Authentication and Evaluation of Paintings


Contact reference librarians

Art museum libraries

Many art museums and historical societies have libraries -- with well-informed reference librarians. These sources are usually hidden treasures. They are especially valuable for learning about local artists. Art museums in large cities have some of the best art libraries in America. For a list of museums in your region see Resource Library's listing of museums by State within the United States. For lists of historical societies use a keyword search with a search engine. There are several lists of historical societies on the Web. If you want to visit libraries of museums bear in mind that you may need an appointment to visit. Calls and visits to available art museum libraries are the best place to start in your search for information.

As an example, the Balch Art Research Library at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a non-circulating collection of approximately 150,000 books, journals, and periodicals is available for use by the adult public by appointment. LACMA's WebCat online library catalogue is a way the find many American art books by use of keywords.


Public libraries

Visit reference librarians in your public library to inquire about ways of researching your painting. If you are in a small town the local library may have some information on local artists. The reference librarian can direct you to the closest art museums and colleges that have art history libraries. Public libraries in larger towns and cities are likely to have art history sections that will have in depth resources on local and regional artists.


College and historical society libraries

If you are near a college or university that has an art department, there will be a collection of books and journals in the library for the use of students and teachers. Members of the public may be welcome to browse. If the art department curriculum includes American art history you are in luck! To find out what resources a nearby college has for you, go online to look in the academic departments for an art department. When there look up the professors, classes or programs to see if American art history is featured. If so, you know there are American art history books and journals in the college library. For many colleges, members of the public can call the library's reference librarian to make inquiries. Also, you can often access on the Web the college's library catalogue to see what they have -- including the books listed in the resources guide you are now reading. To give you a starting point for inquiries about periodicals, TFAO has compiled a list of prominent journals and magazines covering American art that are published on paper.


The Web

Because of the power of Web search engines you can be your own reference librarian! Learn how to get the most out of search engines by reading Resource Library's section on Indexes and information retrieval.


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While Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc (TFAO) does not provide authentication services, the information in this report is provided as a public service and may be of help to readers studying approaches to authentication and evaluation of their works of art. Names and addresses of consultants or vendors.are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. TFAO is not paid by consultants or vendors for listings in this report and does not receive any referral fees from them. Please use due diligence in employing these or other consultants or vendors. TFAO takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information herein. Information from the named consultants or vendors may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses referenced organizations. Although TFAO 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 TFAO and its publications that appear within this web site may not be used in any advertising, publicity, promotion, or in any other manner implying TFAO endorsement, sponsorship, or affiliation with any product or service, without TFAO's prior express written permission.

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