Libraries catalog search, example of search for "judy chicago" and "catalogs"

Browse the shelves for art books

Do you prefer to browse the library's shelves to discover books? Find books in Mason Libraries by their call number, organized roughly in these categories. Look for the call number ranges starting with these letters:

I'm interested in... BROWSE in the library:
Museums and museum studies AM 111 - AM160:  Museology, museum methods
Art history, general fine arts, themes & topics N
  • N8510 - N8553: Art studios, materials, etc.
Architecture NA
  • NA190 - NA1555: History
  • NA4590 - NA5621: Religious architecture


Drawing, graphic design, illustration NC: Drawing, animation, graphic design, illustration, cartooning

Z 116-659: Book design & printing

Painting ND: Painters and the history of painting
Printmaking NE: Printmaking & engraving
Z116 - Z265: Printing technologies
Photography TR 1 - TR 1050
Graphic Novels & Comic Books PN 6700 - PN 6790