Artist Dictionaries and Other Sources

A list of artist biographical dictionaries, obituary sources, dictionaries for signatures and monograms, and a directory of artists’ materials and suppliers.  If these publications are not available through your local library, ask the librarian if these books can be obtained for you through inter-library loan.

Artist Dictionaries

Allegmeines Kunstlerlexikon. Munich: K. G. Saur, 1992
     This multi-volume set updates Thieme-Becker.

American Art Annual. New York: MacMillan Co., 1948
     Multi-volume set for visual arts from 1898 to 1933.

Benezit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Librarie Gründ, 1976
     References international artists, primarily painters, sculptors, and engravers through the first half of the twentieth

Berea, T. B. Handbook of 17th, 18th and 19th century American Painters. Chattanooga, TN: Dalewood Enterprises, 1968

Cummings, Paul. Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994
     References twentieth-century American artists including painters, sculptors, and graphic artists.

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985
     References American artists who were active 1898-1947. Occupations appear coded in brackets following artist's
     name. Includes birth and death days/months/years. Inclusion in the dictionary does not imply artist is deceased.

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. 3 volume set. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999
     References American artists who were active 1898-1947. Occupations appear coded in brackets following artist's
     name. For day and month of birth or death see earlier 1985 edition of Who Was Who in American Art.

Groce, George C., and David H. Wallace. The New-York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957
     References artists born in America by 1841, or active in America prior to 1860. Includes painters, "drawers,"
     sculptors, engravers, lithographers, silhouette artists; excludes photographers, and craftsman.

Guide to Exhibited Artists. Oxford and Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press, 1985
     This multi-volume set includes North American painters; European painters, printmakers, sculptors and

Havlice, Patricia Pate. Index to Artistic Biography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973; rev. ed., 1981

Langmuir, Erika. Yale Dictionary of Art and Artists. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000
     General dictionary of art and artists that covers period from 1300 to the present day. Entries include painters,
     sculptors, printmakers, etc.

Mallet, Daniel Trowbridge. Mallett's Index of Artists, International-Biographical, Including Painters, Sculptors, Illustrators, Engravers, and Etchers of the Past and Present. New York: Peter Smith, 1935 (rpr., 1948)
     References international artists from beginnings to early twentieth century; good source for obscure artists
     especially of WPA period.
     [Note: Mallett frequently cites address of artist at time of publication--d.l934 followed by city. Do not mistake this  
     for the artist's death date/place. Variant names may appear in brackets immediately following preferred name.  
     Nationality is abbreviated and appears on second line.]

Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers. Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo Book, 1983
     References eighteenth- twentieth-century American artists.

McNeil, Barbara, ed. Artist Biographies Master Index. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1986
     Consolidated index to more than 275,000 biographical sketches of artists living and deceased from the principal  
     current and retrospective biographical dictionaries devoted to the arts.

Murray, Peter and Linda. Penguin Dictionary of Art & Artists. 7th ed. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1997

Naylor, Colin, ed. Contemporary Artists. Chicago: St. James Press, 1988

New York Public Library: The Artists File. Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey Inc., 1987-1989
     A microfiche collection of the artist files in the New York Public Library. The files were begun around 1911.  
     Excludes printmakers, photographers, and medalists.

Opitz, Glenn B. Dictionary of American Sculptors, 18th Century to the Present. Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo Book, 1984

Petteys, Chris. Dictionary of Women Artists : an international dictionary of women artists born before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985
     References: painters, sculptors, printmakers, illustrators; excludes photographers, architects, craftsman, and  

Press, Jacques Cattel, ed. Who's Who in American Art. 25th ed. New York: R. R. Bowker Company, 2003
     References contemporary twentieth-century American and Canadian artists; all artistic media.

Smith, Ralph Clifton. A Biographical Index of American Artists. Baltimore: William & Wilkens Co., 1930

Thieme-Becker. Allegemeines Lexicon der Bildenden Kunstler, 1907-1913. Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 1907-1950.
     References international artists. Note: Thieme-Becker follows European format for entering dates:  

Who's Who in Art. London: The Art Trade Press, Ltd., 1927-

Obituary Sources

The Annual Obituary. New York: St. Martin's Press, c.1981-

Avery Obituary Index of Architects and Artists. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1963

Codman, Ogden. Index of Obituaries in Boston Newspapers: 1704-1800, Boston Athenaeum. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1968

Levy, Felice D. Obituaries on File. 2 volume set. New York: Facts on File, 1979
     References twentieth-century deaths from 1940 to 1978.

New York Times Obituaries Index, 1858-1968. New York: New York Times, 1970

New York Times Obituaries Index, 1969-1978. New York: New York Times, 1970

Roberts, Frank C., ed. Obituaries from The Times 1951-1960. London: Meckler Books, 1979
     Obituaries from The Times 1961-1970.
     Obituaries from The Times 1971-1975.

Schwab, Arnold T. A Matter of Life and Death, Vital Biographical Facts about Selected American Artists. New York: Garland Pub., 1977

Signatures & Monograms

Castagno, John. American Artists: Signatures & Monograms 1800-1989. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990

Castagno, John. Artists as Illustrators: An International Directory with Signatures and Monograms 1800 to the Present. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990

Jackson, Radway. The Visual Index of Artists' Signatures and Monograms. London: Cromwell Editions, 1991

Artists' Materials & Suppliers

Katlan, Alexander W. American Artists' Materials Suppliers Directory. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Press, 1987
     Lists nineteenth-century suppliers active in New York from 1810 to 1899 and in Boston from 1823 to 1877.