Databases for Art and Design Research

This list highlights some of the art and design databases available to researchers from the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. A complete listing of databases is located on the Libraries' E-journals, E-books, and Databases.  Databases that require SI network for access are indicated by "SI staff." For information about remote access see Off-Site Access to Electronic Resources​.

Research Databases

  • ARTBibliographies Modern (SI staff): Full-text and abstracts of journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, dissertations, and reviews in modern and contemporary arts, photography, performance art, video art, graffiti, artists' books, theatre arts, conservation, craft, graphic and museum design, fashion, as well as traditional media.
  • Art & Artists Files in the Smithsonian Libraries: Online list of the Smithsonian Libraries collection of over 150,000 files on Artists, Art Institutions, Collectors, and art-related Subjects. Physical files generally contain published ephemera and must be consulted on site.
  • Art Full Text (SI staff): Offers full-text and abstracts of an international array of peer-selected publications, with coverage in fine, decorative and commercial art, as well as photography, folk art, film, architecture, Latin American, Canadian, Asian and non-Western art, new artists, contemporary art, exhibition reviews and feminist criticism.
  • Art Index Retrospective (SI staff): Provides indexing of nearly 600 scholarly and popular publications and citations of over 25,000 book reviews, covering fine, decorative and commercial arts.
  • Art History Research (SI staff): Comprises three resources for researching the history of 19th and 20th century art and design, including: Review - Full text of a range of 19th and early 20th century art journals; Arts + Architecture Profiles - Biographical data on over 35,000 artists, architects, craftspeople and designers; Design Abstracts Retrospective - Abstracts of architecture and design journals published between 1900-1986.
  • Artstor (SI staff): The Artstor Digital Library is a database containing over 2 million images from the world's museums, archives, libraries, scholars, and artists in the arts, architecture, humanities and sciences.
  • AskArt (SI staff): Includes artist biographies, bibliographies, images, auction prices, gallery directory, and more for primarily American and western artists.
  • Bibliography of the History of Art: BHA indexes art-related articles in over 1,200 journals, covering post-classical Western art, architecture, and decorative arts (from late antiquity to the present).
  • Getty Research Portal: Online search platform providing global access to digitized full-text materials in the public domain for the study of art, architecture, material culture, and related fields.
  • JSTOR (SI staff): Full-text searchable articles from more than 500 scholarly journals in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, mathematics and other sciences. 
  • Oxford Art Online (SI staff):Comprises four resources: Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Grove Art Online, Oxford Companion to Western Art
  • Project MUSE (SI staff): Full-text journals and e-books covering the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.

Auction Databases

Last Updated October 14, 2021