General Resources

Links of interest to students of American art history


Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO):

Resource Library,
Projects, Reports and Studies,


Academic Search Elite (EbscoHost) journals, including American Artist, Smithsonian available online through universities and select libraries,
Artcyclopedia provides links to images of art work held in museum collections,
Artist's Toolkit explains how artists create their works,
Art History Research Centre from Concordia University,
Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS) has a Reference & Information Services section interested in Internet resources on the visual arts,
Association of Art Historians in London publishes the journals Art History -- an academic journal, five issues per year; The Art Book - a quarterly reviews magazine,
Archives of American Art [1],
College Art Association,
Duke University has a helpful list of books for artist biographies and bibliographies,
Gale's Expanded Academic ASAP journals available online through universities and select libraries,
Google Images provides a way to study the artistic style of an artist and to identify web sites covering the artist. The results can be quite comprehensive,
Google Books enables reading of content in indexed books through Google searches. Some examples are: Art History and Education by Stephen Addiss and Mary E Erickson; Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture by Matthew Baigell; Etched in Memory by Gladys Engel Lang, Kurt Lang; History of American Art Education, by Peter Smith; How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art by Serge Guilbau; Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926, by Steven Conn; Nineteenth-Century American Art by Barbara S Groseclose,
JSTOR features a digitized collection of academic journals including American Art, Art Bulletin and Art Journal. Access to the JSTOR archive is available only through affiliation with a participating higher education institution or through an individual account with a participating publisher. Art Bulletin and Art Journal are published by the College Art Association,
National Endowment for the Arts provides for search of its database,
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations is dedicated to improving graduate education by developing accessible digital libraries of theses and dissertations,
Smithsonian American Art Museum's research databases through Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) [2],
Union List of Artists Names ® Online (ULAN) is an online dictionary of artist names maintained by The J. Paul Getty Trust with information about numerous artists,


Dictionaries and Glossaries

If you hear or see an art term that is unfamiliar to you you may find the 3,600-term useful. If your word isn't there will search over 600 dictionaries at the same time for you. A source of "Art History terminology, definitions, acronyms, names, pronunciations and related resources" from is found in its Art History Glossary. TFAO offers definitions of museum terms in its report Museums Explained.


How to evaluate Web pages

It is inexpensive and easy for individuals to publish on the Web. For these reasons students should be aware that the Web is replete with untrue, inaccurate and incomplete information. Fortunately, the Web also has numerous pages describing how to evaluate Web sites, enabling students to confidently identify information of high quality and disregard undesirable material.

To learn how :

TFAO's America's Distinguished Artists volunteers evaluate biographies please see Accuracy and trustworthiness.
TFAO's Resource Library acquires and manages content please see Submitting materials and Errors and omissions.
TFAO's digital library acquires and removes content please see Acquisition and deselection of content.


For further insights also see:

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet by Elizabeth E. Kirk, The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University; 1996
Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Ask & Strategies for Getting the Answers by Joe Barker and Saifon Obromsook, University of California Library - Berkeley, 2004
Citing Internet Sources, from Yale College, provides insights on judging the quality of information from various types of online sources.


An important note to students and others on plagiarism and copyright abuse

Plagiarism is committing fraud in one's writing by not properly citing sources, paraphrasing others' ideas or quoting the words of others.

The newness, ease of use and openness of the Internet can lead well-intentioned yet uninformed individuals to misunderstand the proper use of Web-published intellectual property. Others purposefully cheat knowing the crimes they are committing. Students, scholars and newspaper reporters have been found guilty of plagiarism which is an illegal and unethical practice.

Emily Werrell, coordinator of Instruction and Outreach for Duke University's Perkins Library System, quotes Donald McCabe of the Center for Academic Integrity:

In the absence of clear direction by the faculty, most students have concluded that 'cut & paste' plagiarism -- using a sentence or two (or more) from various sources on the Internet and weaving this information together into a paper without appropriate citation -- is not a serious issue. While 10% of students admitted to engaging in such behavior in 1999 this rose to 41% in a 2001 survey with the majority of students (68%) suggesting this was not a serious issue. (CAI par.4) [3]

The Web has made plagiarism progressively easier for those who wish to cheat. Before computers and scanners became widely used, plagiarism was facilitated by laborious hand copying. Upon the widespread use of the computer and scanner, plagiarism became easier. If books or serials could not be checked out of the library, photocopies were made there, followed by machine OCR scanning of the photocopies, proofreading the digitized text, then copying and pasting it into a new electronic document. If the books or serials could be checked out of the library, the photocopying step was saved. With the advent of the Web, plagiarism reached a new level of ease. Plagiarists could now select digitized text, copy and paste it into a new electronic document. offers important and thoughtful information for the benefit of students and educators concerning plagiarism in the electronic age.

Questions on citation of Internet sources are covered in Citing Internet Sources from Yale College.

A related issue is copyright infringement. Text that is properly quoted -- without plagiarism -- may violate the copyright held by of the owner of the text. For an explanation of Internet-related copyright issues see Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom by the University of Maryland University College. Also, images that are thought to be "borrowed" from a Web site may violate the fair use rules of copyright laws. Posting of "borrowed" images on the Web may cause the images to be published in the eyes of the law and increase the risk of action on the part of copyright holders.

Also see TFAO's Art Law by Ann Avery Andres, Esq., which seeks to make artists and collectors be aware of copyright issues relating to art objects. Derivative Works And Copyright: Painting from Another's Photograph by Mary Ann Fergus from Spacetake is of interest to artists. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

This Web site contains content including text and images that are either the property of Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. (TFAO) or other copyright holders who have granted permission for TFAO to publish their content. For information on use of materials published in our online publication Resource Library please see its User Agreement and legal notice. Neither Resource Library or TFAO will assist you in securing permissions for materials which it does not own.



Are you passionate about American art? Please see Volunteering for unique opportunities to help spread in-depth knowledge of American art to people across the globe.


Policy on outbound links

TFAO's website contains tens of thousands of outward links on thousands of pages through its publication Resource Library, plus projects, reports, studies and catalogues. All of the links are based on research by its volunteers. The links are directed to sources of knowledge mainly of use to scholars, instructors and students of American art. They are aligned with TFAO's mission statement: "The character of affairs of Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. is for charitable purposes including fostering education and nurturing understanding of American visual arts among student and adult populations through publications, guidance and counseling of nonprofit arts organizations and related activities."


TFAO may provide links to firms that provide identical services as those already noted in it's Resources for Collectors, Life Long Learners, Students and Teachers of Art History pages.
TFAO is approached by firms that provide price information on auction sales and biographical information on artists that may be accessed for a fee. A partial list of those firms is in the Reviewing existing listings page of the America's Distinguished Artists catalogue. TFAO does not place links to pages within those firm's websites concerning their commercial offerings.
For-profit galleries and other commercial firms may ask TFAO to provide links to their organizations' websites. They do this to seek an avenue to customers of their goods and services. To gain an understanding of how TFAO usually responds to such questions, we ask a potential inquirer to imagine approaching instead a college professor teaching American art history and asking the professor for a link to be placed to the commercial firm's website in the course syllabus or resource materials. What would the professor do? The answer that TFAO would give would usually be similar to that provided by the professor.
How Resource Library differs from paper-printed art publications provides further guidance.



1. The Archives of American Art collections include papers of artists, art dealers, art historians, collectors, and others; records of art galleries, museums, and art organizations; videos, and interviews from Awes oral history project. Many collections are available on microfilm at AAA's Research Centers in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Marino, Calif., as well as in affiliated institutions serving unrestricted microfilm at the Boston Public Library and the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco. Online searches may be made on the Archives of American Art's Web page.

2. The Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) contains the Smithsonian American Art Museum Research databases which include: 1) Inventories of American Painting & Sculpture which reference over 360,000 works in public and private collections nationwide, and include records from Save Outdoor Sculpture! -- images are not digitized; however, many photographs are available for study in SAAM offices; 2) Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, comprised of 127,000 negatives, which is a visual record of American art and artists photographed between 1896 and 1975 -- information is often sketchy or incomplete, recorded as found on the photographic negative or envelope; 3) The Art Exhibition Catalog Index which has descriptive information on nearly 136,000 art works shown in over 1,000 exhibitions held in the US and Canada up through 1876 (the Centennial year), and includes American and European artists in all media of art works -- painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, etc.

3. from Emily Werrell, "Copyright and Fair Use in a Digital World: Teaching Research Ethics" in Library Magazine, Duke University Library, vol. 17, no. 2, (Winter 2004) citing "CAI Research." The Center for Academic Integrity, 2002-2003. The Center for Academic Integrity, Duke University, 15 December 2003

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The above names and addresses are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in employing these or other consultants or vendors. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information herein. Information from the named firms may be inaccurate or out of date. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc neither recommends or endorses the above referenced organizations. Although Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc. includes links to other Internet sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over those other sites. The names, logos, trademarks, and service marks of Resource Library and Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc.that appear on this site may not be used in any advertising, publicity, promotion, or in any other manner implying our endorsement, sponsorship of, or affiliation with any product or service, without our prior express written permission.

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