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Twentieth-Century Art Resources: Artists

A guide to major sources of information for researching 20th-century art and artists

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Reference Books on Artists



Dictionary of Artists / Benezit
Saur Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon
Thieme, U. and F. Becker. Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart
International Dictionary of Art and Artists
The first three titles are large multivolume sets; they are the most comprehensive and scholarly dictionaries of artists. Many obscure artists who are not included in other encyclopedias can be found in them. The International Dictionary of Art and Artists covers far fewer artists; however, its second volume, which contains one-page articles on individual works of art, can help you get a good start researching specific art works.
World Artists, 1950-1980
World Artists, 1980-1990 
These reference books provide useful introductions to the lives, work, and contributions of influential artists from around the world during the latter half of the twentieth century.
Contemporary Artists
Contemporary Architects
Contemporary Photographers
These books provide background on the lives and careers of the world's most prominent and influential artists who are still living or who have died in the recent past.  Most articles are illustrated with a representative work by the artist.
Biographical Dictionary of Women Artists in Europe and America since 1850
Contemporary Women Artists
Dictionary of Women Artists
North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century
These books provide an excellent start when doing research on women artists in a wide variety of media. The second is devoted to twentieth-century artists only, while the third offers substantial articles on women artists from the Middle Ages to the present day.  The fourth contains articles on twentieth-century women artists from Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Who's Who in American Art
Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975
Dictionary of British Art, Vol. VI: 20th Century Painters and Sculptors 
The first book, which is issued every two years, provides directory information for thousands of living American artists, while the second contains brief articles on deceased artists from 400 years of American art. The third provides similar brief information for British artists of the twentieth century.
Makers of 20th Century Modern Architecture: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook 
This book provides insightful articles on architects who have significantly influenced the course of modern Western architecture.
Modern Arts Criticism
This four-volume set gathers together critical commentary by leading art historians about some of the major painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects active since the mid-nineteenth century.

Humanities Librarian

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Leanna Goodwater
University Library
Santa Clara University
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Santa Clara, CA 95053