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Black Artists: A Research Guide: Library Catalog -- Searching for books

Highlighting key resources for accessing and utilizing tools for researching black visual artists. Guide by Tammi Lawson & Miguel Rosales.


NYPL uses the Library of Congress Subject headings to help navigate the catalog.


Searching the Library’s online catalog can serve as the first step in order to see if the library holds books on a specific artist. Books are good sources for well-known artists, but may not be available for ones that are lesser known. 

There are different ways to search for books:

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

    • e.g. Bearden, Romare
    • ​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 an “All Fields” search If your subject searches provide you with little or no results.

For a more detailed guide please visit our guide on How to Research an Artist.

(Examples of Popular titles are found below.)