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Getting Started: An Introduction to Researching Black Artists: NYPL Online Catalog

Highlighting key resources for accessing and utilizing tools for researching black visual artists.

Classic Catalog—


Searching the Library’s online catalog can serve as the first step in order to see if the library holds books on your artist of interest. Books are good sources for well-known artists, but may not be available for artists that are more obscure. Do not discount non-English language sources since they cover artists of all nationalities and could be the only sources containing information. 

There are different ways to search for books on individual artists:

  • The best way is to search under “Subject” (LastName, FirstName)

    • ​It is with this type of search that you can find material about the artist such as biographies, criticisms, interpretations, and analysis about an artist's life and body of work.
  • Artists can also be searched for as “Author” (LastName, FirstName)

    • ​It is with this type of search that you can find an artist's critical writings, artists' books, collaborations with other artists and writers, and exhibition catalogs. 

  • You can also do a “Keyword” search If your subject and author searches provide you with little or no results.