How to research artists and art works. Locating reproductions and recent art sales by artists.
State Library Victoria has a substantial collection of material on fine arts. This includes a vast range of books, journals, online databases and rare and unique items such as our Australian Art and Artists files and Australian Gallery files.
Things to consider
If you are researching well known artists there will be many resources available. However this guide can also help you track down lesser known artists.
You may discover artworks owned by relatives or bought at markets or second hand stores. These may have uncertain provenance and there may be little information known about the work.
Sometimes there is not enough information to identify the artist, or if the artist is known, there may not be any further information about the artist.
However we have resources that can help you track artists who may not be well known. Amongst our most useful resources are our unique Australian Art and Artists and Australian Gallery files collection. These files contain catalogues for a vast range of artists exhibitions and can be very useful for biographical research or research on specific artworks.
We also hold journals and newspapers in print and online that will contain references and information on artists and exhibitions.
There is no specific monetary value to an artwork. Auction catalogues can indicate what price artist's work has previously been sold for but prices depend on supply and demand and the changing fashions and tastes of collectors and investors.
The value of an artwork is not primarily monetary. People own artworks because art gives them pleasure, provokes memories, or helps them see the world in a new and different manner. That is ultimately a value not adequately measured in dollars.
See these databases containing a wide range of information on art and artists. Most require a Victorian registration for access.