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About Artists

Find Books

Boston University Libraries Search (BULS) and BU WorldCat Discovery  let you search for books at BU and throughout the world.  Type keywords in the search boxes and use the limiters ("refine my results") to further define your topic. Try to be specific. When looking for books about an artist, type in the artist's name rather than "contemporary art."  

Remember to "Sign In" with your BU login. Our online resources are available only to BU faculty, students, and staff. Signing in also lets you request unavailable books directly from BULS by clicking a Request button (see below). 

eBooks are in the BULS database.  You also can search for them by title if you know it or by keywords directly in ProQuest Ebook Central. a

A sample search for catalogues (books) about Alex Katz exhibitions:  Alex Katz AND exhibition*

Books About Artists and Their Works: Monographs, Exhibition Catalogs, Retrospectives, Catalogues Raisonnes

In addition to the monograph, there are several special kinds of books on artists and their works --  the exhibition catalog, the retrospective, and the catalogue raisonne.  Each type will include biographical information about the artist.


Monographs–books dedicated to a single artist.  Include the artist’s name and “biography” or “criticism” in your BULS search.

Diego Rivera AND biography


Exhibition Catalogs -- books that accompany museum and gallery exhibitions generally contain biographical and chronological artist information as well as images of works exhibited.  Include the artist’s name and the word “exhibition” or  “exhibitions” in your BULS search.  Several major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetPublications, have posted their exhibition catalogs online.  

Examples of exhibition catalog/ues --


Retrospectives --  a kind of exhibition that traces the artist's career from the first works to those created later in life. Include the word "retrospective" in your BULS search.

Examples of "retrospectives" --


Catalogue Raisonnes --- complete studies of artists' work including object images and provenance, usually published near the end of their careers. Include artist’s last name and the word “raisonne” or “raisonnes” in your BULS search.

Examples of catalogues raisonnes --


Books About How Artists Work

The Everywhere Studio, Editors: Alex Gartenfeld, ICA Miami Deputy Director and Chief Curator; Gean Moreno, ICA Miami Curator of Programs; Stephanie Seidel, ICA Miami Associate Curator. Design: Chad Kloepfer.   (Being processed in library).

Getting Books Not Available at BU

There are several ways you can obtain books or articles that we do not own. These include:

  • WorldCat Discovery. WorldCat Discovery allows current BU faculty, staff, and students to borrow books directly from other Boston Library Consortium libraries. Turnaround time is approximately three working days. (How to use WorldCat Discovery)

  • Interlibrary Loan. Interlibrary Loan services allow current BU faculty, staff, and students to request books, articles, book chapters, and other materials that our ILL staff will obtain from other libraries. Books generally take 2-4 weeks to arrive; articles are generally delivered electronically within 1-2 days.

  • BLC Cards. A Boston Library Consortium Card allows the bearer to borrow—in person—circulating material from a member library, just as you would from a BU library. Boston University faculty, staff, and students on the Charles River Campus may obtain a Consortium Card by filling out an application form. Medical Campus affiliates apply at the Alumni Medical Library.